For the Peace: Casablanca Fall/Winter 2023

Refracting through the prism of the human condition, the French-Moroccan brand illuminates the vast spectrum of lived experience and the opportunity for growth each holds. 

Vines and blooming flowers cascade around a Jet as attendees of Casablanca’s Fall/Winter 2023 show writhe with anticipation in their seats. Delayed by just over 45 minutes of its scheduled start, no one knew what to expect.  

Perhaps more unusual than a jet on the runway at Paris Fashion Week is the podium that takes center stage. Deviating from the silent archetypical designer pacing backstage, Casablanca’s Creative Director, Charaf Tajer, had a few words to say. Inspired by his friend’s recounting of an endearing story of a group of friends and their pursuit of joy in Syria, Tajer ventured to Damascus. 

“That’s the purpose of this collection. A piece of theatre inspired by courage. A reflection of the pain and beauty I witnessed in a war zone. Together, we can infuse change. For the peace,” explained the French-Moroccan designer as he introduced Casablanca’s new collection. 

Courtesy of Casablanca

Ever since landing on the scene, the name Casablanca has been on the lips of every fashion connoisseur. What exactly is so fascinating about the French Moroccan brand? 

While its collections don’t reflect the headline-snatching avant-garde its peers do, it continues to turn heads through its artful experimentation with concepts seen before in the wide world of style. Recontextualizing vestiary taboos, Casablanca takes the form of the phoenix. Cheekily playing with notions of “bad” style, they are reborn from the ashes into a spectacle of chic experimentation. Ultimately, a balance between wearable and interesting remains at the kernel of Casablanca’s blossoming vision. 

Courtesy of Casablanca

Perhaps something about its narrative of old glamour through the stream of A-list luxury excites the new generation constituting the ever-transforming fashion vanguard. 

Casablanca’s charm may even stem from its endless devotion to craftsmanship by overseeing every element of its production. Refusing to purchase existing fabrics, all fabrics and prints are created by the house leading up to its finalized garments. 

As Paris Fashion Week comes to a close, Casablanca’s display of camp through a filter of antiquated charm declares it’s still not over. 

Its Spring/Summer 2023 collection summoned the urban cowboy. Western points of inspiration dominated the collection’s aesthetics as models crowned in cowboy hats and chaps stomped around a pen of horses enclosed in a white-picket fence. Its visual references conveyed the brand’s admiration for the romanticism of the rural domain with scalloped cuts and white lace borders. Calculated color blocking navigated the eye in playful contrasts; vibrant hues of reds, oranges, and greens danced around whisps of pastels that instilled a morphing radiance. 

Departing the psychedelic Mexican ranch of last season, Casablanca enters new territory as it switches its gaze to Syria.   

Albeit, both collections differ extensively in their design ethos, the spirit of adventure through travel connects all of Casablanca’s endeavors.  

Courtesy of Casablanca

Enlarged checkerboard motifs in champagne-stained crystal and multi-color variations abound in the collection. Emblematic of the 60s mod, Casablanca taps into its anachronistic DNA with a look that fuses this spirit with a lively edge. One model sporting a mandarin collared jacket with a quadrant of pockets embodies this. As the garment resembles a captain’s jacket with its broad shoulders of assertive stature, a cinched waist, and massive, colorful checks inject camp into a figure historically associated with power. Paired with matching slim-fit trousers, it is apparent celebration is the name of the game this season at Casablanca.  

Tailored fits are now tightened to define the waist and reveal a strong leg. Adapted with enlargened lapels, its jackets frame the chest with emphasis. Straps harnessing the accentuated shoulders of a brown blazer signify the brand is summoning the spirit of travel through aviation references. Aviator caps, too, were spotted in ivory, glacier blue, and black.

Courtesy of Casablanca

Syrian iconography becomes a focal point of inspiration as Damascan roses, oranges, palm trees, and surreal garden landscapes bloom in visual celebrations. A sense of fantasy is entwined with these icons as real and imaginary structures of pre and post-Islamic architecture create forms of awe. 

The heart is another recurring icon, which can be recognized abundantly throughout the collection. One gradient mini dress that fades from lilac to seafoam as it travels down bears the heart as a cut-out accent on the chest. A ruched waistline, high neck, and cuffed sleeves demonstrate a new spin on Casablanca’s vibrant spirit, embracing love and celebration at its core. 

Adhering to last season’s outerwear enveloped in lavish geometric prints, outerwear for the fall bears graphic motifs of a knotted heart repeated in a playful diagonal sweep. A jacket and cape in the colorful checkerboard pattern frequented throughout the collection also dazzled. As the beaming lights hit their surfaces, reflections resembling the interior of a crystal geode glisten marvelously. 

Courtesy of Casablanca

Knitwear this season taps into ski-wear with oversized bubble crochet in sweaters and coats for men. As for women, it manifests in a playful two-piece. 

Garments throughout the emerging collection are adorned with large buttons, ties, and what appears to be military regalia. 

Angular cat eye shades reflective of a burning sunset add a dash of attitude to the catwalk this season. With a variety of color, including soft transparent blues and black lenses framed with white, Casablanca’s eclectic collection of sunglasses are at the height of its accessories. 

Impressive feats in eyewear also include black and white sunglasses enlarged to planetary dimensions in what seems to be a crossover of Jackie Kennedy and Kurt Cobain’s affinity for oblong eyewear. Mixing classic references to the elite with those of an urban liking, Charaf Tajer’s keen instinct on what resonates with the spirit of youth today is clearly carved into the collection’s eyewear. 

Courtesy of Casablanca

Classic must-haves dominated Casablanca’s footwear, with black pointed pumps for women and black, white, and tan pointed loafers bearing the house’s insignia for men. 

Casablanca’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection, For the Peace, speaks a language of humanity and adversity. Refracting through the prism of the human condition, the French-Moroccan brand illuminates the vast spectrum of lived experience and the opportunity for growth each holds. 

Within a troubling decade launched by a seemingly endless stretch of viruses, war, and political turmoil, it’s easy to lose touch with one’s humanity. For the Peace is a reminder that celebration must be sought at every opportunity, whether through kindness or craftsmanship. That fashion can be a unifying link to uplift through self-expression—even in states of devastation and unrest. 

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