Androgynous Looks from London Fashion Week 2023

Androgynous Looks from London Fashion Week 2023

by Triston Brewer - March 2023

London Fashion Week 2023 was met with heightened anticipation as some of the most revered and iconic brands released their latest collections to the public. The LFW23 schedule was brimming with talent both new and old, with a proper commemoration of the late Dame Vivienne Westwood. As a true testament to her enduring legacy as a progressive designer, her influence could be seen across several runway shows that pushed the boundaries with androgynous looks with an astounding spectrum of colors and silhouettes. Here are the 10 looks from London Fashion Week 2023 that showcased an extraordinary mix of the masculine and feminine to distinction.

Androgynous Looks from the Runway 

Simone Rocha

Few designers offer the sartorial poetry in motion as does Simone Rocha, and her eponymous brand. For Rocha’s latest collection, she took inspiration from her roots, with Irish band “Lankum” performing folk songs as the models displayed an intriguing set of apparel both revealing and celebratory. Simone Rocha veered towards romanticism and opulence with her latest offering, featuring gold cloqué dresses, flaired ballerina skirts, large macramé collars, and boxy overcoats - all designed to be a wink and nod to the Gaelic holiday Lughnasadh.

Simone Rocha is synonymous for exquisite application of bows and ribbons which were prominently displayed throughout immaculately crocheted sweater vests and gowns. Ruffled dresses with voluminous sleeves made with intricate patchwork design were a clear highlight. Androgyny made its presence felt with one model walking the runway in straight-leg leather pants paired with a see-through black crocheted sweater vest that extended just below the hips. Overall, the collection represented resilience and power through the power of design.

Sinéad O’Dwyer

Inclusivity may be one of the predominant trends in the fashion world, but there are few designers that are able to expertly incorporate it into their works as well as Sinéad O’Dwyer, who took her latest show to celebrate the full spectrum of the human form. Revisiting her Irish roots throughout her collection, O’Dwyer took the initiative to present models from all walks of life to showcase a line inspired by her grandmother’s fondness for the classic styles from 1940s cinema.

Androgyny reigned supreme in Sinéad O’Dwyer’s blue halter in with signature moulded bust construction paired with chocolate brown track pants.
Sinéad O’Dwyer’s blue halter with moulded bust with chocolate brown track pants. Photocredit: London Fashion Week 2023 

Impeccable construction was featured in each look, with the models presenting a diverse range including Shibari-themed tights, tailored trenchcoats, satin blouses, fishnets, and a burst of neon color that added character and a hint of playfulness to the collection. Defying the conventional was a constant theme seen by the audience, with O’Dwyer featuring a pregnant model on the catwalk in a revealing cut-out catsuit. But androgyny reigned supreme in the label’s definitive look of the night – a fitted halter in blue with signature moulded bust construction and baggy brown trousers – the perfect weekend warrior aesthetic for city dwellers. For LFW 20230, Sinéad O’Dwyer proved that fashion can – and should – be for everyone.

Roksanda Ilincic for Roksanda

Roksanda’s latest collection merged the power of the psychedelic with the vibrance of couture from generations prior. Inspired by the late Atsuko Tanaka, the woman behind the brand, Roksanda Ilinčić, reinterpreted one of the Japanese artist’s most famous pieces for a new era. Tanaka was well-known during her heyday for extensive use of vibrant colors, a component heavily featured in Roksanda’s runway show that made a presence with each piece.

 Structured blazers and flowing satin pants demonstrated Roksanda’s use of volume to create a bold silhouette.

Structured blazers and flowing satin pants demonstrated Roksanda’s bold silhouette. Photocredit: London Fashion Week 2023 

The collection included models walking in daring structured blazers with geometric patterns, flowing silk gowns made from taffeta, and draped column dresses in electric hues of blue, orange, and fuchsia. The top note, standout look from Roksanda this season expertly straddled the fine line between the masculine and feminine. The elongated, dark green and black trench coat featured extreme shoulders paired with billowy satin pants, a prime example of the label’s dedication to volume to produce wearable art.

