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Change is in the air: Designer debuts for Fall/Winter 2023

By Jule Scott


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Image: Daniel Lee for Bottega Veneta Spring/Summer 2020. | Credit: Spotlight Launchmetrics

New York Fashion Week is drawing to a close, but some much-anticipated debuts for the Fall/Winter 2023 season are still to come. From renowned fashion houses under new creative direction to designer duos going their separate ways, change is in the air for many brands.

Daniel Lees returns to London

Last week, Daniel Lee's first campaign for Burberry already gave a glimpse of the British heritage brand's possible future under Bottega Veneta's former creative director. However, the full picture will not be revealed until the 20th of February, during the designer's debut show at London Fashion Week.

Image: Daniel Lee’s first campaign for Burberry. | Credit: Tyrone Lebon / Burberry

Lee took over as creative director from the Italian Riccardo Tisci in October. He is the first British Designer in the role since the departure of Christopher Bailey, who led the heritage brand for 17 years. There are some signs that the brand's British heritage will be back at the forefront from now on, not least the return of the brand's signature equestrian emblem, which gave way to a minimalist monogram under Tisci.

Image: Daniel Lee for Bottega Veneta Spring/Summer 2020. | Credit: Spotlight Launchmetrics

Before his abrupt departure from Bottega Veneta, Lee was considered a prodigy whose designs, especially accessories, were instant hits. It remains to be seen if his unique flair for covetable trend pieces will prove a success at Burberry.

One act in two parts at Act N.1

The designer duo Luca Lin and Galib Gassanoff who is in charge of the Italian brand Act N.1 are parting ways this season. Last week, the two designers announced the changes in their corporate structure on Instagram. According to the statement, Lin will be running the brand by himself in the future, while Gassanoff will be pursuing other avenues in the world of fashion and art. The brand's Fall/Winter 2023 collection, which will be presented on 24 February during Milan Fashion Week, is the first that Lin has designed on his own.

Image: Act N.1 Spring/Summer 2023. | Credit: Spotlight/Launchmetrics

Arguably one of the former duo's most famous fans is Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli. The Italian designer helped the young brand gain notoriety when he allowed them to livestream their Spring/Summer 2023 collection on the Valentino Instagram account. For Fall/Winter 2023, Lin is now out on his own for the first time. However, he assured Women's Wear Daily that all the values of the brand – which was founded in 2016 and built around the diverse backgrounds of the two designers – will remain intact.

Harris Reed brings romance, drama and couture back to Nina Ricci

Back in December, the fashion world caught a glimpse of gender-fluid designer Harris Reed's possible vision for French fashion house Nina Ricci. Reed's first muse was singer Adele, who wore a dramatic couture creation in black velvet with voluminous circular sleeves of black tulle, sequin dot embroidery and Swarovski crystals during a concert in Las Vegas. The extent to which this is a foretaste of Harris Reed's first collection for Nina Ricci will be revealed in Paris on 3 March at the latest.

Image: Harris Reed Spring/Summer 2023. | Credit: Spotlight Launchmetrics

Reed is known for theatrical, romantic and gender-fluid designs that have already captured the hearts of celebrities such as singer Harry Styles and Gucci's former creative director Alessandro Michele. Whereas Dutch design duo Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter, who ran Nina Ricci for just over three years, were best known for their minimalist approach to design, Reed is expected to inject a sense of drama into the fashion house, which was founded in 1932.

Image: Harris Reed Fall/Winter 2022. | Credit: Spotlight Launchmetrics

When Reed was appointed creative director of Nina Ricci in September, the designer stressed that he was excited to challenge the landscape of what femininity means in fashion and beauty at such an iconic house. Now the industry won't have to wait much longer to find out exactly what that entails and how Reed will unite his vision with the heritage of the historic Parisian brand.

Ludovic de Saint Sernin's Sex and Sensuality at Ann Demeulemeester

Sensuality, tension, silhouette, fluidity, wildness and a graphic sensibility are the pillars of Ludovic de Saint Sernin's design language for Ann Demeulemeester, read the designer's announcement as the new creative director of the Belgian fashion house in December. The industry will find out the precise meaning of these words at Paris Fashion Week on the 4th of March.

Image: Ludovic de Saint Sernin wears Archiv Ann Demeulemeester. | Credit: Willy Vanderperre - Photography, Olivier Rizzo - Styling

Ludovic de Saint Sernin is the first new creative director at the helm of Ann Demeulemeester since the resignation of Sébastien Meunier more than two years ago. The brand has so far been led by an internal creative team, while founder Ann Demeulemeester herself merely oversees various projects for the brand and is no longer actively involved in the design process.

Image: Ludovic de Saint Sernin Spring/Summer 2023. | Credit: Spotlight Launchmetrics

The debut of de Saint Sernin is in many ways one of the most exciting because while the appointment of Daniel Lee at Burberry, for instance, has been somewhat predictable, the parallels between Demeulemeester and de Saint Sernin - aside from their Belgian origins - are less obvious. Yet both couturiers count photographer Robert Mapplethorpe among their greatest inspirations and often explore the tension between masculinity and femininity. Whether de Saint Sernin will also bring his penchant for sheer fabrics, rhinestones and frivolity to Ann Demeulemeester will be revealed in just a few days.

Patience is a virtue: These debuts are yet to come

As of last night, it's official – Pharrell Williams is following in Virgil Abloh's footsteps as Louis Vuitton's new creative director for menswear. However, the singing multi-talents first collection will require the industry's patience, as it will not be presented until Paris Men's Fashion Week in June. Philophiles – the self-proclaimed disciples of designer Phoebe Philo – will have to wait even longer. Last week, she reported back with an update on her long-awaited eponymous brand, but the pieces will not be unveiled until September.

In November, Gucci announced the departure of creative director Alessandro Michele, whose successor has been in place since the end of January. However, the first collection by the chosen creative director Sabato De Sarno, a long-time companion of Valentino's Pierpaolo Piccioli, will not be shown until Milan Fashion Week in September. Both the past menswear collection and the upcoming autumn/winter 2023 collection for women were designed by an in-house creative team and are considered a transitional period for the Italian fashion house.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.de and has been translated and edited into English.
Act N°1
Ann Demeulemeester
Daniel Lee
Harris Reed
Ludovic De Saint Sernin
Nina Ricci