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Baroque is making a major comeback and dominating the style scene this season. You’ve probably heard of this regal trend that’s characterized by gorgeous gilding, chains, scrolls, and ostentatious patterns inspired by the past.
The term “Baroque” describes an Italian artistic style that dates back to the 17th century. This form of art spread across Europe from the end of the Renaissance until the return of Classicism. Dominating in both art and architecture, Baroque is a richly structured and symmetrical style. It features extravagant decoration and exaggerated shapes, like scrolls and spirals. By way of its dramatic and grandiose effects, it inspires a sense of awe.
This artistic movement was highly sought after by the era's monarchical regimes, which is why we associate it with royalty today. Some examples of this impressive architecture include the Château de Versailles in France and the Royal Palace of Caserta in Italy.
Baroque experienced a renaissance in the fashion industry at the end of the 1980s thanks to Milanese designer Gianni Versace. He transformed this traditional Italian artistic movement into an eccentric pop art trend. Medusa heads, gold chains, animal prints, and bright colors replaced the angels and cherubs found in the original Italian frescos and he displayed the prints on silks and satins that echoed the art movement's opulence.
Even today, this trend has inspired famous designers like Dolce & Gabana, Givenchy, Ralph Lauren, and Balmain. Over the past few years, the house of Versace has brought its Baroque prints back to the runway. Once again, we find this art movement at the very heart of fashion.
2019 Met Gala
On May 6, during the coveted Met Gala, this artistic movement stepped into the spotlight. Each year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts a fundraising gala celebrating the theme of the Costume Institute’s fashion exhibit. The theme dictates the dress code for the gala, an event that’s popular with many celebrities and public figures. This year’s theme was Camp: Notes on Fashion. Camp is defined as the love of artifice, exaggeration, and the abnormal.
A large part of the exhibition is devoted to how irony, humor, parody, theatricality, and exaggeration are expressed in fashion. It takes you through the origins of Camp, beginning in the 17th century at the Château de Versailles, the trend’s Eden. The exhibition displays the extravagance of the royal courts of Louis XIV and Louis XV, where Baroque style was the rule.
Once again at the forefront of the spring/summer trends, the Baroque aesthetic is key in clothing for both women and men. Back in full force, it beautifully decorates T-shirts, blouses, skirts, pants, and jackets. We see it in sharply contrasting black and white, accentuated by its celebrated gold detailing and dazzling colourful touches. Not only does it come on silky materials, but also on denim and cotton jersey.