From the royal portraits of Elisabeth I to the 80s, the sleeves have always represented a symbol of strength and power in the fashion industry. The excess of fabric has been subject to a contemporary review in order to transform the architectural shapes and the voluptuous materials into incredible lessons of modern geometry. The fantasy feeling is emphasised thanks to the unique fabrics – wool, silk or tulle – to create a new style that combines the gloomy Victorian aesthetic, high doses of glamour and a bit of rock and roll.
As if it were a three-dimensional composition, the new volumes in blouses, sweaters and jackets break the fashion laws, resulting in original forms and indecipherable asymmetries not suitable for all audiences.
This is the new trend for summer 2016 and a prelude to one of the fashion hits of winter 2017. This avant-garde intention made the designers use metres of fabric to achieve a provocative balloon effect, in which the excess becomes the new ornament and an infallible resource to renovate the simplistic proposals for the sleeves.
In his collection Spring/Summer 2016 for DelPozo, Josep Font bet on pure and clear lines, just broken due to the organic volumes that were drawn in the sleeves with hollowed, wavy and flared shapes. Behind this flawless handmade work, Font decorates them with hand-knitted flowers, leaf-like embroidery and flounces of various sizes. Pure trendiness.
As if we were time travelling through different moments in history, the spring/summer 2016 collection of J.W.Anderson is a contemplation of art, creativity and avant-garde. The exaggerated puff sleeves are joining the baggy pants to create figures and volumes that, contrary to stereotypes, make sense and create a fascinating and futuristic basic wardrobe.
Fendi’s fashion show in Milan turned to be an ode to the Tudor’s dynasty in the 21st century. The blouses and dresses with exaggerated sleeves were able to project a surprising and refreshing aesthetic, in which the architectural shapes seemed more rational than emotional.
For Emilia Wickstead, this bucolic spirit works as an aesthetic catalyser that upgrades the impressive sleeve volumes into the essential category. The conjunction between both references develops brilliantly in order to create gloomy designs with modern reminiscences.
Using a pop and iconic image as a starting point, Marni created a collection in which the art world and elegance seem completely modern and contemporary. The tailoring of the clothes, the shiny colours and the volumes in the sleeves as the central axis highlight the feminine simplicity creating an aesthetic amalgam that goes from sensuality to usefulness.
Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, the designers behind the brand Proenza Schouler, present once again the power of the female body in their summer/spring 2016 collection. They’ve created assymetric clothes with sloping shoulders and sewn up with trumpet-shaped waterfalls of flounces in order to put together a flawless, subtle and delicate aesthetic symphony.
We can find the most subtle architectural shapes at the Céline Fashion Show, in which Phoebe Philo showed dresses and tops inflated from the shoulders to put together a genuinely urban symphony under a veil of cautious excess.
The most romantic reinterpretation conquers the designs of Dior that centres the attention on the shoulders of sweaters, knitted cropped tops and light-fabric designs offering an easy-going delicate sensuality available round the clock.
Simone Rocha’s strong point is the capacity to focus on the subtle difference between the modern woman and her wardrobe. In the spring/summer 2016 collection, the conscious presence of the body is perceived through the provocative sparkles of the transparencies that stress the subtle volumes in the sleeves, and creating a style guide for the femininity of the 21st century.
Oscar de la Renta introduces the sensuality through a fresh and feminine perspective thanks to an extraordinary work made with the fabrics, producing dimensional and voluptuous shapes in the shoulder wearable in perfectly-drawn jackets that become the key of the outfit. The result is a contrasting game that offers a very romantic aesthetic.
Although we’re still enjoying this summer trend, it seems that next season will continue with the oversized sleeves as fashion hit. In the pre-fall collections we begin to see voluptuous sleeves that don’t go unnoticed, inspired by the earlier ages and with a futuristic look.
Left: two designs of DelPozo; right: Gucci. Pre-Fall F/W 2016 collectionsLeft: J.W.Anderson; right: two designs of Saint Laurent that show the drama in the balloon sleeves. Pre-Fall F/W 2016 collections
There is a great deal of evidence: the pre-fall collections place the excess of fabric in the sleeves as the new fashion trend to follow next season, suitable only for the most daring!