Bells marked the start of the GCDS Autumn/Winter 2023 show, enchanted by fanciful motifs drawn from fantastical stories. At Milan’s majestic Palazzo del Ghiaccio, whimsical decor decorated the venue as global pop stars – including J Balvin and Dua Lipa – flooded the room, waiting to see what co-founder Giuliano Calza had to offer.
Soon after, a working sculpture of Calza’s Kittho cat — made to mimic “Alice In Wonderland’s” Cheshire cat — was revealed with glowing eyes and active paw movements. Eerie tunes quickly followed as the models approached the catwalk, entering their own mythic story. Stunning yet equally jarring, each look arrived with exquisite proportions and a fictional feel. First up, an aviator-inspired leather suit was teamed with a smart tie and trapezoidal bag, followed by a zip-up suit and a suede coat with a sherpa lining in vibrant yellow tones. Distressed knits were then paired with distressed leather soles, which worked alongside angled-shoulder fuzzy dresses and the animal print.
Tight corsets were layered on top of an asymmetric shirt accessorized with miniature bow ties and dangling silver balls, while shimmering pants skimmed across the models’ chests to outline their slender figures. Additionally, leather skirts were modeled with cloud-like detailing on the hems worn just as high, also highlighting the eloquent pink tweed ensembles. Standard leather jackets were accompanied by frayed denim shorts that revealed moss-like fabric underneath, which adorned deconstructed blouses and jumbo-sized coats.
FW23 saw GCDS place calls on antique Bakelite telephones, turning them into earth-powered bag handles. In terms of footwear, the brand provided a number of unconventional creations with heelless heels (if you will), studded loafers and metallic knee-high boots, alongside other variations that replaced stilettos with snapping animal teeth.
Hypebeast caught up with Giuliano Calza, who personally guided us through the concept of the FW23 collection.
What was your ideation process when creating the collection?
Giuliano Calca: This year I really want to bridge the gap between my perceived public persona and who I really am by creating a collection that you would keep in your closet forever. That’s what I really enjoy on a daily basis and I think as a designer it’s more personal than just creating a collection.
How did you find the inspiration for the collection? Tell me the story behind it.
GC: I decided to research what is very dear to me and what I really like. I didn’t look outside for inspiration, but I literally noticed what was going on in my house, my cat, my books, the textures of my furniture. These are items with great memories. I took tiny pieces and translated them into a collection. People who are familiar enough with me will see small details as tributes to my life. When it comes to silhouettes, I had to look back to the past, mainly to my parents’ house and their closets.
If you could communicate one thing to your audience with this collection, what would it be?
GC: You and your own ideas are the most powerful message when privacy becomes a luxury. Identity and personality to me is the greatest thing you can offer others. Ideas and design in an instant.
Take a closer look at GCDS’ FW23 collection in the gallery above.
Elsewhere at Milan Fashion Week, MM6 Maison Margiela FW23 reinvents everyday concepts of layering.