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Haute Couture Fall 2023 Trend Report – Beauty and Body Anxiety Intertwine on the Runway

Each fashion season is in some way a meditation on craftsmanship—it is as much defined by the time as it is by the craft. Think about it: Man-hours are a measure of clothing-making work, reflecting the era and the status of women in clothing. This fashion tells us that her role is constantly changing. How else do we interpret the juxtaposition of Jean Paul Gaultier’s weaponized tapered breasts and Armani Privé’s rose busts? Or Lisa Fonnsagrives cosplaying in couture “jeans”?

The spectrum of femininity, tenderness…

...and strength.

…and strength.

A Lisa Fonssagriveslike pose at Balenciaga. Photo: Armando Grillo /

Like the sword of Saint Catherine carried by Joan of Arc, the French martyr and Patronus, mentioned in Balenciaga – Fallen 1600 Fashion season is double-edged, a collision of beauty and body anxiety.

Throughout history, the (naked) female form has been viewed as both a miracle and a dire threat. For some, this is the embodiment of original sin, associated with the “fall” from innocence. Are you saying that this kind of thinking is outdated? One might think so, but ethics are as much a part of the American debate about abortion rights and women’s bodily autonomy as science and law. This discussion comes at a time when the gender binary is being questioned, sparking discussions about femininity. Is it an innate quality or something that can be cultivated? A person’s appearance may not reflect who they are.

A Lisa Fonssagriveslike pose at Balenciaga.

An easy stride at Chanel.
Winds of change at couture… A Lisa Fonssagriveslike pose at Balenciaga.

Balenciaga’s Lisa Fonssagrives-like pose.

A Lisa Fonssagriveslike pose at Balenciaga. Photo: courtesy of Balenciaga supply

An easy stride at Chanel. A Lisa Fonssagriveslike pose at Ronald van der Kemp.

An easy step in Chanel.

A Lisa Fonssagriveslike pose at Balenciaga.Photography by Acielle / StyleDuMonde

...and strength.

A spectrum of femininity softness...A spectrum of femininity softness...443351
An easy stride at Chanel.

Ronald van der Kemp poses like Lisa Fung Lisa Fonssagrives poses.

Photo: Marijke Aerden / Ronald van der Kemp presents

What is real is another big question of our time, and in the fashion world, it sparks Lots of visual games. I don’t know how to parse the trompe l’oeil “jeans” and pseudo-nudes (seen by Schiaparelli, Thom Browne and Gaultier) that appeared in one season; especially since the latter made headlines. Are all fakes weighted the same?

Confusion about the female form is a form of body anxiety expressed in different ways. In some cases it is incorporated into the service of art in the form of virtuosity, nevertheless the models overwhelm the models and the models seem to become the “wall” on which to hang the masterpieces. In contrast, Demner abstracted the work of Lucian Freud into a series of ‘coup de vent’ (gust of wind) pieces that feel alive and alive; movement linked to freedom, AFK #goals.

It’s worth noting that many oversized looks, while dramatic with a big D, can be difficult for the wearer to hug. This “distance” dressing might be read as an expression of body anxiety in the age of the pandemic. The virus has stoked fears about intimacy (sexual and otherwise) and proximity. The aggressive look creates a sort of “no-fly” zone around the wearer. Is there also a shadow of Me-Too? Viktor & Rolf sums up the ‘Can’t Touch This’ vibe in the mail bag, with a cartoonish 3D exclamation point ‘No’ and bikini spelling ‘Dream On’.

A spectrum of femininity softness...Winds of change at couture…Winds of change at couture…

Winds of change in haute couture…

A Lisa Fonssagriveslike pose at Balenciaga. Photo: Courtesy of Balenciaga


An easy stride at Chanel.An easy stride at Chanel.

…but not without some anxiety.

A Lisa Fonssagriveslike pose at : Isidore Montag /

Whether the faceless humanoids that appear in V&R is a reverie or a nightmare is up to the viewer. Some of the models in the Dutch duo 27 Anniversary speeches were mounted on horseback by headless figures in black ties, or possibly attacked (this can explain). Do they represent patriarchy?



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