Sydney based menswear label Song for the Mute unites Parisian-born, Italian-trained fashion designer Lyna Ty and graphic artist Melvin Tanaya under its wings. Coming from these two different angles, it seems to be the fabric’s surface which initially brings the two creatives together and inspires the work on any new collection: In essence, the label is a symphonic poem of tactile expectations and contemporary dreams. Visiting the flagship store of Song for the Mute in Sydney, I am not only awed by the impeccable fit and the cutting edge use of fabrics, but also by the all-round perfect and inviting set up of the label’s branding, the most friendly staff imaginable, and an open and honest interior design. And although it is definitely a menswear undertaking, there are more than a few pieces in the current collection I would love to wear myself. So I am very much looking forward to the upcoming online shop opening.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – and to many, so is art. In any case, the humble pocket has been elevated into the status of beautiful, spellbinding works of art through the lens of luxury still life photographers Maurice Scheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes, with styling by Sam Logan, commissioned for issue no. 9 of The Gentlewoman. It’s a straightfoward, simple enough concept, but the masterful use of light and shadows in highlighting the impeccable detailing of the garments portrayed gives the whole series – and especially the humble pocket – a mistifying, iconic sheen.
The latest work of Australian fashion designer Josh Goot is an intriguing lesson in what happens when someone who usually experiments with rich floral prints and bright color blocking, breaks his design down to a reduced palette of mainly black and white. It results in a timeless, calm collection with an interesting androgynous appeal. And as we are talking about a skilled designer with a strong handwriting, it is still very recognizably a Josh Goot collection: I would describe our aesthetic as optimistic, minimal, urban, confident. Generally what we do is very high saturating, very high contrast. But then sometimes we’d do the opposite. So we would go to more ordinary true tones and do things that are more subtle. I think by that we are inspired by our experience here in Sydney. It does set us apart from the others. (Transcribed from David Jones) One reason why the subtle color palette in Goot’s latest Winter collection works so well is his general sense for sharp, tailored silhouettes, implemented in luxurious high tech fabrics. I always appreciate a look which focuses on the outline of an outfit, rather than merely decorating the body. It is this true attention to form that elevates his...
Founded in 2012 and based in New York City, Chiyome is a studio focused on creating exceptional products based on a key premise: what is essential? Their designs – shoulder bags, backpacks and pouches – are continually infused with a clean and minimalist perspective, manifested through sharp lines, subtle color relationships and smart proportions. HOVER, their Spring/Summer ’14 collection, is all about harmonizing dissonant materials, fusing high (leather, marble) and low (rubber, vinyl) into a sophisticated, luxurious blend. The brand is also committed to designing through social efforts and radical means, sourcing materials from minority-owned local businesses in order to strengthen the social fabric of NY and reduce their carbon footprint, intrinsecally bringing minimalism to all aspects of their practice.
London based fashion label 1205 was founded in 2011 by designer Paula Gerbase. She combines her training at Central Saint Martins College — famous for its unconventional approaches towards fashion — and 5 years of experience as a head of design on London’s Savile Row — well known for its history of bespoke tailoring. All those influences can be easily detected in her razor sharp design, focusing on timeless and utilitarian clothing. While the concept of her contemporary design is crystal clear, she hints at the unpretentious habits of a craftsman in her choice of brand name: I wanted it to be about the clothes, not my name in lights. 1205 is just the day I was born, but more importantly, it’s four numbers that you can read in any language — you’re not wearing a person’s name on your back. I love the unisex touch of 1205’s current collection, evoked by a mix of sporty elements and classic but simple silhouettes, which represent the traditional craftsmanship so distinctive in Paula Gerbase’s work. She finds the perfect balance between masculinity and femininity. For both womenswear and menswear.
The Other Guy Next Door, the debut collection of the young New York based menswear label Cilantro + Ginger, presents well-tailored clothes in fine fabrics and unique, monochromatic prints, infused with Chinese born designer Zhang Qingyun’s approach of simplicity, attention to detail, and a dry sense of humor. The Fall 2014 collection interprets the closet of an unfamiliar neighbor. He has perhaps four shirts in his wardrobe – clean, but rarely ironed. Every now and then you encounter him outside the corner store. He holds a plastic Thank You bag. He wears white, head-to-toe. You never say hello. The core concept of the brand is to capture the continuity of imperfect, everyday minutiae, seeking beauty in the mundane and searching out quality in profusion. This is reflected in the entirety of the label’s visual output, from Jiao Xiang’s pared down styling of the lookbook to a Tumblr feed filled with monochromes and softly-toned palettes. One of my favorite aspects of the brand is the artist collaboration launched alongside each collection, serving as the backbone of the brand’s artistic expression. Kicking off with photographer Ross Mantle and his A Map With Open Space series, the imagery complements the collection pieces as displayed in C+G’s...
