If you ask anyone who was in attendance, they’ll tell you that the spring/summer 2023 fashion tour felt different from any held in recent years. After smaller shows, laid-back schedules, and virtual presentations spurred by the pandemic, the fashion community finally returned in full swing this September and October, bringing with it a bevy of standout trends that will play a major role in our wardrobes this spring.
In a democratic turn, many of the trends showcased this season were a continuation of those displayed on the fall runways, ensuring that nothing we just recently splurged on will go to waste. The pretty-things trend we’ve harped about for months continued to reign supreme, as evidenced by the abundance of 3D florets at Loewe and Prada and dainty bows at Chanel. Also carried over from fall were hyper-elevated basics, but this time, designers such as Miuccia Prada and Tory Burch offered up new, reimagined ways to style and layer them.
Of course, no fashion season would be complete without a few curveball trends being thrown into the mix. At Prada, co-creative directors Raf Simons and Ms. Prada took everyone by surprise when they brought skinny pants back from fashion purgatory just one year after TikTok officially axed the style. Similarly puzzling is the pants-less trend that Bottega Veneta Creative Director Matthieu Blazy and Victoria Beckham made a convincing case for.
Clearly, creativity is at an all-time high in and around the fashion world right now. Experience the 11 spring/summer 2023 trends it spurred below.
Spring’s 2.0 version of last season’s pretty-things trend offered up a fresh array of dainty, swoon-worthy fashions for us to daydream about all winter long. Most remarkable on the runways were 3D rosettes, the ubiquity of which became clear after they appeared in various shapes and sizes in nearly every collection of the season, from Prada to Dries Van Noten to Blumarine. Similarly, sweet details like delicate bows at Chanel and lace at Tory Burch and Burberry proved to be equally as alluring—as were soft shades of pastel pink, purple, and green.
Typically, we leave metallics for the winter months when holiday soirées call for festive attire ranging from sequin minis to lamé slips. This year, however, a surprisingly fresh range of shimmering gold and silver pieces has transformed the metallic trend into a year-round favorite that should no longer be denied a life outside of party season. From Tory Burch’s hyper-chic outerwear made of tailored gold leather to Theophilio’s sleek leather pants made even better with a sheen of silver paint, designers this season proved that, with the right touch, metallic clothing can shine for any and every occasion.
Oversize everything has been the defining silhouette for the past several seasons, but we’re seeing a marked shift with the reintroduction of skinny pants. Endorsed on the runway at Prada and in Maximilian Davis’s stellar debut collection for Ferragamo, the pant shape will be returning in a major way for spring. This time around, we’re not seeing skinny jeans make a big comeback quite yet, so it’s all about skinny trousers—at least for now.
A degree of color-blocking is commonplace on the runways no matter the season or the year. That being said, the shade mixing that debuted in September was anything but stale. Instead, designers like Beckham, Burch, and Tibi’s Amy Smilovic somehow managed to make a known commodity like color-blocking feel contemporary by combining monochrome ready-to-wear with mismatched bags, shoes, and accessories in shades of green, orange, and red.
While there are plenty of ’90s things to know in the fashion space for spring, the most important item to own will be the strapless tube dress. What is noteworthy here, though, is the shape of the tube dresses. While we’ve been seeing body-con pieces on the market, these silhouettes are cut to be looser from the body. Christopher Esber designed a perfect slinky maxi, while Khaite showed stunning satin bubble dresses in its collection, which are already becoming a key buy for spring. The Row’s collection—a master class in understated elegance—also included perfectly tailored tube dresses that were a standout of the season.
Fashion’s fascination with all things sheer isn’t going away anytime soon. For the upcoming season, we’re specifically seeing this play out with gauzy knits. The tissue-like, see-through knits were spotted throughout the season, but some standout looks deserve a special mention. At Miu Miu, Prada, and Tory Burch, we saw sheer tops and skirts that were layered with visible bras and briefs underneath—looks that are currently in demand for magazine editorials. Though there’s no doubt they’re editorial, they are also very wearable as far as sheer pieces go. If you’ve been hesitant to test-drive one of the many “naked” dresses that are prevailing right now, this see-through trend feels much more approachable.
On the spring/summer 2023 runways, pieces were intentionally imperfect. Suiting was purposely wrinkled at Prada; at Interior, knits had unraveling sleeves, and dip-dyed skirts appeared muddied; skirt suits had raw hems at Miu Miu; and pastel dresses had undone edges at Jil Sander. These imperfect details feel like an evolution of the angsty grunge fashion that is one of the defining trends for fall 2022. All in all, fashion hasn’t lost its edge for spring. Designers such as Prada also spoke about the idea of “lived-in” clothing and the marks we leave on them—shifting to focus more on the person wearing them and where the clothes have taken them rather than the actual clothing itself.
Last year, we were busy giving micro miniskirts and floor-sweeping maxis our attention, but these days, it’s knee-length styles that everyone is wearing. Maybe designers know we need pieces to wear as we head back to the office and are delivering on that, but the designs are much cooler than what you might expect for something that fits into a corporate dress code. Whether it’s low-slung skirts with exposed boxers at Miu Miu paired with utility bralettes, leather pencil skirts with matching shrunken jackets at Prada, or layered skirts at Peter Do, the offering is robust.
Putting into words the allure of this season’s pants-less runway looks is difficult at best. Yet hardly an outfit has circulated around Who What Wear’s various group chats more than the Bottega Veneta one featuring a model in just tights and a navy-blue sweater, styled with point-toe kitten heels and a casual silk scarf tucked into said hosiery. The trend reappeared at Victoria Beckham, with one model taking to the runway in a bra, tights, and a tailored blazer. At Coperni, a handful of the looks didn’t include pants or tights—just legs and a great pair of shoes.
No doubt a sped-up continuation of the ever-shrinking hemlines present in fashion over the last few seasons, the trend we’re calling “pants optional” clearly isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, a high level of confidence is essential to pulling it off. Bottega Veneta’s 17th look proved it can (and will) look shockingly chic if executed well.
If fall 2022 was all about cool basics—like the logo tank top from Prada that grew to cult status—spring 2023 is all about reimagining how to style those basics in a new way with a focus on layering. At Tory Burch, we saw tube skirts, leggings, and gauzy knits styled again and again in ways that continued to get more inventive as the show went on. At Miu Miu, layers and layers of jersey tees and dresses in neutral shades of gray, cream, and beige were paired together in looks that make the basics feel miles away from your ordinary T-shirt. The big takeaway here? Normal clothing doesn’t look normal at all when it’s styled with excessive layering at its core.
It didn’t take long for bubble hems to pique our interest during the spring/summer 2023 runway season, especially after we spotted them in various forms at Khaite’s acclaimed S/S 23 show in New York. Crafted out of thick, luxurious satin and modeled into voluminous skirts and dresses, the brand’s bubble-hem offering displayed a modernized take on the style that’s long been regarded as outdated. By the time similarly refurbished styles showed up at JW Anderson, Valentino, and Ulla Johnson, their fate as one of spring’s top trends was set in stone.