Spring/Summer 2023 Fashion Trends: The 21 Looks You Need to Know About

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Spanning four cities, over 350 designer showcases, and more celebrity model moments than you can shake a roll of body tape at; ask anyone in attendance, and they’ll tell you that Fashion Month was back at its biggest and brightest for spring/summer 2023. Having pivoted from perching on the front row to sitting in front of our laptops (cup of tea in hand) for the past few seasons, we expected some designers to entirely forgo the frivolity of “real-life” fashion shows in favour of the digital experience. This, however, was not the case; in fact, not a single virtual invitation landed in my inbox. Instead, with a 45% increase in shows compared to autumn/winter 2022, designers appeared to come to the collective agreement that being together will always be better. And, my, did they make it worth washing our hair and putting on our best outfits for.

As we’ve established, physically attending shows certainly has its charms, and we’re grateful that the jubilant omnipresence and full-blown spectacle had, for the most part, returned to Fashion Month. Still, it would be remiss of me not to mention perhaps the most desired guest at any runway: the smartphone. I hate to break it to you, but fashion editors aren’t time travellers. Silliness aside, the reality is we can only be in one place at any given time, and with the sheer volume of shows in different vicinities—heck, different cities—it’s impossible to be present at every single one. Cue social media, namely Instagram and TikTok, which gives us more access to the action than any backstage pass ever could and enables us to see every noteworthy second unfold as it happens. And spring/summer 2023? It proved to be a season curated with viral moments in mind.

“The season was dominated by the competition between designers to achieve the best audience engagement through the biggest viral flash,” says Libby Page, all-round fashion expert and market director at NET-A-PORTER. “Coperni was extremely imaginative with the sprayed-on dress worn by Bella Hadid for closing the show. Kim Kardashian at Dolce & Gabbana, Paris Hilton at Versace and Cher at Balmain demonstrated the power and influence celebrity endorsements have over the brand’s popularity.” However, it wasn’t just A-list sashays that made for excellent viewing; the sets and spaces in which the shows themselves were held were just as integral to the aesthetic as the clothes or, indeed, the celebrity talent.

The iconic London skyline served as the Rejina Pyo backdrop, while Chanel created its very own black and white movie—starring its loyal ambassador Kristen Stewart, no less—that was projected upon a gargantuan screen, the scope of which can only be realised with the models walking in front of it for measurable context. “Courregès was a stand-out moment for me, seeing how they have evolved for SS23 and the show itself with the amazing set build and sand hourglass was a real highlight,” says Heather Gramston, head of womenswear at Browns. “Not a new name, but Khaite deserves a mention as my New York Fashion Week highlight. The gritty after-dark styling and addition of the snake print was genius; my favourite piece of the season is, without a doubt, the snake-print leather oversized trench.”

“I also thought Erdem’s show at the British Museum was incredibly powerful,” continues Page. “With the guests sat underneath the breathtaking pillars and perfect timing of the rain as soon as the show was over.” Ah, London; you never miss a beat.

Being quite literally on our doorstep, London’s offering always holds a special place in our hearts. For SS23, it was all the more poignant. This season, we saw a London Fashion Week like no other, as it fell during the official period of national mourning following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Some designers chose to postpone their shows—most notably Burberry, which has a long history of outfitting our country’s royalty. Those that did go ahead as planned paid their tributes to the monarch in truly idiosyncratic and meaningful ways. Richard Quinn, who was honoured by the Queen when she presented him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design during his Fashion Week show in 2018, dedicated his spring/summer 2023 collection to her. The show opened with an entirely black series of regal mourning gowns, paired with veils and crowns, as vintage footage of the Queen played on screens in the centre of the catwalk, subsequently capturing the quiet reflection that enveloped the usually bustling streets of the nation’s capital at that time.

Just as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II assured in a televised address in 2020, we did indeed meet again. “After two years of pandemic-related disruptions, SS23 felt like the fashion world had finally returned to its busy and buzzy schedule,” says Morgane Le Caer, fashion expert and content editor at Lyst. But what are the top spring/summer 2023 fashion trends, I hear you exclaim? Well, let’s get right down to it.

