Renaissance Revival: Let Them Eat Cake!

Beauty and fashion are constantly influenced by history, trends are reborn and reimagined through modern lenses – subverting gender roles, reappropriating stereotypes, and shifting perspectives of beauty. In 2023, are we seeing a Renaissance Revival? 

Trends in beauty have changed significantly in the last few years – Bleached brows took over, dewey finishes reigned superior over matte looks and the Y2K resurgence brought back frosted metallics and high-gloss lips. Glowing skin and the ‘wet look’ dominated, beloved on TikTok, and favored by celebrities – the look, often associated with the naughties, goes hand-in-hand with the flashy 2000s trends, seen at runway shows and high fashion editorials. 

As Y2K phases out of popularity, there is room to explore new (and old) aesthetics in fashion and beauty. 

Matte is Back 

Ultra-matte is making a comeback, the preferred makeup base of the 90s, used dramatically to create bright contrast with other beauty elements.

Bye Bye Brows

Bleached, plucked or barely there eyebrows are hotter than ever, whether it’s ultra-thin 90s arches or completely bleached – a statement brow is bold, sexy, and fun!



Exaggerated cheeks, contrast eyes and bold lips give an avant-garde aesthetic to editorial looks, breaking away from traditional application – colours can melt from eyes to cheek and proportions can be exaggerated to no end. 

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Historically, a pale base was used during the renaissance period to create exaggeration between other elements of the face like bright cheeks and lips as well as to assert wealth and status. Popular in the Baroque and Rococo periods, the look was synonymous with a regal and high-class woman. 

500 years later, we have (thankfully) progressed away from self-induced lead poisoning and purely Eurocentric standards of beauty. We, therefore, have the opportunity to reimagine beauty practices of the past with contemporary aesthetics in makeup.

Baroque styles of fashion have also made notable appearances on recent runways, incorporating historic details and outdated garments into collections and subverting their original state.

Dare I Say Clown Core? 

Renaissance clowns got a punk makeover at Thom Browne – billowing sleeves, bloomers, pantaloons, and ruffle collars all made appearances on the SS23 RTW runway. 

Regal References 

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring Couture 2022 revived royal silhouettes reinterpreting voluminous dresses, corsetry, and elegant draping in modern evening wear.


Ruffles and florals, and tulle, oh my! Giambattista Valli channeled a modern Marie Antoinette in his Spring 2023 Couture collection including structured corsetry, tiered skirts, and bustles.

, Renaissance Revival: Let Them Eat Cake!, Liminul MagazineSydney Goldhawk is a Freelance Stylist currently living in Toronto.

With a love for all things vintage and runway, her perspective draws heavily from her fascination with the synchronicity she observes between modern aesthetics and references to the past.