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Anyone who’s ever gone on a high-speed joy ride knows there’s a sense of freedom, of rebelliousness, and of youth that’s hard to replicate. And yet, somehow, Zadig & Voltaire has managed to capture it effortlessly. For the French fashion brand’s fall 2023 collection, creative director Cecilia Bönström drew inspiration from the auto industry, but rather than using the road and track as her north star, she looked to the nostalgic designs of old, classic cars. “Tonight was really about two pictures: vintage red car seats and a woman in a full leather biker look,” she tells me after the show on Friday.
The collection—which presented womenswear as well as some menswear looks—teemed with the spirit of revolt topped off with a feminine flare, and that was exactly what the Swedish designer was going for. Models walked around a fountain of flames—which, Bönström shared, represented the burning desire for independence—in boxy, but relaxed, silhouettes. Think: textured leather suits with oversized blazers and relaxed leather pants, and a tough, Matrix-style trench coat with a sheer black lace slip dress peeking out from underneath.
For Zadig & Voltaire, fall 2023 isn’t solely about the edgy biker-chic look one typically associates with leather jackets and combat boots (though there were plenty of those to go around on the runway). The F1 racing scene and the early 2000s have a heavy influence on key pieces, as well, especially with the more colorful items like a vibrant red leather jumpsuit or a coordinated set featuring a color-blocked leather jacket with matching pants. For those looking for more casual clothes, there were bejeweled long-sleeve T-shirts with graphics that could have been mistaken for brand sponsors, paired with patent pants.
Undoubtedly, these looks are meant for the dance floor. Of course, if your style leans a little more formal, there are a handful of tailored pieces to choose from. The range is a far cry from the world of comfort we often embrace once the temperatures drop—and perhaps that’s just what we need when it’s all too easy to bundle up and stay in. Suffice it to say, this is the cool shock of adrenaline to keep you out all night long.
Watch the show below:
Dale Arden Chong is the Senior Fashion Commerce Editor at ELLE.com. Previously, she was an editor at MensHealth.com and has written for Who What Wear, GLAMOUR, The Coveteur, and more. She loves fashion, food, and art, among other things—but her greatest love is K-pop idol V of BTS.