“The collections were a sartorial tale of two extremes,” continues Le Caer. “Bright colours, gawdy metallics, and bold 3D florals clashed against 50 shades of black and white, elevated basics and contemporary formalwear—and the result was an exciting mix of decadent theatricality and pared-back designs.”

“For spring/summer 2023, we saw designers creating wearable yet interesting clothes, with a shift towards hard-working, effortless pieces,” enlightens Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at MATCHESFASHION. “In addition, there were redefined craft techniques not yet seen before, giving customers new reasons to invest in emotive yet wearable garments. It was a real shift to modern luxurious wardrobing and interesting, accessible tailoring to fit all lifestyles, which, after many seasons of high occasionwear, was refreshing to see.”

From my standpoint, there does feel to be a distinct shift from the extreme sexiness that has populated recent collections. Even sheer textiles, which remain very much a thing for spring/summer 2023, are approached in an entirely different manner, worn with sweatshirts in place of sky-high heels. And what of the Y2K aesthetic? Although hints of it remain sprinkled throughout the season, a certain refinement now comes with it. Cargo trousers have been elevated with exquisite tailoring in lighter fabrications, while the SS23 take on the ’90s feels more Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy in Calvin Klein than, say, Cher Horowitz (who, in all fairness, also looked incredible in Calvin Klein). Still, that’s not to say there’s no fun to be had! As Le Caer surmises, the collections created a story with two endings; one of pared-back elegance and a focus on wardrobe fundamentals. The other? An explosion of fun and colour and shine and unapologetic maximalism! Halpern encapsulates this with its epic ’80s-themed party, to which everyone is invited. They may sit at opposite ends of the fashion spectrum, but the sentiment laid out by designers is clear; whatever aesthetic you choose, commit to it wholeheartedly.

Thinking back, many of the trends showcased this season were a continuation of those displayed on the autumn runways, ensuring that nothing we just recently splurged on will go to waste. This is, perhaps, the most important takeaway of them all. Fashion is cyclical—I know we say this all the time, but it’s true!—and any piece you invest in, be it inspired by the trends outlined below or otherwise, should only be purchased if you intend on keeping it in your wardrobe for a very, very long time.

Now, without further ado, keep reading for the the rundown of the most noteworthy spring/summer 2023 fashion trends as told by the experts, including some of my esteemed colleagues.

“Spring/summer 2023 marks the reinstatement of simplicity and everyday dressing to our wardrobes, with brands such as Bottega Veneta, Valentino, The Row and Ferragamo embracing simplicity across their collections and are clearly anticipating that customers will be adopting this approach to dressing. The mood also translated into non-apparel including wrist length gloves, ruched socks with simple plimsoles and Loewe’s paired back logo tote, leading us to back this style with almost 500 units across eight variations,” says Libby Page, market director at NET-A-PORTER.

The blazer on every fashion editor’s wish list.

“In-house we call this trend ‘Magpie Moments’; a continuation from winter’s annual trophy dressing, but less about full sequin looks and more about adding liquid shine and turning the simplest of everyday items into styles to standout in,” says Page.

This will look incredibly chic styled with a white shirt and black slingback shoes.

“It’s no surprise that a post-lockdown world is leaning towards more relaxed silhouettes, especially when it comes to our denim choices. I spend a lot of my days on social media (for work, naturally) and the jeans styles that I’m seeing across TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest are so relaxed, they might as well be joggers. As the world’s number fan of wide-leg trousers, I’m so happy that the grip skinny jeans had on us is finally over. Now, for the real stuff—this denim style can feel quite daunting if you’re new to it. Me? I’ll be taking styling cues from the master of jeans himself, Asake. IYKYK. And if you don’t, you’re in for a treat when you Google ‘Asake jeans’,” says Joy Ejaria, social media editor at Who What Wear UK.

“Big bags have become a favourite among celebrities, and Saint Laurent’s quilted Icare tote became a trending product for the brand after it was worn by Zoë Kravitz and Hailey Bieber—searches spiked 145% in August after Bella Hadid was spotted carrying it,” says Morgane Le Caer, analytics expert and content editor at Lyst.

