The Mystery and the Influence of the Gypsy on FW16

2 years ago

Gypsies, or the Romani people, are a group of diverse military men and women who migrated to Europe from Northern Indian in the 8th century. They were known to have worshipped the goddess Kali and resided at Mohenjo Daro, one of the earliest towns of the Indus Valley Civilization in the Sindh area. Though their effect on Indian culture is not clear, the Romani language finds roots in Sanskrit.

Typically considered outsiders, gypsies developed a reputation as travelers who live in a tight-knit, insular culture. This theme of nomadism has been explored on runways season after season, and FW16 is no different. In order to survive, the Romani were constantly on the move and tended to collect things as they traveled including clothing. This opulent and eclectic style of dressing has shown up in various trends and popular culture. We see interpretations of the global traveler at Valentino where the gypsy is modern day hunter gatherer with Earthy tones and belted waistlines. Dries Van Noten gives us an uber-luxe version with clashing prints and oversized silhouettes.

Going into the Fall Winter season, Le Mill takes a look at this culture’s continued impact on luxury fashion and our way of dressing.


The Romanis of Spain are credited with creating the flamenco and its’ associated fashion, which feature flounced ruffles, bare shoulders, and body hugging designs. The introduction of occultism is credited to gypsies who often made their wages as fortune tellers and tarot card readers. This vision of mystery and femininity lends to full dresses with low necklines. Interpretations of this were visible at Alexander McQueen and Gucci runways for FW16 with big ruffles on feminine gowns.

The connection of the Romani with India is most apparent in their celebration and use of local fabrics and colorful textiles, representations of which were definitive at Isabel Marant’s Kutch inspired collection for Spring Summer. As they do not share a homeland or native identity, a defining feature of a gypsy or nomad is that they gather belongings as they go and this can extend to developing a sense of style that adapts to current situations. We also experience this sentiment at Anna Sui’s Fall Winter collection with 60s inspired embroidered, lace bib dresses and mix and match prints.

Layering is a great representation of what it means to be nomadic. The look being proposed here is simply to pile of whatever you have in front of you, not knowing where the day might go. The Romani wear clothing to reflect their religion and customs so the concept of being wanderers comes through in this aesthetic. Dries Van Noten explored modern day gypsy with sophisticated layers in luxurious fabrics while Etro combined prints and textures to elevate the traditional aesthetic associated with gypsies. Demna Gvasalia channeled the ghost of Margiela with deconstructed layers and a new take on the curvaceous Balenciaga silhouette.