Our fashion favourites and flops of 2023

Our fashion favourites and flops of 2023

by Ollie Cox
12 min

This year was a crazy year for fashion. It was an all-in arse-out journey that saw celebrities dressing up as cats, your favourite luxury brands showing they had a sense of humour, and, most surprisingly, Chanel showing in Manchester. It was a year of highs, lows, and bows, with some incredible comebacks thrown in the mix too. From fashion’s minimalist mother, Phoebe Philo, launching her long-talked-about eponymous label to Rihanna returning to the stage, there’s loads to look back on this year. So sit back, and take a final look at our favourites and flops from fashion in 2023. 

Fashion Favourites

FKA Twigs performed at Valentino
@fkatwigs ©

Fashion and music go hand in hand and the two disciplines have been responsible for a fair share of iconic moments, with fashion-forward stars like FKA Twigs bridging the gap between the two creative fields. For Spring/Summer 2024, Valentino enlisted the artist to perform as part of the show, which celebrated femininity in all its glory. FKA Twigs’ performance was both strong and delicate, expressing vulnerability and power, reflecting the sentiment seen on the runway. The two mediums complimented each other perfectly, and we hope we see more fashion and music link-ups next year. 

Bumsters were back

2023 was the year the runway got its arse out, and while the bumster is nothing new, this year it was back with a bang. From Olly Shinder’s utilitarian cheekiness as part of Fashion East’s SS24 showcase to Sarah Burton’s thoughtful nod to Alexander McQueen’s roots as part of her final collection for the House (the bumster made its debut at the hands of McQueen for FW94), the lower back was booming this year.  

The rise of Alex Consani
@alexconsani ©

From endless TikTok viral videos to stealing the runway at every opportunity, Alex Consani has not rested in 2023. Between her iconic “tin man” moment at Diesel’s SS23 show earlier this year, to the prosthetic lips and highlighter yellow wig she rocked at Balenciaga’s Fall 24 show in LA, she must be exhausted. Here’s hoping she gets the ”Model of the Year” title to match her crown in 2024; there’s no denying she deserves it.

The MET Gala 
@dojacat ©

There were many moments from 2023’s MET Gala that we still haven’t recovered from, but Emma Chamberlain trying desperately to interview a meowing Doja Cat has to be the funniest. With prosthetics created by special-effects makeup artist Malina Stearns, Doja Cat’s feline look was everything we thought Cats (2019) would be and more. There’s no way 2024’s “Sleeping Beauties” MET theme can top this… right?

Rick Owens’ candy floss smoke
Rick Owens ©

For his SS24 womenswear show, Rick Owens, AKA the Lord of Darkness, went a little less dark. Monochrome looks were punctuated with shades of red, pink, sandy beige and orange, which were accented by a bloom of smoke that shot into an overcast Paris sky. It was dystopian, daring and felt beautifully on-brand. 

LOEWE’s TikTok takeover
@loewe Please don’t try this in our stores. #LOEWE ♬ original sound – LOEWE

LOEWE kept us laughing this year as part of its TikTok triumph, giving in-the-wild tests of its products and brutally honest reviews. Whether you think the LOEWE Toy Leather Ankle Boot looks like the shoe of choice for a “rich duck” who gets the other ducks to quack for them or not, you can’t deny it’s funny to hear. Watching Kristy Sarah do somersaults in LOEWE heels is pretty fun, too.

Rihanna’s Super Bowl comeback

When it was announced that Rihanna would perform during the half-time slot of February’s Super Bowl, we were as excited for the outfit as we were for the show, and it didn’t disappoint. Riri donned a LOEWE Cargo Jumpsuit in red, layered with a custom Alaia leather overcoat, and finished with a pair of Maison Margiela MM6 x Salomon Cross-High trainers, an outfit appropriate for the occasion and one that we won’t be forgetting in a hurry. Oh, and she revealed a pregnant belly, which makes the performance all the more impressive. 

The return of Phoebe Philo
Phoebe Philo ©

Mother had been teasing us for way too long, and finally, mother arrived. After a stellar directorship at Chloé, and an even more impressive tenure at Céline (accent for old time’s sake), Phoebe Philo became the women’s designer, full stop. Her absence was felt greatly, but her “mum” necklace and leopard print square-toe pumps made up for lost time.

