Paris Fashion Week 2023 Through the Lens of Offbinary

Paris Fashion Week 2023 Through the Lens of Offbinary

by Triston Brewer - March 2023

From androgynous and gender fluid to gender neutral, Paris Fashion Week 2023 presented an extensive range of collections challenging the traditional gender binary spectrum of self-expression. Younger generations of fashion-forward people have made the case for more variety, demanding more inclusivity and freedom of expression through their apparel. Street style was heavily featured across many brands, with skirts, maxi coats, and punk accessories added to the mix. Here are our top looks from Paris Fashion Week 2023.

Non Binary Fashion on the Runway

Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent

Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello has made his mission statement clear with his latest release: to make no gender-based distinctions. With his latest collection for Paris Fashion Week, the designer debuted a definitive stylistic approach that brought the power suit and the big blazers of the 80s to present day. By ambitiously featuring the hypermasculine aesthetics of yesteryear and combining them with ultra-feminine accents, the brand has decided to bring big fashion back to the center stage.

Capes make a comeback in Saint Laurent’s latest collection.

A sea of models in androgynous looks with aviator glasses and slicked back hair took to the floor displaying big blazers in mainly muted colors of black, navy, and brown. Dark pinstriped jackets paired with pencil skirts, bodysuits, and sheer chiffon tops with plunging necklines were accessorized with leather gloves, large silk bows, pocket squares, and hoop earrings, emphasizing the bigger is better motif in both size and scale. Vaccarello is revered for his draping expertise and his latest collection played up asymmetry to complete his vision of a gender neutral dynamic to fashion. The highlight look from the offering was a shirtless model in an elegant black suit with large shoulders and tapered pants, complete with a sheer black cape - a refreshing take on a traditional and classic design. All told, Saint Laurent succeeded in executing a sophisticated and compelling merger of feminine and masculine fashion.

Marine Serre

Sustainability is always at the center of Marine Serre’s designs, and for her latest collection, the brand expanded its base with upcycled fashion while blending the lines between masculine and feminine apparel. Serre took inspiration from her own words that celebrated art as a transformative and recycled process, using deadstock to prove her point with impeccable designs.

Tote couture rules the runways in Marine Serre’s latest collection

Already noted for her expertise with upcycled denim, Serre took her latest collection to new heights by broadening her audience beyond the usual linens, tees, and silk scarves the brand is known for. At this year’s Paris Fashion Week, the designer added totes into the mix in a big way, featuring a barrage of white and beige toes on the models owning the catwalk. Recycled leather factored into moto jackets and bodysuits, as well as intricate patchwork knits in tops and scarves made from pieces of strips of material. A standout look from the collection was one model in a long-sleeved shirt and skirt made from tote bags, a singular aesthetic aimed at the progressive and adventurous. Paired with black sneakers and a small clutch bag, it served up an exciting mix of fashion offering a unique perspective.

Benjamin Benmoyal

Benjamin Benmoyal’s latest collection is simultaneously a homage to gender-free fashion as well as his Moroccan roots, where androgyny is celebrated for centuries. For his latest release, Benmoyal took his love of colorful fabrics and flowing silhouettes to new heights with looks that bridged the gap between sportswear and formal attire.

Benjamin Benmoyal merges androgyny with Moroccon roots
Benjamin Benmoyal merges androgyny with Moroccon roots 

The designer chose to incorporate a broad range of looks, including floor-length, printed floral silk dresses paired with blazers, chunky checked pants with hoodies, and upcycled tweeds made from deadstock yarns. Standouts from the presentation were two suits available in royal blue and brown - multicolored striped pants paired with matching fringed jackets gave the gender-fluid aesthetic a thrilling perspective perfect for the boldest fashion risk-takers. With his latest collection, Benmoyal stayed true to his roots whilst forging a new lane in progressive design.

Nigo for Kenzo

Kenzo has never been a label to follow trends, and instead has carved a niche in the industry for its alternative spin on current fashion. At Paris Fashion Week, creative director Nigo took inspiration from The Beatles to mesh the classic sounds of the popular 60s group with unconventional elements of Japanese and American street culture added to the mix.

