From Harry Styles channeling Bowie to Doja Cat dressing up as an actual cat for the Met Gala – this is 2023 in review
At the risk of stating the obvious, it can, at times, seem trite to report on celebrities not wearing trousers. Similarly, we’re conscious that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter that we developed a predilection for pink in 2023. But the details – from Maggie Smith’s Loewe campaign to Paloma Elsesser’s Model of the Year win – certainly brightened up a dismal news cycle and presented a much-needed sense of possibility. What would the last 12 months have looked like without, for example, Rihanna’s red breastplate at the Super Bowl? Or Cousin Greg’s date’s ludicrously capacious Burberry bag? Life is, after all, about balance.
And so, enjoy Vogue’s digestible breakdown of what was in and out of fashion in 2023.
Fashion lost, as Claudia Schiffer said, a “true member of the supermodel gang” in Tatjana Patitz, who tragically died aged 56 from breast cancer. Another jolt to the system soon followed, as the lion, the wolf and the snow leopard threatened to derail Couture Fashion Week. But not even Schiaparelli’s shock tactics could cast a shadow over the joyous official Paris debuts of Robert Wun, Imane Ayissi and Sohee Park, nor the street-style circus, which deemed catsuits, platforms and motocross jackets the best uniform for new year frowing. The Golden Globes saw everyone inexplicably dress for prom, but no matter: Adele single-handedly kept va-va-voom fashion alive on stage at her Vegas residency, where every brand under the sun clamoured for their Caesars Palace moment. The only thing capable of upstaging her custom Schiaparelli? The singer’s one-liners.
Rihanna out Rihanna-ed herself with her second pregnancy announcement, delivered on a floating plinth at the Super Bowl, while Harry Styles proved he’s still the internet’s favourite boyfriend with the help of a tatt-revealing sequined Egonlab jumpsuit at the Grammys. The autumn/winter 2023 shows played out against the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where many designers are still battling a war-torn reality, and legendary designer Paco Rabanne died at the age of 88, leaving a scattering of silver paillettes and good times behind him.
Naked skirts usurped naked dresses, Gwyneth Paltrow turned half a day’s skiing into a courtroom fashion moment, and Jeremy Scott stepped back from Moschino after a decade spent transforming Katy Perry into, variously, a burger and human chandelier. The Oscars saw Rih shine bright like a Maison Margiela by John Galliano diamond, Lady Gaga remove all her make-up for her own performance, and Michelle Yeoh make history in Dior. Vogue’s best-dressed? Alt fashion girlie Jessie Buckley in Rodarte and Michelle Williams in bridal Chanel – the key trend of the night.
Björk managed to spruce up Coachella’s flammable fringing situation with an ethereal look inspired by drones – the polar opposite of “quiet luxury” or “stealth wealth”, the mode of shopping practised by conservative shoppers for aeons, but which became an unstoppable trend thanks, in part, to TV’s Brunello Cucinelli-clad Roy family. The other related phrase to suffer over-exposure and subsequent death by social media? “Ludicrously capacious” everythings. (We love you Tom Wambsgans!) April’s additional tragedies included the one coord (double waistcoats, no less) Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya were able to curate before the SAG-AFTRA strike postponed Dune 2.
Neither Jennifer Lawrence’s red-carpet comeback nor Dua Lipa’s new boyfriend could take the Cannes spotlight away from Lily Rose-Depp, The Weeknd and The Most Hotly-Anticipated Drama Of The Year: The Idol – until the distinct air of sleaze enveloped the hype and left us with “World Class Sinner / I’m a Freak” ringing in our ears. The Coronation saw the newly minted Princess of Wales double down on her stripped-back style via block-coloured tailoring, while the Karl Lagerfeld-themed Met Gala was its usual feast for the eyes, with Kim Kardashian swathing herself in 50,000 Schiaparelli pearls, and Doja Cat and Jared Leto dressing, quite literally, as Choupette. May’s hottest brand? Atelier Jolie, Angelina’s “purpose-driven” foray into the celebrity-owned fashion sphere.
We preoccupied ourselves with the usual British nostalgia around Glastonbury (Sienna in another boho look!) and Wimbledon (Sienna wearing whites!) until the wrong-shoe theory brainwashed us and we all started wearing Wellipets (by J Dubs, of course). Pharrell’s Louis Vuitton debut saw Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Rihanna and Naomi Campbell turn out to see the musician-turned-designer frontin’ on the Pont Neuf. And congratulations were in order for the aforementioned supermodel, who welcomed her second child, a baby boy, at 53.
