Image courtesy of Vogue

The Death of Maximalism

Published 01/12/2022
By: xxx Published: d/m/Y

If so, where do we turn for something fun to wear?

Text by: Alina Brane, a designer and creative soul based in Stockholm.

The fashion world trembled as news about Alessandro Michele leaving Gucci spread last week. Since appointed Creative Director for the house in 2015, Michele has been the symbol of creativity and imagination. His Gucci maximalism, with its romantic, 70’s flamboyant playfulness, gender fluidity, and rule-breaking collaborations, has truly been one of a kind. In his inclusive fashion fairytale, there was room for everyone – a celebration of diversity, beauty and life.

In interviews throughout the years, Michele almost obsessively describes his work as being centered around self-expression – a kind of fashion activism and a proclamation of freedom through personal beauty. His departure means the end of an era. For Gucci, but possibly also for fashion. 

At the same time, the movement of wearable clothes is growing. Matthieu Blazy at Bottega is a great hot-off-the-press example. He, unlike Michele, talks about wearability to the point of becoming perversely banal. Don’t get me wrong, it is not about minimalism; this new notion of luxury reinvents the classics through understated – yet intellectual – ideas, exquisite craftmanship, tactility, and quality. It’s about real people looking great day-to-day in the most elevated of basics.

Image courtesy of Vogue
Image courtesy of Vogue

But hey, obviously they’re not fooling anyone. When it comes to fashion, it’s never just about dressing any average Joe but creating an aspirational dream. Even though Blazy’s casual denim looks plain, they’re crafted in the softest of leather and printed with layers of ink to resemble blue jeans. What looks like an unpretentious, everyday look is actually one of the most exquisite creations of the season. And so, a new trend arises – fashion that seems understated, but really is not. 

As a post-Instagram hype movement, after years of showing off, Blazy proclaims the future of fashion to be about silent whispers and hidden messages, rather than outspoken eccentricity. Kering replacing Michele at Gucci adds fuel to that fire. Interestingly enough, this movement claims to have the same goal as Michele’s maximalism: self-expression. But rather than expressing oneself through fashion, these understated garments are supposed to leave room for true personality to shine through.

“I wonder if it, at the end of the day, is about the fact that serious times call for serious clothes?”

I wonder if it, at the end of the day, is about the fact that serious times call for serious clothes? Or has good taste gotten so mainstream that designers need to find new ways of creating exclusivity and newness? Lord knows limited edition collabs won’t do it anymore… Blazy himself might actually be on to something. In an interview with Vogue, he talks about bringing Bottega to a place where it’s more part of the cultural aspect of society. And what fashion as an expression lacks in cultural status, art has in excess. 

Blazy grew up with an art specialist father and a historian mother. He spent his childhood at antique shows and exhibitions, making the world of fine art quite natural to him. Applying that world to fashion might be what the overly exploited fashion circus needs. Manifesting an intellectual product, produced as an original, to a well-informed consumer.

Image courtesy of Vogue

Jonathan Anderson’s surrealist-inspired work at Loewe takes it to the next level – nail polish heels, balloon bras, and large florals worn as tops. No, this is obviously not about wearability, but rather about artistry and experimentation. When Michele is stepping down and the creative beacon that was Gucci is changing, could this artistic take be the new maximalism? Or is this entire over-the-top world fading and the elevated basics of Blazy’s Bottega taking over completely? 

While we figure that out, we bow our heads to Alessandro Michele and his incredible era at Gucci – a one-of-a-kind contribution to fashion history. And we pray for that kind of creativity to find its way back into our lives somehow, someway.

Image courtesy of Vogue
Published 01/12/2022

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