Kenzo takes to the city with latest British-inspired collection

Nigo’s presentation had a decidedly English perspective, imbued with the designer’s appreciation for Japanese silhouettes and dimensions, which were prominently featured on the eclectic cast of models displaying the looks. Those in attendance for PFW2023 witnessed models wearing blanket coats in tweed, wide, haori jackets with their signature skirt element, preppy school uniforms, floral printed denim jackets, bucket hats, and metallic bags for added flare. A top look from offering was a red and blue haori jacket with matching pants, beret and silver purse, an upscale aesthetic for day or night. Kenzo’s current collection is a measured dissection of conformity against the backdrop of multiculturalism.

Ludovic de Saint Sernin 

Fetish fashion and clothes which push sexual boundaries are components to Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s eponymous line that are never overlooked across seasons. The newly minted creative director at Ann Demeulemeester has a penchant for the outré, and for Paris Fashion Week, the Belgian-born designer moved beyond his signature leather jocks straps and kink couture to take on a punk rock aesthetic.

Ludovic de Saint Sernin skirts gender in a revealing mesh ensemble

Heavily featured throughout the presentation were models in a generous amount of leather along with fitted denim pantsuits that accentuated silhouettes. Also seen were ultra mini skirts, mesh tops, oversized and frayed sweaters showing a lot of skin – looks brimming with sensuality and sex appeal. LdSS sent one model down the runway in a black singlet under a see-through black mesh body suit and black boots, an outfit designed for fashion’s boldest. Overall, the presentation introduced the latest iterations of gender fluid looks that push the sartorial envelope and the tenets of design.

Kim Jones for Dior

Drawing inspiration from Saint Laurent’s first collection at Dior as well as from T.S. Eliot’s poem ‘The Waste Land’, current creative director Kim Jones took an innovative approach at this year’s Paris Fashion Week that continued to press against the status quo and reinvent the traditional look and ambiance of the season. Going against the grain with colors typically associated with the spring and summer seasons, Dior presented a subdued and elegant collection for an enraptured audience.

Dior offers men a crisp, elegant take on the pleated skirt

Jones is known for his daring approach to creating his collections, and his penchant for shape-shifting and realigning conventional apparel continues to be a primary theme. In step with T.S. Eliot’s influence during the 1920s, Dior debuted classic trench coats, tweed jackets, cardigans, and wide trousers that were associated with the era. In a thoroughly modern move, models were also seen in draped knits, skorts, kilts, and cable-knit sweaters paired with dress shirts and wool blazers. A signature look from the collection featured a model in a pale blue skirt, white button-down shirt, paired with a matching blue and white sweater, an oversleeve, and chunky black boots. By combining the past with a steady gaze towards the future, Dior remains a progressive authority on exceptional fashion.

Charaf Tajer for Casablanca

Courage against the backdrop of war fueled the inspiration for creative director Charaf Tajer at Casablanca’s presentation at Paris Fashion Week which highlighted the strength of the Syrian people while living in a war-torn country. With the runway transformed into a refitted hangar, the floor featured a fighter jet adorned with flowers.

Casablanca takes the checkered approach in men’s leisure suit featuring vibrant color

Color was in abundance, and the models were decked out in the full spectrum of the rainbow as they walked across a checkerboard stage in peppermint-hued trousers and A-line minidresses with elegant pearl buttons, and 70s-styled white caps complete with sequins. Also seen on the runway were models in matching denim pants and jacket with a bold tri-colored strips of color, white tennis skirts, bomber jackets, and leisure suits embellished with hearts. The de facto look of the collection, however, was Casablanca’s bold foray into the dandy look in a checkerboard panel suit in bold primary colors and a structured silhouette – a dramatic offering an unforgettable visual.

Florentin Glémarec and Kévin Nompeix for EgonLab

To paraphrase the design team of Florentin Glémarec and Kévin Nompeix, the time is now to leave the fantasy world behind and enter reality. But in a twist which would make Vivienne Westwood proud – and for whom the presentation was dedicated to – EgonLab debuted a collection that posited dreams are just as integral. The pair drove the point of androgynous fashion home with an extensive use of distorted proportions, liberal use of layering, and tailoring that supported the dynamic of gender-free apparel.

