Trendspotting | Baroque

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On the Street in Europe | Photographed by Tommy Ton for style.com

It’s been a while since I’ve done a trendspotting post. I’m not as big on blogging about fashion trends, but this one is simply too fabulous to pass up — in other words, I’ve become completely enamored with the Baroque trend.

History

Baroque has an interesting history. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, the Baroque period began in 17th century Rome and was mainly reflected in architecture, sculpture, and painting (although Baroque themes were also reflected in the literature, music, and theatre of the time). Baroque — which relied on ornamentation, drama, and visual grandeur to create the style — was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church as a means of expressing the emotion of religion through art. The Baroque style also exaggerated the concept of motion, articulating events visually with clear, dramatic lines. This would also become important when Baroque influenced the fashion world, then and now. (Below is very obviously a picture of “then”…)

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“Lady with Fan” by Diego Veláquez, mid-1600s | Source

Style also developed during the Baroque period, impacting fashions throughout Europe. Trends swung heavily during the 17th century, but at the beginning of the 1600s, wide, detailed collars, large sleeves, and dark, heavy fabrics were popular (these would later be replaced by pastels and more relaxed silhouettes). The waistline was raised — for both men and women — and corsets as well as full, ornate skirts remained popular until later 17th century, when a more streamlined silhouette began to take shape. The shoulders were also heavily emphasized.

Baroque-inspired style today is characterized by some of the earlier fashion from the Baroque period. On the fall 2012 runways, luxe materials, exaggerated silhouettes, heavy embroidery, brocade, lace, and chunky jewels were quite possibly the most popular trend. You could literally go baroque with the sheer amount of opulence that took over the runways and glossy magazine photo shoots (and apologies for the awful joke).

Runway

There was no shortage of opulence on the Fall runways to counter the past minimalism of the past few seasons. Here are just a few highlights:

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The Dolce & Gabbana show is probably the most-cited example of the Baroque trend’s reemergence into the fashion world. With gorgeous gold brocade detailing, pretty prints, and dramatic silhouettes, the show evoked 17th century opulence redefined for a modern era.

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McQueen and Marchesa also showcased Baroque style: McQueen with a more futuristic approach and exaggerated shaping, and Marchesa with beautiful fabrics and distinctly feminine designs.

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Robert Cavalli and Stella McCartney opted for a brighter, modern take with colorful brocade. As always, the tailoring on the McCartney runway was impeccable and clean. Oscar de la Renta offered printed fabrics and lots of jeweled details.

Editorial

Plenty of editorials from around the world featured Baroque styling. Here are a few of my favorites, for some inspiration:

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Photographed by Takahiro Ogawa for Elle Mexico | fashiongonerogue.com

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Photographed by Mikael Wardhana for Karen Magazine | fashiongonerogue.com

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Photographed by Mario Testino for Vogue Spain | fashiongonerogue.com

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Photographed by Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello for Vogue Turkey | fashiongonerogue.com

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Photographed by Zhang Jingna for Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam | fashiongonerogue.com

I love the drama of the last image! If any thing, the Baroque trend is very obviously over-the-top, especially when it comes to the details — whether it be a painted blouse, gold brocade, or lace overlay — extravagance defines the Baroque trend. To emulate the Baroque look (not mimic, that would certainly be a disaster), take a cue from the runways and editorials from this season and look for pieces with gold detailing, lots of lace, defined shoulders, or jeweled accents. You’ll feel like Renaissance royalty in no time.

What’s your take on Baroque for this season?

{Sources: street style, Tommy Ton @ style.com; painting, marquise.de; runway photos, style.com; editorials, fashiongonerogue.com}

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