Minimalissimo


Adele Lim

Minimal. Fundamental. Elemental. Relevant.

Honduras-born New York City-based Carlos Campos reveals a subtle monologue of rectilinear colors within his Spring Summer 2015 collection. Graphic lines take on the whole shirt or jumper as an entire palette, bleeding the forms from breast to sleeve, mid-rib to collar. Tracksuit-like pants quietly appear in his outfits looking no less sharper than pants that end above the ankles – it is all about the proportion, a key element in his approach probably influenced by his father who was a master tailor. Campos has the ability to deliver classic mens silhouettes throughout his collections, while maintaining a strong vision and direction for each one. This collection is a simple, minimalist one that encapsulates a casual yet sharp assemblage, perfect for welcoming Spring.


The design agency Nendo has created yet another retail space for the Japanese label, Beige. In addition to clothing, this concept store located in  Tamagawa Takashimaya was also intended to sell interior goods, hold books for lending, and even turned into a gallery space for events and art exhibitions. Maintaining the brand’s minimalist direction, Nendo cleverly optimizes the already tiny space, zoning it vertically: library on top, clothing in the center and display gallery at the base. A 7.5mm beam installed at 2.05 meters above the floor serves as an attic-like shelf for the library of books, with magnetic bookends that keep them in place. Clothes and bags placed on hangers freely located around the store while low plinths serve as fixtures for display or for customers to step on and reach the clothes and books at the height of the beam. What a simple yet clever detail that takes the customer’s journey over the multiple levels. Its intentionally clean and pure finishes let the products and the activities stand out in the space. The space, though designed for the specific retail needs of the brand, manages to achieve a unique and flexible customer experience in a very simple concept. Photography courtesy of Takumi Ota.


Agata Bieleń has recently launched the Gold Line for 2014, a beautiful collection that amplifies the simplicity of geometry further from the last silver collection. Using simply gold for the entirety — the form, the fasteners, the connections, the joints — Agata has continued the Line series with such elegant minimalism and precision. The craftsmanship shines in these simple pieces, standing out in contrast to the textures of the set beautifully designed by Anna Szczesny of Witalis. Photographed by Kamil Zacharski, the collection with selected pieces of 18 carat gold can be purchased from Agata’s website.


In the latest campaign by MLTV Clothing, Episode Five carries the theme of architecture and asymmetry within the casual contemporary menswear. Anna Sjunnesson who is behind the label, isn’t making a statement of style but rather, expresses in her designs a quiet yet mildly recusant attitude: in a shirt that is draped subtly on one side, in asymmetric forms layered under heavier fabric, and in a sweatshirt hoodie constructed by 2 scarfs. As she describes: Layers of shear fabrics and heavier knits construct an industrial look which is built up with folded sections, draped parts and asymmetric cuttings. By working between the fine line of feminine and masculine and challenging the norms; we strive to develop new functions, expressions and use. In its very subtle details, I admire Anna’s eye for the inconspicuous and construction in this minimalist collection. Shop this Episode. Images courtesy of Anna Sjunnesson.


Sushi Azuma is a Japanese restaurant designed by the Osaka-based architecture practice Stile led by Ietsugu Ohara. The concept for the architecture is conceived with the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony in mind, where the activity revolves around the preparation and presentation of the tea. The interior spaces and the materials are kept to a strict minimalist architecture, allowing the colors and lighting to present and highlight the preparation and dining of sushi. Everything has been meticulously designed in this space, from the proportion of the furniture to the sizes of the paneling, to a visual play on the architecture such as on the inside of the private dining niches where the cantilevered table appears to subtly ‘lift’ itself from the bench seating, which is such a clever, minimalist detail. Accent walls are dipped in a contrasting darker wood while curved walls are only highlighted by the cove lighting, allowing the public and private spaces to coexist as an integral part of the architectural procession. While Ohara’s intention was to focus on the food, one cannot help but appreciate the calm and peaceful aesthetic of Sushi Azuma’s minimalism. Construction: Ida Home. / Jiro Ida Lighting: MAXRAY. / Hiroyuki Nagatomi Decorative lighting: flame. / Kenichi...