EgonLab thinks pink with bold jacket and garters combination

The vibe was decidedly punk as the models taking to the runway in daring fashion the included low-cut bumsters paired with high-waisted briefs, plaid kilts tethered to sleeves, overly distressed denim embellished with floral prints, slinky halter tops, and plaid jackets paired with low-slung matching trousers. Bursting with fluidity in each look, the piece de resistance had one model in an oversized pink blazer, black garters, black thigh-high boots, and one of the signature black and blue scarves featuring throughout the collection – an ensemble demonstrating the intricacy and technical prowess of its creators.

Julius and Victor Juul for Heliot Emil

Taking experimental fashion to new heights for Paris Fashion Week were designing duo Julius and Victor Juul, the co-creative forces behind Heliot Emil and leaders in expanding the scope of current fashion norms. True to their principles of going against the grain, the Danish pair took inspiration from sculptor Henry Moore to create a line punctuated with asymmetry, exaggerated proportions, and dramatic shapes for the full visual effect.

Urban warfare receives the proper look in Heliot Emil’s black leather pants paired with black hoodie and blazer.

With the audience adhering to an all-black dress code, Heliot Emil placed their models in body-con puffers, sexy leather mini skirts in shimmering silver, white pant suits, and silver jumpsuits that could best be described as renegade chic. One prime example of the label’s commitment to genderless clothing was one model featured in baggy black leather pants paired with an oversized black jacket, black hoodie, silver shades, and black lunch box, a distinctive look brimming with street style.

Hed Mayner

Hed Mayner creates clothing that will never be defined as conventional, and it is exactly the lane continuing to drive his current release, a collection unfazed with normative views and instead in slashing the narrative through inclusive, gender neutral apparel. At Paris Fashion Week 2023, Mayner took scaling to dizzying proportions with clothes celebrating wide sloping shoulders, box-cuts, and precision tapering which questioned sartorial edicts.

Top caliber caping and construction in Hed Mayner’s black suit complete with fitted cap

Inspired in part by the bold dynamic of the 80s power suit, Mayner placed models in drop-shoulder blazers, crisp white collared shirts, pleated skirts, lapel overcoats, and larger than life trousers which billowed over the model’s shoes. Italian tailoring was seen throughout the collection as current components of the traditional “men’s apparel” were decimated and deconstructed to precision. One winning look of the night featured a model in a black suit paired with a cream, form-fitting cap - a sculpted, sophisticated approach to new wave fashion.

Kiko Kostadinov

Opting for a trajectory intended to directly confront the restrictions of the traditional, Bulgarian designer drew inspiration from a trip of notable Italian designers of yesteryear - Anne-Marie Beretta, Irene Lentz and Sorelle Fontana – combined with an homage to his grandmother to create a collection brimming with classic tailoring across a vibrant color scheme.

Kiko Kostinadov has men sleeveless in the city in overcoat paired with knee-high boots

Utilizing vivid hues in vermillion, chartreuse, magenta, violet, and teal, Kostadinov challenged the conventional with each offering, with models featured in wide-leg trousers puckered at the waist, jackets boasting V-shaped hems, sleeveless overcoats with capes, trench coats and more. A highlight from the colorful presentation was a model in a two-toned sleeveless overcoat the flowed to the knee and was paired with knee-high black and yellow boots. Kostadinov proved with this collection an off-kilter kitsch which knows no boundaries. 

Challenging Gender Conformity with Each Successive Collection

Confronted with new tenets of design, several fashion brands presenting at Paris Fashion Week 2023 have answered the call to produce fashion representing a broader range of self-expression that goes beyond the gender binary. With presentations celebrating inclusion, the mission of today’s labels as showcased during PFW 2023 entails liberation from old societal norms of design. 

If you like this article, this one on Copenhagen Fashion Week 2023 and this on London 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.