There are plenty of designer options to tempt you, but I can’t fault this style from COS.

“Crochet featured in so many collections, from The Row, Gabriela Hearst and Proenza Schouler, and spoke as part of a larger and refined craftmanship trend. We especially loved Proenza Schouler’s gold metallic crochet midi skirts, halter neck tops and flared trousers,” says Wiggins.

Love this cardigan? Just wait until you see the matching skirt.

A subtle move on from Kelly green—a true grass green—if I had an hour to spare, I could list all the designers that included zesty shades in their collections. Instead, I’ll leave you with some more impressive numbers. “There was an average of 39,000 page views each month this year for green products on Lyst,” says Le Caer.Coincidence? There’s no such thing.

A dress you can genuinely wear from now until July.

“For spring 2023, there was a more surrealist interpretation with standout 3D designs and runway looks embellished with floral motifs. Standouts included provocative sculptural flowers on mini and maxi dresses paired with bold leaf shoes,” says Page.

Give your existing wares the 3D floral treatment with this incredible choker necklace.

“The movement could be traced back to Jonathan Anderson’s cult-adored blur-print tube dresses from Loewe last summer—the designer kickstarted a revival for form-fitting trompe l’oeil and cyber prints, and the look appears to be holding strong for SS23. But there is also another side to this creative coin; I’ve noticed an air of bohemia for smudgy surface patterns, with some designers combining lighter-weight, billowing fabrics alongside painterly ombrés to great effect. It’s very ‘I work in the arts, darling’.”

I can think of three top-tier influencers who already own this dress.

“We saw the ’90s and ’00s, be that grunge or minimalism, firmly returning to fashion with denim maxi skirts, bomber jackets and biker jackets. We have invested in nine styles from both the runway and true denim brands to scout out the perfect fit, length and wash,” says Page.

You can practically taste the teenage angst coming off of this gauzy layering top.

According to Le Caer, post-Fashion Month, searches for trousers were up 55% on Lyst. That tells me all I need to know.

If you’re new to the wide-leg trouser trend, Reformation’s bestselling Mason pants are a great place to start.

“It seems this season is upping the ante when it comes to wearing whites, forging newfound design methods and experimenting with untraditional fabrics for the season. Of course, the real challenge is not how to style a colour so brilliantly simple, but how to keep it clean. My advice? Stay clear of all coloured foods, children and the Central Line.”

This dress silhouette complete with draping to the waistline feels particularly current.

It’s been a long, long time since knee-length skirts provided any sort of competition for midis, so this might take a minute to filter into the mainstream—stay tuned.

Look for details like wrapover fronts and buckles to make your knee skirt feel more modern.

“From Molly Goddard’s diaphanous skirts to Giambattista Valli’s embellished minis, it’s time to step into the world of the living doll, a candy-coloured world of ribbons, ruffles and plenty of drama, as the fresh, new season opens with childlike joie de vivre. Simply dust off your Mary Janes and knee high socks, and enjoy the all of the petticoats and frou-frou that we ironically hated as children but cannot wait to repurpose as adults.”

When it comes to doll-like dresses, independent brand Selkie simply can’t be beaten. Plus, every design is size inclusive; this particular dress is available in XXS to 6X.

“Although they’ve been cropping up on catwalks and amongst the street style set for a few seasons now, it’s clear that, for SS23, ballet flats are back in a big way—and I’m ok with it. Yes, it makes sense to save these precious shoes for a day when no rain is forecast, but the elegance they lend to any outfit makes those limitations completely worth it. This season sees classic leather put on the back burner (although they’ll always be chic) in place of luxurious satin and printed fabric styles which promise to lend their French-girl appeal to any jeans or dress outfit you’re looking to freshen up for the months ahead,” says Emily Dawes, affiliate editor at Who What Wear UK.

Metallic finishes make this shoe trend feel so fresh.

If, however, the idea of a yellow all-in-one feels somewhat daunting, there is an easy way to tap into the motocross energy. “The moto jacket is on our SS23 wish list following the vintage-inspired options that walked the runway this season,” says Page. “Leather jackets are leading the nouveau grunge trend, with Masha Popova, KNWLS and Gucci bringing strong seasonal updates,” says Gramston. See? Easy!