Sally LaPointe’s Spring/Summer 2015 latest show at New York Fashion Week is truly sophisticated and beautiful collection. Within each individual piece, proportions of familiar elements such as boat necklines, bell shaped skirts, capped sleeves and vests have all taken on a new silhouette. Whether it is a play on the proportions of these elements, a refinement in the tailoring, the lines are blurred so gowns feel more relaxed and casual, and separates are styled to be more serious and formal. New York City-based Sally LaPointe brings a freshness to this strong, almost rocker-chic womenswear line. It is an approachable yet elegant minimalist collection that is simply very cool. Images courtesy of Style.com.


The Spring Summer 2015 collection by New York City-based label Assembly entices with the effortlessly-casual designed with precise tailoring and draping. Owner Greg Armas’ expertise in both mens and womenswear manifests in the architecture of the details. His journey took Assembly from a fashion design resource to a multi-brand unisex boutique which has since led to their own in-house collection since 2009. Having collaborated with, sourced and sold hard-to-get pieces from brands of the same minimalist design sensibility, Assembly portrays a certain nonchalance towards other moving trends with its confident femininity, making it one of my favorite collections for this season.


Renowned New York City-based designer Narciso Rodriguez displays his signature minimalist forms and sensual silhouettes in his Resort 2015 collection with understated details of geometric cutouts, simple lines that highlight the anatomy and even a twist of floral prints reduced to a pure bold graphic. Stunningly nonchalant, the collection embodies the architectural fluidity in the construction and tailoring of body-con dresses and separates of bell and A-lines. Cut-outs around the ribcage and scapulas; a black line that follows the curve of the spine on a white dress; color blocks that highlight dropped waists and curves, minimalism breathes such confidence and sensuality in this collection, a collection that will withstand trends and seasons. Images courtesy of www.narcisorodriguez.com.


The Los Angeles label Co have created yet another stunning collection for Resort 2015. In a theme of luxurious fabrics  molded into these sculptural forms and volumes, giving ubiquitous styles of A line, empire lines, slips and puffer coats an elegant yet sporty twist. Coming across this collection by chance, I could not believe these were the same designers I had featured 6 months ago. Co’s Resort 2015 is so beautifully styled and photographed, the images have such incredible depth. While the fabric reflect the light so the texture is highlighted, the details of each piece though minimal are pronounced. I could not think of a more beautiful way to present this collection.


Agata Bieleń is a jewelry designer with a stunning minimalist namesake jewelry brand that resonates the elegance of pure stainless steel with subtle geometry. Shortly after her first exhibit upon graduating from the Architecture and Design Faculty at the Fine Academy of Fine Arts in Poland, an encounter with street style photographer The Satorialist Scott Schumann had encouraged Agata to launch her own label. Stainless steel is often seen in utilitarian objects, we unconsciously associate it with the functional rather than sculptural. Yet Agata’s design reminds us in its own way that the material is beautiful in its simplicity, its color and its consistency. Her designs are understated yet refined; the geometry is familiar yet the forms are original. The styling and photography by Kamil Zacharski completes the beautiful portrait of the entire jewelry collection.


MLTV Clothing, otherwise known as Molotov Clothing, is an independent Swedish label that has transposed classic menswear with a modern, understated yet relevant identity. The collections, known as Episodes, explore juxtaposition of forms and materials. Firm lines soften with asymmetric cuts in shirts; heavy knits combined with layers of sheer fabrics; a lot of effort has gone into exploring and expressing minimalism in its details and construction. Besides my appreciation for the technical, I was excited to come across Molotov Clothing for the awesome brand styling. MLTV’s founder Anna Sjunnesson has so kindly allowed us to take a sneak peek and to share her upcoming FW2014 collection that will be launching in late August, and shared the inspiration and direction for the collection: We love to work with contradicting themes, where the cohesively is the contrary, and using unexpected details to draw attention to the item and the art. We work hard to keep the impact on the environment at a minimum. Part of it is to create pieces where the items have a greater purpose then just a regular garment; concept, vision and ideal are important compounds in our creations. This is definitely a label to keep a lookout for. The Episodes are available at various retailers. Images...


Mansur Gavriel is the highly sought-after label with a collection of beautifully designed leather bags made and crafted in Italy. Designed by Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel who moved to New York City especially to start their company, the collection first surfaced in the summer of 2013 and saw immediate success, being sold out as soon as it hit the stores. The label has continued to deliver their minimalist designs of signature tote and bucket bags that come in bold pops of single color or contrasting outer tanned leather with matte patent interiors. The craftsmanship of these bags reveal just enough detail of the effortless style behind the designs which is what I love most about this label. It is a true practice of patience to get your hands on one.