Boss Fall 2023
Photography by Getty Images

Did Boss Predict the Future of Businesscore?

For its Fall 2023 collection, Boss presented a profound study of corporate culture or “corpcore” in a sci-fi setting.

It’s often said that Europeans work to live while North Americans live to work. But if the Boss Fall 2023 “see now, buy now” show is any indication, the German brand supports the latter.

On September 22 at the Milan Allianz Micro Conference Centre, Boss presented a profound study of corporate culture in a deeply distorted corporate environment. Welcome to what the brand calls “Techtopia: an ephemeral workplace and oasis of tranquillity and ergonomic design, where the needs of body and mind are seamlessly integrated.”

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Boss Fall 2023
Photography courtesy of Boss

After guests entered the venue via tunnels filled with life-sized holograms, the dark hallway revealed a runway space immersed in a hospital-esque mint green. Six themed glass “rooms” scattered the runway loop, each containing various actors performing office-like tasks. In one, a series of identically dressed workers held a meeting. In another, three women wore helmets attached to tubes. Near the middle, a man wearing a suit meditated on a boardroom table. Then, sitting in the front row was Sophia, one of the world’s most advanced robots created by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics.

For such a sci-fi backdrop, surely the expectation was for Hunger Games-style clothing to descend onto the catwalk. Instead, Boss brought it back to business with a presentation that emphasized clean lines, sharp silhouettes and unconventional tailoring. Starting the show strong, Gigi Hadid strutted in a grey pinstripe skirt suit with a zipper down the back. British boxer Anthony Joshua looked calm, cool and collected in a fur collar brown leather trench, slouchy blazer and slacks. And Ashley Graham and Paloma Elsesser wore similar ensembles that reinterpreted the classic corporate uniform and incorporated HeiQ AeoniQ™ fabric, a material that serves as a substitute for polyesters and nylons, for a lower environmental impact.

@fashionmagazine Serving very much corporate-core 💻 #boss #bossfashionshow #fashionmonth # #ashleygraham #ashleygrahamstyle #corporatecore #milanfashionweek ♬ Ashley Graham – ashleygraham

The name that Gen Z and Boss have given this style is businesscore or corpcore — not to be confused with gorpcore, the outdoorsy aesthetic. It’s workwear for teens and twenty-somethings and the goal is to play with conventional office tropes. Think ties and white button-ups mixed with oversized leather jackets and baggy pants. It’s as if you’re going to work with your parents, and they’re forcing you to dress “nicely” so you throw on your dad’s tie and the shirt from your school uniform, but then you wear it with your everyday wide leg jeans and varsity jacket.

The trend is fashion’s latest foray into nostalgia. On the brink of a financial crisis, many of us are reminiscing about the 2010s and our wardrobes during that time, when shows like Mad Men, Suits and Scandal glamorized actual suits, pencil skirts and wearing heels to the office. While the reality probably involved more athleisure and casual Fridays than Olivia Pope designer bags, there was still a glow about going into the office and embracing hustle culture.

@thedigifairy Raise your hand if you were a victim of millennial business casual 🙋🏿‍♀️👋🏿 #2000sfashion #2010sfashion #millennialbusinesscasual #millennials #businesscore #genz #fashiontok #fyp ♬ Feeling Good Vibes – Thays B.M

Of course, 2023 looks a little different. Work doesn’t have the same allure as it did a decade ago — a global pandemic will do that. Quiet quitting became a trend. “Girl boss” is no longer a term of empowerment but a way for Gen Z to make fun of millennials. Leggings and sweatpants are acceptable uniforms when your office is your living room. The overarching message is to live like Europeans by working less and living more.

That’s what makes Boss’s Fall 2023 collection so interesting — it’s unapologetically pro-work. I would even go as far as to say the show celebrated work and corporate culture. In their future (utopian or dystopian, depending on your perspective), we’ve all returned full-time to the office and are (stylishly) on the grind. Objects like paper clips, pens, and folders are our new-old accessories, and the grey suit is once again our uniform.

Marco Falcioni, SVP of creative direction at Hugo Boss, sees the Fall 2023 collection as a “a celebration of suiting as a tool for empowerment, confidence, and individuality” and “an evolution of our brand’s tailoring heritage.” He says in a press release: “I loved the creative challenge of taking the traditional office attire of the executive – a look not typically associated with breaking boundaries.”

So, is this a nostalgia trip or a look to the future? Decide for yourself as we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite looks from the Boss Fall 2023 collection below.

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