A Maximalist Love Affair

A Maximalist Love Affair by Lara Serlin

Looking at maximalist trendsetters who have paved the way in expressing themselves in this daring and eccentric style. More is most certainly more. 

Today, we’re diving headfirst into the vibrant world of maximalism. This style, characterised by its unapologetic celebration of the bold, is worlds away from the clean aesthetics of Scandinavian style or the understated sophistication of Parisian Chic. Hold tight as we explore the dynamic mix of fashion and interiors in maximalism, guided by the creative styles of Michelle Nussbaumer, Victor Hugo, Iris Apfel and modern fashion maximalist Sara Camposarcone. Get ready to be inspired!

Maximalism, in both fashion and interiors, expresses extravagance and spectacle. Think bold prints, oversized accessories, intricate details, and different textures mixed together in a colourful blend to create eye-catching designs. It is an overt display of personal expression.

A Maximalist Love AffairSource: https://michellenussbaumer.com/

Michelle Nussbaumer: Where Fashion Meets Fantasy

With a background in fashion design, Nussbaumer brings a unique perspective to her interiors, infusing them with the same sense of drama and flair that defines her fashion creations. From exotic textiles to intricate details, her designs are a feast for the eyes—a tapestry of colour and texture that invites exploration and discovery.

Whether it’s a luxurious boudoir or an eclectic living space, Nussbaumer’s interiors are a celebration of individuality and self-expression. Each room tells a story, drawing inspiration from art, culture, and history to create a truly immersive experience. It’s maximalism at its finest—bold, fearless, and utterly captivating.

A Maximalist Love AffairSource https://michellenussbaumer.com/

In interior design, maximalism cherishes eccentricity and is filled with the little trinkets and objects we pick up along the way on our travels from flea markets and bazaars. These pieces are unique and won’t be found at Primark and Zara, or Ikea and Home24! This is not about the mass market but rather about skillfully hand-made items and special treasures that have personal value.

Nussbaumer is the queen of mixing and matching in her personal style. From bold ball gowns dripping in sequins to daring ensembles that clash with reckless abandon, her creations are a feast for the eyes. It was said her style was a perfect combination between Zsa Zsa Gabor and Elizabeth Taylor, quite the compliment as these women epitomise glamour of times gone by.

A maximalist Love AffairSource: https://www.maisonsvictorhugo.paris.fr/en/paris/professionals/private-hire

Victor Hugo: Crafting Spaces of Splendour

And then there’s Victor Hugo, the writer of the Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831) and Les Misérables (1862) who also loved interior design. His maximalist interiors are nothing short of breathtaking. Hugo creates spaces that are as grandiose as they are inviting. From ornate furnishings to eye-catching accents, his designs are a masterclass in opulence and luxury.

But what sets Hugo apart is his ability to infuse each space with a sense of personality and charm. Whether it’s a massive mansion or a cosy apartment, his interiors exude warmth and hospitality—a testament to the transformative power of maximalism to create spaces that feel truly lived-in and loved.

A maximalist Love Affair Source: https://www.maisonsvictorhugo.paris.fr/en/paris/professionals/private-hire

Iris Apfel: The Grand Dame of Maximalist Fashion

Iris Apfel is a fashion icon in every sense of the word. She is known for her bold and eclectic style, characterised by oversized glasses, colourful attire, and more jewellery than seems possible for one person to wear! She presents herself as a work of art so it comes as no surprise her home should also be interior goals.

A Maximalist Love AffairCredit: thatsnotmyage.com

Maximalism: From books to TikTok

A modern day sustainable maximalist shaking up the scene and paying homage to the upcycling and eco-friendly aspects of this trend is Sara Camposarcone (@saracampz). With over 56.5M likes on TikTok, it is fair to say she has some influence. If this trend was a car, she would be revving the engine to maximum capacity and zooming at 100mph. Her style is a plethora of colour, textiles and so individualistic and daring. “I adore the rebellious spirit of maximalism and the freedom it offers—there are simply no rules, except to wear whatever brings you joy,”  she proclaims. Indeed, you’re just as likely to spot Camposarcone rocking a frilly vintage ball gown as you are a clown costume or rubber-ducky earrings.

A Maximalist Love AffairCredit: @saracampz

What is admirable about this style is it isn’t for everyone, you have to be bold and quirky to pull it off and be confident in being yourself. It isn’t dressing to impress men but rather spreading joy for other women and yourself. Plus, a hint of rebellion never harmed anyone.

There has been a newfound penchant for DIY projects that has led to crochet, knitted pieces, and other homemade goods finding their way into contemporary maximalist looks. Camposarcone, for instance, takes pride in crafting many of her own outlandish accessories and is honing her sewing skills by upcycling pieces from her wardrobe to maintain an eco-conscious approach to her wardrobe choices.

A Maximalist Love Affair“Le Trosième Oeil” Collectors by Tata Christiane – Photo by Valquire Veljkovic – Model: Nadja Naeve – Make up & Hair: Alexander Weber

Maximalism: an eco-friendly state of mind

While maximalism may seem at odds with eco-friendly practices, global trends forecaster WGSN prefers to term it “conscious hedonism”—a concept embraced by a younger generation eager to shop responsibly without sacrificing creativity. On TikTok, maximalist enthusiasts often seek out vintage stores and second-hand shops to refresh their wardrobes, allowing them to mix and match genres and decades. “I rarely purchase new items, and I steer clear of fast fashion,” asserts Camposarcone. “When I do acquire pre-loved pieces, it’s a conscious effort to avoid overconsumption. I swap clothes with friends, and when my closet needs a clear-out, I donate to a women’s centre.

