Remind me, when was the last time you centered your entire outfit around a statement jacket or ventured into the colourful grounds of print on print without a second thought about ‘the rules’ on how to actually mix them? Let me tell you: it’s been awhile. While you were pairing your navy blue crew neck with clean-fitted, pastel culottes, or let me guess – denim, a good old trend aesthetic from decades past has slowly snuck its head in the green room door and is waiting with its colourful, embellished offerings to tumble right in.
Welcome maximalism – the offspring of the années folles (aka the 20s), the lovechild of the 70s and the 80s, and the aesthetic Alesandro Michele is currently totally crushing on. And judging by the Spring Summer ’16 runways, a bunch of his contemporaries including Miuccia Prada and Marc Jacobs, are all fans.
From left to right: Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Prada.
But why does this make me happy? And I’m sure that The Man Repeller and Alexa Chung agree: because it’s time to kick off this lazy fashion spell, everyone! Yes, normcore was (?) great – it came as a fresh breath of air after the early 2000s Paris Hilton hangover we were having, and you can count me a fan too, but there’s only so many sweatpants and torn jeans I can wear before I start seeing entirely in black, white and grey. Also, white sneakers did surface to enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame, but who else feels like all those kicks are going to be relegated solely to the gym very soon?
And taking off from Leandra’s very valid point: a rack of white t-shirts and a stack of jeans in different states of distress is super helpful on those days you wake up with a migraine, your go-to Starbucks is out of stock and you can’t care two hoots that you look like you’re on the verge of eviction – but making those basics the flagship of your ootd just seems like a style copout to me. I mean, they're called basics for a reason right - so you can build on them.
Perhaps Phoebe Philo is to blame – Céline’s 2010 collection had a huge hand in spearheading a silent, subliminal fashion shift; suddenly, it was all about clean lines and neutral palettes and muted designs. Then along came Kim Kardashian with her nude spandex dresses, white crop top-pencil skirt sets and long camel coats, and we thought – I can look this sexy in a no-nonsense outfit in a colour that I previously thought of as boring! – bring out more easy and more boring! (While on the topic, be real, half the job is done by that booty).
Wake up from this normcore-induced, athleisure-fuelled slumber, people. We’re now living in the moment of King Kylie and her colourful wigs, RiRi’s henna-inspired hand tats, and Jeremy Scott’s adorably kitsch junk culture; we’re the consumers of wild, magical fashion label collabs and capsule collections, the extended family of the dripping-in-Swarovski Kardashians, and the children of the shiny Balmain Army. We are the Gucci Girl who’s about the excessive embellishment as much as she is about politics – trompe l'oeil ruffles and bows, almost comical oversized specs and tons of sheer and costume jewellery – taking off ‘that last piece of accessory’ is bollocks and more is definitely more for this one.
The Kardashian Klan at Kris Jenner's Gatsby-themed birthday party, dripping in thousands of crystals. Jay Gatsby would've been proud. Image courtesy: Mirror UK
Backstage at the Gucci Cruise 2017 show.
How do you pull it off? Happily pile it on and hope for the best or carefully curate your best OTT looks – it’s really up to you. Maximalism needs a heady bit of imagination for self expression and no restraint when the magic between an animal motifed striped sweater, a metallic jacket and the ruffles of a printed skirt is taking place. And if you need some visual style guidance, there’s a whole new animal called the maximalist fashion blogger who loves to experiment and be real in the name of street style.
And that’s the point really – we have a plethora of fabrics, textures, designs to experiment with, a slew of statement-making jackets and shoes and bags that need to given their full due and the creative genius of the eccentric fashion designer for inspiration. And we certainly can do better than a pair of sweats and a hoodie to reflect our enthusiasm for fashion.
So consider breaking away from the toxic habit of dressing up like a tourist (because that’s inspiring no one) and unleash the style beast within – let’s give ‘em something to talk about.
Image courtesy Vogue and Gucci.