If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's perspective. The fashion industry is often ridiculed for taking itself too seriously, with gatekeepers dictating what's "in" or brands sending "ready-to-wear" clothes down the runway that are rarely actually ready to be worn. At the end of the day, it's important to remember that the stakes aren't that high — we're not in the business of saving lives, after all. Fashion is about creativity and self-expression, things that should be about experimentation rather than abiding by the rules.
The Spring 2023 debuts in New York, London, Milan and Paris seem to reflect this way of thinking. Across all four cities, we saw brands simply... DGAF. At the Prada show, there were perfectly tailored ensembles with visible creases and wrinkles. Chez Dries Van Noten, we saw ruched fabric on overcoats create beautiful organic textures that proved that maybe you don't need an iron.
Also at Dries Van Noten, lengthy fringes on both handbags and knitted cover-ups trailed behind the models as they walked, adding a touch of carelessness to the runway. Similarly, we saw ribbons of fabric drag on the ground at Koché and Vaquera.
More dragging happened at Thom Browne. In a Baroque-inspired gown, the brand's signature white, red and blue strips are placed on voluminous layers of fabric starting at the neck and cascading down the body onto the ground. The layers trailed dramatically behind the model as she walked.
Undercover takes not giving a fuck to the extreme for Spring 2023. As if they were something out of "Edward Scissorhands," its trench coats are spliced on the neck, and collegiate sweaters slashed across the chest, cutting up innocent words such as "angel" or "sweet". A particular standout leather jacket uses zippers to recreate the slashed aesthetic.
Cecilie Bahnsen's latest has glazed cutout fabrics, inlaid fil coupés and sheer overlays that make for unorthodox layering. The brand also deconstructs the act of garment-making by peeling the puffed sleeves off the shoulder, allowing the fabric to drop lazily to the elbows. We're denied from seeing the dress being worn "properly" — but does it matter?
The crux of the matter is that brands both large and small are challenging our assumptions of high fashion. Designers are relinquishing the desire for control or perfection, and instead allowing spontaneity to take over. The result is a refreshing take on clothing that inserts a feeling of much needed ease into a sometimes overly self-important industry.
See DGAF trends on the Spring 2023 runways in the gallery below.