Denim reset: 2023 will be about revisiting the classics

Designers are returning to denim archetypes – from Western shirts to 90s-inflected jeans – gently refined and subtly subverted for the new season

Man and woman in denim in backstage setting
Left, denim shirt, £650; T-shirt, £260; jeans, £650, all by Brunello Cucinelli. Right, Dhillon wears denim jacket, £432; T-shirt, £140; jeans, £656, all by Jacob Cohën. Boots, £315, by Grenson. Barbara wears vest, £113; jeans, £443, both by Jacob Cohën. Shoes, £780, by Fendi
(Image credit: Photography by Benjamin Pexton, fashion by Jason Hughes)

If recent seasons have seen more outré denim styles reign supreme on the runway – the big and baggy, the low-slung, the diamanté-encrusted or heavily embellished – the beginning of a new year offers time for a reset. Now is the moment for revisiting denim’s most timeless archetypes, from the classic blue jean to the Western-style denim shirt, both gently refined and subtly subverted by an array of designers this season. 

Denim reset: a return to the classics

Woman in double denim sat on box

Dress (worn as top), £1,350; trousers, £760; shoes, £780, all by Fendi

(Image credit: Photography by Benjamin Pexton, fashion by Jason Hughes)

These pieces are revisited at Brunello Cucinelli, which has parlayed its near-unrivalled dedication to Italian craftsmanship to create denim both soft and strong, melding the fabric’s roots in workwear with the brand’s intrinsic elegance. A similar refinement is evident at Fendi, where womenswear creative director Kim Jones uses crisp indigo-dyed denim for equestrian-inspired dresses – a rounded skirt and buckle recalled the proportions of a saddle – and impeccably tailored high-waisted jeans.

Woman in denim trench coat on white background

Jacket, price on request, by Tod’s. Jeans, £443, by Jacob Cohën. Shoes, £780, by Fendi

(Image credit: Photography by Benjamin Pexton, fashion by Jason Hughes)

At Jacob Cöhen – an expert in the medium, crafting its famed denim entirely by hand in Veneto, Italy – sees boot-cut fits and gently-oversized denim jackets strike a 90s-inflected mood (a simple white tank provides the perfect companion). A raw-edge trench coat by Tod’s, in contrasting panels of washed denim, also recalls the undone glamour of the era, here reinvigorated for the season ahead.

Model: Dhillon at Kult Models, Barbara at Wilhelmina. Casting: Svea Casting. Hair: Sky Cripps-Jackson using Davines. Make-up: Victoria Martin. Manicurist: Sasha Goddard at Saint Luke using Dior Manicure Collection and Miss Dior Hand Cream. Set design: Staci Lee Hindley. Set assistant: Luke Spencer. Photography assistants: Ben Butcher, Millie Noble, Alys Morrison. Fashion assistant: Kris Bergfeldt.

A version of this story appeared in the January 2023 issue of Wallpaper*, available now in print, on the Wallpaper* app on Apple iOS, and to subscribers of Apple News +. Subscribe to Wallpaper* today

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.

With contributions from