Device Driven Dressing at Courrèges FW23

Nicolas Di Felice has presented a collection with a straightforward sense of sexiness that is subverted through our obsession with our phones

The Courrèges Fall 2023 Ready-to-Wear Collection opened with a phone-in-hand model, her face lit up from the harsh white glow emitting from the device. She wears a hoodie underneath a stiffly crafted coat, giving the silhouette of a downturned triangle, as she proceeds down the runway and the entire venue begins to light up from darkness. Creative Director Nicolas Di Felice has modeled the collection on the physical stance of this act in of itself; the way the body changes as it leans over a screen. 

Throughout the collection, the majority of oversized jackets and coats from denim to leather to wool have been made with openings along the side of the body, which allows for the wearer to stick their arms out of the portals while the silhouette of the jacket as a whole remains unchanged. These jackets pose interesting questions both in their physicality as well as conceptually; is the consistent option to use these slots rather than sleeves a way of upholding structure within the garments while hands are busy typing away? Or is it a sly statement on how our bodies become almost misshapen as we bend and slouch over on our phones? I think both. The hammering in of this design-trick implies that for either channel in which it has been done; it is clear that Di Felice sees the constant accessory of the iPhone as instrumental to the garments we wear.

As far as the accessorization of the looks coming down the runway, there is a consistent use of large metal disk mirror necklaces; both close to the neck as well as suspended downwards towards the midsection. These disks are most successful where they fit into adequate circular cutouts within dresses and coats, acting as a sort of fitting of puzzle pieces that creates a sexy sense of tension. 

Another moment of sexual tension is evident in the reappearing navel cutouts presented throughout the collection. Cutouts are often a dime a dozen in the creation of sensual fashion, yet Di Felice’s focus on the belly button calls for an inquisitive look at the way we reveal ourselves through the clothing we wear. Even avant-garde reveler Julia Fox was sporting the belly button reveal while sitting front row at the show in Paris. The look where this is most intriguing in practice is in the presentation of a no-frills black skirt, a sheer nude bodysuit with the navel cutout, and a pair of leather gloves that extend all the way up the arm and creep up onto the model’s shoulders. The sheerness of the top already reveals the entire upper half of the body, which makes the raw exposure of the belly button alone an even further evolution in the practice of revealing. 

The collection teeters back and forth between the uncomfortableness of our obsession with screens and the process of inner reflection. While undeniably sexy in the construction of garments, the collection contains an almost eerie undertone that is predominantly concerned with growing screen time. Di Felice’s exploration of our device-driven posture is an intriguing current that runs through the presentation of sensual clothing, toying with ideas of covering and revealing as well as delightful silhouette explorations.

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