Every season it seems that minimalism is under threat. The trend that nominally began in the 1990s, has continued on with the work of designers like Phoebe Philo at Céline and Raf Simons at Jil Sander despite the naysayers and claims to the contrary. You could even say that the recent “normcore” trend is a part of the ongoing evolution of the hard, sharp minimalism of the 90s.
What’s happening now and will continue into the Autumn Winter 2014-15 fashion season is the softening of minimalism combined with shoppers’ fatigue with the bigger, brasher, more obvious looks that have saturated social media. We’re all tired of seeing selfies of layered labels, notable prints and
The new look is all about “elevated wardrobe classics” according to the fashion experts at Fashionista.com. Now we are all looking for “the perfect black blazer, the perfect white tee, the perfect pair of jeans, the perfect white sneaker”. But to avoid the normcore tag, these new classics have to have something more … there has to be some point of difference between an ordinary white tee and the “perfect white tee”; there is a very fine line between simple and boring, or worse something a non-fashion person would wear!
So, a number of new brands have popped-up in answer to this search like Mansur Gavriel with its range of simple leather bags, Ayr with a collection of perfect jeans and Protagonist. But mainstream luxury fashion brands, as well as the high street (Cos is the perfect example) have been putting their own spin on the trend too.
Recent collections from brands like Lanvin, Rick Owens, Y-3 and even Paco Rabanne have shown a more pared-back aesthetic and hot emerging labels like Yang Li, E Tautz and the newly upgraded Acne Studios have built their brands on this new minimal style.
Two other trends have contributed to this new minimalism – the oversize trend and the boyfriend or masculine trend. Both feature attention to detail and using either new, more experimental fabrics (oversize) or traditional fabrics in new ways (boyfriend).
The coming together of all three has created the latest look, one that is easy to wear – think flat shoes, loose shapes – but also refined in line and classic in construction. With the help of the team at cult online store LN-CC and Cos, here are 5 ways to wear the new minimalism.
WEARING THE PANTS
These three looks from LN-CC show three very different types of trousers – skinny, cropped and loose-cut – worn with a classic white shirt and/or a sweater but they are all based on the classic trouser shape. The grey E Tautz sweater features a variety of stitches and a slightly ballooned sleeve to make it different; the black Rick Owens Lupetto fishermans sweater is a shrunken, fitted version of the classic. For the white shirt look the oversize coat from Acne Studio adds a more tailored edge to the casual Rick Owens trousers.
One of the staples of the new minimalism is the shirtdress, the classic menswear piece that’s grown into a dress. The collar remains, as does the button-through front and usually the material, like cotton and linen. This version from Paco Rabanne has “elevated” the classic with its unique wrap-over closure and split skirt, while the Lanvin version has a jacket-like feel to its lapels. Cos has done a unique take on the idea with a “jacket-dress” and “jacket-skirt” where the lapel of a classic mens jacket has been used as the starting point for a decorative fold.
The oversize look that trickled up from streetwear has been refined for the new minimalism with the volume becoming not generalised but specific and with attention focused on one area of the body to show some kind of shape underneath. Cos has used this a lot either with a deep v-neck to show some cleavage or cut-outs to show the shoulders. Three-dimensionality also adds interest by making it obvious that the volume is supposed to be there.
Another interesting detail from this new minimalism is the use of lines and colour blocking to create various visual shapes; creating an illusion as to what is you and what are the clothes. Again, it’s interesting to see how Cos has gone about doing this in both a large-block effect and a more subtle shaping effect.
KIDS DRESSING UP
Perhaps the most pervasive, and easiest way to wear the new minimalism is to think about the look of kids wearing their parents clothes; the structure is the same but the volume and proportions are all different. This Lanvin coat paired with a Rick Owens mini eerily echoes a little girl wearing daddy’s jacket. There’s a lot of this at Cos too especially the coats, long jackets and wide-leg pants with the oversize “break” at the ankle.
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