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London Fashion Week Highlights Dark Sensuality and Wearable Luxury for Autumn/Winter 2023/24


London Fashion Week has wrapped up its Autumn/Winter 2023 showcase, giving the fashion industry a taste of what’s on the horizon for women’s apparel and accessories. As always, London brought its signature sense of creativity and rebellion to the catwalks. This season saw designers explore both retro-inspired femininity and edgy punk references in their collections. Key trends included bow-embellished dresses, anarchy symbol prints, leather outerwear and tough-luxe boots.

With highlights spanning delicate lace accents to graffiti graphics, London Fashion Week offered something for every woman’s style. Read on for an insider’s guide to the top trends to expect as we transition into autumn.

Table of Contents:
1. Retro femininity makes a comeback
2. Punk-inspired details add edge
3. Texture and tactility are Key
4. Leather leads in materials
5. Coats take center stage
6. Boots get tough-luxe updates
7. Final thoughts

Retro femininity makes a comeback

ladylike outfits

The retro vibes were strong on the London catwalks for Autumn/Winter 2023. Designers explored classically feminine silhouettes and details with a nostalgic twist. Tea dresses took on a vintage mood with dainty floral prints, lace overlays and tie necklines. For a more modern touch, flounced hemlines and puff sleeves updated the retro shape. Mod-inspired minidresses also made an appearance, getting a fresh look from collared necklines and checks or graphic prints.

The ladylike blouse is another area to tap into retro femininity. Look for bow necklines, bishop and bell sleeves, and delicate fabrication like silks and sheers. When styling, tuck blouses into high-waisted pencil skirts or wide-leg trousers for a hint of 1950s-esque polish. For retailers, focus buys on third-quarter sleeve blouses and versatile floral printed styles that can bridge day to evening.

ladylike dress

Beyond dresses and blouses, coats and outerwear also tapped into retro. Swing silhouettes, cropped pea coat lengths and oversized collars all referenced the 1960s. Luxe wools and herringbone tweeds elevated the vintage mood. For a modern finish, designers sometimes accented with oversized hardware. When merchandising coats, aim for versatile neutral hues like camel and gray that translate retro shapes into wearable pieces.

In the accessory realm, look for bows, pearls and ladylike top handle handbags to complete feminine looks. But avoid styling that veers into costume territory. Keep silhouettes modern and mix in minimal accessories to keep retro references fresh. With the right balance of nostalgia and versatility, retro-inspired femininity offers a warm and optimistic trend for autumn.

Punk-inspired details add edge

punk style

London’s rebellious spirit shone through on the catwalks with punk-inspired styling adding an edgy counterpoint to the season’s feminine trends. The anarchy symbol made its mark as a key print motif, seen on dresses, coats and accessories. Bold black and white buffalo checks and plaids also tapped into punk’s love of clashing patterns.

Punk’s DIY aesthetic showed through on deconstructed tops and raw finishing. Distressed knits, unfinished hems and overlocked seams gave everyday pieces an unconventional twist. This direction can translate easily into shirting by opting for uneven button plackets, distressed styling and bold graffiti prints. When merchandising, combine with slim black denim or leather for an edgy rock n’ roll vibe.

Leather and vinyl fabrics are natural choices for adding punk attitude. Make biker jackets feel fresh by opting for updated elongated silhouettes. Or introduce punk styling to feminine silhouettes like fit-and-flare dresses with leather panel detailing. Hardware and metal embellishments also help capture punk spirit. When merchandising leather apparel and accessories, focus on wardrobe classics in black and gray to ensure versatility and longevity.

While London designers fully embraced punk, balance is key for retailers. Avoid going full-on punk or grunge. Instead, pick one or two elements like a biker jacket or deconstructed denim to blend punk attitude into more wearable looks. Pop punk touches into casual assortments and smart casual office lineups to help women add subtle edge to their wardrobe. With careful styling, punk references can inject excitement into autumn/winter retail assortments.

Texture and tactility are Key

texture and tactility

Rich textures and tactile fabrics stood out across the London runways, offering another route to refresh autumn/winter retail assortments. Cable knits, herringbone tweeds and faux fur fabrics provided tempting touch appeal while also delivering comforting warmth.

Coats showcased TEXTURES in abundance. Tweed, wool meltons and brushed alpacas conveyed heritage appeal. Meanwhile, faux fur collars and linings brought novelty and softness. When merchandising coats, look for those crafted from textural fabrics like tweeds and wool bouclés to align with this trend.

The tactile trend also presents an opportunity to highlight knitwear. Opt for cable knits, aran stitches, jacquard knits and brushed textures when buying knits. Introduce touch appeal through fun details like pompom ties, fringe trims and fluffy mohair blends. Displaying knits by texture rather than just color at retail will help convey this trend’s focus on touch.

