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Is uniform dressing the biggest fashion trend of 2023?

After Milan and London, designers at Paris Fashion Week also embraced the rigid and exacting codes of tailoring and precise uniform dressing

From the Isabel Marant show on 2 March
From the Isabel Marant show on 2 March (AFP)

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Paris Fashion Week's fall-winter 2023-24 edition saw a return to embracing craft, with design houses creating tailored suits with sharp shoulders.

Virginie Viard sent out tweed lunch suits, jackets and cardigans paired with lace bermudas and tights embellished with camellias, one of the key components of Chanel's DNA.

From the Christian Dior show on 28 February
From the Christian Dior show on 28 February (AP)

At Alexander McQueen, Naomi Campbell was a vision in a noir romper styled with a corseted bustier. McQueen's creative director Sarah Burton, meanwhile, showcased a line-up black suits, white shirts and black ties, and pinstriped blazers and tailored off-shoulder numbers. Here are some of the key trends that emerged at the event:

Also read: Chanel shows what women want at Paris Fashion Week

Sharp tailoring

Several design houses collectively embraced the rigid and exacting codes of tailoring and precise uniform dressing. At Chanel, there were plenty of long, slim cocktail coats besides 60s mod-style suits in patent leather. Valentino, too, fell for the charm of tailored dress codes, lending the classic black suit some coquettish touches: suit blazers with ties styled with an array of micro shorts, skirts and jumpsuits, revealing a lot of leg. It was hard to overlook the 80s-style power shoulders at Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello. Also worth mentioning are the square shoulder jackets at Isabel Marant, easily the key essential item of the season.

Archival codes

Camellia flower formed the centrepiece at the Chanel show, seen embroidered on the jumpers, printed on skirts and appliqued on shoes and bags.

Viard reimagined camellia (known to be Coco Chanel's favourite) to suit her playful sartorial fantasies. The show's invite also featured Nana Komastu, actress and house ambassador gracefully holding a white camellia.

It was an emotional show at Paco Rabanne, the great designer who died recently. Its creative director Julien Dossena paid a tribute to the late founder by bringing back six dresses from the archives worn by the likes of Jane Birkin and Francoise Hardy. Balmain, too, derived beautifully from the house’s signatures, patterns and silhouettes.

A return to craft

From Chanel show
From Chanel show (AFP)

Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior had strong, formidable women on her mind with incredible personal style, from Catherine Dior, the couturier’s sister to Juliette Gréco, the Left Bank singer, and singer Edith Piaf. Chiuri's key T-shirt of the season read “Je ne regrette rien”, Piaf's timeless song.

She experimented with heritage textiles like the argyle checks in ensembles. There was a lot of tartan at YSL, houndstooth at Chanel, and Dries Van Noten's opening look were in pinstripes.

It's raining bows and pearls

There were plenty of exaggerated pussybow ensembles at Saint Laurent, while the Balmain show was inundated with bow dresses, pearls, bow fronted slippers and pumps.

Pearls were also the recurring motif at Givenchy, who extrapolated pearlescent corsetry.

Also read: Louis Vuitton likes to keep it classic and elegant

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