In today’s crazy world, why complicate it further with chaotic clothes? Designers are pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del on fad trends this season, in favour of what they like to call ‘quiet luxury’.
If you ask a spectrum of people around the world what the word luxury means, you’ll get a wide variety of answers. For some it’s a rare Hermès Birkin, for others it might be an intimate five-star hotel on a private Maldivian island. For designers, however, it’s a lot more laid back this season, as wealth decides to lower itself into a whisper with a growing trend that fashion insiders are coining quiet luxury.
“Quiet luxury is the art of dressing in an understated yet elevated manner, focusing on the quality and craftsmanship of the pieces rather than the brand name itself,” Tiernan Cowling, senior RTW buyer at Moda Operandi tells MOJEH. Oh, and there’s not a logo in sight.
The antithesis to logomania and dopamine dressing, there’s nothing attention-grabbing about quiet luxury. In fact, some might say it’s even a little bit boring. But that’s where its magic lies. Think elevated essentials with discreet design details that only those with a trained eye for understated taste will recognise, it relies on the ‘less is more’ mentality without taking away from appealing design details, classic silhouettes and signature fabrics. “Clients are looking for longevity in their luxury purchases,” adds Cowling. “The focus has shifted from disposable trends and is now about building out a seasonless wardrobe that stands the test of time.”As such, a very specific class of designer labels are currently standing at the top of everyone’s wish list.
“While quiet luxury is getting more popular by the day, brands such as Jil Sander, Toteme, Khaite and The Row have been pioneers in this aesthetic since their inception,” explains Cowling. If the trend were to be reincarnated as a person (or two, for that matter), it would be the Olsen twins, with their loose-fitting camel coats, vintage jeans, sculptural blazers, nonchalant trousers and entire wardrobe of sumptuous tailoring. Quiet luxury isn’t to be mistaken for minimalism, though, which is solely defined by a clean aesthetic in neutral colours. “While still understated, quiet luxury has some embellishments and can be more playful in terms of textures and fabrications. Matthieu Blazy at Bottega Veneta has been perfecting the art since he was appointed in 2020. One could say quiet luxury is the evolution of minimalism,” Cowling says. Speaking of Blazy, he’s in the lead when it comes to 2023’s trend of introducing casual classics with for everyday, including baggy denim, flannel shirts, relaxed knitwear and simple suiting. Kate Moss in a plaid shirt, blue jeans and white tank all crafted from supremely soft nappa leather certainly cut through all the other fashion week noise as she made her way down his Milan Fashion Week catwalk. “You can’t beat Bottega Veneta for leather either,” adds Cowling.“The House is known for its artisanal craftsmanship and intricate designs, having created the iconic intrecciato weave that is found across nearly all its products.”
Quiet luxury can also be found in Prada’s perfect grey knits, Saint Laurent’s strict yet sensual eveningwear, Peter Do’s crisp white separates and Celine’s skinny jeans that come teamed with a simple white shirt and Bohemian jacket. “Chloé’s sustainable knitwear doesn’t compromise on design either, and we love new Australian label Beare Park which delivers a timeless collection anchored in masterful tailoring, made in Australia with a sharp price point,”continues Cowling. “I’m also a big fan of Toteme’s uniform aesthetic, with recognisable design across standout outerwear. A Toteme coat will be your wardrobe’s hero piece.”
If you’re new to building a more pared-back look, keep things simple and start with the basics — well-fitted pants, blazer, quality underpinnings, luxury shirting and a great coat should make up the backbone of your wardrobe. Accessories are key too, and for handbags look no further than a simple day bag or great evening clutch from the likes of The Row (yes, again), Saint Laurent or Chanel. Classic pumps should also be part of any woman’s wardrobe, and Prada reinvents the silhouette season after season. “Having a sense of style is not necessarily defined by wearing an obvious brand, but rather how you piece together an outfit that portrays a subtle confidence,”concludes Cowling. They always say it’s the quiet ones you have to look out for, after all.
- Words by Naomi Chadderton