Cheesy, tacky, and low-brow as it may seem, kitsch serves a greater purpose in art, design, and fashion. It is a unique style of making an extravagant statement through the juxtaposition of jarring yet alluring prints, colours and patterns. It may be loud, fun, even vulgar, but when aptly styled it is a visual delight.
From Moschino and Manish Arora to Betsey Johnson and Libertine, fashion’s most prominent names have exhibited high fashion with that distinctive sense of humour and irony that defines kitsch. Closer home, glocally-inspired motifs and patterns have found a place in the designs of Nida Mahmood, Play Clan, Chumbak, and Quirkbox, and a bevy of emerging labels.
Inspired by popular cultural icons and everyday objects this quirky trend is all about channelling your creativity and having fun. Some of the world’s greatest artworks ever produced are kitsch. Take for example Andy Warhol’s 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans exhibit or Vladimir Tretchikoff’s blue-faced Chinese Girl. Artists like Salvador Dali, (among many others) celebrated for their iconic artwork pertaining to a particular movement- in his case Surrealism- also dabbled and experimented with kitsch art, as seen in the bizarre portrait of Mona Bismark. When it comes to fashion, the challenge lies in embracing the trend to look stylish not silly. Here’s how to rock the look like a pro.
Look 1: Style this Emmys-approved yellow sweatshirt with a pair of flared white trousers, for a surprisingly unique and classy look. Team the ensemble with a pair of offbeat mules and a graffiti bag for a funky appeal.
Shop Moschino floral jumper; Joseph Trousers; Jimmy Choo Clutch; Marques Almeida Mules
Look 2: Teaming this busy and vibrant dress with colour blocked sunglasses for a playful look. Throw a bright backpack and statement heels and step into the sun.
Shop Dsquared2 Printed Dress; Jacques Marie Mage Sunglasses; Gianvito Rossi Booties; Moschino Quilted Backpack
Look 3: A funky cropped trouser adds a dose of kitsch to your workwear. Balance the look with a black peplum top for structure and Oxfords. A flashy jacket and statement earrings will transition the look for evenings.
Shop The Seafarer Cropped Jeans; P.A.R.O.S.H. Cropped Jacket; Grey Jason Wu Peplum Top; Unützer Oxford Shoes; Monies Earrings
Exemplified by over the top pieces, this eclectic mismatch of colour and patterns makes for an extraordinary form of expression.Who ever said fashion can be simultaneously fun and serious has never heard of kitsch.
Planning a kitschy new look? Try elanstreet’s Curated For You service for looks hand-picked by expert stylists.