The rise of OTT fash­ion

It’s the op­po­site of sub­tlety, and it’s ev­ery­where! Get ready for bolder, brighter, wilder, shinier and more.

Glamour (South Africa) - - Front Page -

Head­phones that re­sem­ble glit­ter­ing Re­nais­sance crowns, bro­cade ball­go­wns the size of a small car, glit­ter sun­glasses, crazy retro mixes of turbans and trains – wel­come to the max­i­mal­ist trend! You need only glance at the cat­walks, red car­pet and streets to see that op­u­lent, at­ten­tion-grab­bing en­sem­bles that mix colour, tex­ture and print in ways that would have once seemed ridicu­lous are now ev­ery­where.

Lead­ing the charge on the de­signer front, with flam­boy­ant styling and ex­u­ber­ant mixes, are Gucci, Marc Ja­cobs and Dolce & Gab­bana. And they want you to fol­low their lead with buys like bright coats, be­jew­elled turbans and se­quinned jer­seys. If, un­til now, you’ve lived by Coco Chanel’s maxim of tak­ing one thing off be­fore leav­ing the house, this is the sea­son to do the ex­act op­po­site. Think ri­otous colour, pat­tern and tex­ture – all at once.

“Fash­ion is all about fan­tasy, ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and in­di­vid­u­al­ity,” ex­plains SA de­signer Suzaan Heyns. “And the max­i­mal­ist trend is a fun way to ex­press your­self,” she adds.

Insta im­pact

So what’s cre­ated this de­sire for OTT dress­ing? Part of it is a re­ac­tion to our po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment. With all the gloom and doom around us, dress­ing for fun pro­vides an out­let and a source of spon­ta­neous de­light. Then there’s the im­pact of so­cial me­dia, with its ap­petite for all things eye catch­ing.

“Dig­i­tal plat­forms like In­sta­gram pro­mote bold print and colour be­cause the eye is im­me­di­ately drawn to them on a small screen. That’s made us much braver,” notes de­signer Mary Ka­trant­zou, whose po­tent prints fit per­fectly into the trend. And, in turn, In­sta­gram has added new style gurus to the mix – the ex­pres­sively dressed blog­gers and street-style stars who get 100 000 likes on just one pho­to­graph – inspiring the rest of us to fol­low their lead and dress in a bolder way.

Vin­tage Goth and Re­nais­sance op­u­lence

If the OTT trend be­gan as a mere whis­per a few sea­sons ago, it has trans­formed into a full-blown orches­tra by now. A lot of that im­pact has been thanks to the ap­point­ment of a new cre­ative di­rec­tor at Gucci, Alessan­dro Michele, who cap­tured the op­u­lent mood bril­liantly with vin­tage-vibe col­lec­tions that in­cluded crushed vel­vet jack­ets, pur­ple lace skirts and back­less faux fur-lined dresses.

Marc Ja­cobs, an­other de­signer who has long been as­so­ci­ated with ex­u­ber­ant style, upped the ante at this year’s New York Fash­ion Week when he sent Ken­dall Jen­ner, Lady Gaga and Gigi Ha­did down the cat­walk in tow­er­ing plat­forms, huge skirts and lav­ish coats, all worn with bleached brows, dark lips and pin-curled hair.

“I started the col­lec­tion with an over­sized jer­sey, and that led to an over­sized jacket. Once the clothes got so big, the shoe needed to be fan­tas­ti­cal, too. It all be­came fic­tion­alised and blown out of pro­por­tion,” Marc ex­plains of his col­lec­tion.

From the front row to the red car­pet

Cut to the fash­ion-ob­sessed front row, who glit­tered and glis­tened in em­broi­dered dresses, ruf­fled sleeves and citrus-coloured coats paired with sweep­ing skirts. Max­i­mal­ism has long been the do­main of Ital­ian icon Anna Dello Russo, but she’s not the only one.

Daphne Guin­ness, who is of­ten re­ferred to as the haute couture Cruella de Vil, wore a se­quinned body­suit and her sig­na­ture heel-less shoes to the Global Fund event. Carine Roit­feld, the cult leader of French style for whom black is al­most al­ways the new black, swept to her seat at Tom Ford in leop­ard print. Ri­hanna smoul­dered in a salmon pink cape at Dior. And who could for­get Grace Jones’ white hooded en­sem­ble at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val.


