South African born fashion designer Alex Koutny already looked back on an extensive career in consulting and working for international luxury brands before he created his namesake label in New York. However, it wasn’t just good experiences that led to this decision. His goal today is to establish a retreat from overly designed and needlessly decorated garments. In addition, he wants his work to be more hands-on, from beginning to end, from creation to production. This results in a back to basics attitude, precisely rendered in beautiful silk pieces, carefully layered and constructed to look flowing but sharp at the same time. The only embellishment is separate jewelry, made of sterling silver in graphic shapes, which subtly shifts the collection in to a rougher, colder direction. As the designer himself claims: Not too much, not too little. It’s a finely tuned sense. — Interview magazine
Merryn Kelly has leaped out on her own to create fashion child, Third Form. The collection is one of overt sophistication, minimalism and once that embraces fresh cuts and understated tailoring. The nuances in detailing and designed accessories are a nice touch. The palette is one of crisp and bold definition; one that is strictly monochromatic. There is an obvious intentionality with the versatility of the pieces with a focus on fit, form and functionality. Heralding from Sydney, Kelly’s portfolio consists of working alongside some of Australia’s fashion finest. Labels such as Zimmerman and Lee Jeans have been the foundations from which her label grew. Her dedication to her brand is strengthened through her blog, Zine, which draws on her inspiration and musings. There seems to be a perfect balance between street style and femininity, which is beautifully curated. Photography courtesy of Jake Terrey.
Youjia Jin is a Chinese born London based fashion designer and fashion buyer specialising in womenswear. Inspired by anatomy, the designer’s impeccably tailored and purely coloured collections focus on menswear tailoring and the surreal body arts developed from anatomy. Due to my interest in human body structure, I’ve been exercising unisex pattern cutting on my womenswear collections in recent years. Youjia Jin has presented collections in London Fashion Week and Beijing Fashion Week, and been nominated One To Watch by Fashion Scout and more since graduating from the London College of Fashion, Centrail Saint Martins and the Beijing Institute of Fashion and Technology.
The immaculate design and high end fabric choice of womenswear label 1205’s SS 2015 collection won designer Paula Gerbase the catwalk sponsorship of British talent identification scheme, NEWGEN. The show not only presented the very considerate silhouettes of her latest collection, but also its textures: by placing blankets made of applied high-end fabrics on the press seats, Paula gave her audience the chance to actually feel the amazing touch of qualities such as High Twist Wool Grid, Technical Featherweight Silk, Pleated Polyester and more. It is stunning how the current 1205 collection combines very classic craft with cutting edge fabric construction while never becoming too earnest. The lightness of her designs is due to an amazing balance achieved by very precise tailoring of cuts that convey a rather relaxed approach towards life. Colors are primarily muted, with a focus on grey, blue and white. And even without laying hands on the fabrics, the textures, purposefully combined in every outfit, make me feel the amazing touch just by looking at it.
By now, The Row, founded in 2006 by Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen, has established itself in the fashion industry, breaking the common stigma about celebrities designing garments. Pre-Fall 2015 shows the designers in a more mature light, with a minimal approach to loosely fitted looks. The transformation of the summer months to autumn were seen in the colors of olive green, deep navy, blood orange, as well as off-white shades. A breathe of ease and comfort are present in the folds of drapes created by large pieces of fabrics. There seems to be no seams as the construction lines are obscured by that largeness and its shadows. The effect carries on and is complimented by a lack of excessive accessories, except for the sandals that accompany each and every look. That simple gesture points the direction of this collection to Western United States, where autumn is a slight breeze of wind with a gust of sand somewhere in the distant (see the set underneath the model’s feet). I love the poetic sense of this collection. Its minimalism is one that questions the human body to answer with a graceful response. Cohesively, Pre-Fall 2015 for The Row reminds one of...
Established in 2011 by Amy Venter and based in Durban, South Africa, Jane Sews is an artisan clothing and accessories line with a beautiful, fresh, simple aesthetic, prioritising uplifted feminine staples and timeless pieces. Every design element is carefully considered and close attention is paid to fine construction and finish. I love the airy simplicity of the pieces and the elegance of the accessories. The brand launches seasonal small run collections crafted from high quality natural fabrics, seeking to be both functional and easy to wear.
VOWEL‘s new Octa collection is one that interweaves found materials, whereby a new value becomes redefined. VOWEL is a collaborative effort of duo Beau Bertens and Eline Ceelen where their design philosophy is based on creating an archive of projects that balance on the border between art and design. Based in the Netherlands, their work is founded on archaeological, scientific and philosophical discoveries, together with reimagining their next lives. Octa is primarily a jewelry collection, which an overt emphasis on neck adornment. The series sees the repurposing of existing used materials, and thus infuse a new meaning to their function, through form expression. The palette is minimal and the resulting forms are streamlined and beautiful. This is a limited collection, and is available through their site. Photography courtesy of Benjamin van Witsen.
With her LA based eponymous fashion label, designer Shaina Mote sets a new standard in integrating a regenerative quality and versatility to a strong and distinct style. The new and exciting way she creates minimalist silhouettes with multi purpose details might be a result of her very personal approach towards fashion: I work quite intuitively and I think that for me personally the lack of formal training has allowed me to feel free to experiment to reach a conclusion with each piece. — Need Supply introduction I love the way Shaina Mote adds a hint of playfulness to her staple design. Over time, it lets you discover new ways to wear your favorite garments. It makes every piece even more combinable, while at the same time lifting it above other generic wardrobe basics.
It’s barely 2015 and Valentino, under the creative direction of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Picciolo, presented their Spring 2015 Haute Couture collection in New York early this December. The garments were showered in a minimal color of white as an homage to the founder Valentino Garavani’s all-white collection in 1968. There was a new introduction for the Valentino aesthetic with which we, as fashion enthusiasts, are familiar for the past seasons—minimalism. I almost mistook the collection for Calvin Klein if it were not for the flows of laces that have become a signature for this Italian fashion house. There were no complications in the direction of the designs; the focus was on the constructions, solidity, and collectivity. The show progressed from off-white silhouettes in ivory or light grey, to end with a pure white strapless gown that demands attention of the viewers to its subtle patterns. Materials varied from cashmere to silk, creating a sense of luxe that relies on modesty rather than extravagance—the true essence of minimalism. Perhaps, for me, the highlight was the high collar in some of the dresses. The elongated effect that it has on the models’ necks gave an elegance to the walks,...
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.
After a break of three years from the fashion business, Japanese designers Hideaki Yoshihara and Yukiko Ode teamed up again to present an intellectual, powerful womenswear collection under the name of HYKE in Autumn 2013. While there is relatively little information to be found about the brand on the western web, the news available is impressive. HYKE produced an amazingly tight fashion video, created a capsule collection for the British luxury brand Mackintosh and will present its adidas originals collaboration in Spring 2015. The current HYKE collection totally wins me over with its serious, no-nonsense attitude, while still playing around with uncommon silhouettes and experimental prints. Nevertheless, the minimalist attitude is quite strong in every outfit. HYKE manages to stay simple and still convey a very peculiar and idiosyncratic approach towards fashion.
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.