A Maximalist Love Affair“Le Trosième Oeil” Collectors by Tata Christiane – Photo by Valquire Veljkovic – Model: Nadja Naeve – Make up & Hair: Alexander Weber

While maximalism itself is not a new phenomenon, its eco-conscious dimension certainly is. When you look at the beginning of the article and the likes of Apfel and Nussbaumer, this was about wealth and travel but as with all travel, the trend has evolved over time.

Today’s maximalism exudes a nostalgic embrace of the comforting aesthetics of the 1990s and 2000s, with a particular fondness for Harajuku fashion. Originally named after Tokyo’s high-fashion district, which gained prominence in the 1970s, “Harajuku” has evolved into a catch-all term for various aesthetics and subcultures born from a staunch commitment to freedom of expression, breaking away from traditional Japanese norms. The vibrant and playful style of Harajuku includes extravagant layering. This iconic style is experiencing a revival characterised by leggings, vibrant patterns, neon jewellery, hair clips, and a penchant for quirky, childlike pieces—all of which have become staples of the maximalist aesthetic of 2023.

A Maximalist Love Affair“Le Trosième Oeil” Collectors by Tata Christiane – Photo by Valquire Veljkovic – Model: Nadja Naeve – Make up & Hair: Alexander Weber

Ultimately, maximalism stems from a desire to live freely, openly, exuberantly, without fretting over “the rules.” It’s about learning to dress for ourselves—in what brings us happiness—and giving a resounding maximalist salute to what others might think.

Maximalism in fashion and interiors is a celebration of individuality, creativity, and self-expression. It’s about daring to dream big, without fretting over “the rules”, in what brings us happiness. So, let’s celebrate the daring designers and stylists who dare to push the boundaries of style and transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

A Maximalist Love Affair“Le Trosième Oeil” Collectors by Tata Christiane – Photo by Valquire Veljkovic – Model: Nadja Naeve – Make up & Hair: Alexander Weber

7 Do’s and Don’ts to bring maximalism to the max  

Maximalism is a statement, embracing vibrant colors, playful patterns, rich textures, and the joy of creativity. Each Tata Christiane creation reflects care, time, and the sheer pleasure of creativity.

Sadly, the legendary Iris Apfel, a true visionary of style, passed away at the age of 102. She embodied individuality and fearlessly expressed her unique style. Let’s honour Iris, her bold fashion choices, and learn how to embrace maximalism with Tata Christiane.

Here are our dos and don’ts to fully embrace maximalism as spring approaches:

DO Clash and Contrast…

Fashion should be fun. Master the art of looking put together with clashing fabrics and colours. Consider which part of your body you want to accentuate and what flatters your figure. Don’t shy away from pairing a ruffled shoulder with contrasting fabrics or mixing bold colors with printed leggings. Understanding how to distribute prints will help you achieve a balanced, put-together look while embracing maximalism.

DO add accessories

Accessories will personalise any outfit and are a chance to show your unique style. Think a fun bag, crochet beret and statement jewellery like a string of pearls or a vintage brooch.

DON’T think sustainable fashion has to be simple

Sustainable fashion is often associated with minimalism and the use of muted tones in an anti-rainbow of beiges and browns. This couldn’t be further from reality. Sustainable maximalism is diverse, allowing you to express your personal style while prioritising ethical and sustainable choices.  You can enjoy layering, bold prints and all the accessories, while still caring deeply about the environment. Check out our latest sustainable items from the Spring/Summer 2024 collection, like the handkerchief quilted maxi shirt, to make a statement!

DO: Combine styles

Mix and match sporty with romantic elements, such as pairing a football jersey dress with delicate ruffles or bold colors for added intrigue and style. Ruffles are a quintessential element of maximalism, and this year, runways have been awash with playful frills. Don’t be afraid to experiment with layering different textures and fabrics, or combining vintage and sustainable pieces for a unique look. Additionally, try combining colours in unexpected ways to further elevate your maximalist ensemble. By blending patterns, textiles, and colours, you’ll create a fashion-forward look that transcends age and speaks to those who embrace self-expression through style.

DON’T Forget about comfort…

Confidence often stems from feeling comfortable in what you wear, so prioritise pieces that make you feel your best. If you’re ever unsure, stick to your usual style but add flair with jewellery or other accessories. A foolproof combination is pairing leggings with a playful, oversized top. Baggy pants have also made a stylish comeback, alongside the resurgence of large shapes and silhouettes. Coordinated sets are another excellent choice, offering easy styling and impactful looks with minimal effort. Check Tata Christiane Extra Large Scarf Pants.

DO Experiment with textures

Maximalism is all about sensory overload, so don’t be afraid to mix and match textures. Combine smooth fabrics with chunky knits, velvet with denim, or satin with leather. Playing with different textures adds depth and visual interest to your outfits, elevating your maximalist look to the next level.

A Maximalist Love Affair“Le Trosième Oeil” Collectors by Tata Christiane – Photo by Valquire Veljkovic – Model: Nadja Naeve – Make up & Hair: Alexander Weber

DON’T Overthink it

While maximalism encourages boldness and experimentation, it’s essential to find a balance. Avoid overcomplicating your outfits with too many conflicting elements. Instead, focus on a few statement pieces and let them shine. Remember, less can sometimes be more even in the world of maximalism. Trust your instincts and have fun with your style!

With the arrival of spring and brighter days, let’s unleash the full spectrum of colour to embody the essence of maximalism. This trend is undergoing a revitalisation and shows no signs of fading anytime soon.

Lara is a Berlin-based freelance writer, originally from London. With a background in marketing, she’s spent the last 10+ years working on everything content-related. She can usually be found hanging out with her dog Freddie, training for a marathon, or traveling to warmer places. She’s open to collaborations with brands or individuals, & can be contacted via email or LinkedIn.