If in doubt, you can’t go wrong with classic black leathers.

“Sheer fashion dominated the trends conversations for SS23 as seen at Simone Rocha, Christopher Kane, Rick Owens and Molly Goddard. We loved Molly Goddard’s romantic take on the trend, featuring her signature ruffle details on sheer orange midi dresses, says Wiggins.

I’ve seen this in real life and it looks even more beautiful.

“I’m not one for necklaces, statement rings or wrist stacks, but earrings? Earrings I can get on board with. In my opinion, nothing sets an outfit off better than a shoulder-skimming pair. Fortunately, it was this particular accessory that so many designers used to elevate their designs for SS23. Whether you opt for an elegant bejewelled drop like Magda Butrym, Ralph Lauren and Nensi Dojaka, or a more extravagant pair like those seen at Louis Vuitton or Tory Burch, it’s time to give your plain gold hoops a rest and go big for the season ahead,” says Dawes.

If I didn’t know otherwise, I would have thought these were designer.

“If there’s one dress update you consider for 2023 it’s this: A dress with a train. Yes, you read that right. Formerly reserved for brides or the red carpet, trains are big news for spring/summer thanks to designers like Bally and Victoria Beckham, who showcased everything from minis to maxis with cascading details. Choose an ice-cream shade (I was particularly taken with the pistachio at ACNE and soft orange sorbet at Giambattista Valli) and a slinky material for maximum impact before adding polished accessories. I can’t wait to dip my toe into this trend ahead of wedding season, and will be choosing a style with an interesting neckline to keep things on the contemporary side,” says Poppy Nash, managing editor at Who What Wear UK.

I’d really, really love to own this Prada dress.

Clearly, these monochromatic looks made an instant impact, too. “Searches for red pieces increased by 29% on Lyst in October,” says Le Caer.

The cutouts, pleats, puff sleeves and tie-back detail make this saffron dress a real showstopper.

“Combine this design shift with the fact that we’re moving into a fifth wave of feminism where many pre-disposed notions and idealogies tied up with previous movements are being flipped on their head and this is less burn-the-bra and more for-goodness-sake-what-does-it-matter-if-I-show-my-bra? Maybe it’s that I’m getting older and giving less of a damn, perhaps it’s the ongoing body confidence messaging I see on social media, or maybe it’s that we should all be allowed to wear what we want, when we want. Whatever the reason, I’m into it.”

Textures such as satin and velvet loan themselves especially well to this look.

“This season we saw the revival of the bubble skirt. Styled with printed snakeskin and powerful shoulders at Khaite, longer versions at Proenza Schouler reimagined with a low-waist silhouette and Simone Rocha’s metallic mini bubble; these were all highlights,” says Wiggins.

The colour! The fit! The shine!

Next Up: The 9 New-In Pieces I’m Adding to My Wish List This Week

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Milan fashion week spring/summer 2023: the highlights — in pictures

Stella Jean/WAMI In 2022, Stella Jean said she wouldn’t return to the MFW calendar until she was no longer the only Black designer on it. In the meantime, she has worked with Ed Buchanan and Michelle Ngomo to create the WAMI (We Are Made in Italy) collective that has ensured the line-up is more diverse. For her return, Jean shared the stage with Buchanan and the designers they have worked hard to give a platform, culminating in her own SS23 collection that saw her signature joyful prints mingle with exquisite embroidery in seriously feel-good looks – and remind us what we’ve been missing.

Photograph: Alberto Pezzali/AP

3 Themes That Will Influence Spring/Summer 2023 Design

Joyous color, aquatic notions and natural ingredients are among the themes percolating for Spring/Summer 2023 fashion, home and beauty, according to Fashion Snoops.

The global trend forecasting firm hosted its seasonal Trend Immersion on Tuesday, outlining the cultural sentiments bound to influence design. While the impact of the pandemic will be evident through designs that promote travel, celebration, and sustainability, the mood is also notably shifting from one of uncertainty and survivalism to adaptability and creativity.

