[Image: Jason Schmidt / B&A for SSENSE]
Fashion has long been regarded as a sign of the times. So what sayeth it of the current state of affairs? More than ever, much like the world around us, it is an industry divided. Luxury brands are polarised in their response to the uncertain times we live in; their opposing tribes finding little creative common ground.
Alessandro Michele and Demna Gvasalia are the figureheads for modern maximalism, regularly pushing a narrative of discord in their respective outputs at Gucci and Balenciaga; a tale of chaos, colour and unexpected outcomes that excites, terrifies and intrigues - a reflection of the unsteady political climate that has affected the world over, perhaps? Closer to home, dear Vivienne is never one to shy away from using her art to cry outrage over issues close to her heart, as seen most recently with an AW19 collection that emphasised the necessity of working towards a more sustainable future. At a glance, it can all feel overwhelmingly apocalyptic.
But elsewhere there are those attempting to turn down the volume, retreating inwards from the cacophony of colliding prints and political viewpoints to create a safe space in which we are invited to share. Frankly, their understated attitude and penchant for the paired back offers a welcome reprieve from the noise. As a movement, minimalism is one that consistently bubbles beneath the surface before occasionally effervescing into our everyday exactly when we need it most. Just look at Phoebe Philo's legacy, whose early streamlined approach at Celine not only mirrored the reprised ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ mentality of austerity Britain, but provided a more palatable take on it. Unfussy, timeless and strong; an antidote to the standardised feminine dressing that women so desperately craved. You only need to listen to the digital outcry from the Philo-files now as Hedi Slimane threatens to take it all away. We need it now more than ever – if only to offer style escapism in its purest form.
Bring clarity to a look with a crisp cotton shirt. A practical or modest hemline. Simple silhouettes with slabs of ‘strong and stable’ block colour, painted in a palette of bright and concentrated whites and muted tones. A defined shoulder on a tailored blazer, defined waist, wide trouser leg and a hint of volume on otherwise slender fits to keep things interesting. The trend for technical fabrics and utility details suggests that there’s work to be done, of course, but overall, it’s effortless, focused and powerful. With the help of luxury online retailer, SSENSE, we hero minimalist style from designers such as Acne, Jacquemus, Off-White and more, whose clean-cut appeal is the exactly the calm we need to weather out the storm.
Subscribe to Port Magazine annually and receive each issue to your door.Get PORT in print