As summer gradually fades into fall, China's fashion scene is shifting away from dopamine dressing, a trend that aims to create a joyful vibe through bold colors and patterns, toward a more toned-down style known as the Maillard style. On lifestyle and e-commerce app Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book), celebrities and influencers are showing off their Maillard-colored outfits, accessories, nails and even homes.
This newly emerging trend is named after the Maillard reaction, the chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that causes browning when food is heated, producing the rich flavors and the golden brown color of a range of delicacies. Inspired by this well-known culinary process, the Maillard style features a wide spectrum of autumnal tones, ranging from shades of brown to colors that go well with these browns, such as burgundy, khaki and off-white.
The Maillard style's fixation on deep-toned fall colors reminds one of seared steaks, roasted coffee, baked goods and toasted marshmallows, thereby bringing out a sense of simplicity, comfort and warmth. After several seasons of bold expressivity, the country's fashion industry seems to be falling into a more laid-back, versatile and accessible groove.
(Yangtze Evening Post, September 5)