Fashion can best be defined as an experimental theatre where designers and set producers work collaboratively, almost hand-in-hand, to stun, send a message, and comment on the current state of our societies via impressive sartorial creations. However, this wasn’t always the case. In the past decade, runway shows have taken a more dramaturgical approach, with each respective label attempting to create immersive narratives that extend beyond mere garments and accessories.
Instead of simply presenting their latest textile-based works, could it be out of ethical consciousness or to surf on the current trend of being aware and socially responsible, brands are now keen on wanting to become a platform where clients and shoppers can reflect on the world we live in, the path humans are collectively embarking on, as well as the impact of our individual choices. Examples of such probing of our existence are numerous, but the latest to have caught the fashion industry’s attention has to be Hugo Boss, which presented its fall 2023 ready-to-wear show in Milan last week, taking guests on a journey through the world of tomorrow by way of artificial intelligence, robotics, and augmented reality.
Veering off its typical blockbuster-esque presentations, the German brand spearheaded by Italian Senior Vice President of Creative Direction Marco Falcioni since March 2022, took a different path this year. Despite stringing another star-studded event from the models on the runway to the guests sitting front row, the collection served the fashion elite with a thought-provoking questioning of work culture, the advent of new technologies, and the standardization of our daily lives.
Transporting its audience into a futuristic landscape where clothing is not just a form of self-expression but instead a display of the challenges that lie ahead in our rapidly changing world, everything was built and set up for guests to feel estranged by the amount of innovation they found themselves submerged in. Inside the venue, six cubicles were installed, each depicting a specific scene, on repeat, and which kept on going on all throughout the night. Our favorite ones included a depiction of a scene where Boss fragrances were being rustled with the help of a robotic arm; another saw three individuals laid back on a sanitary deck chair being perfused with a substance that remained unknown to the public yet reminiscent of Frankenstein’s birth; while a third set depicted five scientists discussing between each other, which many argued could have been the Boss laboratory’s decision-making board.
Despite a minor delay in the show’s kickoff, the collection was well-proportioned. The show opened with part-Palestinian model Gigi Hadid, followed by British boxer Anthony Joshua, TikTok sensation Khaby Lame, and American curve model Ashley Graham. Catering to all types of shoppers, inclusivity seemed to be one of the keywords of the collection, involving a diverse cast of all ages, sizes, ethnicities, and disabilities.
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Taking a bold step towards redefining corporate fashion with a futuristic twist, the new offering featured trench coats, sharp tonal shirting, and leather briefcases, infusing office wear with a cool edge. Basically, think of suits but 20 years from now. Looks were completed with cropped workwear jackets, khaki trousers, and elegant ensembles, offering a fresh take on what 9 to 5 dressing could look like in a few years from now, which were at some points, unintentionally modest for the benefit of our region. In addition to its fashion-forward garments, the collection presented a playful yet functional range of accessories that drew inspiration from office supplies like paper clips, pens, and folders, reimagined in unique forms.
Marking a significant new direction for the brand, the Corporate Corpus (Corporate-Core) theme nodded to Boss’s age-old tailoring legacy, acknowledging that the impeccably tailored suit that once symbolized power has evolved, no longer relying on the confines of tradition but embracing a fresh, inclusive vision of style and empowerment because everyone can be a boss, it’s just a matter of believing it yourself.
Speaking on the collection, Marco Falcioni revealed that the show’s concept was born during his return flight from the previous season’s Boss showcase in Miami. The spark? The film Being John Malkovich, which depicted workplaces as dull and oppressive. Falcioni’s mission? Flip the script, trading in the oppressive vibes for its polar opposite. Looking back, it’s clear that his vision did manifest into something other, a pleasant surprise amidst all that can be seen in the current fashion landscape.
Scroll some of this season’s looks: