The past and future collide in luxury fashion's latest collections

Designers such as Pucci, Gucci and Louis Vuitton take us on metaphorical journeys through time

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Living through a pandemic, it is only natural that we now crave a sense of fun, harking back to a time when we didn’t have to fear the close proximity of other people. And nowhere is this more clearly shown than in the fashion universe, that barometer of social mood.

While dealing with Covid-19 may have broken down the rigid structure of brands trotting out new collections four times a year — to be replaced instead with a more authentic freedom to show what they want, when they want — it has created an unintentional knock-on effect, with shows appearing ad hoc across the globe.

This month alone has had big hitters such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci all roll out resort 2023 collections, as Pucci offers its autumn 2023 line.

While the calendar may be all over the place, there is a pattern emerging across the clothes.

Pucci

A look from Pucci's latest collection nods back to the house's exuberant, swirling patterns. Photo: Pucci

Despite its first foray into see-now-buy-now, Pucci has cleverly leaned into its heritage, reeling out a new take on the 1960s.

In a seasonless collection, that will be delivered in three "drops", designer Camille Miceli has embraced the colourful, vibrant past of the label, bringing its exuberant, swirling patterns to leggings, scarves-as-tops and curve-hugging mini dresses.

There were even pyjama-style top and bottoms patterned with the keyboards, now looking like futuristic circuit boards.

Romance Was Born

Romance Was Born collaborated with artist Ken Done for its latest 1980s-inspired looks. Photo: Romance Was Born

Australian Fashion Week, which ended earlier this month, also travelled through time. The latest looks from the brand Romance Was Born harked back to the 1980s through a colourful collaboration with the Australian artist Ken Done.

Known for his colourful depictions of Sydney life — from sailing boats on the water to its native flowers — all rendered in a carefree, almost childish hand, it turns out his work makes for charming clothing decoration, revealing a series of women's looks that bristled with energy.

Gucci

Gucci resort 2023 featured holographic, chevroned looks. Photo: Gucci

Gucci journeyed to a 13th-century castle in Puglia, Italy for its resort 2023 collection.

Against the building's imposing walls, creative director Alessandro Michele offered a collection that is sumptuous in its 1930s-era silhouettes, layered with faux furs and lavish strings of crystals.

A truly luscious affair, Michele called on the golden era of cinema with clingy bias-cut dresses, now made in leather, floor-length lamé capes, finished with Elizabethan-era starched ruffs around necks and wrists.

Best of all were the holographic, chevroned looks that started as a simple cowl-necked two-tone top and dress, and ended with a dress on which stripes spiralled away from a single point via sumptuous faux furs with diamond patterns.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton's resort 2023 fashion show at the Salk Institute in San Diego, California on May 12, 2022, featured draping across the shoulders. AFP

Over in California, Louis Vuitton began its 2023 resort show with clothes that also felt from another era. Heavy wool jacquard was cut into dresses padded out at the hip like something from the 1600s.

Artistic director Nicolas Ghesquiere likes to draw together different historical ages, and this show was no different in that regard. What was new was the thoughtful new atmosphere. The heavy cloth shifted to being draped across shoulders and wrapped loosely on hips like modern-day warrior women, while fabric "scales" echoed cathedral stained glass windows and chain mail armour.

Elsewhere, metallic looks and fabric headwraps brought to mind the futuristic world depicted in the film Dune.

Updated: May 22, 2022, 10:40 AM
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