Kylie’s Schiaparelli lion head
@kyliejenner ©

While attending the Schiaparelli Spring 2023 Haute Couture show in Paris, Kylie Jenner opted for an understated look, donning an elegant black midi dress. And, in case you missed it, it had a ginormous faux lion head to finish it off, sending animal activists roaring until it was confirmed as a faux lion’s head. 

Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE tour outfits
@beyonce ©

This one needs little explanation. There are few events we can think of this year that have had the cultural impact that Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE album and subsequent world tour has had. The project has provided a genre-defining album; sampling and building on the greats, Blue Ivy’s breakout stardom (thanks to her dance break cameo on tour), as well as 600 CUSTOM silver designer looks (150 of which didn’t make the cut, according to Miss Tina Knowles), and an industry-wide shift towards chrome in fashion at large.

With ‘hot metals’ only set to get trendier for 2024, Beyoncé continues to set global trends in the fashion space and beyond – and thus has to come in as one of the best fashion moments of 2023.

Martine Rose got the drinks in for SS24
Martine Rose ©

Martine Rose brought fashion back to reality for SS24, showing off schedule in a Highgate community centre and presenting elevated pieces inspired by the everyday. On a sweltering day in June, the fashion crowd quenched their thirst with crisp lager and quelled their hunger with the ever-reliable Taytos crisps as the mother of menswear presented her latest collection. As was to be expected, it was a masterful exploration into a world outside of fashion that got us gagging for more. 

Fashion Flops

Visually impaired Christian Cowan ball
@christiancowan ©

In the midst of fashion month, it’s easy to get bogged down in the industry’s seriousness. What better way to take your mind off things than to watch a huge Christian Cowan furry ball get lost on the runway, helped solely by the one and only (and very much performing) Sam Smith? Not much, we’d say. A favourite fashion flop all round.

Chanel called last orders in Manchester, apparently 

Chanel made a fair few statements with its recent Métiers d’Art show in Manny, one of which being: “we love Manneh culture! But not that kind.” Closing down an entire section of the Northern Quarter for a week pre-Chritstmas and blocking all adjacent views for the humble passerby, Chanel’s city takeover also involved paying local pubs thousands to stay closed on the day of the show. Allegedly. 

SKIMS kept things cool 

Kim Kardashian caused controversy this year when she unveiled an unexpected addition to her SKIMS underwear label: The SKIMS Ultimate Nipple Bra. It wasn’t so much the built-in nipple people were opposed to (for the most part), but the way it was advertised. The SKIMS founder marketed the bra as a way to “always look cold” despite the rising temperature as a result of global warming. Did we need it? No. Did we love it? For the most part, yes, and despite some online backlash, it is now sold out and will go down in history as one of 2023’s most bizarre and iconic moments. 

Jared Leto meowed at The MET Gala 

Everyone’s favourite Hollywood weirdo Jared Leto pulled an iconic stunt at the MET Gala in 2023 that’s since become most people’s paralysis demon. Showing up in a full catsuit – and I mean a literal “cat” suit – our main comment on Jared Leto’s look was that he had to have been sweating in there. Let’s hope Anna Wintour’s taken Jared off the list for 2024, because God knows what he’s got next up his furry sleeve.

Erewhon x Balenciaga
@tmostudio ©

Balenciaga’s collaboration with Erewhon for its Fall 2024 Los Angeles show left a strange taste in our mouths that we just can’t seem to identify. Is it the sour taste of a luxury fashion brand returning to designing purposeless products purely to generate viral moments, or just the sensation you get when drinking $14 worth of juice? Whatever it was, Balenciaga’s Erewhon collab could be likened to something straight out of the Capitol; fun on the surface, but kind of dystopian at its heart. 

MSCHF’s Big Red Boots 

If there’s one item people have drowned in this year, it’s the MSCHF Big Red Boots. Perhaps one of MSCHF’s most successful drops, we’ve got to give it to the art collection which produced a shoe that completely transcended the trend cycle, and surpassed the vitality we all had imagined for it. Here’s to 2024 and a Small Red Boot? Maybe not…

More on Culted

See: Are bows the new millennial moustache?

See: Trapstar takes the city girl skiing for Fall/Winter 2023

in other news