The Bubble Hem Trend Has Fully Manifested On The NYFW Runways

Somewhere out there, Paris Hilton is rejoicing.

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Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
bubble hem ulla johnson

Low-rise waistlines. Pleated micro-mini skirts. Baby tees. All of these Y2K looks have reemerged with gusto over the past year, establishing themselves on runways and retail shelves alike (to the point of exhaustion in some cases). But there’s one trend that’s been a bit of slow burn: the bubble hem. Yes, we’ve seen it sprinkled here and there in the occasional collection or on a couture red carpet gown, but it hasn’t felt like a consistent flow — until now. The New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023 runways are seeing these tucked and puffed hems fully manifested... bubbling up to the surface, if you will.

To be clear, this fanciful trend is a far cry from the candy-colored, bubbly mini skirts with roll-over waists of yesteryear (remember, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were big fans of the look back in the day). There’s a more elevated approach to the finish this time around, as evidenced on runways of Ulla Johnson, Khaite, Proenza Schouler, and Duaphinette.

Ulla, for instance, made the tucked hemline its unofficial mascot for the Spring/Summer 2023 presentation, with the look displayed on vibrant multi-colored hand-knitted sweater dresses, pastel tiered midi skirts, and dramatic jade trapeze frocks. The use of luxe taffeta and wool brought an unexpected sophistication to an otherwise playful detail.

Ulla Johnson Spring/Summer 2023Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

In the same realm was Dauphinette, a brand well known for its eccentric surrealism. The label’s latest collection was no exception — a mini dress made of more than 2,000 dried chili peppers and another of some 200 vintage silver spoons was modeled at the Sept 11 presentation. So, surprisingly, the bright red, radish-shaped bubble frock featuring a front-and-center cutout detail was probably the more demure piece of the bunch.

Dauphinette Spring/Summer 2023Dauphinette

Offering a much more minimalistic approach to the bubble hem were brands like Khaite and Proenza. The former featured a number of skirts and dresses with tucked ends in sleek neutrals. Even the label’s ivory rosette-printed midi-skirt felt understated, especially when paired with a black mesh turtleneck.

Meanwhile, Proenza showcased a number of black and white knee-length bubble skirts. While erring on the more tiered and voluminous side, the effect was still minimal and soft thanks to matching crocheted tanks and platform pillow slides.

Khaite Spring/Summer 2023Courtesy of Khaite
Proenza Schouler Spring/Summer 2023Arturo Holmes/Getty Images Entertainment

If this week is any indication, spring 2023 will likely be the season of the bubble hem. And for those slow to warm to this trend, you have some time to adjust and plan your approach accordingly. Luckily, the aforementioned brands prove that the style is more versatile than one would think. So retire those visions of Paris Hilton strutting down Sunset Boulevard in a hot pink jersey bubble skirt, and set your sights on the fresh and fancy future of this trendy hemline.

But make no mistake: Come hell or high water Y2K is clearly here to stay.

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