We live in turbulent times, as trend forecaster Christine Boland emphasizes once again in her most recent seminar on Fall/Winter 2023. The world is reaching all kinds of tipping points, not only in terms of climate, but also when it comes to what is seen as 'feminine' and 'masculine'. "It's the tension we live in," she indicates. Although turbulent, this time also allows for "a creative explosion," Boland says. "The boundary-crossing power of creativity and imagination is going to help with the transitions we need to make." And it is precisely the power of creativity and imagination that is evident in the forecast for FW23.
There is a great paradox to be found in the times we live in today, Boland points out. "We want to hide, but also connect more than ever." This paradox, then, is reflected in many ways in her forecast for the Fall/Winter 2023 season.
Christine Boland on FW23: Cross-border power of creativity is going to help with transitions
Two of the themes cited by the trend forecaster certainly ring a bell. In her prediction for SS23, these themes, in a different form, also appeared. We're talking about the development of the metaverse and the nanoverse of nature, and the focus on the "primitive" translates into refined patterns and textures. So the first theme she touches on is called 'Primitive to precious'. "There's a whimsy to this theme, but it's still soft," she says. Think sculptural forms for tops, accessories but also shoes. There is a degree of tactility within this theme. Think for example of hairy and fur structures, or fake fur emphasizes the forecaster, in combination with very smooth surfaces. The theme is full of rhythms in structures and patterns and visible constructions. There is even an element of the art movement Dada that used elements of collage.
The simultaneous developments of the metaverse and the nanoverse (in which more and more knowledge is gathered about nature) are summarized in the theme "Following natural intelligence. This theme is another familiar one to Christine Boland's faithful visitors. "It is both surreal and hyperreal mixed together," Boland indicates. Lines and patterns based on cells and threads of mycelium can clearly be seen. "The shapes seem accidental and grown." Consider, for example, whole balloon sleeves and textures created by drawstrings. Don't forget an element of bioluminescence, the phenomenon by which a chemical reaction creates light in a living organism. In fashion, this has been translated precisely into one bright color that lifts the whole thing up and seems to illuminate it.
Also 'the suit', no longer labeled 'menswear for women', makes a return in the forecast. As in the summer season of 2023, the suit in the winter season also shows a combination of 'feminine' and 'masculine'. Instead of the soft shapes from the summer season, the suits are instead razor sharp, yet elegant. "It feels like a classic, but it's not. Fashion is far from finished with the suit," said Boland. The suit fits into the theme of "outclassing clichés," which includes exploring the values of what is feminine and masculine. "The bright pink color has become genderless," Boland adds.
Within the theme another movement stands out: the penchant for retro prints. The season has a certain mid-century nostalgia, executed in modern colors. "Color is very important. The penchant for the prints and simplicity of them is also partly reminiscent of Boland's prediction from the summer '23 season in which the "2D look" is actually a strong counter-reaction to the 3D world of the metaverse.
Here are the trends, themes and paradoxes for FW23 according to trend forecaster Christine Boland
Boland acknowledges that several themes that have been touched on before in a different form will be carried through into the FW23 season. There are minor differences and, according to Boland, therein lies the essence for innovation. The transition that the world is going through in various aspects has, of course, not disappeared from one season to the next. However, new elements are added, such as the theme of "transforming history" as Boland calls it. History is being re-examined and added to, as it were. She describes it as a combination of romance and reality and a new look at what is good and bad. This theme translates into the return of armor, damsels and knights. Elements of chainmail can be seen, "pearls are all the way back," and the color combination of black, beige and gold with lavish decoration predominates. "It's super rich and lavish but has an alienating twist," says Dr. L. G., "and it's not just about the color. It may even lean against the hysterical, Boland said referring to the historical twist that Netflix series Bridgerton gave to the costumes.
So while several of the themes are somewhat familiar, it does come across that FW23 offers an interesting spectrum of stories. From damsels and armor to razor sharp femininity. From lavishness in patterns and gold and a richness in structures. Fortunately, as a fashion professional one does not have to go with all of them, but enough inspiration is offered to make your own choice of what suits the target group best. For the rest, it will have to wait until FW23 to see what the choice is.
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.NL, translated and edited to English by Kelly Press.