Here, the Fashion Snoops team describes the key colors, textures and prints of the season, and how they came to be.

Raw

Consumers are likely aware of what brand of clothing they’re wearing and where they purchase it. The new currency, however, is knowing the ingredients that went into make it and honoring the people who brought it to life.

“We have walked far away from all of the natural or actual ingredients of everything we consume,” said Lilly Berelovich, Fashion Snoops president. “We don’t know the raw form of many things.”

The rise of slow fashion and education about sourcing and producing more responsibility are changing that mindset, as well as pandemic hobbies like baking and gardening that reintroduced consumers to caring about raw ingredients. What the farm-to-table movement did for the organic food business, “seed-to-shelf,” which entails everything from the fiber, dye and sewing thread selected for a garment to how it is sold, opens wide opportunities for brands to home in on new stories and merchandising concepts.

“Consumers are being more considerate about the things they bring into their homes,” said Nivara Xaykao, Fashion Snoops culture director. “We can’t go back to the mentality of production for production’s sake.”

Perfect imperfections Nokdue27/Adobe

How that translates into products is Raw, a theme that calls for the strong return to natural and ancestral designs. Pure colors, modest surfaces and simple shapes speak volumes in a world filled with chaos, said Michael Fisher, Fashion Snoops VP, creative, menswear. By stripping away the clutter, creatives can get to the root of design. “The origins of design are the most essential building blocks of design,” he said. “We want to inspire and teach consumers to have an intimate relationship with the ingredients in their products.”

“Seasonal sameness,” he added is prized in Raw, as well as soft yet crisp and dry textures that evoke the feeling of rural terrain topography and earthy vegetables. Dryness is reflected in the color palette, which “whispers the tried-and-true lessons of the universe.” Colors include vital shades of green and blue and rosy hues like clay pot and blossom that Fisher likens to “buds of sweetness.”

Husk, a crisp off-white and the theme’s core sentiment color, represents the movement toward undyed colors that celebrate the quiet simplicity of organic materials, said Hallie Spradlin, Fashion Snoops director of accessories. The color, she added, is a great way to highlight a product’s sustainability story without the need for added finishes or additional processes. The color also elevates fabrics with natural imperfections like hemp, jute and cotton left in its natural state.

Undyed garments, products that leverage natural waste resources and brands that honor stewardship and seed sovereignty are key to Raw. “Movements to preserve ancient seed varieties and construct local seed libraries [are] gaining momentum,” Spradlin said, adding that brands can “attempt to honor the product origins by connecting the finished goods to the initial seeds they actually came from.”

Materials like undyed wovens, bio-based dyes, plant-based leather, reclaimed metals and natural stones convey the theme, while organic-inspired prints like speckled scrub, which Rachael Gentner, Fashion Snoops pattern and graphics editor, described as an update to traditional polka dot and animal print, adds a splash of boldness. Floral prints return as dried and pressed blossoms, enhanced with vintage sepia tones.

Meanwhile, painterly dye effects take inspiration from chalky terrains. The deep and mysterious hues are mixed alongside jewel tones, she said.

Release

“We’re looking forward to reuniting and celebrating with others and we’re also looking to rediscover that spark of optimism that’s been missing from our lives for the last couple of years,” Xaykao said.

Celebration is one way to heal after a traumatic time. Breaking molds is another. “The only constraints that exist are in our mind,” Berelovich said, adding that now is the time to invest in creativity and tap into a new energy flow.

The theme also urges companies to question if they promote gatekeeping and how their offerings can be more accessible to all consumers. “We’re realizing that these boundaries that we put on ourselves and on society don’t need to actually be there anymore,” Xaykao said. “As we go out into the world again, we’re hopefully interacting with the world and with other people from a more enlightened place.”

In Release, the focus is on items that lift spirits, spark joy and invite all to the party. Or as Fisher put it, Release is an “amusement park for the senses.” Though many people are anticipating a new version of the Roaring 20s, Fisher said that is much too simplistic to describe what is coming.

