Actions trump fashion choices. While our style has a lot to do with us—who we are, what we do, how we live—the way wewearmakes a bigger difference to our clothes profound statement. For the fall 2023 collection, the designer reconnected with craftsmanship, setting viral gimmicks aside. The actual runway and catwalk collections were formal and minimal, prioritizing earnestness over frivolity, willfulness over aloofness. But these quiet collections aren’t entirely soundless. In place of loud clothes are subtle gestures: grabbing a lapel, holding a phone with both hands, cupping a breast, hugging oneself. Autumn 2023 is the season of gestures, but what do those gestures mean?
A model at Loewe’s Fall 2020 Clutching a silk cloak in the garment.
Back to September2012, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons had their first Prada show (it was the height of the pandemic, so it was a virtual show posted online). Among the reissued archival prints and pointed slingback kitten heels, one of the main highlights was the coats, which the models hugged tightly to their chests. As pointed out by Nicole Phelps’ comment, the gesture looks both like Mrs Prada – look at her many bows over the years – and Simons, who was at Jil Sander 2023 . They are also timely. We don’t need to relive the first months of the pandemic to remember those were times when we sought comfort and protection.
This season, everyone from The Row to Palomo Spain revisited the clutch stance, but three years later it means something else. In Dries Van Noten, it seems to be about keeping the world out of and reducing yourself. As Sarah Mower wrote in her review of the exhibition, the Belgian designer “has a particular focus on showing up close.” This introspective movement makes his clothes feel as personal as ever—”as opposed to showing off,” he said.
At Miu Miu, models tucked their handbags into the crook of their elbows, exuding an air of correctness. But take a closer look at their curly outfits and punk-inspired nude-pants looks, and Miuccia Prada seems to be rethinking “acting like a lady” at 2023.