6 Fall Print Trends You'll See Take Over the Streets of Paris, NYC, and London


(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight/Loewe; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Lanvin; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Stella McCartney; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Miu Miu; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Fendi)

Lately, it seems we can not scroll through runway images, social media, or shopping recommendations without running into terms like "quiet luxury" and "old money." Like it or not, minimalism is having a moment. While there's no harm in adopting a more pared-back approach to your fall wardrobe, we admittedly don't want to cut all the fun out of fashion. Yes, you should absolutely make sure you're investing in timeless fall items. That's a given. But that doesn't mean you should skip the spicier fall trends. Life is all about balance, baby! 

It may seem like Mission: Impossible to find trends where minimalists and maximalists can meet in the middle, but let us assure you—they exist. So many trends this season are up for this task, including colors and textiles, but none are as easy to adopt as patterns. Hear us out. Print trends are the easiest way to add flair to a capsule wardrobe or commit to doing the most for the season. But if you're unsure which print trends are worth your time this season, you'll want to keep reading. We did a deep dive of fall/winter 2023 collections to identify the six biggest prints of the season and shopped them out. Whether you're a devout minimalist or maximalist, something ahead will speak to you. 


(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight/Marni; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Gabriela Hearst; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Fendi)

Fall is often the time to return to the "building blocks," or at least, that's what one can glean from looking at fall/winter 2023 collections. Almost as if class was back in session, we saw designers draw from fashion, architecture, and historical archives to bring back geometric prints. In the Fendi F/W 23 collection, Kim Jones took graphic motifs from the '96 collection and sketches from Karl Lagerfeld's '81 collection and used them to create deconstructed knitwear. Formfitting frocks featured intarsia knitting techniques with asymmetrical buttons that draped across the body and vibrant hues to create a contemporary take on this classic print. But it wasn't just Jones who drew from the archives for his collection; so did Gabriela Hearst. Rather than drawing from her own label's archives, Hearst found inspiration from the work of the late Eileen Gray, the multidisciplinary artist who is most notably known for her groundbreaking furniture design. The influence of the late artist's work is most evident through multiple runway looks, including a fitted turtleneck with a matching maxi skirt that's covered in primary-hued squares and rectangles.

Hearst and Jones may have been all about drawing from the past to create something new, but that wasn't the case for Francesco Risso's collection for Marni. The collection felt grounded in the future, as graphic prints were given a sharp edge by playing with proportions and color palettes. The more angular patterns typically only contained two colors (black and white or yellow and black) and were manipulated into dramatically tailored silhouettes, like oversize puffers and slim-fitting knit dresses. The result was a series of pieces that felt like a protractor had been present through the patternmaking process. Though the Marni pieces were a bit more dramatic in form, they were a reminder that the best prints teach us something new—about the fashion house itself, historical figures, or how to highlight our forms through clothing. 

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(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight/Christopher Kane; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Stella McCartney; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Coperni)

If you scrolled through runway looks from fall/winter 2022 and spring/summer 2023, you'd likely recall one print trend that had marked its territory: animal prints. There was no shortage of zebra, leopard, and snake prints on the runways; they were everywhere. While the trend has not necessarily gone extinct, it's evolved into a new form within the fall/winter 2023 collections. Rather than drawing inspiration from animal skins, designers created patterns that showed the complete anatomical form of animals in a way that erred on the side of realism. At Stella McCartney, we saw the full scope of this metamorphosis in how the first few runway looks featured traditional animal prints in full-length faux-fur coats and oversize knits in cow print. Closer to the show's end, we saw slinky semi-sheer slip dresses with sequins featuring rustic horse shots on a ranch. However, McCartney was not the only designer to embrace a more literal take on animal prints, as we saw other designers incorporate some of the less "glamorous" critters into their collections.

