Today’s world is not always a pleasant place to live in. Pandemics, war,
inflation… In recent months, the bad news just keeps piling up. Whenever
Lidewij Edelkoort is at a loss for words, she prefers to dive into the
past. “Then I look at what mankind has done,” she said. “We have designed a
way of life, invented tools, invented clothing and developed weaving
techniques. Man is so inventive.”
History is resilient and at the same time a source of beauty, both
necessary for survival in troubled times, said the trend forecaster during
the online seminar in which she shared the trends for autumn/winter
It is for this reason that Edelkoort took viewers deep into history with
her. Archaeology formed the premise of her presentation, in which Edelkoort
referred to excavated objects, but also to the practice of digging itself.
The trends were divided into different historical periods, from the Stone
Age to the future. Each period represented a different aspect of
Edelkoort’s trend story, from which FashionUnited summarised the most
Sand and stones: earthy tones and rough edges
Anyone looking for ancient treasures often has to work through layers of
sand and stones first. It is easy to forget that these sand and stones can
also be treasures themselves. There are endless combinations of colours and
structures in pebbles, boulders and grains. In addition, the earth may
contain minerals that are suitable for making pigments, such as yellow or
red ochre, the warm earth tones that were already used for wall paintings
in prehistoric times. These shades will be back in fashion next autumn,
especially for knitwear and raw fabrics.
The shine of metal: bronze, iron and gold
The Bronze Age (ca. 3000 to 800 BC) takes its name from the ways that
were used during this time to process metals, such as bronze, into tools,
weapons and jewellery, among other things. The subtle shine of bronze will
be on the catwalks in autumn 2023.
The Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age, a metal that will also make
a comeback in fashion, as both a material and in the form of deep,
grey-blue shades. A third metal to come into play is gold, which has held
an important role in historical cultures worldwide. It, too, will return in
various forms: as gold-coloured weaving thread, for example, or in
Antique sculptures and classic jackets
Opposite the hard, deep gloss of metals, autumn 2023 features a soft,
tactile minimalism, which Edelkoort derived from antique sculptures and
structures made by the Greeks and Romans. Loosely woven, pleated or quilted
materials refer to the ridges and lines of classical statues and
Edelkoort specifically referred to the type of sculptures that were made
between 4000 and 1000 BC on the Cyclades, a Greek group of islands. They
are stylised images of human figures that appear both cool and friendly. In
fashion, their abstract forms recur as carefully cut garments in pale white
or warm grey.
Edelkoort expected the jacket in particular to become a popular item
this autumn. Not a hard, business-like jacket that is meant for the office,
but a comfortable one that gives the wearer the feeling that they can take
on the world.
Pigments from plants and animals
Besides the rich hues of earth and metals, Edelkoort also introduced
colour charts and designs based on pigments from plants and animals.
Bacteria and fungi, for example, some of the oldest inhabitants of the
earth, can produce the most eccentric colours and patterns. Designers such
as Ilfa Siebenhaar and Laura Luchtman are already experimenting with using
bacteria to dye clothes.
Into the future: fashion from the metaverse
At the end of her presentation, Edelkoort hurls the viewers into the
future: a future in neon colours, which for once do not come back as
angular, geometric planes and lines, but in free combinations and drawings.
Bright colours, playful shapes and optical illusions leak into fashion from
the metaverse, a virtual world where – so Edelkoort hopes – fashion will be
actively experimented with.
*This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.NL. Translation and
edit by: Rachel Douglass.*