Baroque: Style in Excess

In a season of futuristic trends, several designers reverted to the 17th century and embraced the theatricality of the Baroque era. Characteristically ornate details of the period, including swirl motifs, frills, and lavish fabrics were seen throughout the runways, with each designer revealing a slightly different interpretation.

Dolce & Gabbana, a notably Italian brand, paid homage to their country’s history in an almost distinctly Baroque collection. The excess associated with the period is epitomized in the line in which the models offered a 3D imitation of frescoes, complete with cherubs seen everywhere from earrings to printed dresses. Embellished capes, gold adornment, an abundance of lace and ruffled fabrics, and a plethora of floral accents completed the detail-heavy collection.

Image clippings backstage at Aquilano.Rimaldi display a variety of Baroque art that served as inspiration for the line worthy of 17th century Italian aristocracy, including the works of Andrea Mantegna and Artemisia Gentileschi.  Albeit the elaborate nature of the style, modern touches seen in the fall 2012 collections allow for wearability in the present day. Case in point is the designer’s juxtaposition of silk and velvet with a cerulean scuba fabric, or Jason Wu’s markedly Eastern-inspired collection that incorporates minor Baroque touches in its gold embroidery, swirl motifs, and overly-emphasized hips and shoulders.

If Baroque had been associate with the 1960s and 70s, it would have resembled something like Etro’s collection. Dresses with Baroque panels, melded with the brand’s paisley in variations of mustard, navy, and maroon, are divergent from Dolce and Gabbana’s more literal interpretation of the period.

Frills and frescoes at Dolce & Gabbana

Inspiration board at Aquilano.Rimondi

Daring cutouts at Etro

Feature image courtesy of All others via


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