There are, on the current calendar, more fashion shows than there have ever been before. Spring-summer, pre-fall, resort, pre-collection, fall-winter, and now an increasing number of “capsule” collections at apparently random intervals in ever-more-exotic, Instagrammable locations, but the presence of more garments on more runways is not the same thing as new trends. Shifts in fashion occur when they occur — when the wind blows as it hasn’t in quite some time, maybe, or the temperature changes in some nearly inscrutable way, and this has nothing to do with how many new deliveries a department store requires.
This season, it’s official. There’s been a shift. In 2010, Phoebe Philo at Céline launched a collection so strong that suddenly the entire fashion conversation was about restraint, about the purity of bold gestures and lines. But the pendulum has swung, and we are in a heavily bedazzled moment of maximalism, of paillettes and embellishments, of layers of lace and unexpected combinations of color. As the new minimalism had Philo at its head, this movement’s spiritual leader is Alessandro Michele, the creative director at Gucci, who wears rings on each of his fingers and has a biblical beard and a thing for metaphysical philosophy. During international Fashion Weeks, the same fashion editors who used to line up at Céline for navy-blue cashmere crewnecks with only the slightest asymmetry at the hem are now back-ordering a ribbed Gucci crewneck in stripes that range from magenta to lilac to mustard to lime. Or another with an angry tiger on the neck, or another still with a bright, naïf rainbow printed halfway down. There’s plenty of Lurex, and there are kimonos, too.
Michele’s not operating in a vacuum: There’s a renewed interest in Dolce & Gabbana; tiaras with headphones attached, for example, have become a staple accessory for the brand. The layers at Prada are each intricate and exciting in construction, in color, in scale.
It’s certainly a trickier way of dressing: It requires thought and strategy, or maybe it just requires enthusiasm, a willingness to pile it all on and hope for the best, but there can be no question that it’s a pretty entertaining way to be, with lots of room for self-expression and experimentation.
Is there a reason? Does it connect to the way women see themselves in the world at this very moment? Is it a comment on the current state of femininity, or a response to a global desire for sunshine and life, optimism amid anxiety? Maybe. But it’s probably a bit simpler than that. It’s probably just because the eye, inevitably, wants what it hasn’t been getting.
The Model for Our Maximalism: Yaya DaCosta
It has been over a decade since Yaya DaCosta finished as the runner-up on America’s Next Top Model, but recovery has taken a while. “For a long time,” she admits, “I couldn’t own up to the title of being an actress and a model because I felt like people didn’t take me as seriously, and I’m a serious actress.” Fans still remember her as the beautiful contestant from Brown University who was a little too smart for the judges’ taste and probably should have won, but, fortunately for her, didn’t. “It was a blessing, because it gave me the ability to detach,” DaCosta says. “I pretended that the show didn’t happen — that was the only way that I was able to get taken seriously in the beginning.
“The purpose doesn’t seem to have been to create top models; it was to have a successful show,” she adds. “There were a lot of girls who couldn’t take the stress [of] the aftermath. I’ve heard horror stories of drug abuse. Not everybody has the strength to be able to deal with it emotionally. But in retrospect, I’m so grateful for it. I could’ve been on Chicago Med and with no one knowing who I was and maybe not paying as close attention.”
Instead, DaCosta has put together the résumé of a working actor. Before landing as a regular on Chicago Med this fall (her character, April Sexton, was first on Chicago Fire), she appeared on shows like Ugly Betty and House and got a number of supporting roles in films like Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Kids Are All Right, and the upcoming comedy The Nice Guys starring Ryan Gosling. Over time, she has acquired a number of mentors — “aunties and uncles” like Angela Bassett, who directed her as Whitney Houston in the Lifetime biopic Whitney. It was Bassett who told her, “You are everything.”
That was something she needed to hear, especially after the constant nitpicking she endured during her time on ANTM. When asked where her confidence comes from, she says, “I had to heal myself from the brainwashing of being told you are not worthy, you don’t belong — because people are made to feel threatened by you, or because they think you think you’re better,” says DaCosta. “No. Those are all projections. Those are their feelings not mine. That doesn’t belong to me. Return to sender.” — E. Alex Jung
Photographs by Bobby Doherty
Styling by Rebecca Ramsey; hair by Mann Nance for Mizani USA at Jump; wig by Chuck Amos for bumble and bumble at Jump; makeup by Nick Barose for Exclusive Artists Management using Armani Beauty; nails by Barbara Mutnick for Exclusive Artists Management.
*This article appears in the February 8, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.
Most Viewed Stories
I Retired at 38. Here’s What I Didn’t Expect.
My Year of Living Like My Rich Friend
What Salary Should I Ask For? How to Figure Out Your Worth.
A Deep Dive Into Cara Delevingne and Ashley Benson’s Relationship
Unpacking the Stoicism of Michael Jackson’s Victims
Kylie Jenner Is Now Officially a Billionaire
Dreaming About an Ex? An Expert Explores 20 Reasons Why
Finally, a Denim Line that Looks Good and Goes Up to Size 40
I Can’t Wait to Read the Wikipedia Page for Midsommar
‘I’m a Pathetic Loser Who Can’t Stop Procrastinating!’
The Cut’s Latest Fashion FeaturesCiara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel
To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag
It's got something for everyone.Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte
Along with his other major sponsors.Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits
Speedo remains committed to transparency.Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle
After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford
"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever
Walking on water in Italy.Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview
What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God
"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"A T-shirt Is Enough
Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?
She took a perfect pencil dive off a 30-foot yacht.American Apparel Is Being Sued by Former Workers
As the company considers putting itself up for sale.A Gendered History of the Tailored Suit
From Marlon Brando to Coco Chanel.How Zendaya Developed Such Great Style at the Young Age of 19
The star's best looks from Disney to now.Proof That If You’re Chic Enough, a Little Federal Investigation Doesn’t Matter
Is this the best they could do?5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Probably Would’ve Been a Street-Style Star
He had several different looks and was “pretty picky.”J.Crew Has Identified 226 Shades of Pink
Even more than there are shades of gray.Gigi and Bella Hadid Merch Is Now Somehow a Thing That Is Happening
Today in Hadidiana.Gird Your Loins for the Return of Yeezy to New York Fashion Week
The season approaches.This Indie Brand Had a Great Response to Ivanka Trump
When she bought one of their cuffs, they donated the proceeds to the Clinton campaign.