Return of the Max: Milan Fashion Week’s Obsession with Maximalism

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Simonetta Ravizza Fall/Winter 2017
Simonetta Ravizza Fall/Winter 2017 | Photo: Courtesy of WGSN

Lidewij Edelkoort, one of the world’s leading trend forecasters, delivered a critical talk in Berlin last year, during which she discussed what the future holds for fashion in the face of massive global changes in politics. “In these times of fear, in the big parts of the world, in densely structured fighting societies, fashion tends to become very extravagant,” she said, before continuing, “There’s this whole urgency, I believe, to truly change form. It has been too basic for too long, and we need to have a new incentive. Theatrical clothes are going to be important.”

With her legendary track record for always being right, Edelkoort unknowingly defined one of the biggest movements at Milan Fashion Week for Fall/Winter 2017: the move toward maximalism. While Italian designers and opulence have always been close kin, they took things to greater extremes this season. Forget the old maxims about paring back or taking one thing off before you walk out the door – for Fall/Winter 2017, it’s all about more, more, more. Why suffer simplicity when you could be a star in a universe of your own making?

Starting in 2016, evidence of the 1980s began popping up on the catwalk, but at Milan Fashion Week, the era of excess held particular importance. There were over-the-top ruffles, broad-shouldered powersuits, neon sportswear, and, yes – we agree – that’s a whole lotta “look”. Maximalism and 80s styles go hand in hand, dovetailing together as two sides to the same coin. Exaggerated proportions weren’t just a focus of silhouette and tailoring, but also of decorative elements. For example, when designers did fringe, they did fringe that reached the floor – nothing less than doing the most was the motto of the season. Investigate the looks that put the “max” in maximalism in our gallery roundup below.

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