It is difficult to fuse the concepts of luxe and youth into a collection, but I believe Christophe Lemaire had successfully done so for Hermès Autumn Winter 2014. The designer rethought the concept of “youth” and its association with streetswear. Here, he took us to a direction of a mature young woman — graceful and feminine. The appearances of materials such as silk, fur, and leather amplifies the richness of the deep earth color palette; however, it’s the tailoring and cuts that redirected the show toward a younger audience. Pieces like the seamlessly monolithic coats contrast the inner garments’ flow of draperies. Minimally, the collarless shirts gives off an Eastern Asian influence that Lemaire has always had — now a signature trademark. Buttonless, pocketless, and almost non-utilitarian, majority of the looks acts as an experimental ground for the harmony of the “young” and the “old,” complemented with small bags and thin belts. Overall, the production was dark, but not sinister; simple, yet not boring. It stirred away from the “cool” trend, only to turned itself to a new identity that ladies can grasp onto. Photo Courtesy of Style.com
Los Angeles-based Building Block has yet again delivered a collection of bags that redefines functional pieces into an elegant minimalism. Looking back at their previous collections, the style has subtly evolved toward a more mature and luxurious direction. While the proportions and details of the bags reflect the modern day need for effortlessness and convenience, its materials, craft and finishings are classic. Slim portfolios, convertible clutches, laptop totes and even an iPhone sling carrier, all made from smooth black leather, I love how the collection continues to remain relevant to our lifestyles. Photography by Jennilee Marigomen.
Angi Glenn-Quincy’s alias Tiny Armour brings handmade beautiful jewelry to the masses. Available through Moorea Seal Store, the collection of short, long and varied finish arc earrings is a curation of beautiful minimalist classic lines. The pieces are notably pliable and require an interaction with the wearer, to customize their fit. This encouraged engagement with the pieces, I think makes these pieces even more beautiful. Moorea Seal prides themselves on highlighting emerging handmade artists work, and through their web of networks, make these accessible. Located in Seattle, there is an emphasis on capturing the adventuresome spirit of the great Pacific Northwest, and the beautiful balance of the sleek, chic metropolitan city surrounded by fresh and rustic nature. With 7% of all proceeds from the store being allocated to non-profit organizations, there is a genuine humility in their Do Good, Do Great attitude that they employ. Photography courtesy of Margaret Jacobsen.
Late last year we introduced you to the simple, minimalist and superbly designed branding and packaging of Håndværk by Savvy. The small, artisanal New York based fashion brand specialises in supremely luxurious pieces with a thoughtfully curated collection of high quality everyday essentials made from the finest natural raw materials and innovative fabrics. The label was founded by husband and wife Esteban Saba and Petra Brichnacova, who both share a passion for textiles. Their vision? To create a lifestyle brand grounded on the essence of quality craftsmanship and minimal design. From the grey mélange sweatshirt, cut from super soft loopback knit fabric — to the classic white cotton crew neck t-shirt — to the light grey pure cashmere scarf — this basic collection is filled with quality and a simplicity that has the minimalist in me wish-listing. Håndværk are also offering a 25% discount using the code: minimalissimo
The fine jewelry of Poland-based Agata Bieleń is easily recognized by its subtle geometrical lines and lightweight elegance. Encouraged by a friendly conversion with Scott Schumann — the man behind The Sartorialist — convincing her to do in her life what she really loves, she made sure to focus on her very own vision of design: The main inspiration for my work is the straight line. The most basic unit of geometry found in space. With this inspriation in mind, Agata created her latest collection by the name of SNOW QUEEN for pre-spring 2014. The collection is characterized by asymmetrical compositions of nature-like shapes — like twigs, branches and tree stems — while at the same time keeping the unit of a straight line as a basis. I love Agata’s clear vision, her minimalistic approach and the way she manages to always keep a touch of femininity to her delightfully raw designs.
Once again, Jil Sander has left her own label after expelling Raf Simons from the house in 2012. For Autumn Winter 2014, the brand’s design team took over to produce a minimal collection that proves even without a creative director, a show can still carry on its identity without any compromises. The collective effort has created a new Jil girl that’s both tomboy and feminine. With her popped collars and bright creepers, she knows where she wants to go, and what she wants to do. The outerwear and the pants especially emphasizes this masculinity undertone, while the floral dresses totally contrast that. With a few tailoring twists here and there (literally), there is an additional newness to what is seemingly ordinary. The trend of pastels is apparent through a combination of soft colors applied onto vibrant textures, from the glossy finish to the interwoven feel of knitwear. Accessories were simplified to small bags and exactly one pair of sunglasses, which I found quirky and humorous. All these elements fused together to elevate the energy of youth with an elegant manner. Although there was no innovation, the ready-to-wear aspect was highly regarded and the collection was wearable at its finest. In...