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10 Accessory Trends to Free Your Mind for Spring 2023

In the age of micro trends and a constantly changing algorithm-influenced universe, it feels a little like a miracle when so many designers’ visions align to deliver us a wide-ranging group of trends for the season. It’s possible this same “anything goes” attitude is why on the spring 2023 runways there was an exuberance and an embrace of a new kind of maximalism—both in materials and approach and in the act itself of accessorizing.

Beyond their practical needs, designers have embraced the idea of bags and shoes becoming a vehicle to add an extra layer of texture, decorative detail, and whimsy. At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière blew up the label’s classic change purse and turned it into an oversized clutch-cum-portfolio, while at Victoria Beckham, models delicately carried clutches made of blunt-cut bunches of fringe that resembled carefully tended puppies in the crook of their arms. But the epitome of the new considered accessorizing is the myriad of designers who sent bags down the runway in the same fabric as the coats, dresses, and trousers the models wore. In Valentino’s case, the accessories matched the model’s face. Fashion is a playground, and designers are inviting everyone to play along.

Perhaps in response to the rise of Crocs, Birkenstocks, and other streamlined comfortable basics, footwear has been pushed to the limit of what it can do while retaining its functional quality. At Hermès, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski placed fisherman-inspired leather sandals across carbon sculptures, and Jeremy Scott elongated the toe on a pair of pumps into the head of a pink flamingo at Moschino. Other designers treated shoes like easels, embellishing with ruffles, feathers, fringe, or other metallic knickknacks. This is not the season to be a wallflower—unless you are carrying a bag shaped like one.

Commit to the ’Fit

It used to be that your bag needed to match your shoes. Well, now bags need to match your everything. It can be as subtle as Tod’s structured handbag worn with a matching light mint leather dress, or Sportmax’s psychedelic vision, which includes a practical computer-size tote, a sleeveless top with a train, a midi skirt, and boots. This is the future we were promised!

Look for New Shapes

Designers are expanding beyond the borders of traditional shoe shapes and bringing interesting architectural details to heels—at Dries Van Noten, curved golden heels glistened like a Boccioni sculpture, and at Off-White, go-go boots seemed like they could go-go anywhere with a chunky silver heel seemingly made of curling rounds of wire. Platforms and flatforms undulated in curved designs—see: Schiaparelli’s golden cap-toe slingbacks or Shang Xia’s delicate slippers, floating on what appeared to be a ceramic platform.

Indulge Your Inner Child

Teddy bear bags seemed to be everywhere on the spring runways, from bedazzled at Gucci to bedraggled at Balenciaga. But animals weren’t the only things that were turned into bags this season: Witness Collina Strada’s literal broccoli bag, or Botter’s bag shaped like an ice cube. Very cool (sorry).

Don’t Forget Your Head

A big hat protects you from the elements (Max Mara’s floppy sun hat), delineates a circumference of personal space that others should not trespass (Yohji Yamamoto’s oversized boater hat), and adds an air of mystery (Yuhan Wang’s purple lace romantic vision). What’s not to like?

Find Meaning in the Abstract

If a bag shaped like…a thing isn’t your vibe, then can Victoria Beckham interest you in a bag-shaped like Thing? Bags in unrecognizable shapes also had their moments on the runway, becoming a textural exclamation point on many an outfit, from Chloé’s knotted carryall to Aliétte’s ruffle-on-a-handle.

Give Up the Kids Gloves

Gloves have been a cold-weather accessory for the last few decades, which is a shame because they really do wonders for immediately making any outfit just a little bit more special. The black mesh or lace opera glove is still an eveningwear standard, but for spring, designers pushed it a bit further. Gloves were embellished with crystals at Fe Noel and done in luxurious jacquard at Simone Rocha, while at A.W.A.K.E. Mode short pink leather gloves came adorned with nail beds for just the right amount of whimsy.

Ground Yourself in Joy

Plain shoes are a thing of the past. At Lanvin, shoes were covered in feathers. Rick Owens’s gladiator-style platform sandals were adorned with hair, and who can forget Jonathan Anderson’s deflated balloons at Loewe?

Blow Up the Proportions

What comes up must come down, so it’s only logical that, after seeing bags get tinier and tinier, the pendulum would swing the other way. The most interesting designers blew up classic-size bags for a dose of surrealism. At Prada, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons took the triangular label and turned it into a sleek structured bag. Meanwhile, at Marni, Francesco Risso sent a huge squeezable yellow “handbag” (half the size of the model carrying it) down the runway.

Embrace Your Body

We don’t call them fanny packs anymore, but the essence remains the same—the waist bag is the easiest way to securely transport your essentials to and fro. At Miu Miu, Miuccia Prada’s experiments with pockets yielded some of the coolest versions we’ve seen in a while, closer to a go-over-everything miniskirt rather than an immediate tourist giveaway. And at Burberry, Riccardo Tisci showed little versions carried around the bicep.

When All Else Fails, Add a Little Sock

A little sock can add just the right kind of allure to an outfit—it can heighten the Mary Janes’ childhood nostalgia, like at Coach, add an unexpected detail when worn with a clog ,as at Etro, or lend a sophisticated edge when worn with a classic pump, as it did at Elena Velez. At Chanel, the socks were built into the shoes, which is how you know it’s a styling trick to try. Do not sleep on it!



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