Just like that, the Fall/Winter 2023 season has come to an end – queue sad but lowkey relieved music. The collections we saw were no doubt impressive and the designers all the more talented, finding new ways to elevate their signature looks. But when it comes to a fashion show, it’s not just the clothing we’re looking for. Music, hair and makeup, set design and stunts can all play a part in telling the story the collection is all about. In case you were too busy focusing on the sharp shoulder blazers and long leather coats this season, we’ve picked out some Fashion Week’s best show details just for you.
ASMR & SEX NOISES FOR MUSIC
While the usual Aphex Twin, classic club 100 BPM song is a vibe when it comes to accompanying a fashion show, it’s always a pleasant surprise when brands switch things up and give us an unexpected soundtrack to showcase its collection. This season, Louis Vuitton said no music, and gave us an ASMR experience with a sensory soundtrack that gave us raindrops, metro and aeroplane noises, heels walking on wooden floors, birds chirping, police sirens, dogs barking, a lively restaurant and many more city sounds blasting from the speakers.
Ahluwalia brought the fun to fashion, by having a live pianist play some of our favourite 90s tunes and RnB classics. Over at Vivienne Westwood, we expected the ambience to be quite upsetting. We heard classical music, a reference to Westwood’s love of history, before turning it up to a high-energy rock classic by AC/DC, showcasing the best of both Vivienne Westwood worlds. Dior gave us “Je ne regrette rien” by Edith Piaf, one of the women that inspired the FW23 collection. The clear winner of this category though has to be Diesel, with its choice of loud moaning and sex noises to carry out the show. Talk about NSFW…
LITERAL DUCK FACES & ALIENS FOR BEAUTY
Never underestimate the power of hair and makeup during a show – it can quite literally make or break an outfit. This season, there was one stand-out makeup artist who essentially killed it across the board: Isamaya Ffrench. From Vivienne Westwood’s linear pops of colour to Mowalola’s LED light effect painted onto the model’s face, Ffrench has become the designer’s go-to makeup artist. She also did Off-White’s circular bolt face decorations (trypophobes, beware), Chet Lo’s fun coloured tongues, Thom Browne’s alienèsque features, but most impressively, she is also responsible for Collina Strada’s slightly terrifying animal faces, which gave us actual duck faces, bird’s beaks and mice’s noses just to name a few.
Other standout beauty looks from Fashion Week include UNDERCOVER’s flashy orange eyelashes, a thoughtful accent against its neutral toned garments. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Rick Owens went full on dark for his makeup looks, with models either wearing black contact lenses and having a full smokey eye, a classic Rickverse look. Like Collina Strada, other shows weren’t satisfied with just a bit of eyeshadow, such as Acne Studios who body-painted one of its models to look like a real life Avatar, or Outlier who went full on outer space, with alien looks created by Andrew Dhaling. It’s always more fun when models aren’t only sporting the easy breezy effortlessly pretty look.
THIS MODEL IS ON FIRE & CROWD SURFING FOR STUNTS
If we could pick out the top trend this FW23 season it would be stunts. Kickstarting fashion month in Copenhagen, (di)vision gave us a dinner date gone wrong – or right? As the show was ending, a final model stood up from her seat and started strutting away only to reveal the train of her skirt was actually the tablecloth used on a table guests were sitting at, flailing around wine glasses and cutlery. Flying over to Milan, Sunnei gave models a popstar moment, as they crowd surfed off the runway.
There should definitely be a “Don’t try this at home” label with some of the stunts we’ve seen pulled this season, notably Heliot Emil’s model on fire – no like actually on fire. Probably the overall best stunt though, both conceptually and because of execution, was AVAVAV’s, where clothes were seen ripped off and heels snapping in two as the models walked down the runway, as a way to poke fun at fashion shows’ seriousness. Ultimately, even the set came crashing down as designer Beate Karlsson came to take her final bow. Don’t worry though, no one was injured and we heard that the set was actually made out of styrofoam.
OUTER SPACE DESERT & A MOUNTAIN OF CONDOMS FOR SET DESIGNS
The way in which a runway room is set up can propel a story a brand is trying to tell with its collection. At Off-White, we were taken into an outer-space desert straight out of Dune, before exploring Ib Kamara’s futuristic collection. At Acne Studios, we found ourselves back on planet Earth, in a thick jungle with hanging vines and trees that were glammed up with bedazzled curtains.
Other times, set design can accentuate a part of a collection, notably at GCDS where a giant Khitto stood its ground in the middle of the room. Who’s Khitto? Creative director Giuliano Calza’s cat, of course. Similarly, Blumarine presented a burning ‘B’ structure at its show titled “Burning Heroine”, and Dior enlisted artist Joanna Vasconcelos to create a giant structure inspired by Catherine Dior’s love of flowers. Though once again this season, Diesel has topped it all with its set design which consisted of… a giant mountain of Diesel x Durex condoms – which, by the end of the show, were up for grabs by the way. We have got to give it up for Glenn Martens who never ceases to impress us with his shows from start to finish.
More on CULTED