Quiet luxury: The art of subdued splendor

NEW DELHI | Updated: 11 December, 2023 3:21 pm IST
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NEW DELHI: Throughout history, opulence has been characterised by its loudness. Initially, it manifested through extravagant jewels adorning one’s neck or lavish furs in one’s wardrobe. Subsequently, luxury became synonymous with the prominent logo smeared all over handbags.

However, in recent times, while there may still be a niche for logo-centric trends and maximalism, wealth appears to have embraced a shift toward subtlety—a transition from loudness to a more understated, whispered expression of affluence. Quiet luxury isn’t merely a passing trend; rather, it represents a timeless concept. Dressing in enduring classics that serve as lifelong investments has long been a prevailing philosophy.

However, with the widespread acclaim of shows like ‘Succession’ and a discernible shift away from fleeting trends toward a more restrained, less-is-more approach to shopping, there has been a noticeable surge in interest surrounding the notion of quiet luxury.

Image Credit: Sarah Snook in HBO TV show ‘Succession’

How can quiet luxury be precisely defined? It involves distancing oneself from logos, avoiding anything overly trendy or influenced by current trends, and steering clear of items that are easily associated with a specific time period. Instead, it revolves around timeless investment pieces—classics designed to endure for decades, crafted with the utmost quality to achieve this longevity.

Why quiet luxury is turning heads?

According to Lorna Hall, the director of fashion intelligence at WGSN, as pandemic-era restrictions eased in 2021, fashion trends shifted towards vibrant colours, bold prints, and revealing styles, known as “peacocking” and “dopamine dressing.” However, with the easing of lockdown excitement waning and economic concerns growing, a more subdued approach to fashion has emerged.

Hall noted that the current times call for a pared-back approach due to factors such as reduced disposable income, the potential for an impending recession, an increased focus on sustainability and ethical consumption, and heightened concerns about job security.

Top Quiet Luxury Brands In 2023:

1. The Row

 

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When it comes to quiet luxury, The Row is the go to brand. Founded in 2006 by former child actors Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the brand has gained acclaim for its minimalist and anti-trend philosophy in fashion—although it often sets trends and serves as inspiration for numerous imitations. Whether it’s the finest cashmere sweaters, leather sandals, or timeless wool coats, every item from The Row is crafted from top-tier materials and held to the highest production standards.

2. Max Mara

 

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Max Mara, celebrated for mastering the art of simplicity, stands out as another brand synonymous with quiet luxury. Renowned as an expert in camel coats, the Italian fashion giant consistently delivers mainline collections that embody understated sophistication—unpretentious, impeccably crafted, and designed to endure a lifetime.

3. Loro Piana

 

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The go-to brand for the costume designers of ‘Succession’, Loro Piana epitomises quiet luxury. Established in northern Italy in 1924, the fashion house is dedicated to using only the finest materials and setting the industry benchmark for quality production by blending technical innovation with traditional craftsmanship. If you’re looking to enhance your cashmere collection, this is the destination to explore.

4. Brunello Cucinelli

Embracing the pinnacle of Italian craftsmanship, Brunello Cucinelli stands as another label celebrated for its elevated basics. Established in 1977 as a cashmere business, the brand has evolved to offer comprehensive collections for both men and women, remaining dedicated to timeless design.

5. Bite Studios

 

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Toward the more accessible side of the quiet luxury spectrum is Bite Studios, a sustainable label based in Stockholm and founded by the husband-and-wife team Veronika Kant and William Lundgren. With a commitment to prioritising fabric quality, the brand exclusively uses the finest organic materials, crafting collections that exude sophistication while remaining perpetually timeless. Operating within a creative collective, they produce items in small batches, minimising waste and enabling hand-finishing for each piece.

6. Tove

 

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Yet another accessible label in the realm of quiet luxury is Tove. This British brand, having made its debut on the London Fashion Week calendar in February to widespread critical acclaim, places a premium on expertly executed, timeless pieces. Despite being highly Instagram-friendly, Tove’s designs exude refinement and elegance, embodying a subtle approach to style.

7. Toteme

 

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Toteme, a Swedish brand that has gained Instagram fame, has successfully rebranded capsule classics in recent years. Renowned for its commitment to timeless designs and meticulous craftsmanship, Toteme is a favourite among influencers and fashion editors. The brand is synonymous with chic tailoring, slinky slip dresses, and the coveted quilted jackets that have achieved cult status.

8. Jil Sander

 

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Jil Sander, a German designer widely credited for influencing fashion’s embrace of minimalism, remains a significant name in the realm of quiet luxury. Currently led by designers Luke and Lucie Meier, the house has, in recent times, deviated slightly from its minimalist roots (as evident in its print-heavy AW23 collection). Nevertheless, Jil Sander continues to be recognised as the go-to destination for refined elegance.

9. Gabriela Hearst

 

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Gabriela Hearst takes pride in crafting “honest luxury,” emphasising sustainability and producing collections designed for enduring wear. With each piece rooted in expert craftsmanship and high-quality sustainable materials, the outcome consistently delivers elevated and timeless fashion.

10. Khaite

 

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Khaite, the New York label founded by Catherine Holstein, excels at taking classic pieces and elevating them, though nothing from the brand could be described as basic. Whether it’s polished accessories, cult cardigans, or relaxed evening wear, Khaite has become a staple for enthusiasts of quiet luxury, finding a place in their wardrobes.

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