They’re the clothes that make you fall in love time and time again, silhouettes with rich history and glorious pasts, dresses that whisper of a new kind of femininity. They’re the high necklines, the ruffled sleeves and the gathered waists, the ribbons and the lace that make you look back on past eras with quiet longing but that read just as beautifully in today’s modern world.

Blooming once again on the runways as a spring 2016 fashion trend, the Victorian romance continues its unexpected fashion reign, as classic motifs and ultramodern lines serve to contour what is a contemporary yet timelessly alluring aesthetic.

After the break, all about the modern day Victorian look and how to indulge in it without the theatrics.

Neo-Victorian romance for spring 2016.

As the old fades into the new, the Victorian romance trending for spring 2016 may still be very much about frills and femininity with gorgeous lace, gauzy materials and layers of ruffles cascading down the runway, but it’s the shorter hemlines, the luxe detailing and sheer finishes to bring the look up to date.

Key elements.

If you’re already a fan of the Victorian and Elizabethan periods, you’re likely to recognize the key elements prevailing for spring 2016. But here’s exactly how they work for the modern woman:

High necklines.

Airy dresses to casual shirts and statement blouses make it easy to indulge in the Neo-Victorian trend this season if they feature as little as a high neckline. This one aspect of the trend ensures the most beautiful and flattering translation to real-life, just make sure to:

  • soften their severity with pretty crochet, broderie-anglaise or lace, with ruffles or a quirky print;
  • further balance out the strict look with weightless fabrics, short or flowy hemlines, and light colours.

neo victorian trend for spring 2016
Victoriana at Zimmermann & Mother of Pearl, S/S ’16

Delicate ruffles.

A key detail trend for spring 2016, the delicate ruffles serve as the perfect way to conjure up the Victorian romance without having to necessarily adopt the whole mood. For super polished, modern results pay attention to:

  • quantity and quality in your ruffles of choice, opting for subtle if not minimal renditions that read soft and feminine;
  • silhouettes, opting for simple lines that will allow the ruffles to shine, with shorter hemlines for the day, and fuller lengths for the evening;
  • if you feel particularly bold and playful, you can always try pairing the ruffles with a pretty print.

neo victorian fashion trend for spring 2016
Victoriana at Alexander McQueen & Giamba, S/S ’16

Old-English sleeves.

A statement sleeve, all puffy and voluminous, begs for a modern simplicity to accompany its romantic mindset, and the Victoriana sleeves with an Old-English twist are no different.

This season, wear them as part of:

  • dainty, maxi dress silhouettes, where they can act as the focal point of the look; style them with all-natural hair and make-up, plus a pretty pair of flats;
  • notice-me blouses in bright hues and with high necklines; pair them with statement mini skirts and cool, graphic eyes.

neo-victorian fashion trend for spring 2016
Victoriana at Emilia Wickstead & Fendi, S/S ’16

Romantic lace.

There’s no such thing as a spring without lace, but 2016’s take on the ever-feminine fabric is all regal and spellbounding. As part of the Neo-Victorian trend, wear your lace:

  • in light hues during the day, switching to moody black for the evening;
  • with subtle sheer finishes, opting for long sleeves, high necklines and a hemline hitting below-the-knee to balance out the transparency;
  • with a gathered waist (bustiers, corsets, wide belts), or complimentary lace stockings.

Neo-Victorian fashion trend for spring 2016
Victoriana at Philosophy & Rodarte, S/S ’16

Vintage-like florals.

Loads of big, beautiful florals that can’t go unnoticed, sprinkled on Victorian silhouettes that marry the old with the new, signed for another key element on the spring 2016 runways. To evoke the dreamy atmosphere of the past, wear yours:

  • on bohemian-inspired silhouettes, toning down the vintage-like feel of the florals with plenty of sheer;
  • in double quantity, clashing multiple floral prints but maintaining a cohesive look through colour palette, clean lines, up-to-date silhouettes.

Neo-Victorian fashion trend for spring 2016
Victoriana at Gucci & Emilia Wickstead, S/S ’16

Victorian fashion with a twist.

For the Victorian look to read polished and modern, it needs to loose all signs of theatricality and just hint at the past without trying to reenact it. The key elements need to be kept in check with plenty of contemporary details, such as:

Sheer fabrics & short hems.

  • long sleeves, ruffles and high collars call for short hems and cool accessories; wear your Victorian-inspired dresses and bubble skirts with black leather boots and don’t be afraid to layer a statement vest or a biker jacket on top for a rock & roll twist;
  • sheer fabrics are still very much in and when used to add contrast to a full silhouette they make for even a more delightful juxtaposition; use airy fabrics and all kinds of pretty details (jewellery to shoes) to revamp the Victoriana look.

neo-victorian fashion trend for spring 2016
Victoriana at Louis Vuitton & Rochas, S/S ’16

Modern fabrics & arty prints.

  • notice-me fabrics to modern-day denim are ready to make sure your Victorian-inspired looks can be sported any day, any time;
  • same goes for ditching the vintage-like florals for some cool, arty prints in order to add a new dimension to the puffy sleeves and high collars.

Neo-Victorian fashion trend for spring 2016
Victoriana at Fendi & J.W.Anderson, S/S ’16

Chic Victoriana separates.

While a floor-sweeping maxi dress adorned with frills, ruffles and lace is likely to give all the Victorian-inspiration away, not the same can be said about separates. For a modern day Victorian look do try:

  • mixing the regal, Victoriana details with ultramodern lines, keeping the top highly feminine but teaming it to a pair of tailored, masculine-inspired bottoms, or viceversa;
  • mixing and matching the key elements defining the Victorian fashion trend using chic separates such as sheer blouses and flouncy skirts.

Neo-Victorian fashion trend for spring 2016
Victoriana at Dsquared2 & Zimmermann, S/S ’16

Complementary trends.

Sporty luxe vs. Girly Lolita

Perhaps a bit unexpected, which makes it all the more interesting, the Victorian elements can easily go on doubly duty if crossed with just the right aesthetics. If you’re planning on serving Victoriana with a double slice of on-trend fashion know you can complement the look with:

  • sports luxe, by opting for high necks and frilled hems to reinvent your everyday casual t-shirts; pants with a relaxed fit make for great partners in crime;
  • girly Lolita, by choosing to incorporate all, or your favourite Victorian elements, into sweet, pretty, printed mini dresses in delicious spring-like hues;

Neo-Victorian fashion trend for spring 2016
Neo-Victorian fashion at 3.1 Phillip Lim & Giambatistta Valli, S/S ’16

Prairie chic vs. Latin vibes.

  • prairie prettiness, considering that the two fashion trends are basically part of the same story;
  • Latin vibes, by pairing the lace, frills and ruffles to powerful reds, plunging necklines and on-trend chokers.

Neo-Victorian fashion trend for spring 2016
Neo-Victorian fashion at Erdem & Etro, S/S ’16

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