Today’s world is not always a pleasant place to live in. Pandemics, war, inflation… In recent months, the bad news just keeps piling up. Whenever Lidewij Edelkoort is at a loss for words, she prefers to dive into the past. “Then I look at what mankind has done,” she said. “We have designed a way of life, invented tools, invented clothing and developed weaving techniques. Man is so inventive.”
History is resilient and at the same time a source of beauty, both necessary for survival in troubled times, said the trend forecaster during the online seminar in which she shared the trends for autumn/winter 2023.
It is for this reason that Edelkoort took viewers deep into history with her. Archaeology formed the premise of her presentation, in which Edelkoort referred to excavated objects, but also to the practice of digging itself. The trends were divided into different historical periods, from the Stone Age to the future. Each period represented a different aspect of Edelkoort's trend story, from which FashionUnited summarised the most important trends.
Sand and stones: earthy tones and rough edges
Anyone looking for ancient treasures often has to work through layers of sand and stones first. It is easy to forget that these sand and stones can also be treasures themselves. There are endless combinations of colours and structures in pebbles, boulders and grains. In addition, the earth may contain minerals that are suitable for making pigments, such as yellow or red ochre, the warm earth tones that were already used for wall paintings in prehistoric times. These shades will be back in fashion next autumn, especially for knitwear and raw fabrics.
The shine of metal: bronze, iron and gold
The Bronze Age (ca. 3000 to 800 BC) takes its name from the ways that were used during this time to process metals, such as bronze, into tools, weapons and jewellery, among other things. The subtle shine of bronze will be on the catwalks in autumn 2023.
The Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age, a metal that will also make a comeback in fashion, as both a material and in the form of deep, grey-blue shades. A third metal to come into play is gold, which has held an important role in historical cultures worldwide. It, too, will return in various forms: as gold-coloured weaving thread, for example, or in jewellery.
Antique sculptures and classic jackets
Opposite the hard, deep gloss of metals, autumn 2023 features a soft, tactile minimalism, which Edelkoort derived from antique sculptures and structures made by the Greeks and Romans. Loosely woven, pleated or quilted materials refer to the ridges and lines of classical statues and columns.
Edelkoort specifically referred to the type of sculptures that were made between 4000 and 1000 BC on the Cyclades, a Greek group of islands. They are stylised images of human figures that appear both cool and friendly. In fashion, their abstract forms recur as carefully cut garments in pale white or warm grey.
Edelkoort expected the jacket in particular to become a popular item this autumn. Not a hard, business-like jacket that is meant for the office, but a comfortable one that gives the wearer the feeling that they can take on the world.
Pigments from plants and animals
Besides the rich hues of earth and metals, Edelkoort also introduced colour charts and designs based on pigments from plants and animals. Bacteria and fungi, for example, some of the oldest inhabitants of the earth, can produce the most eccentric colours and patterns. Designers such as Ilfa Siebenhaar and Laura Luchtman are already experimenting with using bacteria to dye clothes.
Into the future: fashion from the metaverse
At the end of her presentation, Edelkoort hurls the viewers into the future: a future in neon colours, which for once do not come back as angular, geometric planes and lines, but in free combinations and drawings. Bright colours, playful shapes and optical illusions leak into fashion from the metaverse, a virtual world where – so Edelkoort hopes – fashion will be actively experimented with.*This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.NL. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.*