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Year In Review: The Best Fashion Moments of 2023

2023 was another year of unforgettable fashion moments. Here are some of the fashion moments that defined 2023.

Paco Rabanne Fall Winter 2023
Credit: Still from Rabanne PACO RABANNE | FALL-WINTER 2023 SHOW/YouTube

Designers are always pushing the boundaries of the fashion industry through creativity and ingenuity. This year, we saw a new horizon of innovative fashion. Of course, there is a line between conventional fashion and fashion. Nevertheless, it is an art form that continues to change and expand our minds of what can be fashion.

From the Met Gala and Fashion Week to red-carpet looks, 2023 was a year full of memorable fashion moments. Here is a look at some of the fashion moments that defined 2023. 

The Met Gala

This May, celebrities and designers show off an incredible display of artistry as they gather at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This year, the annual event’s theme was Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, honoring the legacy of Karl Lagerfeld. Lagerfeld was the creative director for Chanel from 1983 until his death in 2019.

While the public can only observe the beginning of the gala as celebrities make their way up the Met steps. The gala itself features a fashion exhibition that is synonymous with the theme of that year. The gala consists of cocktail hour as guests tour the exhibition and a formal dinner and entertainment from only one performer. Although, the after parties are when celebrities can change their outfit and really have fun.

For the gala, celebrities and designers honor Karl Lagerfeld as a parade of black and white, Karl’s signature uniform, and Chanel’s iconic tweed make their way to the Met. This year, Conan Gray incorporates both into his stunning black and white pearl incrusted jacket by Balmain. The intricate jacket pairs well with a simple pair of leather pants, boots, and a matching fan covered in pearls.

The Fashions of the Met Gala

Jenna Ortega also turned heads with her corset-style dress by Thom Browne. The gown is a ruffle covered high-low skirt with a corset-style bodice, and under is a sheer white collared shirt with a black bow adorning the neckline. A matching jacket and a pair of black and white Oxford-style heels with white socks complete the look. Another fan favorite is Anok Yai, who stuns in a gold dress with a panier skirt. The entire look consists of two parts. First, a short dress with oxidized gold and silver, hand-embroidered degrade sequin paillettes, and beaded bugle bead fringe. The second part is a sheer silk tulle mermaid skirt, hand embroidered with oxidized gold and silver sequin paillettes underneath.

A few other celebrities came wearing Thom Browne designs, including Shai-Gilgeous-Alexander. While most men may choose a simple tuxedo, Shai-Gilgeous-Alexander came dressed to impress. Shai-Gilgeous-Alexander wears a gun club check cardigan and skirt set with a white cape. Underneath is a simple white tuxedo top and bow tie with gold chains adorning the entire ensemble.

Contrasting these extravagant outfits, some simpler designs by Chanel and Versace add a more relaxed mood on the red carpet. Although, simple does not mean boring and Dua Lipa proves exactly that. Dua Lipa shines like a princess in a vintage white Chanel ball gown. Across her neck lays a silver pendant Tiffany & Co. necklace that pulls together her simple look. This year, Anne Hathaway was another showstopper with a strapless safety pin dress by Versace. Completing her look is a pair of matching fingerless gloves, platform heels, and Bulgari jewels.

Fashion Week – Fashion Moments of 2023

Fashion Week is the holy grail of fashion events. The event tests the minds of designers from all over the world. Other than the most known designers like Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, impeccable shows and designs are also by lesser-known brands. One, for example, became a hit with his collection, where he creates a theatrical post-gender retelling of the tale between Orpheus and Eurydice. Wiederhoeft’s collection focuses on anyone being able to enter the story, but also creating a new and unique spaces. The hit of the collection is his white satin corset and skirt design with chandelier crystal embroidery.

Another collection the shined bright and caught everyone’s attention comes from The Blonds. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and The Blonds knows how to make a collection that encapsulates the iconic phrase. The collection includes standout velvet dresses with giant jewels placed on the bust. In addition, dazzling Y2K-inspired sequin dresses paired with thigh-high Louboutin heels shine on the runway. This collection draws inspiration from Elizabeth Taylor’s obsession with jewelry and films such as Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Story retelling is a prevalent theme amongst shows and Thom Browne took his audience on another journey to another planet through his retelling of The Little Prince. A crashed plane centers his stage, and planets and stars dangle from the ceiling. Overall, the story of this collection recreates The Little Prince as he describes how children see things as more interesting than adults do. The collection includes six intarsia silk dresses representing the six planets visited on the Little Prince’s travels. Closing the show, the prince’s angel appears wearing a laced-back dress in white-solid tweed with reconstructed and layered suiting plastered on its front.

The Looks from Fashion Week

This year, Rabanne’s collection honors its founder, Paco Rabanne, who recently passed away on February 3rd. The collection starts with various furry alpaca designs and moves onto day looks of gold sequin crop turtlenecks and drop-waist skirts. An eye-catcher of the collections includes a dress with mousseline-covered mesh and ice-cube-like crystals and sequin feathers, which pairs with a sculpted metal bra.

Minimalism is here to stay for Courrèges Fall 2023 collection as they show the impact of technology on our lives. In a dark room, an AI voice asks, “Is the sky blue?” as models appear with phones lighting up their faces. For this collection, Courrèges works on minimally sexy designs using sharp lines and refined silhouettes. Courrèges shows this through slim suiting, minimal side slit skirts, and one-piece garments. As the collection progresses, flashes of open midriffs and backs appear as mirrors hang from designs and the necks of the models.

