“Fashion revels in, exploits and ultimately overturns the prevailing limits of taste” (Judith Clark, Curator)
The modest everyday dresser is likely to be equally as aghast with the popular Balenciaga knife sock boots (and the sold out Zara knock offs) as many were when faced with that Givenchy sofa dress Kim Kardashian wore to the Met in 2013. SS17 has hit the shops with top to toe florals and ruffles. It’s bold and it’s big, but never say never: maximalist dressing is at a glorious and accessible peak.
This season’s collections were shown last September post Brexit, and now the time to wear them comes not only in the Trump era but with an election on the horizon. If Theresa May can wear bejewelled leopard print heels, we can all work a statement sleeve into our wardrobes, preferably ruffled and pink ( try this H&M number.) Like politics, fashion concerns us all, whether you like it or not. Fashion reaches us all in one way or another, just as the result of an election effects abstainers.
Everyday dressing doesn't have to be simple as the rising popularity of street style has shown. A flash of pink in the form of an over sized blazer makes all the difference, or joggers in velvet (sans the tracksuit material.) Fashion journalist Charlie Porter recently stressed that the conversations emerging from everyday fashion and ‘street wear’ brands including Stüssy, are often undermined by what he calls the "luxury treadmill" of high fashion. But does this mean everyone's day to day clothing needs to make a point? Literally so, with the purchase of a £490 Dior ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ t-shirt or a pair of Raul Solis' "Fuck Your Wall" knickers? Or should taste be challenged in this political era, to say something with your clothes as well as your vote? The maximalist trend isn't exactly Conservative.
Personal style needn’t be boring nor expensive rather a creative joy. Creativity itself can be expensive and hard to maintain inside the bubble of London, as the Bristol run collective Elektrobeast know well. The queer club night includes Zooey, Albie and three resident house and techno DJs who wanted to do something away from the capital because it was cheaper. Not everyone can afford the brands mentioned leading the maximalist trend, and many who can, have little idea of the conversations their clothes are a part of. Instead, Elektrobeast host, Lagoon, uses second hand clothes and their own wardrobe to create outfits based on colours and different themes, adding that “…the jewellery is always about trying to do an over the top sixties, sort of Breakfast at Tiffany’s diamond thing.” The collective use the DIY aesthetic to revive the 1990s' rave scene and the potential for self-styling. As a generation with such an active political voice, now is not the time for skinny jeans and t-shirts. A sock boot can't save the NHS, but more than ever, fashion is being enjoyed as a tool of both escapism and politics.
Street style and the Internet has become a gold mine for styling inspiration with stylist and writer Leandra Medine paving the way for the everyday Man Repeller. “Good fashion is about pleasing women…the trends that we love, men hate. And that is fantastic.” Medine advocates taking the feminine to the extreme: her shoe designs include diamante plastic mules that are your inner child’s dress up fantasy. Feminism at it's best. Even the most ‘feminine’ of silhouettes can become maximalist; take It girl Chloë Sevigny's recent skin tight Alessandra Rich attire, bringing neon, floral and velvet together like never before. Or look to feminism at Prada using ostrich feathers to embellish their infamous bralets. The proof's in the pudding, bigger is better.
With the upcoming election it’s important that you do have a point to make, whichever party you vote for. Whether that shows in a ruffled shirt or not is up to you.
manrepeller.com, vogue.co.uk , billboard.com, Getty Images
Quote Charlie Porter: i-D magazine