And if ever there was a place where OTT style works, it has to be on the red car­pet, from Ri­hanna’s enormous yel­low train at last year’s Met Gala to Nicki Mi­naj’s busty dom­i­na­trixstyle of­fer­ing this year. Even stars who are nor­mally known for el­e­gant re­straint are go­ing for it. At the Screen Ac­tors Guild Awards, Kate Bos­worth aban­doned her usual sub­tle look for daz­zling pink Dolce & Gab­bana se­quins, while Olivia Palermo opted for an or­ange and green geo­met­ric print by Delpozo at the Golden Globe Awards. And Lady Gaga paid trib­ute to David Bowie by don­ning a Marc Ja­cobs Ziggy Star­dust-in­spired out­fit at this year’s Grammy Awards.


Here in SA, celebs are go­ing all out, too. At the 2014 Chan­nel O Awards, Pam An­drews wore a barely-there dress by Em­manuel Von Wiek; at this year’s SAFTAS, Nomzamo Mbatha was out­fit­ted in a be­jew­elled sheer top and a spec­tac­u­lar satin train; and Lorna Maseko went all out with a multi– tex­tured dress by Qui­te­ria & Ge­orge.

Tzvi Karp, the Joburg de­signer who sends mod­els down the run­way clad in yel­low faux-fur jack­ets, cerise trousers and pat­terned turbans, be­lieves SA is prime ter­ri­tory for gaudy-chic dress­ing. “So­cial me­dia has made us braver,” Tzvi says. “We see crazy out­fits go­ing on in Tokyo, Ber­lin or Seoul, and re­alise that we can be just as dar­ing. And in Africa, we’re al­ready one step ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to colour­ful dress­ing.”

In­ter­na­tional de­sign­ers clearly agree. Valentino’s 2016 sum­mer col­lec­tion is an homage to African fab­ric and de­sign, as is Missoni’s. Her­mès is cre­at­ing a se­ries of African-in­spired scarves, while at New York Fash­ion Week, ac­tress Zen­daya turned heads with her clash­ing leop­ard-print trousers and tribal-print coat, and mu­si­cian An­dra Day be­came an in­stant street­style hit when she wore a bright Ma­saiprint tur­ban to a Marc Ja­cobs show.

But out­side of wear­ing African prints, how do we in­cor­po­rate these OTT looks into our lives? “Be brave, but also know your lim­its,” rec­om­mends Suzaan. “There are so many de­sign­ers, colours and fab­rics in SA that we have a lot to choose from. Play with your style, but re­mem­ber bal­ance: if the sil­hou­ette or tex­ture is bold, then the colours shouldn’t over­whelm, or vice versa.”

“Don’t be afraid to mess up,” adds Tzvi. “If you want to be a fash­ion icon, ex­press what’s unique about you by what you wear and in the way that you dress. Clothes are an easy way of telling the world about your­self – so make sure that you say some­thing fab­u­lous!”

Be­come an In­sta­gram in­flu­encer with these four high-im­pact swaps

SWAP a neu­tral fe­dora for a tribal head­wrap. SWAP

a clas­sic black blazer for an em­broi­dered bolero.

SWAP a sim­ple gold chain for an op­u­lent jew­elled brooch. SWAP a sin­gle gold band for a set of cool stack­ing rings.

Bey­oncé at the 2015 Met Ball. Rita Ora at this year’s Met Ball. Lady Gaga at this year’s Met Ball.

Nicki Mi­naj at this year’s Met Ball.

Solange Knowles at this year’s Met Ball.

Pam An­drews at the Chan­nel O Awards in 2014. Nomzamo Mbatha at this year’s SAFTAS.

Lorna Maseko at the SAFTAS this year.

Bolero Mango R1 199

Rings Co­lette by Co­lette Hay­man R116 (for set)

Brooch Ac­ces­sorize R269

Head­wrap Tru­worths R199

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