Acquastudio by Esther Bauman Spring/Summer 2014

It is often pointed out that European and North-American fashion journalists tend to interpret the work produced by Latin American fashion designers from a prejudiced viewpoint pregnant with the assumption that minimalist sartorial shapes rank higher on the taste scales than colourful and exuberant designs. Assuming that this is true (which, personally, I am not entirely sure that it is), there are in fact many situations where mastering maximalist fashion (often defined by an abundance of colours, patterns, textures and elaborate techniques) is a literal art form that entails understanding the editing process in order to engender effective results.

The inaugural collection by Acquastudio by designer Esther Bauman during São Paulo Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2014 summed up all that is misunderstood about fashion in its maximalist form. In addition to combining a succession of current womenswear commonplaces, such as structured peplums and layered ruffles, Bauman did not refrain from bringing together (often in the same garment) multitudes of contrasting chiffon, satin, plastic lace, not to mention elaborate embroideries with swathes of pearls in a final effect that bordered on the nauseating.

If minimalism can be a culprit for instilling journalists and buyers with a common appreciation of what ultimately are sartorial traditions that were of great importance throughout the twentieth century, maximalist fashion cannot exist in itself based on the decision that any kind of fabric, colour or texture can be combined in any quantity. I left the Acquastudio runway show feeling that there isn’t anything wrong with Esther Bauman’s talent to develop a successful collection. What was missing was the understanding that maximalism does in fact need some kind of refrained control, starting by understanding the notion of editing. And if there is a lesson from minimalism that would be beneficial to some Latin American designers, this would be the one.