Barbiecore took hold until we all had kenough of pink, and quiet luxury began to look appealing again. Jane Birkin’s death at 76 prompted tributes to the endlessly stylish actor and musician, who gifted the world her namesake Hermès holdall and made basket bags cool (hers cost $10 and was used to port her daughter Charlotte into Paris clubs). The couture shows were rounded out with confirmation of Gabriela Hearst’s long-rumoured departure from Chloé – a major blow for those backing a more sustainable fashion future.
Strawberry girl summer unfathomably became The Thing (sorry, tomato girl! And you, rat girl!) as TikTok made up trends while the A-list Succession-ed their way around Europe on yachts. Stadium fits took over street style, courtesy of Bey and Tay; placards were suddenly the hottest accessory in Hollywood; and Rihanna and A$AP Rocky welcomed their second child, while it was revealed Ashley Olsen had secretly had her first baby months earlier. Chic!
It was a show season of debuts, as Peter Hawkings succeeded Tom Ford at his namesake label, Sabato de Sarno rang in a new Gucci era, and Peter Do took the reins at Helmut Lang. Chloé named Chemena Kamali its new creative director and Blumarine parted ways with Nicola Brognano as fashion peddled some good gossip for those front-rowing for a month solid. Elsewhere, Professor McGonagall, sorry Maggie Smith, won the campaign game for Loewe, Sienna Miller enjoyed that exquisite maternity style moment at Vogue World, and everyone stopped wearing trousers. (CC: Emma Corrin in Miu Miu briefs at Venice Film Festival.)
Fashion split into two camps: one preoccupied with the latte look and the other refreshing Phoebephilo.com, poised to snap up the new work from she of excellent trousers. At the spring/summer 2024 shows, it wasn’t the sea of sheer skirts that encapsulated the current mood, but rather the toe plasters stuck to Miu Miu models’ feet, symbolising how, like Mrs Prada’s messy bags, life is chaotic right now. The presentations ended with something of a sour taste after Seán McGirr was announced as Sarah Burton’s McQueen successor (translation: yet another white male in the top spot), and size inclusivity took a backwards step on the runway. Praise be to those bright young things, like Karoline Vitto and Chopova Lowena, who continue to forge a path for the everywoman who does wear Compeeds – particularly when dancing at Madonna’s Celebration concerts (the ticket of autumn 2023) – thank you very much.
Timothée Chalamet kicked off the Wonka promo tour in gobstopper-bright Prada and candy-coloured Cartier, and Beyoncé brought Renaissance to the big screen, but no post-SAG AFTRA strike red carpet brought the Brits more joy than the first official sighting of Stormzy and Maya Jama as a couple. With thanks to Vogue’s Forces For Change party for facilitating. The Crown season six air date reignited royal fever around Princess Diana and her swimsuits, Suki Waterhouse perfected the fashion-forward pregnancy announcement, and Kylie Jenner launched Khy, which the internet still seems to be konfused by – particularly when already grappling with her sister Kim Kardashian’s nipple bra. The death of 46-year-old Davide Renne, 10 days after his appointment as Moschino creative director, sent shock waves through the sector, while the announcement of the Met’s 2024 theme – Sleeping Beauties, Reawakening Fashion – also encouraged the industry to look inwards. November’s PSA: book your tickets for the Girls Aloud Reunion tour and revel in the nostalgia of the sound of the underground.
Hollywood got rained on at The Fashion Awards, as Gwyneth Paltrow, who flew in to fete Outstanding Achievement winner Valentino Garavani with fellow A-lister Anne Hathaway, failed to bring the LA sunshine to the Royal Albert Hall red carpet. No matter, for inside the forecast was pure joy, as Maximilian Davis became the first Black designer to win Designer of the Year in any category, Paloma Elsesser was crowned the first curve Model of the Year, Joe Casely-Hayford was honoured with a posthumous Special Recognition Award, and the famously shy Sarah Burton rounded off a night of emotional speeches looking back on her tenure at Alexander McQueen. Chanel, meanwhile, took the fash pack to the footie as part of its Metièrs d’Art pre-game in Manchester, before recruiting Bobby Gillespie to play the after-party for its Northern Quarter show walked by Karen Elson and watched by a gaggle of Gallagher kids.
Originally published on vogue.co.uk