Celebrations and reunions Oneinchpunch/Adobe

“Release is so much more multifaceted than that,” he said, adding that this level of “disruptive” joy and “unapologetic moments of happiness” is bound to add a “skip to our step” and strip away the gatekeepers. “This is not exactly a design aesthetic for a wallflower,” he said.

Spritz, a refreshing juicy orange, is the new hot pink. A must-have color for knitwear, summer shirting, sandals, nail polish and more, the key color works on its own and as an accent, Spradlin said. The color is part of a palette whose main job is to ignite happiness and smiles, including punchy purple, cactus green, gulf blue and electric shock yellow.

Quirky versions of primary shapes for accessories make up the new “ugly chic” trend, while sequins and beading add a playful yet glam vibe. Here, consumers are encouraged to mix high and low and wear what feels right in the moment. “Why not wear your sequins and ball gown to the bodega,” she said.

This rebellious approach to fashion is evident in a new wave of varsity-inspired aesthetics and collegiate emblems that reflect hobbies and values rather than alma maters. The idea was inspired by a Gen Z desire to reclaim the look of historically elitist colleges and sports that require participants to belong to a club and making it more accessible and enjoyable.

For materials, Fashion Snoops director of materials Nia Silva said it’s all about surface textures and constructions that collide into a fun party. Multi-color, layered dye effects, gauzy transparent fabrics, high-stretch materials and soft structures are key.

Y2K flower prints that are loopy, illustrated and playful smack of ’90s nostalgia, but Gentner said they are modernized with blurred edges. The season’s take on graffiti takes a similar fuzzy approach with digitized elements and freehand strokes of color.

Colorful stripes take on a painterly look with wavy and straight lines. “The way these colors bend and swerve really gives a sense of movement and artistic release throughout their printed style, which is a great way to introduce stripes with refreshed and recharged energy,” she said.

Grow

Nature was a refuge to many during the quarantine; the crisis also presented an opportunity for many to slow down, reassess and question who they are. “Not only are we fascinated and watching nature grow, but we’re committed to our own personal growth,” Berelovich said.

The theme Grow sits at that intersection of nature and wellness. “We want to continue becoming better people, and in turn, become better organizations. We all want to improve our relationships with others. We also want to be kinder to ourselves and kinder to the earth,” Xaykao said. The theme is also connected to food and water, particularity how fragile these systems are. Harnessing the environment’s benefits while prioritizing sustainability and equity will be a key focus going forward.

From a product perspective, Fisher said Grow is a preview of where the luxury category is heading. A chromatic collision of botanicals and flower blooms and delicate structures are reminders that fragility is not a sign of weakness. “It’s actually a sign of allure and artistry,” he said.

“Things are going to grow, but they’re going to grow at their own pace. And that’s what we really have to understand from this aesthetic,” Fisher added.

Tranquility Tadicc1989/Adobe

A bouquet of lush, organic hues that represent “sweet vitality” lives here, including glade, waterfall, and watermark green. “They are all a nod to this perennial cycle of life while more zesty colors inject a citrus fizz into an otherwise tranquil cocktail of hues,” he said. Graceful pinks and peaches mimic the color of soft flower petals, while Serandite serves as a colorful neutral that is ideal for light fabrics like silk chiffon and crepes.

Trims inspired by ocean treasures like freshwater pearls and sequins made from recycled algae added enhance the theme’s ethereal aesthetic. Oversized blossoms that serve as ruffles and petals that double as earrings add to the romance. Picnic core, the next evolution of cottagecore, calls for wholesome patterns like delicate flowers against soft, milky backgrounds.

Whereas bold patterns add to the wow-factor of Release, patterns for Grow are all about promoting tranquility.

Sprouted camo, inspired by organically occurring patterns, marks a move away from the “outdated associations of combat and war and instead bring it back to its original printed purpose of living amongst nature,” Gentner said. Silky fabrics and sheen elevate the prints and makes it more approachable.

Pearlescent dye effects, like metallic-coated ombre, have a similar effect. “We love how there seems to be a sense of motion through light refraction patterns, and these wave churning swirls and marbles,” she said. “It’s really driving forward that ocean-soaked energy that we crave this season and every season.”

Maryan Barbara
Maryan Barbara

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