While it may seem like the Y2K invasion has reached full tilt at this point, New York Fashion Week’s Fall/Winter 2023 collections are proving that there are still more trends to uncover from the bygone era. The latest to rear its nostalgic head? Exposed zippers. Yes, according to recent runways, this hardware trend could very well be the final nail in the early aughts coffin — the last breeze in the mighty Y2K wind that’s been blowing for some two years now. And while the look is minor in comparison to other viral throwback looks (here’s looking at you, Miu Miu mini), its cool visual impact may be worth a trip down memory lane.
If you’re having difficulty retrieving any memory of exposed zippers, let’s take it way back to pre-2010, when Marni made the look a signature in all of those boxy shift dresses and tops that the fashion set couldn’t get enough of. And then, of course, there was the slew of low-slung premium denim from the likes of Frankie B featuring two-inch exposed zippers in the front, which were clearly there for show as they were hardly doing any heavy lifting or securing. This exposed effect was also popular on pants pockets — denim, leather, cargo, you name it — back in the day, and used more for cool decoration than actual utility.
Before you let out an audible groan of disgust, it’s important to note that the exposed hardware renaissance of today is seeing the look in a much more refined and sophisticated light. On the Sukeina Fall/Winter runway, for instance, thick gold zippers were front and center, literally, adding interest by way of a cool flash of metal down the middle or side of more basic, neutral-colored separates like fitted LBDs, tailored blazers, and pencil skirts.
Eckhaus Latta took a similar approach, showing thick silver zippered hardware on strategically — and perfectly — distressed cardigans.
And then there’s Ashlynn Park, creative director of namesake label ASHLYN whose Fall/Winter 2023 installment included printed corsets with decorative zippers straight down the center in lieu of hook and eye combos.
So while the bad news might be that the Y2K extravaganza you’ve likely checked out of already is still picking up steam, there is a silver lining: Some of the trends it’s hitting along the way are actually worth trying.