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Balmain SS23

PFW SS23: Saint Laurent, Balmain, Acne Studios, and More

Paris Fashion Week has begun and Whitewall is highlighting the details of its favorite new collections for the Spring/Summer 2023 season. Here, we’re looking at the latest from Saint Laurent, Balmain, Acne Studios, Cecilie Bahnsen, and Dries Van Noten.

Saint Laurent SS23 Courtesy of Saint Laurent.

Saint Laurents Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello returned to a visual icon revered by Yves Saint Laurent for the house’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection—the stretchy, tubular sheath of fabric enveloping Martha Graham in her 1930 choreography solo Lamentation. While its influences have made appearances at various points in the house’s history, Vaccarello’s latest designs expand on the hooded Capuche pieces introduced by the house in the 1980s. Presented with the glittering Eiffel Tower and a specially-installed Art Deco fountain setting the backdrop for a stone tile runway, this approach introduced a palette of hues like olive, eggplant, camel, and wine for the slender, sensual, silhouettes featuring strong shoulders. Some of our favorites include a hooded, one-sleeved dress worn with statement earrings and sunglasses, a sleek, long knit with a leather trench in a warm chestnut shade, and a supple white pantsuit with a hood and a bathrobe tie at the waist, paired with a coat in black leather.

Balmain SS23 Courtesy of Balmain.

Atop a great marbled stage and catwalk, Balmain introduced not one but three collections within its Parisian runway show during its annual “Balmain Festival” this week. Including menswear, women’s ready-to-wear, and a suite of couture looks, designer Olivier Rousteing acknowledged our growing need for a new kind of Renaissance during a time when signs of global warming are begging us to rethink the harmful waste of fast fashion practices. The maison’s men’s and ready-to-wear collections reflected this quest for rebirth in splendid silhouettes that prompted thoughts of the original Renaissance period, as well as its art and great minds—like sculptural shapes with artfully frozen fabric folds, angelic prints with Sistine Chapel-reminiscent visuals, and styles harnessing the magnificent essence of the era. Continuing the road to Renaissance through a different lens, the house’s couture collection gave a nod to the designer’s heritage by taking aesthetic notes from the African continent. The fifteen looks employed natural hues in undyed fabrics and earthy materials like raffia, jute, and even tree bark, making up memorable shapes with elements like technical weaving, statement shoulders, and inventive shapes. The legendary Cher closed out the festivities when she took the stage next to Rousteing, stunning the audience in a skin-tight catsuit.  

Acne Studios SS23 Courtesy of Acne Studios.

An unconventional wedding party was the starting point for Acne Studios’s newest collection, which happened to mark the house’s 10th anniversary of presenting in Paris. Archetypes of romance and bridal kitsch—satin slippers, lace, wedding night bedsheets, bows, and roses—were at the foundation of designs that unseated traditions at a crossroads of occasion and the everyday. Pieces like sheer tops covering the chest with bows, distressed knits with flounced hems, and veil-reminiscent earrings made from swaths of dangling lace juxtaposed stereotypical girly details and slightly brazen flirtatiousness. Details we loved included those like gingham on ballgowns, oversized suiting with cut-outs and swirled fabric roses, and glistening satin garments that appeared as though they might have been made from sheets in a bridal suite.

Cecilie Bahnsen SS23 Courtesy of Cecilie Bahnsen.

Cecilie Bahnsen’s collection “We are Water” proposed a likeness in all of us, inspired by an artwork by Yoko Ono that the designer once stumbled upon. Introduced in the Cour Mansart Monnaie de Paris, an installation inspired by Ono featured a display of 250 glass bottles by the glassblower Nina Nørgaard, filled with water and representing the individuals that worked on the collection. With Bahnsen’s ethos of infusing the magic of couture into pieces for the everyday, her Spring/Summer 2023 designs encompassed voluminous dresses, plays on asymmetry, sheer tops, textural fabrications, and the introduction of denim—which came in black and white, making up pieces like tailored trousers and cropped jackets. More casual designs were dressed up with the addition of ethereal tulle overlays, while more elevated styles (like a blue jacquard dress with mismatched straps) were paired with customized ASICS sneakers and whispery ribbed tees.

Dries Van Noten SS23 Courtesy of Dries Van Noten.

Matters of color and contrast were the focus of Dries Van Noten’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection, which featured ensembles in black, muted pastels, and vibrant florals. Silhouettes encompassed takes on suiting (which was roomy with wide, rounded shoulder pads), shapes featuring excess fabric used to create gathers and ruffles, and other styles with gauzy layers and loose frilly movement. Some of our favorite looks included a dress in pink sequins with a chiffon underlay and white mules, a yellow dress with sheer pants and heels featuring floppy bows in an opposing color, and a folded cocoon coat with tailored shorts and glossy mule clogs.




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