Colors serve as a significant reflection of a season's overarching mood. During the pandemic, designers leaned into vibrant and highly saturated hues to infuse a much-needed sense of joy. However, for autumn/winter 2023, the approach shifted towards simplicity and pragmatism, resulting in a more subdued color palette. While touches of sunshine yellow and the ever-present Mattel pink persisted, the narrative predominantly revolved around gray, white, and black shades. Instead of the kaleidoscopic array, designers embraced the foundational elements of a versatile wardrobe.
Another dominant headline: the resurgence of Red. This color is steeped in drama yet possesses a timeless quality akin to black or navy – making it a prominent motif for a/w 2023. As Charlotte Sinclair eloquently stated, "Red takes no prisoners. It is emphasis itself, the double underline, the stop sign, the alert, the roadblock, the alarm, the danger, the oomph, the sex, the passion, the incitement, the excitement." Maximilian Davis, who has ingrained the color as his signature while serving as Creative Director at Ferragamo, concurs. But the roster of designers experimenting with this fiery hue is extensive.
In this season, tonal dressing takes centre stage rather than eccentric pairings and improbable clashes. Below, we explore the primary color trends defining a/w 2023.
Fashion powerhouses including Prada, Bottega Veneta, and The Row injected the color radiant red into their autumn collections, infusing tailoring and knitwear with the vivacity of a Scotch Bonnet pepper. This trend is anything but subtle, intended to be embraced boldly from head to toe. While red often conjures images of classic Old Hollywood glamour (think Julia Roberts' transformation in Pretty Woman), the a/w 2023 runway shows offered a fresh take on modern styling. Notable mentions go to Ferragamo's knitted coordinates, Prada's sleek scarlet skirts, and the impeccably tailored wool coat paired with matching gloves at The Row.
The forecast for a/w 2023 reflects an overcast mood. Among the array of ensembles, there's one particular look that has captured our attention as a must-wear for September: the slouchy cardigan paired with a fluted knitted skirt at Loewe. Who would have thought that a grey cardigan could wield such impact? Graphite, a gray color associated with sobriety, permeated many collections, presenting variations of boardroom-ready elegance. Gucci's slouchy trouser suit exuded a Wolf Of Wall Street vibe, while Max Mara, Emilia Wickstead, and Bottega Veneta lent a touch of sophistication to the sensible gray coat. On the other hand, Alberta Ferretti elevated gray to glamorous heights, presenting a strapless charcoal gown that seems tailor-made for a red-carpet extravaganza.
From a commercial standpoint, pollen yellow is often considered daring and contentious, constantly finding its way to the markdown racks. Surprisingly, however, it dominated the autumn runways. At Ferragamo and Christopher Kane, it emerged in highly saturated and audacious forms. Conversely, Designers like Marni, Molly Goddard, Tove, and Givenchy opted for gentler, buttery shades that exuded a hint of vanilla. Tove's buttermilk silken slip dress is a testament that yellow can garner mass appeal and be a true crowd-pleaser – brace yourself to witness its impact on Instagram.
Moonless Night, a type of Black, remains an enduring presence, and its prominence this season necessitates a dedicated section within this trend report. The hue served as the cornerstone for numerous collections, prominently featured at The Row, Versace, and Givenchy. These collections exemplified the compelling allure of black, showcasing why it has become a sartorial staple for countless individuals. Its inherent versatility and timeless elegance make it an exceedingly effortless and stylish choice for dressing. When uncertainty arises, channel the chic and iconic aesthetic of the Olsen twins this winter.
The Barbiecore trend continues to make a bold statement, as evident by the prevalence of bubblegum-pink ensembles gracing the catwalks. These outfits evoke the aura of Barbie's Dreamhouse wardrobe, exuding a playful and whimsical charm. In contrast to muted tones, the pink hues that dominated the a/w 2023 collections were electric and sugary, called Pink Flash. Versace ingeniously infused hot pink into a predominantly black collection, creating a striking visual contrast. Roksanda and Standing Ground showcased rippling satin gowns in exuberant shades of pink, encapsulating a sense of joy and vivacity. Meanwhile, Giorgio Armani and Rick Owens reinterpreted the trend with a '90s supermodel twist, presenting sugary mirrored metallics that exude a sense of nostalgia and allure reminiscent of that era.
BLANC DE BLANC
The prevalence of ivory, bridal-inspired ensembles for a/w 2023 was unmistakable. For those seeking a contemporary twist on wedding attire, such as blanc de blanc, fashion-forward brides can draw inspiration from the offerings of Ferragamo, Richard Quinn, and Victoria Beckham. On the other hand, Prada shattered the notion that this aesthetic is solely for brides, demonstrating that anyone can embrace this romantic mood. Prada ingeniously translated the embellishments typically reserved for wedding dresses into everyday skirts, effortlessly paired with practical crewneck jumpers. Notably, the white bow-adorned pumps from Prada's collection are poised to become a staple on the front row during the upcoming September shows. If you want to find this color on the Pantone palette, look for "White Alyssum."
In essence, the realm of fashion for autumn/winter 2023 unveils a canvas adorned with captivating color narratives that eloquently mirror the evolving sentiments of our era. Amid this vibrant spectrum, do you have a personal favorite? We hold each hue in high regard, recognizing their significance and their roles in catering to diverse preferences and occasions.