Leather, lace and shoulder pads… Oh my!

Karen Savoy / Sputnik Photography 

As the sun sets earlier, the days feel crisper and fallen leaves crunch under feet, it is clear the seasons are changing. With fall hanging in the air, it is time for strappy sandals and sundresses to be packed away and chunky knits to re-emerge in the closets of all. But what cuts, colours, waistlines or hemlines are on brand for this fall? There is no need to worry, fall’s 2023 ready to wear collections from major designers have provided the blueprint for what should be filling closets this chilly season.  

Every year, iconic household names in fashion grace the runways with their newest creations all around the world. Designers like Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, Versace, Gucci and Chanel to name a few have thrust their newest collections on the world. Paris, New York, Milan, London and Tokyo buzz with the prospect of new clothes on display in the hearts of these fashion capitals that serve as a guide and set the trends for the fall season and winter seasons.  

Marc Jacobs nodded to fashion trends from the 80s in his collection. A simple black and white palette with an emphasis on heart shaped necklines and bold shoulders. This collection feels very New York-inspired and reminds audiences of classic fashion from the decade of perms, leg warmers and shoulder pads.  

On the other hand, Versace’s collection shone a light on the cuts, hemlines and styles from the 1990s. Well-tailored black suits with silver embellishments are the front runners of this collection. Black, denim and the occasional brown leather moment were broadcasted in Versace’s collection. The focus being structure and unusual waistlines, there are many pieces in this collection that feature a drop waist or lower waistline than has been popular in the past 15 years. Like in Marc Jacobs’ collection, shoulder pads are heavily represented.  

Leather, lace and flowers. The only three words needed to convey the elegance of Chanel’s fall 2023 collection. In typical Chanel fashion, delicate necklines, simple yet classic designs and lace details were on full display this year. Mixing of textures, leather skirts with a wool sweater and lace stockings are very popular in their fall collection. The recognizable black and white palette was joined by soft pinks and beautiful patterns featuring a spring flower, camellias. Once again, emphasis on shoulders and the use of shoulder pads should be noted in this fall collection.  

Louis Vuitton brings two opposites together in this year’s fall collection. Loose-fitting items cinched in the waist by dainty black belts. Mini tank tops coupled with chunky knit scarves and yes, once again, shoulder pads. The colour palette in this collection is more varied with specific focus on neutrals like charcoal grey, taupe and camel brown along with a pop of colour like electric blue.  

Stella McCartney brought the beach to fall fashion, literally. The models sported this year’s fashions on a runway made of sand, taking place in a stable. Strutting down the sand was a beautiful mixture of leather, fur, plaid and ruby red. Plaid suit jackets with bold shoulders and sweaters with cape-like attachments truly set this collection apart.  

Other notable artists who followed similar trends of bold shoulders, structure and form fitting tailoring are Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Colours that have been seen this season from designers focus a lot on neutrals with occasional pops of bold colours such as pinks, reds and electric blues.  

Accessories this year are a mixed bag of overstated and simplified. Mixing metals, previously looked at as a fashion no-no, is being seen in several collections. It is up to personal preference whether or not a chunky necklace will pair with a black suit or if a simple gold piece will complete the look.  

When stocking the fall closet this year, stick with the classic neutrals and a bold colour that complements the complexion. Shapes and cuts are very relaxed this season and yet a cinched waist never a bad idea. Patterns are very welcome this season as well as the mixing of metals and textures. Mixing leather and lace or fur and denim, there are no rules. Experiment and see how far an outfit can push the envelope. If the mood strikes and a bold shoulder is calling your name, wear it. Fashion is a cycle and the 80s and 90s are coming back with a bold shoulder and strong suited look. 

As trends come and go, what’s important to remember is that fashion is personal and entirely up to the person wearing it. A person can wear whatever they want on their body and rock it, the most important accessory a person can keep in their wardrobe is confidence.  

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