Minimalissimo


Adele Lim

Minimal. Fundamental. Elemental. Relevant.

Hamburg-based label Nebel has created a label that is principled on a versatile and minimalist style for both men and women. Founded by Daniel Bartels and his girlfriend Hanna Lundvall, the idea of the brand is to possess the appeal to both sexes, a style that is unisex, neutral and timeless, one that can be shared in a relationship. Buy less, Share well as their motto goes, the result is a palette that identifies as an urban, avant-garde aesthetic as the pieces take on a different characteristic when worn by the different sexes. Large pullovers can transform more femininely as tunics; layers are draped and folded in various ways because of the differing physical proportions of the sexes, yet they are neutral enough to allow the wearer to express their individuality within the blurred lines of this unisex style. Like its name which means fog in German, Nebel has undefined the need specificity and achieved versatility as a style.


Swedish independent label MLTV has launched its Spring Summer 2015 menswear collection exhibiting sensual pieces with revealing cutouts, architectural lines and contrasting fabrics. MLTV’s founder Anna Sjunnesson expresses a curious androgyny in this collection which is what she describes as a progressive minimalism. The collection called Episode Six consists of lightweight items, inspired by architecture and geometry while combining soft, light flowing fabrics. With the use of fabrics of different thickness and weave density, Anna has created architectural cutouts which highlight and interact with the body in different ways. In some shots of the campaign, gender lines appear deliberately blurred in the look and feel. With these contradicting themes that drive the design for this season, the result is a relaxed and casual collection beyond traditional menswear. Photography courtesy of Anna Sjunnesson.


Strong architectural shapes and sculptural silhouettes take the lead in LA-based designer Jasmin Shokrian‘s Spring Ready-to-Wear 2015 collection. Since she started her eponymous fashion label in 2003, Shokrian’s collections have been articulated with a strong emphasis on craft and detail. With a background in film, painting and sculpture from the School of Art Institute in Chicago and influenced by her mother who is a professional tailor, Shokrian’s designs exhibits her own talent for tailoring and draping material into beautiful architectural curves and forms. Silk faille dresses and tops are suspended by thin straps which add dimension that exudes femininity in the resulting flow and drape of the piece. Sharp Vs are explored across multiple depths in necklines, back lines and even in an overlapping tunic. Large, soft block-coloured totes made of mesh and canvas punctuate the clothes with a contrast of colour and form, adding yet another detail of interest to this minimalist collection which could appear deceptively simple at first glance. I also love the fact that hems of shorts and shirt dresses are also included in the strong geometry played subtly, culminating the attention to sculptural detail that Shokrian is most experienced in. Photography courtesy of Style.com.


GOBLANK is an independent design label established in 2013 by Meerim Kim. A sombre appearance in its all black répertoire, the 2015 Spring Summer collection is partly influenced by Japanese avant-garde designers. Its lithe, feminine forms of bell sleeve tops and cocoon coats; 60s mod and bat-winged dresses; A-line and accordion skirts are all familiar yet the inherent beauty of GOBLANK’s story lies in the details that sit quietly in the folds, layers and silhouettes of the entirely black collection. When asked about her inspiration behind the brand and the collection, the Seoul-based designer shared in a heavy yet beautiful realization of her own mortality upon turning 30 years of age. It is a manifestation of all the emotions Meerim experienced in isolating herself from her feelings:  the fear comes from becoming an adult, every process of life and death, the feeling that wants to disappear and the emptiness. Basically my looks are simple, have not much details but they have dark and heavy atmosphere with only a few lines. It’s about a square and the compositions of a square, in some way they comfort me. The idea that minimalism as an expression can be a providence that relieves and reassures through design is what makes this brand and collection so poignant and beautiful.


Pearl Bay Residence was designed by Gavin Maddock Design Studio as a holiday home which the client would eventually retire to. Located in Yzerfontein, 90km from Cape Town, South Africa, it is surrounded by the magnificent landscape of ocean views and coastal dunes. Every single experience within the residence has a view out of the expansive landscape like art that breathes within the living spaces. The operable walls of windows allow an uninterrupted transition between interior and exterior, allowing the landscape to be unavoidable at every level. Structural columns strategically placed to allow the spans of up to 14 meters while over 3 meter ceiling heights create the truly uninhibited experience of being connected to the environment. In the minimalist language of the architecture, small nuances of Mediterranean vernacular details coexist seamlessly with the modern, purist materials of white walls, concrete and wood. Though it was realised on a limited budget, the result is a breathtaking, luxurious habitat where the minimal architecture lets the views take over. Photography by Adam Letch.


Within Tokyo’s dense urban fabric, residences often face the challenge of getting enough light, privacy and usable interior spaces to live in. Wiel Arets Architects has completed a house in the neighborhood of Nishi-Azabu that is designed with these considerations in mind. The A’ House is clad with textured glazed panels that gently reflect the life and movements of the narrow residential street it is located on. Yet the beauty is in its double-layer glazed windows made of a transparent layer and the same textured panels that match the rest of the exterior. These windows allow the residents to slide between the transparent and translucent, adjusting their privacy as needed while getting sufficient light inside. On the exterior, the uniformity of the façade is interrupted by the extended frame tracks of the windows so the views can be expanded to the maximum length, enabling an uninhibited view to the outside. The interiors are finished with mostly concrete in minimal details, from the bedrooms to the kitchen and livings spaces, while the warped surfaces and corners provide some relief in the architecture in a language that ties itself to the exterior. The concrete also reflects the light, so the spaces seem...


The latest addition to fashion designer Phillip Lim’s fleet of boutiques is the flagship by Hackney-based retail designers Campaign. Located on Great Jones Street in New York City, the store presents the label 3.1 Phillip Lim in a generous space across 325 square meters of poured-concrete, limestone and marble flooring. The archetype columns of NoHo’s loft spaces provide the datum where gold fixture rails are centered upon, engaging a dialogue with the subdued furniture and plinths bases chosen for their quiet textures and colors in champagne-gold legs, green mink marble and onyx. These accent the white minimalist space beautifully and do not distract from the curated clothing on display. Large slabs of stones anchor the back of the store like a stage for the display of shoes and accessories, yet the slabs lead to the monolithic dressing area at the rear of the store. These hard surfaces are juxtaposed by elements such as the softness of the curved plywood wall that leads downstairs, the wash of light from the skylight above and the large studio canvases as rectilinear backdrops placed against the side walls add depth to the interior. It is an ethereal space, a strong brand direction for the fashion label and a beautiful minimalist interior that makes me look forward to...


Masahiko Maruyama who is behind the Japanese label Nude:MM created a delectable menswear Fall Winter 2014 collection. It is a monochromatic collection where architectural influences convolute trendy proportions of sportswear and smart casual in a mix of wool, linen twill and nylon. Exploring with layers and details of hoods, vests, lapels and belts, Maruyama presents a strong story of minimalist appeal and the familiar comfort of well-tailored menswear in his designs. Structured pliable piping at the coat hoods and adjustable slide-buckle cinch belts are some of the details that stand out in this collection made entire in Japan. This is too beautiful a collection to skip even though I discovered this late in the year. Photography by Masaru Tanaka.


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.