A prime example of this is Christopher Kane's F/W 23 collection, which featured second-skin turtleneck tops and gowns that used artificial intelligence to create depictions of pigs, chicks, and even rats. The infusion of technology to nod to animals wasn't just central to Kane's collection, as we saw it play a pivotal role at Coperni too. As reported by Vogue, the brand's fall collection explored the idea of the "wolf and the lamb" but related it to humans' relationship with robots. That manifested in how robot dogs roamed the runway while models walked among them. Most notably, you can feel designers Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant pondering the impact of technology on the physical world through the runway looks—e.g., a leather jacket with a hand-painted print that portrayed a lamb and a robot in a field. Their collection and many other designers' work felt as if it was channeling a collective grappling with how technology has directly impacted the world around us. With so much of the animal kingdom at risk because of climate change, designers clearly wanted these prints to challenge how we see critters, quite literally. 

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(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight/Chet Lo; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Loewe; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Jil Sander)

At first glance, most print trends are easy to comprehend—you can tell what they are or what techniques were used to create them. But fall/winter 2023 collections flew in the face of that. Admittedly, it seemed like a glitch in the matrix that so many runway collections featured either super-blurry prints or hyperrealistic digital prints, but actually, it was intentional. As noted in Loewe's show notes, the collection was all about "playing with blur as a way to stress that fashion, rather than being about the moment, is about what's later. It's about putting into focus what may seem unclear right now. …Pixels of the previous season are now blurred." That mission was most adeptly achieved through satin shift dresses overprinted with blurry images of other clothing items, including dresses, trenches, and fur coats. Jonathan Anderson may have gotten very meta with the clothing printed with clothing on top of it, but it seemed he wasn't the only designer aiming to use such techniques to challenge our perspective. 

At Jil Sander, we saw Luke and Lucie Meier pair ultra-tailored silhouettes with punchy, futuristic fruit prints. What made the collection a visible feast was its aim to make the "organic-synthetic divide vanish." The melding of those two worlds was most apparent in the prints found in the collection, including a tailored wool peplum top that combined intarsia knitting and digital overprinting to create a dark maroon cherry print that looked 3D. While natural and augmented seemed to be combined more literally within Loewe's and Jil Sander's collections, that's not to say it's the only way we saw designers challenge our perspectives. For instance, Chet Lo's collection featured black leather separates that had the appearance of being spray-painted with green to create an ombré effect. Similarly, at Mowalola, a low-slung black leather skirt was overprinted with the illusion of hands grabbing the waist. Though the techniques used by designers varied this season, the overall sentiment felt synonymous: It was about creating pieces that blurred the lines between the digital and the physical. 

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(Image credit: Corbis via Getty Images/Jacquemus; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Valentino; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Miu Miu)

Polka dots popped back up as a significant print trend in spring/summer 2023 collections, and that era seemingly hasn't ended. But were you to say that the polka dots found in fall/winter 2023 collections were run-of-the-mill, you'd be remiss. Designers took an atypical approach to this pattern by leaning into design techniques, materials, and styling. You can see how technique played a role in reinventing this print, most prominently in Jacquemus's fall collection. Nestled in gardens at the Palace of Versailles, attendees watched as models sauntered by the water. If the location wasn't already outside the typical box, then the prints did the trick. The collection featured an off-the-shoulder minidress with dramatic puff sleeves adorned with 3D appliqué polka dots. Simon Porte may have added an air of decadence to this print through embroidery, but Miuccia Prada added a dash of sultriness through her focus on materials. 

As noted in Miu Miu's show notes, "materialization can actively change how outfits are visually read and how we understand them," and that idea was on full display in the brand's fall collection. The runway was punctuated with classic silhouettes (knee-length skirts, button-downs, and halter dresses), all made from a sheer georgette polka-dot material that was often layered as a way to play with opacity. While materials and techniques dialed up the print's visual intrigue on the runways this season, possibly the most approachable way we saw this trend was in Valentino's collection. The more formal menswear items like ties, button-downs, and trousers were given a youthful spin via vibrant hues, textures like sequins and feathers, and, most importantly, polka dots. For example, the classic button-down-and-tie combo was spiced up by being styled with oversize sunglasses, sculptural earrings, chunky ankle boots, and a polka-dot peacoat. It was a look that reminded us that this print can still pop off. You just have to be willing to go for a version that's off the beaten path. 

