Selam Fessahaye - AW23

By Clare McInerney

The applauded Swedish-Eritrean designer returns to the runway with a high voltage, exquisitely executed collection

Things have been quiet from Salem Fessahaye recently. After storming the international fashion radar to deserved acclaim in 2018, and scooping up a string of awards in 2019, there was something of a radio silence across the runway circuit since February 2020 (although, there was the small matter of Beyoncé wearing one of the designer's billowing creations in Black Is King in the subsequent months).


But if the autumn/winter collection was cause for this quiet pause, we’re not complaining. The line-up, comprising 33 looks, is a culmination of Fessahaye’s unmistakable design language and eye for detail. From spliced-up suiting to sequin-spangled and applique-laden ensembles, every intricately-engineered look fizzled with energy. Amongst the playful proportions were diaphanous, sweeping dresses and a mountainous frothy pink finale – proving, once again, Fessahaye's prowess in reckoning with tulle. And with almost each piece crafted from upcycled, remade and leftover materials, it's not hard to see why the designer is up for the Zalando Sustainability Award, set to be announced tomorrow night.

The same powerful sense of intention – and diverse casting – that earned Fessahaye headlines years ago was palpable in today's showcase. Let's hope it's not a matter of years until the next.

Selam Fessahaye - AW23