As 2023 draws to an end, we recall the evolution of style and the world of fashion over the past 12 months. From an array of trends to iconic moments; whether subtly understated or boldly audacious, this year’s sartorial scene has been an enthralling journey through viral sensations and noteworthy events. Think surprising pregnancy reveals, show-stopping red carpet looks and the poignant departure of fashion legends, the headlines have been diverse and riveting, capturing the collective attention of fashion enthusiasts worldwide.
The spectrum of trends in 2023 has been nothing short of remarkable, traversing from nuanced, refined elements to attention-commanding pieces that effortlessly turned heads. Echoes of past eras, from the timeless elegance of the ’50s to the edgy styles of the early 2000s, resurfaced with a contemporary twist during the events at Fashion Week. The runways witnessed a harmonious fusion of nostalgia and modernity, as classic styles seamlessly blended with avant-garde interpretations.
Celebrities played a pivotal role in shaping the narrative of this year’s fashion scene, astonishing the world with their extravagant ensembles. From Jared Leto’s Met Gala appearance as the late Karl Lagerfeld’s revered cat, Choupette, to Doja Cat’s jaw-dropping transformation at the Schiaparelli spring couture show where she was covered from head-to-toe in red Swarovski crystals. A notable trend that also gained widespread traction was the unabashed embrace of the colour pink, serving as a homage to the booming Barbiecore trend in line with the film’s highly-anticipated release.
The year became a canvas for creativity, self-expression and innovation, bringing us no shortage of significant fashion moments. Below, Vogue Singapore looks at some of the best fashion highlights of 2023.
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Rihanna's pregnancy reveal at the Super Bowl halftime show
Rihanna shocked the world this year as she took centre stage at the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show, where she debuted her baby bump in a fiery red ensemble, confirming all rumours of her pregnancy. Designed for dynamic scenography, the custom Loewe outfit featured a jersey catsuit, a sculpted leather corset and a layered flight suit.
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Pharrell Williams appointed as creative director of Louis Vuitton Men’s
In February this year, renowned musician Pharrell Williams was appointed as the new Men’s Creative Director at Louis Vuitton, succeeding the late Virgil Abloh. Williams, known for his all-rounded creativity in music, art, and fashion, unveiled his first collection in June at Men’s Fashion Week in Paris. This marks Williams as the second Black American designer to lead at Louis Vuitton, following Abloh.
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Demna returns with a subdued fall/winter 2023 show following Balenciaga's controversy
After the controversy surrounding its campaigns last year, Balenciaga’s fall/winter 2023 show was a subdued one. Departing from its usual performative style, creative director Demna embraced a more foundational approach to fashion, drawing inspiration from futurism and the concept of clothing as both armour and refuge. The collection, characterised by layering, volume, and a focus on reconstruction and exaggeration, captivates fashion enthusiasts and critics alike. Demna’s adept nod to both the future and timeless elements, along with a subtle retreat into the past, reaffirms Balenciaga’s continued prominence in the fashion world.
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Tom Ford bows out of his namesake label after 18 years
After nearly two decades at the helm of his own namesake fashion brand, Tom Ford announced his departure quietly on Instagram earlier this April. His final collection revisited iconic looks from the past 13 years, showcasing memorable pieces modelled by Amber Valetta, Joan Smalls, and Karlie Kloss. His thriving brand, encompassing a highly esteemed fashion line, a lucrative beauty segment, and an eyewear business has maintained production irrespective of his departure.
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Quiet luxury was all anyone was talking about
The enduring trend of ‘quiet luxury’ is characterised by timeless, understated pieces of the highest quality and construction. Having gained significant traction amongst celebrities and street style mavens alike, its contrast to the colourful and youthful Y2K aesthetic fell to be a breath of fresh air. With brands such as The Row, Loro Piana and Bottega Veneta leading the charge, this style trend has certainly made its mark in 2023.
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Jared Leto at the Met Gala 2023
The 2023 Met Gala was one to remember, with an homage to the prolific Karl Lagerfeld as the theme of the night. Actor Jared Leto donned a supersized hyper-realistic cat suit, a reference to Lagerfeld’s beloved cat Choupette. The extravagant feline costume—a statement entrance to say the least—drew more attention than the pearl-encrusted gowns on the red carpet and prompted a myriad of reactions from fellow attendees and the rest of the fashion world.
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The pantless trend
The no-pants trend is not a recent concept, with its introduction being traced back to the ’50s with Cyd Charisse and resurfacing in the ’90s with Chanel. For New York fashion week’s fall/winter 2023 shows, it was adopted by various fashion designers such as Dion Lee, Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung. Following that, fashion influencers and celebrities have confidently embraced the trend, with none other than Kendall Jenner arriving at the Met Gala after-party in a pantless outfit reminiscent of a vintage Chanel look—completed with black Gianvito Rossi stilettos.
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Doja Cat at the Schiaparelli couture show
Doja Cat is no stranger to the loud and unorthodox. At the Schiaparelli spring couture runway in Paris, the artist turned heads as she arrived adorned in 30,000 red Swarovski crystals. This extravagant look followed her previous headline-making appearance covered entirely in gold paint during Paris Fashion Week earlier in September 2022. Masterminded by make-up artist Pat McGrath, this look was perfectly in line with the theme of “Dante’s Inferno”, the inspiration behind the label’s collection.
