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Tailored Maximalism Is In

Now that we’ve ingested the bulk of New York Fashion Week, we can step back and take stock of any trends or happenings that we noticed.

Feathers and fringe and silk were in, particularly for bags, amongst a return to early 2000s denim employed in smart and ridiculous ways. Desert vacation ready styles still reigned as did athleisure leaning nineties apparel amongst sequins, florals, and metallics employed with aplomb. There was a widening accessibility for body types and ages and, one would assume, greater entry points for these wears to be worn as many designers suggested utilitarian, everyday, or even office appropriate options. It’s an interesting fashion time.

In muddling these movements, something you may have noticed came to a head as it has been hinted at for the past few years, boiling to a charming head: a throwing together of all the aforementioned styles onto one body, creating a sometimes tense but ultimately fun cornucopia of styles and substances on one human venue. I call it tailored maximalism, an aesthetic that employs clashing patterns, textures in tension, and a mirepoix of dress codes in one place that is never oversized nor sloppy. It is a moment in fashion that is successful because it is restrained in form if not function and, in some ways, is a redoing of this attempt from the nineties which was attempted in the sixties before that.

Coach took the reigns on this, ostensibly sucking up Alessandro Michele’s Gucci tenure to their own English-via-artists nuevo aesthetic. You had Keith Haring patterns and images with sequins with silks with fur and leather and knits on denim: there is a lot going on yet it still works, wondrously even.

Oscar de la Renta turned here too with billowing, often “working girl” silhouettes that were splattered with paint – made of sequins. The brand also sucked up Renta’s history of ballgowns for more fitting looks that were then spackled in fur, tulle, sequins, and text based fabrics (that annoyingly said “Oscar de la Renta” on repeat). There was a lot going on, yes, but the otherwise basic tea skirts and cocktail dresses kept all these moving parts in focus.

And then there was Jeremy Scott, the king of maximalism who – Unexpectedly! – relinquished over-the-top flourishes in form for sticking close to the body to play. Yes, there were cartoon characters intermixed with bejeweled leather jackets as Scott is prone to but he seemed finally at home in an aesthetic landscape that enables and embraces throwing everything onto one body. His work seemed understated, in some ways. (Or maybe he’s fatigued from double duty with Moschino?)

While those three collections tilted fully toward the Gucci runoff, embracing the return of the ugly, festive, messy women, some hinted at it, suggesting that they see the writing on the wall but only want a thin slice of the cake. Diane Von Furstenberg had a subtle busyness of conflicting elements while Raf Simons’ Calvin Klein repeated his debut collection, redone in more luxurious finishes like silk, leather, and feathers amongst the polyvinyls, photo prints, and denim. Shayne Oliver’s Helmut Lang debut felt oddly comfortable as his own runoff now makes more sense amongst raging wars of clothing to fit a body. Prabal Gurung, Christian Siriano, and Tom Ford tipped hats to this but didn’t dive into the mess yet, in their own ways. It will be very, very interesting to see how this manifests. (Or perhaps it already is happening but in such small ways that we do not notice how they manifest.)

This trend can be dissected further in that it is only being conducted at the top with a speedy, ridiculous runoff to those on the bottom, hoping to replicate the runway in their own ways. The counterpoints to this are younger brands like Eckhaus Latta opting for more subdued meditations on classic “ugly” clothing as interesting, as boxy and off-putting points of departure for interest: it’s a rebellion from both tailoring and over-flourished garments as well as the ridiculous amounts of money major labels can throw at materials. Something like Eckhaus Latta represents a scrappiness that is increasingly lost in fashion.

From here, we can and will probably go downward as maximalism yields a renewed interest in minimalism. But isn’t that obvious? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere around Victoria Beckham‘s latest collection that is both understated yet out there. Perhaps we’ll go all nude, as the world is set aflame. Perhaps fashion will implode under itself, no one caring about it anymore since it snowballed to include everything and everyone, itself turning to nothing.

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