Pondering how to pull off head-to-toe sequins? Wear them all over. While sparkle is scattered across the catwalks season after season, full sequin looks dominated the AW16 ready-to-wear collections of several designers.
Where AW15 favoured structured, androgynous ensembles in muted shades, and athleisure dominated both on and off the catwalk, AW16 represented a rising backlash against normcore. The objective, in fact, was to be covered in sequins from dawn to dusk. And with clothing glittering not just on red carpets but in the hours before twilight beckons, it was a sure sign a new trend was afoot.
A sports-luxe spin on sequins
Even Vetements shed its consistently understated sensibility for SS16, with a model emerging in a shimmering silver polo neck dress at its catwalk show. This item continues to encapsulate the trend for head-to-toe sequins: unabashedly structured shapes in foil brights that reflect even the most subdued light. Providing a nonchalant contrast, the French fashion house teamed the dress with tawny-hued flat boots.
Balenciaga, under Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia, followed suit. The usually hard-luxe brand focused on wintery athleisure for AW16: shiny sequins and luminous lurex vied for attention with oversized ski jackets. A bandeau dress threaded from shard-like spangles in icy metallic tones added another layer to the snow-inspired collection, and showed how to pull off head-to-toe sequins in the process.
Michael Kors also played with lustrous materials in its AW16 collection, which included a silver and white sequinned dress finished with sprays of cloud-white feathers. A boxy top half, sporty collar and patent white pointed flats ensured the potentially ethereal look remained down to earth.
Chanel bestowed full-on sequins with a classic Parisian aesthetic for AW16. In the fashion house’s collection, models showcased dazzling dresses in jet black, some sporadically stitched with white zigzags. Topped off with boxy bowler hats, dark opaque tights and elegant elbow gloves, the ensembles brought frivolous shimmer to serious couture.
The French label may have embraced monochromatic subtlety for AW16, but Dolce & Gabbana aimed for pure ostentation during the finale of its show in the same season. More than 70 models glitterbombed the catwalk in glistening peony pink, fuchsia and silver cocktail dresses with taffeta ruffles, wearing jewel-encrusted headbands and traditional mary-jane heels.
Where other designers toned down head-to-toe sequins by incorporating grungy or understated pieces, Dolce & Gabbana dived headlong into winter 2016’s penchant for the supremely feminine. Its take on sequins launched a perfectly prim party look just in time for the festive season.
Ashish, the brand that pays homage to sheen season after season, went similarly flamboyant. It contrasted models in matching candyfloss-coloured afros and tight dresses or pantsuits with those in block primary hues.
Texture for twilight
Sequins were still fair game come evening, too. For sophisticated party wear with an edge, look to the deep pink asymmetric gown from the AW16 collection of Moschino for women. This figure-skimming sequinned dress features haphazard burn holes covered in delicate mesh for a delightfully dishevelled effect.
An Alexander McQueen dress from the same season, half emblazoned in a gold sequinned unicorn, half entirely transparent, was far too risqué for the red carpet. Actress Margot Robbie slipped on a version with sheer black netting at the worldwide Suicide Squad premiere in early August 2016.
Saint Laurent has consistently championed sequins over the years, but opted for a more casual approach to shine with AW15’s ‘70s-influenced show. The label toughened up sequinned slips and tiaras by pairing black knee-high boots and loosely draped utilitarian jackets. A year later, Creative Director Hedi Slimane embraced embellishment – and the 1970s – once again, displaying how to pull off head-to-toe sequins with his form-fitting glam-rock ensembles in royal purple and fuchsia pink.
At Gucci, the sequin trend was elevated to scintillating new heights when combined with Oriental influences. Models in the fashion house’s AW16 catwalk show wore bold traditional Chinese dresses rendered in emerald green and scarlet sequins that shone like dragon scales. Eastern-inspired appliquéd Koi carp, peacocks and botanicals with a hand-drawn quality gave the pieces a final artistic flourish, while simple loose hairstyles and dark shoes rooted the ensembles in the every day.
And there's the crux: no more are full-on sequins restricted to balls, Christmas parties and late-night galas. Just as sportswear carved out a home for itself on the red carpet in 2016, so sequins are breaking out of their eveningwear niche, becoming entirely acceptable for daytime.