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London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week SS23 Best Shows

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After shows in London, Florence, Milan and Paris, the Spring/Summer 2023 fashion month has drawn to a close. The last month saw blockbuster shows from some of the biggest names in the industry — including Louis Vuitton, Prada and Dior – while also representing a chance to showcase a raft of emerging designers and labels.

Now that the dust is settling on fashion month for another season, HYPEBEAST pulled together the 15 best shows from across the various European fashion weeks.

Louis Vuitton

The Louis Vuitton SS23 collection was full of cultural references that encapsulated Black ingenuity and references of pride and joy – buffered by a surprise musical performance from Kendrick Lamar. As a prelude to the collection, the show opened with a charismatic parade of Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 Band playing a soulful rendition of Lipps, Inc.’s “Funkytown,” leading the LV-clad models down a spiraling, candy-painted yellow runway.

Structural ‘80s silhouettes and pop art decals were highlighted in the form of evening coats, crepe suits and parka jackets which incorporated ornate floral design motifs, graphic cartoon characters and neon-hued charm tassels. Wide-legged slit-hem trousers, padded shoulders, and treated denim also comprised the collection, while LV-branded envelope-package handbags and moon boots in various colors appeared in the accessories lineup.

Additionally, the house’s skate sneaker has been updated in shades of lime green, bright orange, white-and-grey and black-and-white. While no announcements have been made to signify who will pick up the creative design reigns after Virgil Abloh’s passing, the SS23 collection served as a vibrant ushering in of a new era for the brand.

Thom Browne

Fashion is a playground, and for Thom Browne it’s all about pushing creativity – and the audience – to their limits. For the aptly titled SS23 collection “Why Not?”, Browne was freer and more fetishized than ever before, seeing tweed hung from jockstraps and anchor-shaped face coverings while exploring the punkish undertones of sartorial fashion. Kicking off with models who were “late” to the show was campy and implied that onlookers shouldn’t take the show too seriously – but the looks that followed were anything but a joke.

Twin-sets (a trend catapulted into the mainstream thanks to Miu Miu) were paired with exposed jockstraps, skirts were worn low on the hip while shirts were cropped and styled with school uniform ties, and thigh-high shorts worn with perfectly pinched and nipped-in blazers continued Browne’s commentary on having fun with traditions.

It’s not vulgar, it’s not about being daring and exposing skin for the sake of attention. Thom Browne is formulating a new menswear era because, well, why not?

Loewe

In Paris, Loewe pulled back the curtain on a SS23 collection defined by the intersecting concepts of perception, nature and advancement — or, as creative director Jonathan Anderson put it, “a fusion of the organic and the fabricated.”

Juxtaposing ephemeral beings with tech relics, one segment of the collection is expertly embroidered with living greenery — chia plants, cat’s wort and more — that was cultivated over 20 days in a Parisian polytunnel, while another plasters earphones, pen drivers and phone cases onto luxurious leather coats. Elsewhere, the collection includes high-end hoodies with light tailoring next to billowing, puffed-up jackets, oversized sweaters paired with form-fitting sport tights, as well as new iterations of the label’s Puzzle bags, cross-body and basket totes.

Meanwhile, T-shirts and various top offerings boast screens playing videos of winking eyes, people kissing, flying birds and fish swimming, providing a stylistic commentary on the metaverse and its integration into the real world. Across its vivid color story, Anderson’s latest range leaves viewers with a newfound perspective on not only technology’s disruption of nature, but also fashion’s place in that chaotic merger.

Dior

The spectacle of fashion week draws the attention of onlookers globally, with brands going above and beyond to draw audiences in with story telling. Dior did not disappoint when conveying it’s inspirations as Kim Jones took guests to the French countryside for a short escape. Runway set designs are often the unsung heroes in story telling for a brand’s next collection.

With the Dior SS23 collection, Jones recreates Monsieur Dior’s birthplace of Granville, Normandy, inviting guests to take a journey through a scenic garden for the collection. The collection reflected the floral and green surroundings of the countryside with the aid of British painter Duncan Grant. Post-impressionist works of natural sketches were used as the main highlight of the ready-to-wear collection. With a focus on outdoor adventures, this season brings an informal sophistication to countryside chic.

Prada

From its show invitations to the venue space, Prada’s aesthetic for SS23 centered on paper objects. The show’s floor space and walls were covered in white construction paper with large window cutouts, while invites came in the form of laser-thin paper car coats and button-down gingham shirts. Real-life iterations of the mailers consisted of cotton coats, and vibrant green-and-white, yellow-and-white and red-and-white gingham shirts and jackets that sauntered down the runway.

Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’ co-designs for SS23 also focused on leather and denim, with sleek bomber jackets, leather vests, micro shorts and heeled ankle boots, and denim in the form of collarless jackets and boxy trousers. Accessories also played a big part in the presentation – literally – with oversized leather tote bags and extended-sized canvas shoppers.

Y/Project

With each passing season, Glenn Marten’s Y/Project presents an undeniable reinvention of silhouettes. A master of shape and volume, Marten continues to be one of the most highly discussed designers in fashion and all with good reason.

Y/Project’s latest collection for the SS23 season introduced a symphony of illusion exhibited by Marten’s signature warped denim, architectural outerwear in elevated fabrications and visceral trompe-l’oeil restructured tops. Blurring the lines of reality, artistic detailing coupled with conceptual design notes ushered in contemporary harmony.

The label’s latest collection also introduced its second collaboration with Jean Paul Gaultier’s ready-to-wear line, which incorporated the French designer’s fantastical style.

Kenzo

NIGO debuts his sophomore collection with KENZO, continuing to bring a youthful, preppy energy to the Parisian-based brand. The SS23 collection saw bursts of vibrant colors throughout, with new interpretations of classic suiting to set a new standard for casual wear. NIGO took inspiration from various decades including the ‘30s and ‘40s American railway workers’ uniforms, placing a modern, everyday spin to the pieces.

KENZO’s tailoring takes inspiration from both Japanese suiting and streetwear aesthetic, maintaining a comfort-focused and box-cut tailoring. The Boke flower continues to be a prominent motif throughout the collection, an important detail that adds onto the playful combination of bold patterns and graphics for this season.

Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY

Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY operates under an ethos of uncompromising self-expression — and for SS23, the London label sought to highlight the queer experience with a collection defined by unapologetic flamboyance, with a fashion film titled PHWOARRR!.

While injected with trademark style codes, the range applies a refreshing revamp to the classic Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY archetype. Tailoring, in wool and recycled polyester, employs sharp-yet-sensual cuts and arrives pleasantly pumped with gender-nonconforming pinstripes and chainmail lining. Lightweight sheer dresses meet billowing blouses across a pastel-controlled color wheel, while military-style adornments offer a soft critique of traditional stereotypes.

With collaboration weaved deeply into its seams, LOVERBOY’s SS23 video presentation calls on a myriad of creative minds, including dance-pop duo Nimmo (whose track “Company” provides an exquisite backdrop to the visual), stylist Matthew Josephs, director Bunny Kinney, set designer Jack Davey and movement director Kate Coyne, among others.

Homme Plissé Issey Miyake

As with previous shows from Homme Plissé Issey Miyake, the SS23 show focused on the clothing’s flexibility and breathability. The trappings of traditional runway shows are eschewed, with a performance that instead showcases the versatility of the collection.

For this show, the label mixed models with dancers from the Chaillot Theatre National de la Danse. The performance saw these dancers throwing one another around the space, standing three people high and climbing up the scaffolding background. Throughout all of their exploits, the performers were Homme Plissé in a variety of colors and constructions.

The clothes themselves also celebrated the versatility of the fabric, with bright reds and yellows alongside muted neutral tones. Other pieces later in the show sported cotton plant-inspired prints. The floral influence continued to some of the constructions, including pants based on the shape of a lily, while other highlights included curved hem suit jackets, extended coats and technical-style vests.

JW Anderson

JW Anderson returned to form for SS23, following season after season of Jonathan Anderson kicking it out of the park for LOEWE. SS23 was JW Anderson’s time, referencing nostalgia, childhood, conceptual wearable objects and Rembrandt in a collection that asked us to look deeper.

Anderson asked his audience to think about “What is subjective, and what is objective?” As it turns out, this is down to the wearer; the person who decides if this particular garment is right for them. He explored opportunities and the banal elements of life – a metal can ring, bent and opened because it’s been discarded, now appears as a looking glass into the wearer’s personality (and skin). Likewise, the conventional QR code that’s intarsia knitted into sweaters no longer provokes you, becoming a habitual part of your wardrobe as it has your life.

As the designer said himself, “Because of the clash, their objectivity becomes defiant and utterly subjective.” Never has a collection of ordinary things been so extraordinary.

