Ding-Dong, the -Cores Are Dead

Style Points is a weekly column about how fashion intersects with the broader world.

“The primacy of garments.” That was Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’ stated start line for his or her fall 2023 menswear collection back in January. And it’s a sentiment that designers have been going back to recently, uninterested in chasing the concentric trend cycles of TikTok trend forecasters, the tyranny of “-cores,” and the transient dopamine hit of viral moments. With the exit of maximalist maestro Alessandro Michele, an overall mood of minimalism in fashion, and a renewed interest in investing in classics, there was a level of restraint running through this season. These weren’t short-term infatuations. They were clothes to fall in love with.

And there was a way of time longer than a TikTok nanosecond—an affinity for the meandering run times of classic cinema, the eye span of a former world, the patience it takes for a designer to construct a legacy, and the time-consuming craft that’s required to create pieces that will be worn perpetually.

prada fall 2023

Prada fall 2023.

Courtesy of the designer.

Miuccia Prada famously helped pioneer the thought of “ugly chic,” but this season was a meditation on beauty. And on uniforms, which have been some extent of fascination for the duo. She and Simons referred to them as “sartorial representations of care and responsibility,” an indication of steadiness in a shifting world. Uniforms, in a way, are about time: the investment of skills and the persistence of labor. Utilitarian pieces like military jackets and duffel coats were juxtaposed with inordinately pretty and social event-worthy items (bridal gown-inspired 3D embellished floral skirts, candy-colored pumps.) It felt like their way of closing the gap between two diametrically opposed slices of fashion: quotidian fare and occasion dressing. Why is beauty restricted to certain socially-sanctioned moments? Why can’t we treat the on a regular basis as an event, too?

dior raw fall 2023

Dior fall 2023.

Courtesy of the designer.

At Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri looked to the Fifties, which don’t get as much of an airing in a fashion industry currently besotted with the ’90s and aughts. Drawing from the life and variety of Catherine Dior (the home founder’s sister, a flower farmer and French Resistance fighter) and the singers Edith Piaf and Juliette Gréco, she crafted beatnik-existentialist uniforms that nodded on the undersung radicalism of the period. For Chiuri, clothing can absolutely be as mental as a Left Bank café society habitué. She called it “the tactile embodiment of a type of pondering, a method of approaching, of tuning into the world.”

bottega veneta fall 2023

Bottega Veneta fall 2023.

Swan Gallet

Bottega Veneta’s Matthieu Blazy followed up last season’s “Kate Moss in (luxe leather masquerading as denim) jeans and a flannel shirt” moment with sharp trenches, shirting and suits. While it had its maximalist moments, the gathering demonstrated his power in the case of low-key luxury. In his hands, even an easy white tank and jeans combo looked newly irresistible.

bally fall 2023

Bally fall 2023.

Courtesy of the designers.

Two young designers making much-anticipated sophomore efforts—Bally’s Rhuigi Villaseñor and Ferragamo’s Maximilian Davis—showed they may play in the massive leagues with their fall collections. Called “The Persistence of Time,” Villaseñor’s collection was inspired by Hollywood, and it felt imbued with cinema’s heritage and history, whether it was the après-skiwear of Old Hollywood icons or the vestiges of red carpets past. Clearly, Villaseñor was one in all many designers rethinking their very own personal tempo. To cite from his show notes, “his approach eschews the fleeting moment for the total movie.”

ferragamo fall 2023

Backstage at Ferragamo fall 2023.

Courtesy of Ferragamo.

Davis also looked to the silver screen, and the past. He went back to the wealthy text that’s the house’s cinematic heritage, particularly within the Fifties, the era that saw Salvatore Ferragamo outfitting Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren. “I used to be excited about using their glamour and sweetness, and their way of dressing, as a reference, but taking a look at how we could make it feel modern,” the designer said in his show notes. He desired to give attention to “the more romantic side” of the last decade, with elements like off-the-shoulder necklines and full skirts. But Davis’ midcentury starlet had an edge to her, too, one which got here out in candy-wrapper surfaces and pops of fireplace hydrant red and highlighter yellow.

the row winter 2023

The Row winter 2023.

Courtesy of the designer.

And at The Row, all the time a bastion of Carolyn Bessette-style reserve, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen turned out grand gestures, like exaggeratedly oversized, knotted capes, or dresses with dramatic opera gloves. Despite their heightened quality, the garments felt like they existed in real life, not on a runway—particularly within the case of a brilliant red coat clutched to the chest together with gloves and a minibag, the best way the designers themselves might in one in all their very own endlessly-referenced street style photos. One other brilliant spot: seeing Maggie Rizer pop up on the runway. Together with welcome returns elsewhere this season from Amber Valletta and Jessica Stam, it was a reminder that fashion is at its best when it’s timeless.

Headshot of Véronique Hyland

ELLE Fashion Features Director

Véronique Hyland is ELLE’s Fashion Features Director and the creator of the book Dress Code, which was chosen as one in all The Recent Yorker’s Best Books of the 12 months. Her writing has previously appeared in The Recent York Times Magazine, The Recent Yorker, W, Recent York magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and Condé Nast Traveler.

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