The Renaissance of the Renaissance
Designers are looking far back for inspiration this season, to the 16th century to be precise.
There is no question that the Renaissance, only about five centuries later, is having a big fashion moment. Perhaps it’s the lasting influence of the ‘Heavenly Bodies’ exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018, or maybe it’s just about time according to the recurring fashion cycle? Either way, I’m here for it.
It’s definitely not the first time designers turn to this era’s sensual and rich aesthetic for inspiration. Thierry Mugler’s Botticelli-inspired gown ‘Birth of Venus’, from his Autumn Winter 1995 collection, was pulled from the archives and worn by Cardi B at the Grammy Awards earlier this year. Vivienne Westwood’s iconic ‘Portrait’ corsets, from her Autumn Winter 1990 show, have also resurfaced thanks to the prevailing trend. FKA Twigs flaunted an incredible collection of the oil painting-inspired shapewear which would make even the most minimalist of fashion enthusiasts jealous.
However, I doubt that the opulent padded headbands, which adorned the models’ heads like crowns during the Prada Spring/Summer 2019 Show, have gone unnoticed by anyone lately. Perhaps you have mistaken one for being the newest product from Hövding, but it’s actually the successor of the hairclip in terms of hair accessories this season.
The excessive headwear is paired with Shakespeare-ian blouses with billowing and ruffled sleeves, square-shaped necklines and anything you can lace-up. Instagram-brands such as Orseund Iris and Reformation, which essentially built their entire brand identities around the romantic and sensuous woman, have been promoting this Anne Boleyn-esque aesthetic for quite some time now. Although, it might appear as contradictory to call anything reminiscent of the style of a 16th-century queen for “seductive”, but there is something evidently sensual about this concealed attire.
Additionally, Roksanda showed some melodramatic leg-of-mutton inspired sleeves large enough to take up an entire room or knock absolutely everything over. Perhaps not the most practical, but definitely a statement. Christopher Kane offered a little less pronounced version for the less daring consumers, or for all of us that enjoy our fashion with a side of convenience.
According to the Spring Summer 2020 runways, the Renaissance is apparently not going anywhere. Simone Rocha’s show was a beautiful sequence of sumptuous satin, floral embroidery, studded headbands and plentiful of pearls in the forms of chandelier earrings or egg-shaped purses.
The square neckline will also transfer into the next season and Ganni showed a greatly contemporary approach to the classic silhouette. Casey Cadwallader at Mugler proved that he has managed to capture both the spirit and heritage of the iconic label with his latest collection, and I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone that it included various takes on the corset.
One of the best indications that the trend is here to stay was Brock Collection. Their show was an array of jacquard evening gowns, bone bodices, and puffed sleeves, some of it casually styled over pants and sandals to make it more consumer-friendly and versatile. Who knows how long this re-birth will last but at least be sure to add some Renaissance flair to your wardrobe before the next decade.