Next, Alexander McQueen pulls from the anatomy of humans, flowers, and clothing as his theme for his AW23 collection. Through this, he goes on an exploration of beauty and power through tailoring. In doing so, he creates a motif of an orchid throughout his collection as a symbol of love. The showstopper of the collection is a silver dress with an orchid-shaped bodice. The dress has a crystal and bugle bead bodice with a dazzling fringe skirt.

The Barbie Movie – Fashion Moments of 2023

The Barbie Movie was the it movie of the year. It not only fills our hearts with nostalgia, but it also channels strong and positive women. With it, a pink wave hit the fashion industry by storm. Of course, Margot Robbie, who played stereotypical Barbie, channeled her inner Barbie as she recreated some of the doll’s most iconic looks.

Starting off at the London premiere of the film, Margot Robbie dressed as “Enchanted Evening Barbie”. Margot wore a fair pink Viviene Westwood gown with a white tulle stole and a three-strand pearl necklace. Enchanted Evening Barbie first hit the shelves in 1960. The doll itself has on a pale pink satin gown with a bodice and a fold over hem at the top. Accessories include a white stole, white tricot gloves, a three-row pearl choker, matching pearl drop earrings, and clear open toe pumps with gold glitter.

While the next look may not be in pink, it is full of glamour and elegance. At the film’s Los Angeles premiere, Margot Robbie dressed up as “Solo in the Spotlight” Barbie. Margot dazzles in a custom Schiaparelli recreation of the iconic doll’s dress. The doll itself wore a skintight glitter knit black dress. At the hem of the dress there is a frill of tulle and a single red rose. For accessories, a four-stranded crystal bead necklace, long black tricot gloves, black open-toe pumps, a pink chiffon scarf, and a silver microphone come with.

Margot Robbie as Barbie

An outfit change is a must for any Barbie as she transitions from day to night. Margot Robbie did exactly that as she dressed up as “Day to Night” Barbie. During the Seoul premiere of the film, Margot Robbie wore a Versace pencil skirt and blazer. She then changed into a dress with a sequin pink bodice and tulle skirt. The 1985 Barbie was released to celebrate women in the workforce. The Barbie starts with a pink power suit that transforms into a shirred skirt evening dress.

There is an infinite number of words to describe Barbie, but two that come to mind are pink and fabulous. Margot Robbie reimagines the “Pink and Fabulous” doll during a photocall with the other members of the cast. Margot wears a bright pink, white polka-dot Valentino minidress inspired by the 2015 Barbie. The dress starts with a wrap top halter neck and an empty cut out midriff. From there, the top meets to a fitted pencil skirt.

Accessories are an essential part of any outfit, and “Earring Magic” Barbie knows how to accessorize. During the Mexico City premiere, Margot Robbie wore a pink leather minidress by Balmain. To mirror the accessories of the “Earring Magic doll”, Margot wears a low-slung belt and chunky earrings. Down to the crimped hair, Margot Robbie channeled the 90s for the recreation of the 1992 doll.

Haute Couture – Fashion Moments of 2023

Gaurav Gupta’s Fall Winter 2023 collection comes from the concept of Hiranyagarbha. The collection captures the domain of wonder and the captivation of imagination. In Sanskrit, Hiranyagarbha translates to golden womb, and it represents the primordial source from which everything comes from. Throughout the collection, Gupta creates an overflow of taffeta and chiffon with an abundance of delicate glass beads and crystals.

Another collection of Gaurav Gupta from January is an ostentatious display of architectural designs. This collection explores the movement possibilities between zero and infinity. The title of the collection is Shunya, which in Sanskrit means zero. Throughout the collection, Gupta plays with duality as many of the looks include beading on nude mesh. This leaves the body exposed but also complete as he covers the eyes.

Balenciaga’s 52nd Couture Collection is a tribute to pursuing perfection. The hit of this collection is the finale dress that takes us back to the Middle Ages. The finale dress is made of CAD-designed, 3D-printed armor and galvanized resin polished in chrome. The interior lining consists of a coating of black flock. The design itself embodies temporal crossroads as it fuses classical techniques with cutting-edge advancements.

The Designs

This year Schiaparelli combines artistry, couture, and history in their haute couture collection. Creative director, Daniel Roseberry, combines inspiration from Yves Klein, creator of the color Klein blue, and Elsa Schiaparelli to create an impossible wardrobe. This wardrobe is Schiaparelli’s surrealist interpretation of a free and daring woman’s closet. Schiaparelli’s pieces show this as they describe how women can assemble outfits however they want.

This year Thom Browne details a traveler’s journey by merging classic American sportswear and haute couture. Bells, gargoyles, and pigeons are some of the different passengers of a station. Chesterfield coats, Ivy League jackets, and pleated skirts compliment Browne’s signature grey suit. In addition, embroidery of various ocean animals decorates Browne’s collection. Through the sea motifs, Browne describes how the traveler is drowning in her sorrows.

Elie Saab’s 2023 haute couture collection can be described by the title itself, A Glamour of Yore. The collection draws from a medieval fantasy through intricate gold and crystal beading and details, corsets, and capes. Throughout the collection, stunning jewels of rubies, amethyst, and emeralds shine upon draped velvet. The collection embodies the elegance and power of women while invoking inspiration from strong female characters.

2023 is coming to an end and the year gave us a plethora of breathtaking fashion moments. As 2023 ends, we await the possibilities of what fashion will bring us in 2024. 

Written By

Hi, I am a second-year student at the University of San Francisco with a major in English and minor in Psychology.

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