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Margot Robbie at the 'Barbie' premiere
It’s Barbie’s world, and we’re just living in it. Barbie took over the world this year as the release of its film grossed $1.4 billion globally, the highest-ever global haul of a female directed live-action film. The film explores self-discovery, with a plot that contrasts fantasy to real-world complexities. As real-life Barbie, Margot Robbie impressed at the London premiere of the movie, channelling a vintage picture with a beautiful pastel pink Vivienne Westwood dress inspired by the Enchanted Evening 1960 Fashion Doll.
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Vietnamese designer Duy Tran of Fanci Club is the viral new brand to watch
Fanci Club has been a celebrity-favourite this year. Duy Tran, the 24-year-old founder, transitioned from selling second-hand clothing on Depop to upcycling and creating original designs from deadstock fabrics, with the brand’s 2021 debut showcasing ultra feminine styles that skilfully blends the Y2K aesthetic with the ‘naked dressing’ trend. Lisa of Blackpink has been sighted in custom looks from the brand for performances on multiple occasions, with other major names including Olivia Rodrigo, Davikah and Hailey Bieber all donning key pieces along the way.
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Peter Do’s debut show for Helmut Lang
Vietnam-born fashion designer Peter Do has certainly made a name for himself as one of the buzziest designers to watch. With his namesake label having gained massive international success, his appointment as the new creative director at Helmut Lang was one that was met with fervent anticipation. Noting the high expectations and archival history of the brand, Do’s inaugural debut collection was titled “Born to Go”, and paid homage to Helmut Lang’s best designs throughout the decades while incorporating Do’s penchant for contemporary tailoring and acute sense of detail.
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Sabato de Sarno’s highly-anticipated debut at the house of Gucci
Succeeding Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s new creative director Sabato De Sarno made his debut celebrating Gucci’s centenary, presenting a clean slate with a focus on ’60s-inspired tailoring, referencing the era when the house gained global recognition. The show revisited iconic elements like the Hobo bag and snaffle loafers, emphasising continuity and renewal without erasing the brand’s identity. This marked a strategic first step for De Sarno, indicating a reconsideration and reassessment rather than a complete rebranding.
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Sarah Burton exits Alexander McQueen after 26 years
Sarah Burton’s final show at Paris Fashion Week earlier in September was one that concluded with teary eyes and a roaring standing ovation. After nearly 30 years with the house of Alexander McQueen and 14 years as its creative director, Burton has left a legacy that has superseded all standards and expectations. Having worked closely alongside founder Lee McQueen, Burton has long been recognised in the industry for her impeccable tailoring and edge that bridges McQueen’s vision with a modern slant.
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Julia Fox at New York Fashion Week
Julia Fox continues to bewilder the masses with her avant-garde fashion choices, showcasing three enigmatic outfits at New York Fashion Week earlier this year. Toronto-based designer Mikhael Kale’s six-feet-tall vinyl body bag, part of the Soft Sculpture collection, stole the spotlight in Fox’s unconventional and controversial ensemble.
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The rise of girl-oriented style trends such as Mermaidcore and Balletcore
The rise of girl-oriented style has engulfed the fashion scene this year, with styles including Barbiecore, Coquettecore, Mermaidcore and even Balletcore. Originally a radical reclamation, these trends aimed to challenge societal perceptions of feminine aesthetics. Today, through young independent designers, subversive feminist fashion is now making its rounds—with pieces that initiate meaningful dialogues about women’s bodies, choices, and empowerment.
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Phoebe Philio is officially back—with a collection to show for it
British designer Phoebe Philo, former creative director of Chloé and Celine, made a highly-anticipated return with her London-based label backed by LVMH. The inaugural collection comprised 150 pieces and was released in three drops. The debut edit, A1, sold out over half its items within 24 hours, showcasing Philo’s enduring popularity and the success of her simultaneous reveal and release approach. The collection emphasises timeless pieces with a responsible production balance, aligning with Philo’s design philosophy at Celine.
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Kylie Jenner’s new clothing line, Khy
Venturing into the fashion design space for the first time, Kylie Jenner has released her new line Khy—positioned as a high-fashion brand with accessible pricing and sizing. Khy aims to redefine the concept of designer brands through functional and versatile ensembles alongside future collaborations with designers, iconic brands, and cultural influencers. The debut collection, in partnership with Namilia founders Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl, features faux-leather pieces priced between $48 and $198, available in all-accommodating sizes from XXS to 4XL, launched earlier in November.
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Blackpink takes Buckingham Palace in royal-ready fashion
South Korean girl group, Blackpink, looked like royalty as they attended a state banquet at Buckingham Palace hosted by King Charles III, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and Queen Consort Camilla. The banquet was hosted in honour of the president of the Republic of Korea and the country’s First Lady, where the King praised Blackpink for their environmental advocacy. Each member showcased their individual styles with Jisoo wearing a black puff-sleeved dress from Dior, Rosé in a classic black column gown, Jennie in a white off-the-shoulder gown, and Lisa in an aquamarine embellished cape dress by Georges Hobeika.