Fashion loves a deep reflection into past decades — and sometimes even past centuries.
For spring 2023, fashion designers referenced everyone from Y2K starlets to the nobility of Velazquez’s Las Meninas. The spring season’s referential look included hoop skirts, cage crinolines and pannier construction revealing a sense of romanticism and drama perfectly fitted for the times.
Panniers originated in the Spanish court dress of the 17th century, and were immortalized through the many novelty portraits of Baroque painter Diego Velazquez. They were women’s undergarments worn to extend skirts sideways while leaving the front and back flat. Cage crinolines became fashionable in the mid-19th century and were originally made of horse hair as structured petticoats designed to create exaggerated skirt volumes.
These techniques have been used on the ready-to-wear runways in the past by designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. But this season, a range of designers infused a more modern yet still conceptual spin to the historical references. Some of the most directional brands included Loewe, Matty Bovan, Monse and Dior.
At Dior, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri created the perfect balance between past and present for her spring Dior collection. “Chiuri has flirted before with historical costumes, but she has always resisted being drawn down a time tunnel, determined to dress women to meet the challenges of the here and now,” WWD’s Joelle Diderich wrote on her review of the show.
“Her spring 2023 collection sparked a dialogue between past and present that packed plenty of swagger. Think lampshade hoop skirts, lacy shirtdresses and elasticated corsets, slung over cargo pants with the same ease as a tank top,” Diderich continued.
In an exclusive preview before the show, Chiuri explained to WWD her thinking process behind her Renaissance queen. “I understood very well to what extent she also used clothes to express her power, and the relationship between fashion and power,” she said. “The idea was to mix the natural elements with the construction, and to create a Baroque ball inside the gardens of the Tuileries, but in a contemporary way.” Mission accomplished.
Jonathan Anderson used compact panniers in minidresses as a way to continue his exploration of proportion play in mind-bending ways, while Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim from Monse used cage crinolines as see-through structures on male and female models as way of bringing the historical garments into today’s conversation.