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Opulence and Extravagance; Fashion’s take on Maximalism

In the theme of our prior Maximalism issue, Mateusz Gerszberg claims the maximalist mantra of embracing excess continues to be seen in the fashion industry today, and that it's not going away anytime soon.


The world fell in love with ugly shoes, and with fashion who likes to dare, no wonder this year the global runways roar extravagance. Wild patterns, outrageous colours, and ridiculous shapes; the essence of ‘beauty in excess’, are very much in vogue. Alongside well-established fashion houses, likewise Versace, Gucci, and Ellie Saab, whose brand quintessence bases on opulence, new designers such as Matty Bovan and Tomo Koizumi continue to explore the idea of ‘more is more’.



Versace, praised for being able to remain seasonally relevant despite its head-turning patterns, continues its rapid path to global expansion. Recently acquired by Capri (also holding Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors), Versace plans to double its sales and open more than 100 stores before 2022 -- a move clearly showing total faith in the brand’s maximalist approach. Donatella, the company’s creative director, continues to push for loud patterns with the recent tribute to Gianni Versace’s 80s prints, and persistent revision of its iconic Barroco ornament. 


But the change in approach towards maximalism can be seen across a whole spectrum of fashion houses. Gucci, and more recently, Fendi, are exploiting their iconic logo prints to a new level. And with giants like Louis Vuitton collaborating with streetwear brands the fashion world is really shaking things up. Virgil Abloh, LV’s creative director, redefines the company’s take on streetwear and colour, leading us to believe there are no signs that maximalism will fade away anytime soon. This craze can be seen all the way across clothes and materials to excessive makeup; defying the current trend of a minimalistic model styling.













However, maximalism in fashion is not something that comes and goes on seasonal basis. The everlasting relevance of this style is seen through the likes of icons such as Iris Apfel and her outrageous jewellery and feathers; an established global fashion phenomenon. She has graced the pages of fashion and lifestyle magazines for years representing maximalism as a way of presenting yourself to the outer world. 


This daring approach towards fashion can be seen through the emergence of colour and patterns in, perhaps a more commercially accessible market. ICool high-street brands seem to have started to be more daring. Recently AllSaints began to divert from its aesthetic of natural tones by adding a red twist to the leopard print pattern which made a comeback last Autumn; creating a standout look amongst its collection.




Whether its Versace’s lavish patterns, Tomo Koizumi’s over-the-top shapes, or Ellie Saab’s regal designs, maximalism continues to rule in fashion. It triumphs because it is versatile and powerful. Its nature is unapologetic, confident and fearless. As we progress into the early 2020s, one could certainly expect minimalism to roar louder and louder - encouraging the society to be daring and lively. 


By Mateusz Gerszberg: Mateusz is an LSE Accounting and Finance student often pondering the question of how he’ll be able to combine finance, fashion and law in his future career. By night he is also often spotted unsuccessfully trying to skip the line at Heaven. What about his greatest achievement? He has never been to Zoo. 



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2020 The Clare Market Review, LSE Students' Union.

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