Chloe SS11, Calvin Klein AW11, 3.1 Phillip Lim SS12, Celine AW12
Acne SS13, Alexander Wang SS13, Reed Krakoff AW13, Proenza Schouler AW13.
Take one glance at Style.com and their New York Fashion Week coverage, and you’ll see it. You will see the clean lines, sharp edges, muted palettes and androgyny. You will no doubt glance at the pointed shoes, unadorned shapes and monochrome. You may even think, gosh, am I getting Déjà vu? To say minimalism is the trend of the season would be a correct assertion, and although LFW, PFW and MFW are yet to pass, there’s no evidence that we aren’t likely to see the same occurrences there. Call it what you may; ‘the new minimalism’, ‘maximalist minimalism’ ‘ultra minimalism’ or ‘what on earth are those gloves Mr. Wang? Minimalism’, it’s still minimalism and it’s back…again. Give it a month and watch major publications present their ‘AW13 trend guides’, see them discuss a ‘new’ brand of simplicity that arose throughout the shows and presentations. Indeed this unfussiness has returned to greet us with big yeti arms (we have Alexander Wang to thank for that one, at least our hands will be warm…?) but having seen it survive so many seasons, one must ask, can we still call it a trend? The odds are Minimalism is here to stay, but how many times am I going to be firmly instructed to stock up on basics? Eventually I’m going to own more plain white t-shirts than one can possible wear, let alone fit in my closet.
I am not a fussy dresser, I don’t do frills or bows or cherry adorned headgear, but lately I’ve been beginning to question our definition of ‘minimalist’. Surely, I could categorize sportswear into it? The sleek lines and unfussy footwear scream simplistic. What of monochrome? Nothing shouts clean more so than an all black and white ensemble. My cat is all black, is she a minimalist? The double denim of last summer, aren't matching textures as basic as one can get? By continuing to pursue this desire for a clean aesthetic, we could be dulling down other trends. The 60s and 70s have returned for this summer, and I’m not sure I want to streamline my flares and chiffon. To me, it seems designers are competing to see who can achieve the most ‘understated’ collection, underthreat from being dubbed too 'try-hard' if they stray from the crowd. I will choose Phoebe Philo over chocolate any day, but whether I need to see her aesthetic repeated through and through by other designers, seasons in a row, is something I’m beginning to doubt. Is this minimalism here to stay, or is fashion running out of ideas? Do we need a change, and if so, when are designers going to explore new ideals? You decide, because quite frankly, I’m on the clean, white and sleek fence. One thing is for sure, we need to redefine minimalism before we lose sight of what it really means.