Saul Nash

Activewear took a decidedly chilly turn through designer Saul Nash’s collection at this year’s London Fashion Week, taking the après-ski look to the London jetset crowd in distinct way. For a city that rarely sees winter wonderlands, Nash brought the season to the city and country with technical pieces which were not only beautiful but tailored to precision.

Saul Nash served ski couture in an ice blue tracksuit with Ugg boots, matching white gloves and scarf – an elevated version of a future winter classic.

Saul Nash's ski couture in an ice blue tracksuit, matching white gloves and scarf. Photocredit: London Fashion Week 2023 

The cold never looked this cool, and tracksuits in an abundance of color became a focal point for those in attendance. The label sent a procession of models down the runway in merino wool sweaters with aerated vents, padded down vests and coats, tailored gilets with removable sleeves, and Ugg boots plus Oakley sunglasses for the full ski resort aesthetic. One of the more upscale offerings from the latest collection was a blue tracksuit with quilted boots, plus matching gloves, and sweater – an elevated version of a future winter classic and in line with the label’s re-route of ski couture. 

Christopher Kane for Christopher Kane

It should come to no surprise that Christopher Kane entered the season presenting the unexpected, and what was in store for audiences this LFW2023 was plenty of singular twists in design that few brands could pull off this spectacularly. The brand experimented with looks singularly weaving his working class Glasgow roots and his penchant for the luxurious and high glamour.

Christopher Kane’s reworking of the blazer featuring strategic cutouts paired with matching black pants evoked a sleek and refined aesthetic.

Christopher Kane’s reworking of the blazer. Photocredit: London Fashion Week 2023 

Off-kilter prints featuring pigs, mice, and even weed were part of the motif, with the models showcasing classic shapes and fabrics on skirts adorned with ruffled busts and pencil skirts that were expertly tailored. A prime example of Kane’s singular vision featured one model in a black structured blazer with strategic front cutouts and matching black pant suit, embellished with a front panel print of flowers for a cozy, chic aesthetic. The mission of any Christopher Kane collection has always been to challenge the current standard and produce interesting clothes of beauty which tell a story. Mission accomplished.

A Sai Ta for Asai

After a hiatus of four years, A Sai Ta returned to the runways in full force with a collection that celebrated his Asian roots with definitive styles seeped in luxury and decadence. The designer made a concerted effort to break away from the traditional restraints typically associated with masculine and feminine clothing, veering towards the androgynous. The bold looks interweaved the nostalgic with the futuristic.

The daring collection was breathtaking and a break from any semblance of the traditional, featuring a progressive display of luxurious apparel that referenced iconic Asian culture. Included in the mix were a fire engine red halter dress, intricately frayed gowns, distressed denim, tie-dyed frocks, and even nunchucks and spiked leather ball weaponized as a fashion accessories. Asai took the trajectory to new heights when one model took to the runway in patchwork denim and leather halter tunic accessorized with a denim bucket hat and black nunchucks – a look few could pull off as convincingly. After four years of sitting on the sidelines, Asai returned with a vengeance and proved to everyone it was well worth the wait.

Antonio Vattev for AV Vattev 

Through his eponymous brand, Antonio Vattev posited a dramatic runway collection teeming with the precision and progressive aesthetic that has instantly set the Bulgarian in a class all his own. By experimenting with distinct color schemes and innovative texturing, AV Vattev presented an audacious line specifically designed for the sartorially progressive.

Honoring the legacies left by the sculptor Christo and painter Georgie O’Keeffe, AV Vattev combined the best of their techniques to the sartorial world. He drew inspiration from the geometric patterns favored by O’Keeffe, offering angular cutouts on leather, cableknit vests with matching wrap-around skirts, knitted balaclavas and more. One runaway hit from Vattev’s latest offering represented a masterclass in construction – a non-traditional tracksuit re-designed as an anorak with distinctive intersecting lines, matching track pants paired with knee-high boots – the epitome of upscale activewear. The designer proved his sculptural prowess in anoraks and nylon parkas, a sleek, original display honoring the traditional while simultaneously commemorating artistic legacies.

