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Forget Minimalism! Embrace the Maximalist Desi Fashion Fiesta

by Nikki Kumar

Bigger, Bolder, Better: Who says you can’t wear everything all at once?


Over the past couple of years, the fashion cycle has witnessed a fervent embrace of minimalism, personified by the ascent of the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic. This trend finds its roots in the collective shedding of the post-lockdown lifestyle catalysed by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which cosy loungewear and pyjamas became our wardrobe staples. No longer limited to the confines of lockdown leisure wear, individuals embraced the effortless allure of pared-back fashion, a tangible return to the rhythms of pre-pandemic life. This trend served as a beacon of familiarity in a world still grappling with the aftershocks of isolation. But, as we further shift back into the swing of things, there’s a noticeable shift towards embracing the exuberance of style, marking the onset of the maximalist spring. 

While maximalism may initially evoke a sense of extravagance and hedonism, I much prefer to view it as an invitation to redefine our personal relationship with fashion. This trend isn’t just about looking like a walking disco ball (although that can be fun too!) It’s about infusing our daily attire with a playful and joyful flair, treating our most cherished pieces as everyday essentials – something that desi fashion has been doing for decades. Rather than being intimidated by its boldness, maximalism encourages us to celebrate and embrace all facets of fashion that resonate with our individual sensibilities. We see this in the resurgence of maximalism in tastemakers as well, making a bold comeback with designers like Tarun Tahiliani leading the charge. Known for his avant-garde creations, Tahiliani’s maximalist designs recently stole the spotlight at the Met Gala 2024, showcasing the trend’s resurgence in high fashion. 


A maxi-trend making waves is the rise of embellished fabrics featuring intricate designs, textural contrasts, vibrant colours, and unique silhouettes. This trend spans both Western and traditional wear, bringing a fresh twist to classic pieces. We’re seeing plain tees adorned with beaded prints, such as playful martini glasses, and manipulated fabrics showcased in collections like Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please. Big, billowy and patterned button-ups that exude that effortlessly-chic, ‘I just stole this from my boyfriend’ vibe are also gaining popularity, adding a dash of flair to everyday attire. 

Another trend that’s been capturing my attention lately is the embrace of playful bottoms. For fellow Pinterest scrollers, the sight of classic tees effortlessly paired with patterned or vibrant trousers, or even sequined miniskirts, surely sparks joy. Among my personal favourites are leopard print trousers, striking that perfect balance between kittenish print and a versatile neutral palette. 

 Traditional wear has always embraced maximalism, but in recent times, this penchant for extravagance has become even more pronounced, epitomising the essence of modern opulence. This trend is exemplified by the burgeoning global popularity of Indian designers, who have long been synonymous with opulence. Leading the charge is the renowned Sabyasachi, known for his dazzling creations that exude glamour.

Additionally, designers like Masaba Gupta are making waves with her vibrant and lavish designs. Masaba recently graced the May-June cover of Vogue India, adorning the sensational global actress Simone Ashley in a custom House of Masaba asymmetrical neckline dress with bold summery colours. Inside the issue, Simone also shines in another of Masaba’s creations, a gold bralette and skirt intricately embroidered with zardozi thread. Zardozi embroidery, popularised in 17th Century India, has long been celebrated for its exquisite craftsmanship, and its resurgence in contemporary fashion reflects the trend of modern maximalism at its finest. 


The ultimate companion to any maximalist ensemble lies in the accessories. Adorning your outfit in this style is paramount, whether you’re a seasoned maximalist or just dipping your toes into the trend. Take, for example, a classic white tee and blue jeans – the quintessential canvas for daily wear. This simple foundation can be transformed into something extraordinary with the addition of colourful shoes, a matching bag, dazzling jewellery, and funky eyewear. Accessories add that personal touch and underscore the message your outfit conveys. In maximalism, it’s all about the shape and colour of your accessories.

In the realm of maximalist jewellery, the trend of burger ring stacking has captured imaginations with its playful take on traditional stacking, blending various colours and shapes into whimsical designs reminiscent of everyone’s favourite burger. This creative approach not only injects fun into accessorising but also paves the way for new jewellery styles that effortlessly elevate any outfit, emphasising bold colours and eye-catching shapes. Mixing different sizes and colours creates dynamic contrasts, a principle that extends beyond jewellery to Indian traditional wear, where there’s been a notable surge in pairing chunkier pieces for added flair and drama.

When it comes to accessories, Indian fashion brand Nef’s shines with its beaded shoulder bags, like the ZOE Embellished Bags, known for their glamorous yet playful designs that add charm to both daytime and evening looks. Meanwhile, the Balenciaga City Bag remains a cult-classic for its maximalist use of studs, adding a timeless cool edge to any ensemble. In footwear, vibrant options such as AdidasSamba or Puma’s Palermo collection bring bursts of colour to everyday outfits, while traditional Punjabi juttis offer a spectrum of fun colours and intricate designs perfect for elevating any look with a touch of glam. With maximalism, the possibilities are limitless, inviting us to indulge in a world of vibrant expression and unabashed glamour.



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