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2023 was the year that saw Barbiecore paint the URL and IRL worlds Pepto-Bismol pink, Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour make diamanté catsuits so ubiquitous they became coffee run-appropriate casualwear and Miu Miu convinced us, en masse, to forgo our trousers. And, despite the creeping influence of indie sleaze, Y2K fits continued to reign supreme, with fans in Ice Spice and Troye Sivan (in drag, that is).

GAY TIMES rounds up nine of the ultimate moments that made 2023 one for the queer fashion history books: from Billy Porter’s velvet tuxedo-dress to Hunter Schafer’s gold foil Prada look.

Hunter Schafer in custom Prada at the London world premiere of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Hunter Schafer marked her ascension onto the big screen in 2023 as Tigris Snow in the The Hunger Games prequel, launching into a press tour that reminded us of her fashion it girl status. Hunter joined forces with long-term friend and stylist Dara Allen to craft a merry-go-round of theatrical looks that subtly nodded to the themes of the franchise while continuing to serve, outfit after outfit.

Our fave look? Schafer’s regal gold Prada bralet and matching skirt, which made her look like a cunty Academy Award statuette come to life, or the Statue of Liberty caked in gold-leaf.

Ncuti Gatwa in custom Valentino at the European premiere of Barbie

Ncuti Gatwa may have stepped into his biggest role to date, taking a turn as the titular Time Lord in Dr Who, but to us, he’ll always be “just Ken” (joking!). In celebration of his role in the summer’s biggest blockbuster, he stepped out at the European Barbie premiere in London, wearing custom Valentino by Pier Paolo Piccioli. Looking like a rhinestone cowboy version of Barbie’s beloved sidekick, he rocked a cape, sparkling silver hot pants and a Maison Michel cowboy hat. Yeehaw!

Troye Sivan in the ‘One of Your Girls’ music video

Troye Sivan ascended to stratospheric levels in 2023 with the release of album Something To Give Each Other. However, it was the release of the music video for the LP’s third single ‘One Of Your Girls’ that marked him out as a fashion idol. Styled by Dara Allen (yes, the fashion girly behind Hunter Schafer’s brilliant looks) Sivan transformed into his pop diva drag alter-ego, rocking Tom Ford-era Gucci matched with a Victoria’s Secret bra and bootcut jeans. Simply iconic.

Laverne Cox in Mugler at Mugler SS24

Laverne Cox looked majestic as she attended the Mugler spring/summer 2024 show in Paris, stepping out in lucite body sculpture, paired with skin-tight black trousers. True to the brand’s association with female empowerment, she resonated energy and confidence – making all those around her take note.

But this wasn’t the only time Cox has been seen rocking Mugler this year. A few weeks prior, she shared series of snaps on social media that featured archival Mugler pulls alongside Mugler X H&M steals and proved herself to be the ultimate fashion muse.

Billy Porter in Christian Siriano at the Golden Globe Awards

Is it a dress? Or is it a jacket? Could it be a cape? The answer is yes, on all fronts. Billy Porter rewrote the red carpet rule book when he appeared at the Golden Globes in a custom Christian Siriano coat-dress. A nod to the tuxedo gown, by the same designer, that he wore to the 2019 Oscars, Porter’s crimson velvet look was even better than the trend-setting original.

Bella Ramsey & Janelle Monaé in Thom Browne at the Met Gala

2023 was the year that binned outdated black tie standards, once and for all. Not only ditch we ditch the expectation of men in suits (yawn!) and women in ball gowns (yawn!) but space was finally opened up beyond the binary, allowing NB, gender-fluid and GNC stars to thrive.

A key example of this could be seen at this year’s Met Gala, where brand Thom Browne teamed up with Janelle Monaé and Bella Ramsey for a celebration of non-binary excellence. Monáe had our jaws on the floor after stripping off a cartoonish suit dress to reveal a see-through dress and tweed bikini combo. Bella Ramsey, on the other hand, rocked a double breasted sport coat and trousers with a quiet confidence. Our takeaway? That brilliant style knows no gender.

Courtesy of Thom Browne

Munroe Bergdorf in Atsuko Kudo Latex Design at The Beyonce renaissance London premiere

Munroe Bergdorf hard-launched her love for latex in 2023, donning Atsuko Kudo designs at five different red carpet events throughout the year. From the BRITS to the Barbie premiere, she showed the full versatility of the fabric across flowing pink ballgowns and slinky evening wear.

Bergdorf’s standout latex moment, however, came at the London premiere of RENAISSANCE: A Film By Beyoncé when she wore the AK bustier and Ariel skirt in an appropriate shade of extraterrestrial silver. It is not just Munroe who seems to have a justified obsession with the latex brand – Madonna, Maya Jama and Kylie Jenner have all worn AK this year.

Cara Delevingne in Elie Saab at the Oscars

Thanks to TikTok’s beloved coquette aesthetic and the resurgence of balletcore, bows took over 2023. Preferably featured on garments by Sandy Liang or Simone Rocha, these cutesy emblems of girlhood could be found everywhere this autumn.

However, as it turns out, the trend first began to surface IRL all the way back in March, thanks to model Cara Delevingne. Stepping out at the Oscars earlier this year, Delevingne rocked a blood red Elie Saab gown featuring – you guessed it – a huge exaggerated bow detail on one shoulder.

Sam Smith in HARRI at the BRIT Awards

Sam Smith is known for their forward-thinking artistry and, in 2023, brought this same creative vision to their wardrobe. Kicking off the year, they made headlines at the BRITs thanks to an inflatable latex look by emerging designer HARRI. Experimental and deeply, fabulously impractical, Sam ate with this look – setting the tone for the kind of fashion provocation we hope to see more of in the New Year.