The 17th century didn’t have Calvin Klein or Jeremy Scott but it did have Isaac Newton, who may not have been the most snappy dresser but knew a thing or two about science.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That is, what goes up, must come down.
No shrinking violets here … Celine Dion in head to toe Balmain. Photo: AP
Fashion trends come and go, and most of them have their opposite number. Confusingly, sometimes both are in fashion at the same time (Spots are big! Stripes are the season’s must-have! Wear pastels! Fluoro is back!).
It’s most confusing in the case of minimalism and maximalism, which are not only opposites on the fashion spectrum but totally polarised ways of being, let alone dressing.
The queen of maximalism, Lady Gaga, at the Toronto Film Festival. Photo: AP
If minimalism is a trip to a Scandinavian day spa – clean lines, neutral colour palette, gravlax – then maximalism is visiting the dress-up box at grandma’s house, if your grandma is Celine Dion version 2017.
The diva is having the fashion moment of her 49-year-old life by embracing the power of more is more, or in her case, galore is galore.
A little maximalism goes a long way on Ksenija Lukich, who’s wearing Ginger and Smart. Photo: AAP
In fashion, words like “pared back” and “clean” used to be synonyms for high praise, whereas “embellishment”, “outre” and “extra” are the adjectives of our time.
As the world and political climate seeks to increasingly control the way we live, we can still act out against the establishment through the way we dress.
Like a rhinestone cowgirl … Gigi Hadid modelling for Jeremy Scott at New York Fashion Week. Photo: AP
At the centre of all this clashing fabulousness is Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, who has revived a dowdy heritage fashion brand with his OTT philosophy since taking over in 2015.
Put simply, Michele has brought back the fun to fashion, which was beginning to take itself just a wee bit too Victoria Beckham (that is, too seriously).
Ollie Henderson bears the hallmarks of maximalism in this clashing feast. Photo: AAP
Michele can “take a cacophony of ideas, references and product and translate it in such a mellifluous way”, says Candice Fragis, buying and merchandising director for Farfetch.
“It’s all about making a statement – brands and designers are using their voice and point of view to rally the fashion troops with bold messaging. The mood is about more than just product; it’s about standing up and using our medium of fashion to communicate.”
Ready to party @gucci
Fragis also looks to Joseph, Simone Rocha’s floral prints and Balenciaga’s knife shoes, which were on every second pair of feet in the front row at New York Fashion Week.
On the New York runway, the predominance of colour was a nod to maximalism, even for brands that don’t often go the full banana (Dion Lee, Diane von Furstenberg). And then there was Jeremy Scott.
With jewelled see-through pants and dresses adorned with giant rhinestones, Scott’s show was a full-blown assault on the senses, low on wearability for most mere mortals but high on fun. Vogue described it as “playful, bordering on antic”.
And that’s what maximalism is all about. Whether you’re dipping your toe in with a printed dress (Romance Was Born, Alice McCall) or going the full Gucci, the key is to have fun. Coco Chanel once mused, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” Maximalism does the opposite. Before you head out, add another bangle/scarf/print/texture – and you’re still probably only halfway there.
Get the look
Balenciaga at Farfetch, $1180.
Marc Jacobs at Stylebop.com, $700 (approx).
Adam Lippes at Farfetch, $4212.
Concrete Jellyfish Co, $150.
Need more inspiration? Shop our editor’s picks