FEW DRESS CODES from the late 20th century are less romanticised than 1990s corporate garb. This is understandable—it’s no easy task making tepid brown suits and grey marle pinstripes look desirable. So BOSS’ ability to do just this is what made its autumn 2023 collection so impressive. It took the executive uniform typical of ’90s courtroom dramas starring actors like Richard Gere and, by a stroke of genius, made it feel cool. Like, really, really cool.
Of course, that stroke of genius was intentional on creative director Marco Falcioni’s behalf. The designer spent the time between his last show and this, his most recent outing, thinking about BOSS’ codes, which are underpinned by a rich history of tailoring, including that for the corporate set. And so, the theme for autumn 2023, ‘CorpCore’, was coined, which feels very in line with the brand’s slogan, ‘Be your own Boss’.
The collection would tweak the brand’s classics for its contemporary customer, which, following its 2022 rebrand, is becoming very fashion savvy.
Some reimaginings risk feeling too far removed from their prototype; based more on an assumption of what the modern customer wants than the reference itself. But not here. With his big wool overcoats, suite of neck ties and charismatic styling—ballpoint pens were pinned to neck ties, ready for when the dotted line requires a scribble—Falcioni found the sweet spot between updating the original without disguising it.
The designer’s homage to the era was juxtaposed by the most futuristic runway set. Described as an “ephemeral workplace, oasis of tranquility and ergonomic design,” the BOSS ‘Techtopia’ formed a utopian vision of the workplace of tomorrow; inside the ‘brainstorm room’, there were people wearing actual light-therapy headphones. The post-show press release explained they were “summoning collective creative energy”.
Meanwhile, guests at the show—A-graders like Burna Boy, Simu Liu and BOSS brand ambassador Matteo Berrettini among them—were greeted by an actual robot by the name of Sophia. According to BOSS, Sophia can recognise faces and hand gestures—even register human emotional expressions in conversation. When the show began, she took her seat at a desk in the front row, watching on as the models made their lap. It was impressive, but admittedly eerie.
Perhaps the hyper-futurism of the set—although tranquil in its own science fiction way—enhanced the warmth and desirability of the collection. Because new millennium-spec corporate vibes might only just be re-entering the zeitgeist, but they offer a sense of familiarity, while by virtue of having not yet happened, the future is uncertain.
Or maybe this wasn’t the intention at all. After all, had the collection been shown in a musty office building, it still would have felt cool.