In the dazzling whirlwind that is the fashion world, where fantastical runway creations often seem more suited for the pages of a sci-fi novel than our daily lives, New York Fashion Week Spring 2024, which ran from September 7th to September 13, 2023, came as a breath of fresh air. This Spring 2024 season, designers decided to take a step back from the avant-garde and embrace a much-needed return to the realm of “real clothes for the real world.” The result? Runway shows that felt more relatable, relevant, and refreshing than ever before. Are we all ready for some reality?
Fashion enthusiasts worldwide seemed to have been yearning for authenticity in recent years. Haven’t we all grown tired of feeling like mere spectators of fashion, unable to find any common ground between the eccentric runway fantasies and our everyday wardrobes? Well, finally, New York’s designers are offering a solution to this dilemma by delivering collections that spoke to the modern woman, the urban man, and the fashion-conscious non-binary individual. The collections presented us with pieces that felt not only wearable but desirable.
This season wasn’t about who could make the biggest statement; it was about the designers who showcased the art of quiet luxury, proving that sometimes, less truly is more.
THE HISTORY OF MINIMALISM
If you Google “minimalist fashion designers”, up pops Coco Chanel, Halston, Helmut Lang, Calvin Klein and Martin Margiela. Clothes known in the 90s as sleek, elegant and understated, would go on to become one of design’s most enduring ‘less is more’ trends and not just in the fashion world, but also in art, architecture and furniture design, One could argue that American designer Michael Kors has always been a minimalist.
Fast forward to 2018 and the 5 season hit TV series Succession, which gave us Shiv Roy. Her wardrobe perfected the “Art of Quiet Luxury”, with its elite high-end aesthetic comprised of toned-down, tailored designer pieces in color codes of gray, black, brown and beige, over noisy opulence full of obvious branding and loud logos.
By 2022, the trend-setting powers of social media and growing pressure on the fashion industry to create collections that could stand the test of time, saw the list of brands embracing a more stripped-back approach continue to grow. Brands like The Row, Cos, Totême, Peter Do, Jim Sander and Khaite are some examples that brought minimalist dressing back.
And now, for Spring 2024, designers Proenza Schouler and Tory Burch brought minimalism back, with clean lines, simple silhouettes and muted color palettes. Their respective collections spoke volumes, without the need for excessive embellishments or flashy prints. The focus was on impeccable tailoring, high-quality materials, and timeless pieces that transcended seasons. What was once called “Investment Dressing”, now goes by the name “Minimalistic Quiet Luxury”.
Another piece of the Minimalistic Quiet Luxury trend is monochromatic looks. The collections of Gabriela Hearst and Willy Chavarria showcased the power of a single color. These designers demonstrated that dressing in one color from head to toe can be incredibly chic and sophisticated. It’s a testament to the idea that true luxury doesn’t need to scream; it can whisper.
RETURN OF TAILORING
Tailoring made a triumphant comeback at NYFW Spring 2024. Designers like Helmut Lang and Ralph Lauren displayed a mastery of the art of tailoring, by creating perfectly fitted suits, blazers, and trousers that exuded sophistication and confidence. The attention to detail was unparalleled, with impeccable stitching and precise cuts.
SUBTLE DETAILS THAT SPEAK VOLUMES
Quiet luxury is all about the little things that make a big impact. Designers like Jason Wu and Catherine Holstein of Khaite incorporated subtle details like delicate embroidery, discreet logos, and elegant draping to elevate their pieces. These subtle touches added an air of exclusivity without resorting to ostentation.
A significant component of quiet luxury in 2024 was its commitment to sustainability. Designers such as Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher were in the forefront of the environmental movement and for Spring 2024, designers Gabriela Hearst and Collina Strada demonstrated that luxury and eco-consciousness can coexist. They used eco-friendly materials and production processes, showcasing that a responsible approach to fashion can be a luxury in itself.
Perhaps the most captivating aspect of quiet luxury is its timelessness. Designers like Carolina Herrera and Ralph Lauren created pieces that will remain relevant and stylish for years to come. These collections weren’t about chasing fleeting trends but rather celebrating enduring elegance.
In a world that often values excess and extravagance, NYFW Spring 2024 reminded us of the beauty of restraint. Quiet luxury is a celebration of craftsmanship, quality, minimalism, and the subtle art of making a statement without shouting. It’s about embracing the idea that true luxury is in the details, in the craftsmanship, and in the enduring appeal of a well-made garment.
As we step into this new era of understated elegance, we applaud the designers who have embraced quiet luxury and redefined the standards of opulence. NYFW Spring 2024 has given us a fresh perspective on what it means to be truly luxurious in an increasingly noisy world. In the end, it’s not about how loudly you proclaim your status; it’s about the quiet confidence that comes from knowing you’re wearing the best.
So tell us, do you believe quiet luxury is just a trend or is the understated movement here to stay?