Nahmias

Doni Nahmias and his California-cool upbringing found a niche in Paris for the Nahmias SS23 collection. Elevated traces of skate aesthetic and surf culture appeared in the forms of billowy silk shirts, multi-pocket cargo pants, knitted board shorts and voluminous denim (with jewel-encrusted logo). A kaleidoscopic approach to tie-dye was used for sleeveless tops and roomy pants, comprising shades of mint green, orange and black. Graphic details like a picturesque beachfront found their way onto long-sleeved tops, while brand phrases including “Miracle Academy” and “Summerland” appeared on tank tops and padded vests.

Additionally, stepping into the realm of innovation, the brand presented a unique capsule collection that features a first-of-its-kind, fully-scannable QR code technology embedded into the clothing. In partnership with Boi-1da and Bacardí’s “Music Liberates Music” program, the unique capsule of T-shirts and accessories can be scanned by a smartphone and leads consumers to discover the new music and content of underrepresented artists – thus allowing for unparalleled access to the creativity of the next generation.

Wales Bonner

Grace Wales Bonner took her eponymous label to Florence as a special guest at this season’s Pitti Uomo. Showcased at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the SS23 collection drew inspiration from the African diaspora and European heritage. The influence was celebrated by an installation from Ibrahim Mahama, featuring jute sacks that had been stitched together locally to show the history of migration, commodity and globalization.

The collection continued this theme, as well as building on Wales Bonner’s refined and elegant aesthetic. Tailoring stood out, with black cashmere tuxedos, belted jackets and a camel hair coat produced longside Savile Row’s Anderson and Sheppard. Other details included beaded macrame dresses, jerseys that had been hand-dyed in Burkina Faso and silk jacquard opera coats. Wales Bonner also previewed a collaboration with artist Kerry James Marshall and a preview of the label’s latest adidas Originals release.

VTMNTS

As the sole creative lead of VTMNTS and VETEMENTS, Guram Gvasalia is still carving out his vision of style as a designer. But in the few solo collections that now rest under his belt, it is evident that Gvasalia’s vision bridges edge and seduction under the principle of freedom.

For the SS23 season, VTMNTS presented an architectural vision of sexy, yet cool. Blending avant-garde and streetwear dress notes, tailored pieces like asymmetrical single-button blazers were chopped in half – coveting an almost anti-uniform cadence. Other highlights took form in exaggerated “double shoulder” overcoats alongside full leather trenchcoats with matching thigh-high boots.

Although it is still early in Gvasalia’s journey as a sole designer, the Georgia-born creative is molding a dramatically elegant, yet contemporary view of evolving identities.

Martine Rose

Martine Rose is the jewel of London’s fashion scene, and her SS23 runway show was the crowning moment of the week. A return to collaborating with Nike and the designer’s ability to combine streetwear influences with the business world and subverted traditions made for one of Rose’s strongest collections to date, exploring tensions, sex and normality through extreme silhouettes and clashing components.

Floor-to-ceiling latex curtains draped inside a Vauxhall warehouse set the tone for Rose’s BSDM references, which appeared in the form of belt-come-restraints and keys attached to zippers on jeans. The devil is in the details for Rose, who paired flasher-grade mac coats atop silky pink tracksuits and metal D-ring chokers with satin cocktail dresses, while also manipulating sleeves, shrunken shapes and tight-fitting materials for a glamorously awkward arrangement.

Simply put, Martine Rose commented on the gritty underbelly of nightlife culture and blended this with high society, altogether perfectly summing up society today.

WINNIE New York

It’s been a rapid ascent for WINNIE New York – the label founded by Idris Balogun in 2019 – taking in its victory in this year’s Karl Lagerfeld Prize and, now, a return to Paris Fashion Week. The SS23 collection, titled “Cold Feet,” was displayed in a gallery presentation, taking the clothing away from its typical format and challenging perceptions about it.

For the SS23 collection, Balogun had taken particular influence from the work of Angolan artist Alida Rodrigues. Rodrigues’ work – which fuses historic photographs with botanical drawings – was referenced both through the set design of the space and also the way in which the collection mixed traditional silhouettes with experimental constructions in Italian linen, virgin wool, light cashmere and mohair.

The “Cold Feet” collection was WINNIE and Balogun’s first chance to show in-person since the label’s debut back in 2019. While that break was enforced, it also gave Balogun the chance to refine his vision for the fledgling label, and the SS23 collection shows how far it can go.

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