8.12.13

I ramble about minimalism (again) and the price we have to pay for "less design."


left: an editorial using Stella McCartney's collection, from tumblr; right: Thakoon Addition Pre-Fall 2014

A simple t-shirt, a structured blazer or a nicely shaped skirt--are those what we are looking for when skimming clothes in stores? Something that would effortlessly blend with the rest of what stays in our wardrobe, perhaps? Or something to complement that statement pieces we've long acquired but has never been worn because the right match is not present? I know that is what I tend to do when going shopping these days, precisely hindering myself from the crazy motifs while having the Celines, the Wangs or the Balenciagas (from Ghesquiere's Spring/Summer 2013 that I still cannot erase from my fashion reference just yet) in mind.

The resurgence of everything pared down, simple and clean, or what columnists and writers refer as the "minimalism" trend leaves me with my own dilemma. Why is fashion, something so close yet so far to reach slowly turning into something overly accessible (cue the easy-to-pair pieces) these days? Where are the ornamentation, opulent fabrication and intricate silhouette? In a not-so-distant past I justify the beyond logical pricing of designer offerings because of the intricacy and expensive fabrics, but now that everything seems like what I have or about to have in my wardrobe, the excessive pricing somehow does not make sense anymore.

What happened to the crazy, over-the-top, whimsical fashion, people? Yes, I do not dismiss the fact that there are still visionary designers who go that way, but now everyone seems to prioritise minimal shapes over everything. Design wise, one has once said that the best design is not to design at all. I partly agree. But when you label it with a lot of zeros, don't the designers have the obligation to put certain magic touch to justify the price?

I guess it is not fair to generalise all designers who champion the clean, pared down look to commercial designers who race after the trend and grab buyers' attention. While going through some pre-fall early arrivals in style.com, my sinister argumentation of designers going for simple look boils down to a fact that a handful actually exemplifies certain kind of vision. These brands really make clothes people actually want to wear, and that is a genuine, pure complement a designer can get. Otherwise, what is the point of pre-fall? Why do we even have such label for a season that does not exist (in real life)? I will leave the answer to you.

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