Neutral palettes and elevated basics are finally showing signs of slowing down. Maximalist style, jam-packed with bright colors and clashing prints, is helping to shake up the monotony of loungewear and dressing for home.
A new report by product intelligence company Trendalytics points to loud fashion as a form of optimistic expression for consumers looking to make a bold statement as they re-enter society after more than a year of staying home and social distancing.
Among the maximalist “trends to watch” for women are fur-trimmed jackets, tiered ruffled dresses and patterned pants. These kinds of items are part of the “Retro-Futurism” theme that swept Spring/Summer 2021 collections, rife with sheer fabrics, trippy prints and cutout details. The look, Trendalytics noted, nods to decades such as the ’70s and ’90s, when tie-dye and psychedelic prints were in vogue.
Signs of maximalism have been on trend analysts’ radars for a while now, with global fashion search platform Lyst calling attention to the shift back in December when consumers began to embrace bright colors as a dopamine fix after an exhausting and uncertain year. Over-the-top designs were also a major story in Fall/Winter 21-22 collections, expressed in sequin-covered dresses, cutout bodysuits and feather embellishments—signaling the return of occasion dressing.
Men are also dressing to impress, playing with bold patterns, fun accessories and flashy materials like bucket hats, satin shirts and patchwork jackets, Trendalytics reported. Louis Vuitton’s men’s artistic director Virgil Abloh put maximalism on full display when presenting a Fall/Winter 21-22 collection that teased cowboy boots and metallic suiting. And during the recent awards season, men were the real style stars: “Schitt’s Creek” star Dan Levy and “Hamilton’s” Leslie Odom Jr. were spotted channeling playful Valentino couture marked by chartreuse, ombre and gold suiting.
Men’s jewelry is also benefitting from the maximalist movement. Jewelry brand Kendra Scott is anticipating the trend’s longevity and branching into men’s with “Scott Bros.” Pop star and fashion icon Harry Styles, who Lyst named a “power dresser” in 2020, leads the maximalist charge with bold statement pieces and accessories—namely, jewelry. Trendalytics reported that Miami-based jewelry company Eliou experienced an influx of male customers after the singer wore its custom pearl necklace.
The children’s category is getting an opulent boost, as sequins, rainbows and tulle skirts become more popular. Following the Gen Z-led shift away from skinny jeans, girls’ wide-leg jeans are considered a “safe bet,” with searches up 163 percent since last year. The maximalist trend is also appearing in beauty, with colored mascara, wigs and glitter nail polish skyrocketing in popularity.
Though the concept of maximalism directly contradicts with the fashion industry’s recent commitments to produce fewer and smaller collections, brands can meet the pent-up demand for bold fashion responsibly. Paloma Wool is one brand serving this maximalist look, using organic cotton, linen and lyocell throughout its line. House of Sunny, known for its psychedelic prints and knits, use only faux fur and biodegradable labels.
A brand’s ability to channel the maximalist aesthetic while producing with a minimalist mindset is the new winning strategy, Trendalytics noted.