Fashion Is SO Carrie Bradshaw right now
The Debrief: Maximalism is back
Jennifer Lawrence attended a recent Dior show wearing a fringed black and white patterned cardigan over a white lace dress with boxing-style high-tops, dark shades and a hat fit for a gondolier. Either, Lawrence was unsure of the weather forecast, or she was embracing a more-is-more aesthetic. Whatever the inspiration, at least where this actress is concerned, minimalism is dead.
Cos and it’s brand of affordable Scandi chic landed in the UK ten years ago. The following year Phoebe Philo ascended to Creative Director of Céline where she inspired legions of fans to don plain coloured clothes, free of fuss and pattern. The axis of taste moved. Like a sundial rotating, suddenly pure, architectural clothing in muted colours that glorified restraint fell into the spotlight. This trickled down into people’s taste in other arenas, like furniture and design. When John Galliano, the then Dior designer, disgraced himself in 2013, it was like an end of an era. When the now-rehabilitated designer was dismissed along with him went the last bastions of pre-recession excess. Wearing a label seemed gauche, a bag covered in a designer’s emblem seemed crass, and anything that signalled extreme wealth left a nasty taste in your mouth. But, nearly a decade on and with Gucci’s high-glam school of maximalism reeling in the sales it seems like the death knell of minimalism is ringing.
At the epicentre of this new found big, bold dressing is Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s creative leader. He’s taken fashion by the arm and led it down a garden path of embellishment, colour and pattern. Last quarter, Gucci recorded an 11% jump in share values, with a record revenue growth of 51.4% in three months. The label’s popularity is being echoed everywhere from high street copycats to editor’s wardrobes, where those that once wore structured silk shifts in navy are now lining up for Michele’s lurex knits and pussy bow blouses in lilac and lemon. Naffness and tackiness now have a valued place in high fashion. Logo tops have regained a place in our closets and nostalgia for early 2000s labels has started peaking. Resale site Vestiaire Collective’s product director Sophie Hersan reports, ‘The re-sale value of Gucci has increased by 120% since 2014 confirming its popularity.’
Though Michele may be a tastemaker of our time, his collections are an education in the past. He mines references from as disparate places as Italian palazzos and outfitters of the 80s hip hop scene. For autumn 17, his models held copies of Jane Austen novels while wearing jewelled shoes, seventies silhouettes and Renaissance prints. Gender was treated fluidly with male models just as likely to wear florals, embroidery and pearls as the females. While a Northern Soul suit was followed by a candy-coloured ball gown, there was a consistency to the collection, namely, it’s lack of. Prints and colours were rarely repeated, and silhouettes were debuted once, but yet the collection was tied together by a collective embrace of a mix and match economy. From the piled-on pearls to the eccentric prints, to the twenties silhouettes and reams of fur these eclectic items are just some of the signatures that Carrie Bradshaw became known for.
It’s been well over a decade since Sex And The City was on the telly, but it still holds cultural capital. Between the meme sites dedicated to all things SATC and the New York tours of Carrie’s Big Apple, many fans still hold a candle for the series. And, never has this been mirrored more than in the catwalk and street style trends of today.
The rise and rise of one Instagram account called @everyoutfitonSATC, which has 343K international followers, speaks to the power the cast’s costumes still hold. Scene by scene, the founders of the cult ‘gram account chronicle Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda’s outfits with wry commentary and cutting hashtags. But, it is Carrie Bradshaw’s casually eclectic personal style that still holds real estate in today’s fashion market. Take, one look, which was worn by Carrie in season three that has since been spotted in a nearly unaltered state on Rihanna. Both Carrie and RiRi wear a loose, oversized white shirt, a taupe belt and nude shoes. The combination of sultry heels and menswear is not only a typically jarring combination for both stars, but is also part of the current milieu where anything goes.
‘Part of what made Patricia Fields' styling of the Carrie Bradshaw character so genius was the mix of high and low.’ vintage dealer Gabriel Held explains, ‘I can't speak for others, but it has always inspired me to put a pair of baby phat earrings with a high-end designer look, Or things in that vein.’ He’s not alone in being moved by recognisable labels.
This is echoed by OKGrl Editor and stylist Louby McLoughlin who believes, ‘there's way more fantasy fashion appearing on a street level too, people are choosing to dress however they like. I think social media probably contributes to this, but people are having fun dressing up with their own style, they are choosing to reject gender roles through their clothing and beauty choices, wearing more unisex pieces and also creating their own characters and style codes rather than being dictated to about what to like.
'It’s an individualistic approach to style. People will mix high-end pieces with second-hand or even home made stuff, and bits of high street. Anything is ok, its really exciting and fun’.
Fashion by its very nature has a lifespan, so while SJP’s sense of maximalism may hold currency today, restraint and palette cleansing minimalism will be back before we know it. But, for now, let's embrace the more-is-more nature of 2017 and clash colours and layer up the gems.
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