Change, it seems, is in the fashion-infused air for spring/summer 2023. The New York and London runways have showcased not just surprise model moments but striking looks commemorating the death of the Queen and the emergence of bridalwear 2.0. Still, they’ve also seen womenswear brands experimenting with menswear and vice versa.
The impeccable tailoring synonymous with five-year-old label Peter Do has always had an androgynous, unisex élan. But the brand made an emphatic menswear statement for spring/summer 2023, when Lee Jeno, a member of the K-Pop group NCT, opened the show, wearing a slouchy, subtly asymmetric tuxedo suit with angular platform boots.
“In pursuit of completing the Peter Do universe, people have always told us, ‘It’s about time that you launched men’s!’. Although, men have been wearing Peter Do for some time now,” Peter told Vogue’s Anders Christian Madsen before the show. “The eternal question of, ‘Who is the Peter Do woman?’ has always been limiting to me. Now, I’m excited to say that Peter Do is for everyone because we don’t just dress women or men, we dress people.”
Over in London, Simone Rocha presented her spring/summer 2023 collection inside the cavernous marble-swathed halls of the Old Bailey, the United Kingdom’s Central Criminal Court. The verdict on an offering that showcased her most comprehensive expansion into menswear? Unanimously positive. Rocha’s menswear has been evolving for some time, but the designer explained to Vogue’s Alice Newbold that she has been waiting for it to “really has its own identity and sit proudly alongside the women’s”.
This translated to pieces which anchored Rocha’s ethereal, deftly delicate designs with a more practical grounding: button-down pinstripe trousers, nylon tracksuit bottoms with punky zips, bomber jackets exploding with tulle ruffles, silk brocade trench coats and ruched shirting.
Molly Goddard – who branched out into menswear in 2020 – also had a penchant for pinstripes. Her latest “jumbled up” collection, a profusion of neon frills and bumble-bee stripes, story-book prints and polka dots, featured relaxed menswear, like Wall Street tailoring, colourful Nordic knits and ruffled jackets.
There’s good reason to feel fortunate about Feben’s spring/summer 2023 collection. For her sophomore show at London Fashion Week, the designer looked to the symbology of tarot cards, featuring superstitious prints, literally with the devil in the detail. The designer’s collection also featured an expansion into menswear, with her signature 3D bobble weave, incorporated into tailored trousers and sleeveless dresses layered with striped shirting. Daniel W Fletcher also experimented with womenswear silhouettes, creating an entire collection using deadstock fabrics, including seersucker shirting, fluid halter-neck dresses and brigadier jackets.
Drumroll for the womenswear! The London catwalks also saw menswear brands expanding their worlds. Stefan Cooke – a brand synonymous with unisex dressing (note its penchant for a man in a miniskirt) – pleased female fans with its first expansion into womenswear.
“We wanted to express an unambiguous strength, without relinquishing femininity,” founder Stefan Cooke and Jake Burt told Vogue’s Alex Kessler before the show. Their effusive offering featured cheeky ruffled miniskirts, sweeping multi-seam denim and T-shirts emblazoned with taffeta bows, inspired by a detail on a Victorian jacket. There was a flamboyance to the silhouettes, inspired by generic “heroic figures,” and etchings from the court of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, which the duo came across at the British Museum.
SS Daley was also captivated by the notion of the aristocracy for spring/summer 2023. His collection – his most fully fledged expansion into womenswear to date – was inspired by the lengthy affair between Sackville-West and Violet Trefusis, featuring blooming garden motifs inspired by the gardens Saville-West cultivated at Sissinghurst Castle. “There’s an incredible image of them where they’re both dressed impeccably well in all black – with Sackville-West in a man’s tuxedo – and they’re arm-in-arm in the South of France, gorgeously unbothered,” Daley explained of the collection, which featured mannish trousers with voluminous pleats, sleeveless knits and high-necked floral gowns.
This article was originally published on Vogue.co.uk