Texture and knit accessories like oversized scarves, beanies and fingerless gloves are an easy way to inject tactility into autumn outfits. Or blend textures within outfits, pairing tweed outerwear with cable knit sweaters and faux fur hats. When creating tactile displays, go beyond standard waterfall racks to creatively convey touch and feel. Table displays with samples to touch and outfit examples will capture the season’s tactile accent.

Leather leads in materials

leather coat & pants

Leather emerged as a standout material on the London runways. Designers embraced leather across categories, using it to create elegant outerwear and edgy punk-inspired pieces alike.

For retailers, leather coats offer strong commercial appeal. Look for updated silhouettes like midi lengths and strong shoulders. Interesting details like corset lacing, metal grommets and quilting help revitalize the leather coat. Merchandise in core hues like black, camel and red to ensure versatility.

Leather trousers also dominated the catwalks. Focus buys on slim leggings or wide-leg silhouettes to align with current styles. Trousers with interesting waist details, side lacing or moto-stitching capture the runway vibe. Display leather trousers as a luxe elevated basic.

The leather skirt is another keystone item. From punk minis to ladylike midi pencil skirts, leather skirts spanned styles. When buying, stick to silhouettes like A-line or knee-length styles that transition effortlessly from day to night. Black and brown remain core neutrals for leather bottoms.

Beyond apparel, leather accessories also prevailed in London. Boots, belts, gloves and handbags came in premium leather for a refined take. When merchandising, display leather goods together to spotlight the material story. With broad appeal across demographics, leather’s covetable status makes it a smart bet for autumn/winter retail assortments.

Coats take center stage


Outerwear took a starring role on the London catwalks for Autumn/Winter 2023. Designers showed a range of innovative coat shapes, unconventional fabrics and eye-catching details.

Exaggerated shoulders and crisp silhouettes referenced 80s power dressing, creating strong statement coats. Retailers can introduce the trend through double-breasted wool coats with pronounced shoulders. For bolder inspiration, look to ecology-minded brands using recycled plastics and unusual fabrics to create avant-garde coat shapes.

Heritage styles like polo coats, duffle coats and trench coats appeared on the catwalks in updated fabrics like vinyl and faux fur. Buy these classic coat profiles in directional fabrics or details to blend innovation and tradition.

Coat lengths varied from cropped, above-the-knee silhouettes to sweeping maxi styles. Midi lengths felt most directional on London’s catwalks. When merchandising, display coats of different lengths together to showcase the variety.

Interesting fastenings like asymmetric closures, rope ties and oversized hardware added function and flair. Look for coats with technical and functional details that also tell a brand story.

Aim to tell a coat story when merchandising outerwear this autumn. Go beyond traditional all-black displays. Showcase the excitement of maximalist faux fur alongside heritage tweeds and smart leathers to spotlight outerwear’s starring role.

Boots get tough-luxe updates


The footwear trending on the streets and runways this season comes in the form of tough-luxe boots. Designers elevated staple boot silhouettes with opulent materials and edgy hardware for a directional yet wearable look.

Lug sole combat boots and hiker styles tap into the ongoing athleisure trend. Buy these casual boot profiles in luxe leather rather than sporty fabrics to give them refined edge. Display with daytime looks like leather trousers and ribbed knits.

Over-the-knee boots took a more glamorous turn in glossy patent leather or with perspex heels. Make these stand out in displays with skirt and dress pairings. Source styles without too much hardware for versatility.

Classic riding boots got updated with thicker lug soles and buckles. Look for equestrian styles in fine Italian leathers to appeal to boho dressers. Merchandise as a closet workhorse that transitions from weekend to office.


Avoid any avant-garde or costume-inspired boots. Focus buys on modern twists to classic silhouettes from trusted brands. The sweet spot for retailers is boots that balance fashion-forward elements with essential wearability and function. Display tough-luxe boots alongside tailored coats and luxe accessories to convey their double edge. With boots made for walking, strutting and dashing all around town, this trend spans lifestyle and price point.

Final thoughts

London Fashion Week served up daring creativity alongside retro ladylike polish for Autumn/Winter 2023. From anarchy symbol prints to bow-tied tea dresses, designers explored both edges of feminine style. Tactile fabrics, updated leather pieces and standout outerwear catered to the desire for comfort, quality and self-expression in turbulent times.

London’s catwalks provide ample inspiration to refresh autumn/winter offerings. Look to punkish touches like deconstructed denim to inject excitement into casual apparel. Channel the retro tea dress and vintage outerwear to bring optimism and charm to dress assortments. Blend these contrasting trends as London did so skillfully—a ladylike blouse with an anarchy symbol print, a leather skirt with feminine bloom accessories. The possibilities and combinations are endless when you keep an open mind and a spirit of creative rebellion.

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