How To Wear The New Maximalism Without Sacrificing Your Personal Style

"It's not about being flamboyant for Instagram likes. It's about turning up the volume on who you are"

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We're not just living life. We're living our best life. We're doing the most. We are – to throw in all the internet speak – lit. And we're lit AF. In an age where the internet has us communicating in all caps, WTFs and emojis all of the time, it's not surprising that our clothes have evolved to become just as hyperbolic. If fashion is language – and in the world of ELLE, it certainly is – our means of speaking are becoming ever bigger and bolder by the day.

GUCCI AW16
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Yes, maximalism is having a renaissance thanks to Alessandro Michele's wildly popular, highly decorative and immensely sellable vision at Gucci. But this is a shift that feels even bigger than that; a general feeling of more-is-more that has permeated through the runways, no matter what the trend (grunge, Eighties, streetwear, you name it). I'm talking about the fashion of personal branding.

From the gargantuan shoulders on a Marc Jacobs feathered cape for AW16 to the lush, elaborate braiding on a cavalry coat at Burberry, the rhetoric of the autumn season is loud and proud. You don't have to be a 'maximalist' in the traditional sense, with your gilded loafers styled with your paisley trousers, to get it. Autumn's new mood is less about covering yourself in crystals and more about the act of amplifying whatever your look of choice is to the highest degree. Perhaps it's about distinguishing oneself from the noise. 'In this current world of technology and social media, where everything runs faster each day, you want to keep that uniqueness that makes you different from the rest,' says Josep Font, the designer behind the label Delpozo known for its bold use of volume and meticulous, highly Instagrammable decoration.

DELPOZO AW16
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But to be clear, this isn't about wearing a flamboyant piece for the sake of likes on Instagram. It's about turning up the volume on who you are: letting your unstraightened curls grow big and wild like models of the moment Damaris Goddrie, Luisana González and Natalie Westling, or in singer Alicia Keys' case, swearing off make-up and committing to it in a blaze of publicity, even on red carpets. Come as you are. And then multiply that quality by 10.

Do you like your tailoring relaxed and pared back? Then take it extra large and in charge as seen through Céline's exaggerated flared legs. Do you love a plush velvet? Swathe yourself in it from head to toe as seen at Alberta Ferretti. A weakness for sequins? Wear them thick and densely layered as shown at Dolce & Gabbana and Preen. Ruffles? The bigger the better as proven by Ellery.

CHRISTOPHER KANE AW16

Michelle Elie, the Haitian-born, Cologne-based former model attributes the new mood to fashion's renewed appreciation of individualism, an idea she's long epitomised. She reached street-style icon status on the strength of her boldly out-there, go-to-hell wardrobe of challenging Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe and Prada pieces – she literally stops traffic during fashion weeks. 'I think there is a lot of fashion meant to lift the mood this season. I personally like fashion that makes me feel a bit playful and fun. We tend to buy the way we want to feel, and I think designers are providing for the full range of emotions,' she says. 'The more, the merrier.'

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