They say that money talks and wealth whispers, and nowhere can this divide be seen so clearly as the world of fashion. While the wild and wonderful trends like logomania and Y2K have taken social media by storm the last few seasons, there is a group of designers and fashion lovers that walk their own path, ignoring the bright and bubbly for something a little more subdued yet still luxurious.
Quiet Luxe signifies the love of discreet yet luxurious garments. Once thought of as the signature style of the super-wealthy or old money set. No logos to be found here or brand names across your chest. Cashmere, silk, buttery soft leather, and exquisite craftsmanship are the stars in this everlasting trend.
Think Carolyn Bessette- Kennedy and her 1990s chic minimalism, Victoria Beckham with her modern working woman aesthetic, or Angelina Jolie with her classically feminine wardrobe. Elegant, timeless women who forgo the hype, and dress in chic, luxurious clothes, whatever their personal style.
One of my favorite examples of this can be seen in the uber-stylish 90s thriller “A Perfect Murder.” Gwyneth Paltrow plays a stunning, waspy Manhattanite married to money man Michael Douglas. All soft, opulent sweaters, oversized cashmere coats, and the pièce de résistance, a classic gold Hermès Birkin. Sheer quiet luxe perfection.
The Brands to watch
When it comes to Quiet Luxe, a few designers are really leading the way…
The Row, a luxury fashion house created by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, is the star of the quiet luxe movement. Their signature deluxe yet minimalist style has grown from strength to strength to become one of the powerhouses in American fashion. These unassuming pieces are celebrated by those who like to live each day in luxury while going under the radar.
The world of Hermès can be split into different fractions of fans. Those who love a strong logo moment with their H belts and those who prefer to remain more anonymous. What they all have in common is the appreciation of the rich craftsmanship and classic lines. When it comes to quality, no other bags can compare with the powerhouse designs of Hermès, especially the Birkin and the Kelly, and no other bags whisper this loudly!
One brand that likes to give Hermès a run for their money is Delvaux. This brand is the oldest fine leather goods house in the world. Established in1829 in Belgium, this brand has been the go-to for the rich and stylish ever since. Their bestselling top handle bag named “Brilliant” is a signature for the fashion lover who enjoys standing out in the most subtle way.
Another beautifully made yet subtle bag is by Italian luxury leather goods brand Valextra. Their classic “Iside” top handle bag is popular with those who are looking for an alternative to the Hermès Kelly. Seen this week on Meghan, the Duchess of Suffolk, in all cream to perfection.
Italians know how to Luxe
We know that no one knows style quite like Italians. Houses like Versace, Gucci, Prada, Missoni, and Pucci lead the way in bold design and graphic prints. However, other luxury brands like Brunello Cucinelli, Ferragamo, and my minimalist favorite, Jil Sander, know a thing or two about the joy of quiet Luxe in your everyday life. These brands have long been favored by wealthy and low-key fashion lovers, who appreciate fine garments without the logo.
One Italian house that seamlessly walks the line between fun, luxurious and discreet design is the current “it brand” du jour, Bottega Veneta. They encompass the modern aesthetic (artistic director Daniel Lee really learned a thing or two at his previous post with Phoebe Philo at Céline) and all the fun and whimsy that Generation Z love so much. Proof that quiet Luxe doesn’t have to be just minimalists in camel coats.
While expensive, this style of fashion is extremely sustainable. Not only to the environment, as classic, well-made items can be used for years to come and don’t end up in landfills, but also to our wallets. These pieces can be worn every day, resulting in the cost per wear being lower than a trend-driven hype piece that will be dated after two seasons.
Quality staples are the basis of every day working wardrobe. Whether you enjoy a modern or classic style, a well-made piece can last a lifetime.
So really, quiet Luxe is whatever you want it to be. Cream silk and cashmere or a plume of feathers, just make sure it’s beautifully crafted, with no screaming logos, and let the quality of the clothes do the talking, sorry whispering!
Text by Pamela McKillop
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