This week in London, Fashion Week is unfolding as brands introduce their new collections for the Spring/Summer 2023 season. Here, we’re diving into what’s new from Simone Rocha, Erdem, Halpern, Christopher Kane, and Molly Goddard.
Volume, layers, frills, and puff sleeves abounded across the ultra-feminine signature of Simone Rocha. In the debuts for Spring/Summer 2023, styles faintly recalling that of a pilot’s uniform and parachute equipment—think balloon-sleeved bombers and harnesses with hardware—were juxtaposed with satin, sequins, bows, delicate sheers, and quilted tulip faille. In hues of black, white, blush, and the occasional military green, skirts, shorts, tops, dresses, and trousers alike were built from ample usage of elegant fabrications, their silhouettes full with gathers of material, extra layers of frills, and translucent garments placed over solid ones. Looks we’re still thinking of including a pair of shorts with a sheer cropped bomber in white, long gathered floral gloves, and ribbon garters left hanging; a green bomber dress with a matching utilitarian shoulder bag and thigh-high stockings; and a dramatic mermaid silhouette in sparkling black, partially covered by a giant ruffled veil in white lace.
As we all know by now, art imitates life, life imitates art, and so the cycle goes. Such was certainly the case for Erdem and its Spring/Summer 2023 collection, which was fueled by the knowledge, skill, care, and slight obsession that goes into the restoration and preservation of art. Following restoration experts at several esteemed London institutions (the British Museum, the Tate, the V&A, and the National Gallery) during the creative process, the resulting designs possess a certain dignity and classical allure that we suspect came from viewing reparations on pieces like an 18th-century embroidered dress and a Dutch oil painting from the 15th century. Silhouettes were poised and ceremonious, featuring full ballgown skirts, beautiful embroideries, and other eye-catching details like asymmetric ruffles, trailing belts, and of multiple prints and fabrics on the same garment. Many looks were styled underneath whispering floor-length veils or featured gauzy gloves, trains, and overlays in the same lightweight material.
The creative spark of Halpern’s designer Michael Halpern was ignited by two inspirations for the Spring/Summer 2023 collection: memories of his mother’s dazzling house parties and the designer’s recreations of said parties using his Barbie Dreamhouse—which coincidentally celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. On the runway, the imagery of Mrs. Halpern’s fabulous disco-era wardrobe shone through by way of fluted silhouettes, sumptuous velvet, fluff and ruffles, animal-inspired prints, and glittering fabrics in rainbow hues. Of these our favorite pieces included a velvet suit in teal and rainbow, glittering with constellations that were one and the same as the stickers on the designer’s childhood bedroom ceiling, a fitted leopard silhouette with statement earrings and astonishing sleeves, and the opening look, which was dedicated to the late Queen Elizabeth II, a look in shades of blue featuring a magnificent satin cloak with a bow at the neck. In collaboration with Mattel, the collection also included eight Barbie-inspired looks for the anniversary of the Dreamhouse.
New from Christopher Kane for Spring/Summer 2023 were designs celebrating the beauty and complexity of the human body and its internal workings. Pared-down looks featuring slip and lingerie shapes, trapeze silhouettes, and easy drapery were conceived from the simplicity of a physician’s uniform and made either to focus on a particular detail or to highlight different aspects of the body. Elements of anatomy were expressed through clear skeletal straps and constructions, fabric folds alluding to dissections, splits made to reveal body parts, and more literally in the form of graphics and details that could have been taken straight from textbooks—like a recurring illustration of a hand that reveals its bones, ligaments, and muscles. Two of our favorite looks included a pink lingerie slip with a clear skeletal bodice and blade-like footwear and a flowing dress in gold belted at the waist with a pair of hands.
Reminiscing on days before the Internet, Molly Goddard aimed to create an experience where dressing is done merely for yourself—not the millions of people who might see you once a photo has been snapped and shared. Thinking on the red carpets of the era as well as the designer Charles James, who was known for his structural ballgowns, Goddard’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection unfolded in a new take on her signature voluminous ruffles. Imagined in both bright colors (lime, cerulean, hot pink, and orange) and a selection of neutrals, the looks played with shape and proportion, as well as unlikely fabrications. We saw pairings of dresses with jeans (our favorite had a cream bubble skirt and printed pants), fitted tops with ballooning skirts, and flirty blouses with mannish trousers. A few standout looks included a pink blouse and a tiered skirt in purple, styled with blue cowboy boots; a soft cropped tee and a formal skirt imagined in cotton, and a jersey blouse and skirt set with frilled hems in a storybook print.