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Item of the week: the metallic tone

By Rachel Douglass

12 Oct 2022


(From left) Image: Na-kd, Na-kd, Guess

What it is:

Metallic pieces were a popular addition to spring/summer 2023 runways for the fashion week month. From tailored suits to structured gowns, there was plenty of experimentation in the exploration of this trend. Metallic materials themselves are inorganic substances, usually utilising combinations of metal and non-metal elements. The result is a fabric that can often be highly manipulated, hence its presence in design collections largely consisting of moulded shapes and silhouettes. High street retailers, however, have taken a more accessible approach to the style, making it suitable for daily wear and a wardrobe essential for the season.

Image: Scotch & Soda

Why you’ll want it:

While metallic materials are a fun addition to the wardrobe, it can be a difficult one to push for customers that prefer to stick in their comfort zones. However, for this season, with a large number of designers experimenting with the design and retailers taking on the trend, it has seen the emergence of a number of pieces that are more ‘down-to-earth’, and therefore easier to style. That being said, the material still speaks to the more daring fashion crowd and can pull them in through trend-led styling. Available items have also taken on a more updated presence compared to the metallic trends that have existed in the past.

Image: Guess

Where we’ve seen it:

For SS23, metallics were especially seen among menswear designer collections, used in tailored pieces and accessories. The material could be spotted in multi-item suit looks in the shows of Giorgio Armani, Vtmnts and Bianca Saunders, each of which opted for bold silver metallics for full outfit looks. A particular theme was that of iridescent metallics, adopted in the collections for the likes of Rick Owens and David Koma, both of which offered up head-to-toe designs utilising the material. For womenswear, a more feminine edge was used to the typically harsh hue. While Simone Rocha exhibited complexity in a gathered silhouette, Isabel Marant used the fabric for tiny shorts and shiny fitted dresses.

Image: Stella McCartney

How to style it:

Metallic tones work best with block colours that complement the tones seen within the mirroring of the piece. For example, silver metallics often show hints of pink and blue, tones that can then be utilised through the rest of the look. For metallic trousers, opt for coloured shirts or tees, or basic whites to further emphasise the metallic. Alternatively, go all out with a jacket in a matching material, for a more daring look that catches the eye. Metallic dresses, on the other hand, can be entirely stand-alone items, matched simply with basic accessories and shoes.

Image: Comma

Metallics are a daring fabric choice that has proven to be popular for the upcoming season among a selection of exhibiting designers. With retailers tackling the trend in more approachable ways, it has meant that the material is slowly becoming a wardrobe staple for the fashion-forward consumer.

Image: Scotch & Soda

Similar items available for (pre)order can be found in the FashionUnited Marketplace. You can find them by clicking on this link.

Item of the Week