Mowalola Ogunlesi for Mowalola

Mowalola Ogunlesi is one designer that understands that streets are always talking. Her attuned ear to the avenues was apparent in her latest collection which brought the bold and the sexy to dizzying new heights as well as daring lows. A sartorial statement high on shock value, Mowalola chose New York City as the cultural backdrop to her display of clothes that rebelled against conformity.

Mowalola destroyed and reconstructed the current pop landscape with pieces showing plenty of skin and the prerequisite that the wearer has the moxie to confidently pull it off. The label is already well-adept at leather work and this latest collection served up leather harness tops and bombers for the rebel set, revealing bandeau tops, micro skirts, and low-rider trousers with risqué cutouts which fully embraced androgyny. The pinnacle of the collection was when Mowalola presented a model taking the runway in dropped down blue denim jeans with oversized cargo pockets paired with a grey hoodie and b-baller cap – the quintessential New York look refashioned for those with a sense for flair.

S.S. Daley

The trajectory of Steven Stokey-Daley and his S.S. Daley brand have been meteoric, primarily based on his ability to shape-shift and rearrange the status quo of design on a whim. The brand took inspiration from the iconic singer Kate Bush and Lord Alfred Tennyson to produce a collection that also managed to weave in the designer’s lineage as seafaring folk through nautical pieces. 

S.S. Daley presented one model in an oversized knit sweater featuring customized Breton stripes and asymmetrical neck collar, combined with flared pleated pants.

S.S. Daley presents oversized knit sweater combined with flared pleated pants. Photocredit: London Fashion Week 2023.

Hollywood screen legend Sir Ian McKellan opened the show with a Tennyson recitation wearing a navy blue peacoat with matching wide-leg pants, a silk sailor hat and scarf. Other models featured signature Daley singlets with cutouts and embedded animal prints, cargo pants, flared skirts, and oversized tweed coats. Proving the S.S. Daley look is in zone of its own, the designer presented one model in a large knit sweater with customized Breton stripes and asymmetrical neck collar, paired with flared pleated pants. The seas never looked this tantalizing and S. S. Daley brought the motif to life by capturing its simplicity.

David Koma for David Koma

Glamour as armor seemed to be the central theme for David Koma’s latest presentation, with the eponymous brand reimagining the classic tuxedo shirt worn by German goddess Marlene Dietrich and infusing a dominatrix vibe. By reconstructing the aesthetic for a new era, Koma played up the dynamic between the masculine and feminine. With crimson red enveloping the room from ceiling to floor, the models took to the catwalk in an array of looks that exposed the dichotomy of design.

Dietrich openly embraced androgyny as part of her singular style, and Koma took the opportunity this season to weave the dynamic into micro skirts, shirt dresses, fishtail gowns, PVC coats, corsets and more. Also on display were asymmetrical cuts paired with cropped suit jackets and accessorized with opera gloves and leather rosettes. The showstopper look of the presentation perfectly traversed the gender gap with a model taking to the catwalk in only an open, oversized jacket, a metallic tie, hot pants and signature thigh-high boots. Capped off with the obligatory cigarette as the ultimate accessory, David Koma yet again proved his devotion to for the provocative, while embracing femininity with an edge this season.

LFW23 Celebrated Legacy While Ushering in the Future of Androgynous Fashion

London Fashion Week 2023 encompassed several perspectives that continue to push the industry towards more inclusivity while expanding the boundaries of the current status quo. Several mainstream brands in the industry injected new life into their collections and newer brands proved they were up to the task of carrying the baton left with the passing of Vivienne Westwood by producing progressive fashion featuring androgynous looks in innovative ways.

If you like this article, this one on Copenhagen Fashion Week 2023 and this one on Paris Fashion Week 2023 might also interest you. 

Triston Brewer is an international journalist and digital bon vivant. He has been published in The Huffington Post and featured in New York Times, Vogue Italia, and The Washington Post, to name a few.