London Fashion Week returned for the Fall/Winter 2023 season and it was a pretty eventful showcase, to say the least. Following last season’s slew of cancelled shows and rescheduled events, FW23 came back with a bang and as a result, there’s a lot to unpack in terms of the top shows and biggest trends.
Kicking things off with a secondhand fashion show from Oxfam and eBay, LFW continued with presentations from inclusive designers like Karoline Vitto and Sinead O’Dwyer alongside fashion week debuts from emerging talent like Sinead Gorey and Untitlab. Elsewhere, the season played host to Daniel Lee’s Burberry debut alongside Moncler’s “Art of Genius” showcase, with a powerful end to the schedule courtesy of Ukrainian Fashion Week.
As always, fashion week resulted in more than a few commonalities among showcasing brands, like pregnant models and children on the runway at Susan Fang and Di Petsa, as well as multiple furry footwear moments from Natasha Zinko and KSENIASCHNAIDER.
Read on to find out more about the biggest trends that we noticed from this season at LFW and what their impact might be on collections to come.
It’s not the first time that we’ve seen pregnant models on the runway, and we’re sure that it won’t be the last, but this season at LFW made way for a particularly notable shift towards embracing motherhood and channeling mother nature. Beginning with Oxfam’s pre-loved showcase, which featured a heavily pregnant Daisy Lowe, and continuing at Di Petsa, FW23 also saw the introduction of children on the runway, evidenced by Slawn and his son at Mowalola and Susan Fang’s kidswear models. Though some elements of these examples may spark some concerns, the overall shift appears to be rooted in celebrating mothers-to-be, experimenting with maternity fashion and drawing inspiration from childlike wonder and playfulness.
While head and face coverings have traditionally had only religious and cultural connotations, this season at LFW saw an evolution of the covering through skin-tight, stretchy fabrics in a bid to conceal identities. Mowalola’s FW23 explored concealed faces through the lens of hacker culture and faceless corporations, while Dilara Fındıkoğlu utilized tights and hosiery as head coverings in a bid to convey a message of feminine distress and ownership. Possibly offering an extension of the COVID-19 face mask, which eventually became its own fashion accessory, the reintroduction and repurposing of coverings is one that we expect to see a lot more of.
Following on from our ‘Femininity Reclaimed’ trend spotlight from last season, FW23 appears to take the concept of body positivity and ownership to the next level. Essentially, we’ve gone from concealing to freeing nipples, and now, designers are taking the concept even further and seemingly making our once-concealed body parts a feature in themselves. The trend doesn’t necessarily lend itself to sexualization either, but leans more towards a satirical approach, exuding playful energy and a tongue-in-cheek nature. Evidence of this can be found through Sinead Gorey’s boob-enhancing prints, Edward Crutchley’s horn bra top and Frolov’s heart-shaped, glittery nipple tassels.
Similarly, FW23 featured a litany of satanic and devilish references, a continuation and evolution of “Feminine Grunge” from SS23. From Crutchley’s leather horns adorning bra tops and underwear and Lula Laora’s video game-style characters to Natasha Zinko’s ‘she-hulk’ showcase and Chet Lo’s foray into the dark side, the FW23 season teaches us that a little danger is never a bad thing. Every once in a while, it’s okay to embrace the darkness and this season, London is doing just that. In the future, we expect to see bolder reds and blacks alongside latex and leather becoming more of a mainstay in winter fashion, complete with playful-yet-devious accessorizing through hoods, horns and dramatic, “ugly” makeup looks.
Furry and Fantastical Footwear
Since the debut of Loewe’s balloon pumps, footwear has become more and more experimental and this season’s LFW showcase proved that shoes are only going to get weirder. Evidenced through fish-scaled feet at LCF’s showcase, KSENIASCHNAIDER’s fringed shoes and Natasha Zinko’s monstrous floor-sweepers, the practicality of footwear is well and truly out the window, paving the way for more creative and outlandish choices. In line with the release of MSCHF’s big red boots, it’s safe to say that we can all afford to have a little more fun with footwear.
Since the introduction of Web3, NFTs and the metaverse, digital designs and aesthetics have had an undeniable influence on fashion and beauty. During fashion week, such influences can be explored and experimented with on another level and this season, that’s exactly what happened. Whether it was a return to retro through video game references at Natasha Zinko and Lula Laora or futuristic detailing and beauty looks at Ancuta Sarca and Kay Kwok, we can expect to see more glitchy, digital patterns and transitions replicated in physical form, through metallics, fluid structures and experimental beauty looks.