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(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight/Valentino; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Carolina Herrera; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Chloé)

In addition to polka dots, another print trend felt like a continuation of themes found in spring/summer 2023 collections: stripes. However, these were not the ultra-thin pinstripes we've gotten accustomed to in recent seasons. We saw stripes get a whole lot thicker in the fall/winter 2023 collections. It wasn't so much that the orientation of these stripes mattered this season, as we saw them face horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. Instead, it was all about the size, making them big enough to qualify as awning stripes. No collection understood that aim more than Valentino. Pierpaolo Piccioli included polka dots in the show, but there were far more looks with awning stripes. You could find this print on everything imaginable in Valentino's F/W 23 runway show, including a full-length satin cape with pink-and-white stripes. At the same time, a black-and-white striped button-down dress was adorned with feathers. The formerly grungy oversize red-and-black striped sweater was styled with a men's tie and feathered boots. Stripes may have been given a glamorous feel in Piccioli's collection, but he wasn't the only designer to do so this season. 

At Carolina Herrera, Wes Gordon took this print and fashioned it into multiple eveningwear looks fit for royalty. The most noteworthy was a strapless gown with dramatic draping at the waist, creating a high slit and the illusion of a train dragging behind the model. But this print wasn't solely made for special occasions, as we saw other collections incorporate it into ready-to-wear pieces, including Chloé. While most of the collection comprised minimal pieces in neutrals, there happened to be a few punchy prints incorporated into the mix by the brand's former creative director, Gabriela Hearst. An awning-stripe pattern composed of black, yellow, and cream was used to create two tailored outerwear looks—the first was a wool trench coat, and the second was a leather moto jacket with a matching skirt. The wide usage of this print in elegant everyday items and elevated eveningwear makes a serious case for stripes. 

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(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight/Rabanne; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Lanvin; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Y/Project)

Last but certainly not least, it would be a disservice to the world not to mention one last prevalent print trend to have on your radar for fall. Unless you've been off the grid, you're likely already aware of how the surrealist-art movement has inspired recent seasons. For those who haven't majored in art, this art era can be defined by works that defy reason, which makes sense if you look to the more "unnecessary" iterations of this trend in recent memory—Loewe's balloon-shaped heels and Puppet and Puppet's cookie bags. But with the fall/winter 2023 collections, it was less about embracing surrealist accessories and more about using the art style to create exciting prints that challenge our perspective. 

No other print featured in a collection this season will make you do a double take like those in Y/Project's show, but then again, that's the genius of Glenn Martens. Slip dresses, crew-neck shirts, and maxi skirts were screen-printed with suggestive body prints—the kinds that allude to the unconscious realms of the mind this movement is all about tapping into. While these prints erred on the riskier side of things, that's not to say it's the only way surrealist images showed up on the runway. In fact, we saw a sweeter take on this print trend at Lanvin in the form of a draped black silk gown featuring a lifelike bundle of white cala lilies. But the best example of this print trend had to be at Rabanne's F/W 23 show.

To honor the legacy of Paco Rabanne, who passed earlier this year, Julien Dossena partnered with the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí. Heralded as one of the most prolific surrealist artists, Dalí was a close friend of Rabanne throughout his lifetime, so it was only fitting that the collection honored that bond. Within the collection, we saw Dalí's paintings given a new life through full-length gowns with small cutouts at the décolleté and knits with matching skirts that fit like second skins. The overall effect was a series of prints that not only made the onlooker take a second glance but also made them think more about the things out of sight. In a way, that's what makes this print so poignant. If a pattern doesn't spark a moment of introspection, is it even worth adopting? For Dossena and so many other designers this season, the answer is a resounding "no."

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Jasmine Fox-Suliaman

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.