The series of Fashion Weeks, commencing in New York on February 12 and continuing through London and Milan until concluding in Paris on March 7, signaled a return to pre-pandemic normalcy after three years. Buyers made a strong comeback and brands resumed physical presentations, drawing in large crowds. This season’s focus was on enhancing the product, with a concentration on stunning, top-quality clothing that almost rivals couture. The collections were primarily dominated by neutral shades, particularly grey, with just a few pops of red or yellow. The autumn-winter 2023-2024 women’s ready-to-wear collections showcased a resilient and commanding woman who borrows elements from menswear, demonstrating sophistication, refinement, and luxurious elegance. She is a daring femme fatale who confidently plays with her femininity, having retired her jogging suits and down jackets.
This season has confirmed the return to a chic, uncluttered and refined silhouette, bringing back the great classics of the women’s wardrobe, starting with the skirt suit, the symbol par excellence of the working girl. Seen on all the catwalks, it is making a strong comeback, alongside the trouser suit, which has also been very much in vogue for several seasons. Cut from traditional men’s fabrics or unexpected materials, such as knitwear at Miu Miu, it is offered in a sexy mini version or with a mid-length skirt, a jacket with wide shoulders, shortened or curved in the shape of an hourglass, for a retro touch.
The New Look skirt
Dressing up, as if that were the only pleasure left, is becoming the antidote to the gloomy atmosphere that surrounds us. In this context, fashion designers offered a new formal style, where the skirt made a strong comeback. It was worked in innovative constructions of drapery, bias cuts, etc. Alongside the omnipresent mid-length and straight pencil skirt, several designers reintroduced the flared corolla skirt, enhancing a wasp waist, in the purest New Look style.
The body has been stripped down this season, starting with the back and shoulders, but always with elegance. Gone is the corset with its erotic connotations. It has been replaced this season by the bustier. Practical, it can be tightened over a shirt or jacket to refine the waist, or worn as is, enhancing the chest and adapting to all body shapes. Designers are having a field day with it, using it in everyday clothes, including trench coats and coats.
Dots or studs?
This retro motif, mostly in the classic version of white polka dots on a black background that is so reminiscent of the 1950s, is making a comeback, following the lead of the neo-bourgeoisie. But designers are innovating, playing with optical and geometric effects, as at Marni or Benetton, or substituting the print with a metallic accessory that brings a slightly rockier touch (studs, eyelets or even gold balls), as seen at Balmain, Off-White, Lanvin and A.W.A.K.E. Mode, among others.
Loose the pants
Chic in all circumstances, the winter 2023-2024 woman remains firmly anchored in her time. She can go out half undressed with the utmost naturalness, almost without being noticed. No more skirts or trousers! A pair of tights, opaque if possible, and a nice pair of knickers will do the trick, combined with a nice jacket, preferably three-quarter length, or even just a slightly loose jumper. This “no pants” trend, initiated by a few celebrities, is making a noticeable breakthrough in the winter collections.
Show your undergarments
In the same relaxed vein, the woman does not hesitate to reveal her underwear. But beware, there is no question of playing the sexy doll. It’s all about attitude. Nothing will be cooler next winter than to let your underskirt or tights protrude from your skirt like at N°21 or Gucci or wearing them with your knit or jacket tucked in like at Miu Miu. The bra is shown under a low-cut model by Lanvin or in an asymmetrical bare-arm dress by Gabriela Hearst. Not to mention the white panties featured under sheer outfits. But the best part is the gentleman’s white briefs, which are pulled up under a chic skirt, following the sagging trend that has been in vogue for years among men; where the low-waisted trousers systematically show the underwear.
The tiny bra
Another strong trend was showing your breasts. Many catwalks caused a sensation with at least one strong look, where the breasts were barely hidden by tiny bras. A pair of straps at Sportmax, a belt at Heliot Emil, two silver spoons at Swedish brand Hodakova, a feather at Ann Demeulemeester, a metallic micro-bikini with a jewel logo at Gucci, a flower nipple cover at David Koma and Nensi Dojaka or a pirate eye patch at Vaquera. The shirtless trend is on the rise, with women donning jackets and suits with nothing else underneath.
For next winter, designers have cut everything to size. The top pieces are systematically shortened. From jackets cut below the chest, which take the form of boleros, to furs transformed into shoulder pads, to sweatshirts and other jumpers that look like crop tops revealing the navel. Everything goes, including down jackets and blousons.
The men’s jacket
With the return of tailored pieces made from men’s fabrics, with a focus on long coats and “square” jackets, women have largely seized upon masculine codes, including through a military register revisiting the uniform. But, once again, the designers diverted and reinterpreted these codes. Thus, the waistcoat of a three-piece suit acts as the new tank top, much more chic than a simple cotton knit. It is worn tight-fitting, without a shirt under a suit jacket, or on its own with trousers.
Still in the men’s category, this accessory is making a remarkable comeback in women’s wardrobes. Valentino has devoted its entire collection to the tie for next winter. Particularly a black tie worn with a classic white shirt. But it can also be worn in polka dots, tone on tone or undone like a scarf.