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 (opens in new tab)

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands. 

With contributions from