In terms of fashion, we are living through quite unique times, seeing as visionary designers let their creativity flow into a most eclectic season; flamboyant styles coexist with avant-garde sportswear and “monastic” minimalism. Ornamental fabrics reign supreme this year, where delicate lace and rococo brocade coexists with sporty mesh, eyelet leather and high-tech 3D materials.
Inspired by performing arts and high fashion costumes of the 20th century, an ongoing trend this season is over-the-top embellishment: crystal jewelry, heavy silk embroidery, glossy feathers, sequins and floral appliqué, creating a mesmerizing, city parade look. Alber Elbaz, designer of heritage label Lanvin, mixed different decorative fabrics including sparkling embroidered lace and pleated lamé, paying homage to Haute Couture’s glorious times.
Milan based luxury house Prada is this season’s promoter of an eccentric conceptual style, with the spring 2014 collection displaying innovative collage dresses adorned with rows of glass beads, large sequins and portrait art prints.
Although inspired by past styles in the history of fashion, the novelty of this trend stands in streamlined cuts and restrained palette, and, further so, in paring luxurious looks with casual or even sporty looks, a flexible combination that speaks about contemporary life. At Louis Vuitton, designer Marc Jacobs presented sheer black tops covered in jewel embroidery worn with distressed “boyfriend” denim jeans and flat heel ankle boots. I should mention that impressive ostrich feather head pieces completed the looks, highlighting the free-spirited essence of this fashion trend.
Speaking of the latest high fashion fabric, many designers have shown ornate denim in their collections, including French house Balmain who presented a line of rhinestones and golden chains adorned tops or flounce dresses. The upcoming pre-fall collection of Milanese label Alberta Feretti includes golden embroidery on dark denim jackets and slim jeans.
Fans of Canadian-born designer Erdem Morialoglu are already accustomed with his beautiful, sophisticated designs; his spring-summer 2014 collection displayed a high level of craftsmanship with intricate appliqué patterns of crystals, beads and feathers on flower embossed cotton and organza pieces.
Heavy, tapestry-like embroidery brings a bohemian vintage-chic feel to clothes, handbags and shoes. Another classic style in embellishment, ribbon embroidery has been used this season to decorate statement jackets and dresses in a modern take of Art Nouveau style. Other designers created romantic looks with flower appliqué including well-known brands like Dolce & Gabanna, Marni and Dennis Basso. Not only ethereal dresses but also sport jackets and luxe sweaters are “dipped” in sparkling crystals, beads, 3D flowers and pailletes.
With such a rich inspirational board, designers explored diverse aspects of clothing embellishment: sparkling appliqué on leather pieces brings 70’s glam rock to urban-chic status while crystal embroidery in geometric or floral patterns gives a luxe spin on bohemian style.
Dazzling ornamentation creates different styles on different fabrics: cluster jewel embroidery on sheer or silky fabrics speaks about evening glamour while a cotton/jersey top with jet bead appliqué brings casual elegance to a pair of jeans. A sequin covered slip-on gown recalls of jazz age extravaganza, making it an ideal outfit for a summer party while a similar adornment on a vest top or a cropped blazer, teamed with leather trousers, instantly says rock’n’roll.
Shoes and accessories get the embellishment treatment also: covered in colorful beads, of African inspiration, or in large stone jewels, decorative shoes and handbags convey a red-carpet status to a simple casual outfit. Remember, though, that when you’re wearing an attention grabbing piece it is best you keep the rest minimal to avoid over accessorizing.
This season’s decorative trend can be easily donned in real life: consider wearing a crystal-adorned cropped top with a high-waist skirt in demure tea length and pointed toe shoes or a sequined-covered skirt with a safari shirt for a semi-formal event. Classic chic with a hint of luxury added. You won’t risk overdressing by sticking to a minimal color scheme and pairing ornate pieces with tailored separates.
Erdem spring 2014 collection images: www.erdem.com
1. Tory Burch, Isabella jacket, $795.00
2. Zara blouse with flowers appliqué neckline, 45.90 CAD
3. Club Monaco, Karmen Skirt, $198.50
4. H&M Embroidered leather sandals, $179
5. Club Monaco, Abby Clutch, $149.50
6. H&M embroidered organic cotton waistcoat, $79.95
7. Kate Moss for Topshop collection, available starting April 30th at the Bay
8. ZARA leather crossover sandal with jewels, 99.90 CAD
9. Kate Moss for Topshop collection, available in stores starting with April 30th at the Bay
10. J. CREW floral pastel cuff, $128
13. Tory Burch Sydney flat sandal, $295.00
14. ZARA Diamante Box, 79.90 CAD
15. ZARA sequined skirt, 69.90 CAD
16. Embroidered D’Orsay loafers, $278.00