More than ever, the fashion industry has become one defined by binaries. On the one hand, you have the "throw everything at it" maximalists, many of whom only exist on our Instagram feeds and immortalised on the pavements of fashion week—an aesthetic spearheaded by the likes of Alessandro Michele at Gucci and Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga. On the other hand, you have those who are rejecting the noise and clamour of clashing prints and accessory overload and instead embracing a more contemplative approach. Yes, it is minimalism, but not as you know it.
Minimalism is an aesthetic that has simmered beneath the surface for decades, occasionally bubbling-up and making its presence felt, but never really disappearing entirely. From Coco Chanel's sporty separates and Calvin Klein's '90s greyscale to Phoebe Philo's austere, post-financial crash stylings at Celine, it's one of the few fashion movements that has transcended multiple generations.
Tonal suiting at Rejina Pyo's spring/summer 2019 runway show.
Over the last few months, it has become clear that minimalism is having another moment in the spotlight. Just look at designers-on-the-rise Rejina Pyo and Nanushka, who both embrace the clean-cut appeal of block-colours and timeless silhouettes. Even Instagram is getting in on the action, with accounts such as @simplicityarchives and @simplicitycity eschewing clickbait newness and instead of celebrating simplicity in the world of design, both past and present.
"Approaching each season, we look to our six muses; the fashion pioneer, the warrior, the free spirit, the curator, the romantic and the purist," explains Natalie Kingham, buying director at MatchesFashion. "The Purist opts for minimalist style with a sleek, functional edge, and this season we noticed a new mood for clean, monochromatic elegance on the runway. This back-to-basics approach to wardrobing reinforces the pieces that matter—the clean, modern staple items that become the building blocks for the ultimate wardrobe."
Sculptural tulle meets head-to-toe black in The Row's spring/summer 2019 collection.
This emphasis on creating an effective and long-lasting backbone of basics in your wardrobe was not, perhaps, so prevalent in previous manifestations of minimalism. With sustainability becoming an increasingly pressing consideration, people are wanting pieces that will stand the test of time, but also feel versatile enough to work in multiple settings. Also, when it comes to design, 2019's contribution to the minimalist cause is unlike the sombre simplicity of the '90s or the sharp-edged appeal of Philo's first Celine collection. We might want longevity from our clothes, but we also want personality. Minimalism now comes in many forms: From colourful tonal outfits and draped silk dresses, to voluminous tulle creations as seen in The Row's spring/summer 2019 collection. This is good news, as it means we can all inject a little minimalist-chic into our lives, even if we haven't considered it before.
Need a little more inspiration? Keep scrolling to see the minimalist-loving fashion girls acting as our muses this year.
Style Notes:Alexis Foreman never underestimates the power of an oversized trench. A great example of a trend that has tip-toed the boundary between minimalism and maximalism.
Style Notes: Ellie from Slip Into Style might not be the first person you think of when it comes to minimalist fashion, but her style exemplifies the mashing up of aesthetics trending right now. This layered look is bold but also channels the spirit of minimalism with its tonality.
Style Notes: Street stylers are been forgoing "look at me" outfits and instead embracing well-cut classics such as checked coats and beautifully tailored trousers, then adorning with stand-out accessories.
Style Notes: Until now, double denim was a '90s-throwback fashion faux pas. Now, however, it offers a utilitarian twist to any wardrobe.
Style Notes: Tonal dressing is one of the key tenets of 2019 minimalism (and our favourite way to make an outfit look more expensive). Brittany Bathgate is the queen of this approach—just check out this cool "50 shades of grey" outfit.
Scroll down for our edit of the best minimalist pieces.