Foresight Analysis: Overt Embellishment

Maximal Style

First seen in MIX Magazine, issue 43, we embrace a little excess with designs that aren’t afraid to make a bold statement.


Blame Marc Jacobs, Lanvin & Gucci. Despite a resolutely dissimilar aesthetic, there is a commonality in the detailing prevalent across all these big fashion names. Whether you prefer phrases like Catholic, Maximalist, dense or detailed, there’s a richness of surface treatment, magnified by hidden meanings, amplified, decorated, dazzling, a visual kaleidoscope.


Charlotte Frances London


Much of the impetus for this trend can be laid at the door of Gucci’s collections. The designs are rich with flora and fauna motifs, fragmented collages and unexpected whimsy, a giant ladybird say, or a snake, parrot or tiger. Crucially there are also clear references in the current Gucci collections to interiors, so no surprises that overt embellishment is now creeping into design.


Camilla Blunt, Co-founder and textile designer at Charlotte Frances London feels that the time is right for a little excess.  “The more detail and colour, the more people are drawn in. There can be so many plain and dreary things about life, we think that beautiful, ornate prints can have an opposite, positive effect; they can spark imagination, stimulate conversation and enrich their surroundings,” she says.


Surface View has launched Maximalist, a capsule collection that moves firmly away from the minimal understated mood of previous seasons towards a more highly embellished approach, a rich mix of print and pattern. “Maximalist is all about more is more. A refreshing change from the recent trend of minimalism, this look is inspired by layering up pattern on pattern and colour on colour. The ‘pile it all on’ approach is more about what you love and less about the understated,” says Alissa Sequeira, Marketing Manager, Surface View.



Angela Groundwater

And for those concerned that all this overt adornment is, well, a bit much, maximalism doesn’t need to be all encompassing. As designer Angela Groundwater explains, a single highly decorative object can sit surprisingly well in a minimalist interior, breaking up the monotony of perfection and creating a more vibrant feel, whether through texture or colour.  “I think the two styles (minimalist and maximalist) can go together as a contrast. We have so much access to different styles and movements now that we can source it all and use it as we like. This makes styles and genres more personal,” she says.


A touch of maximalism, is in fact, an easy fix for too staid interiors that feel a little stale. All it takes is letting go, just a little bit. “Where this look is concerned, there are no rules. Colours clash, patterns mismatch and everything makes a statement. Go as wild as you want, this is a look you can’t get wrong,” says Sequeira.