Modern Minimalism in Apparel & Jewelry

Minimalism is a key trend in fashion this season. The term minimalism suggests clean lines and visually simple designs without extraneous ornamentation. In its January 2011 issue, Vogue explains: “The clean-lined, crisp, neo-minimalist clothes of the new year smack of modernity.” The executive fashion director for Lucky endorses minimalism in the March 2011 issue of the magazine, stating, “Keeping things sleek and pared down feels so fresh for spring.” As any student of design will tell you, reducing a design concept to its cleanest, simplest form that is at the same time aesthetically pleasing, functional and flattering requires thought and skill.  

In apparel, one designer line consistently known for a minimalist aesthetic season after season is Calvin Klein. Modeling pieces from “Francisco Costa’s sublime spring collection for Calvin Klein” in the January 2011 issue of Marie Claire, actress Rose Byrne wears a sleeveless dress from Calvin Klein Collection accompanied by a pair of wide bangles from Alexis Bittar and a thin bangle from Dinosaur Designs.

Fashion icon and model Lauren Hutton is pictured in the February 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar wearing a long-sleeved dress from Calvin Klein Collection and a pair of matching cuff bracelets from Alexis Bittar (matching cuffs is another of this season’s key trends—see my blog post of  Dec. 9, 2010).  

Actress Emma Stone is pictured in the March 2011 issue of InStyle magazine wearing a strikingly simple Calvin Klein dress, what the publication calls “a seamless curtain of warm coral” to the 2011 Golden Globes. Her hairstyle and clutch also reflect the minimalist aesthetic, as do her earrings from Van Cleef & Arpels, which are visually simple designs of five diamonds of similar size in a line. Only her bow-shaped ring, also from Van Cleef & Arpels, deviates from a pure minimalist sensibility.

Actress Diane Kruger is described as “the modern minimalist ideal in a white silk column” from Calvin Klein Collection in the December 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. In the above photo, her hair is simply styled. She carries a rectangular clutch and wears simple drop earrings and a ring on a middle finger.

The March 2011 issue of Town & Country magazine contains a fashion spread entitled “Pure Legend” in which photographer Victor Skrebneski “explores Halston and this season’s ’70s-inspired minimalism.” Along with other examples of the clean designs of trendy rigid necklaces and cuff bracelets is this beautifully simple white dress from Max Mara accented with a pair of sterling silver dome cuffs from Lynn Ban. Note that the bracelets are worn over the full-length sleeves of the dress.

In the November 2010 issue of Vogue appears this silk dress colored with eco-friendly dye from Bottega Veneta accompanied by a ring of recycled horn from Kora. The model’s very geometric hairstyle emphasizes the clean  lines of the designs in her ensemble.

Here’s actress Emma Stone again, appearing as a brunette in the March 2011 issue of InStyle wearing a leather dress from Emilio Pucci accompanied by a statement ring, designer not identified, and classic pumps.

Minimalism is sometimes pictured reduced to a simple garment and footwear with no adornment whatsoever, as seen in this sleeveless dress from Narciso Rodriguez worn by model Arizona Muse with sandals from Alexander Wang, pictured in the February 2011 issue of Vogue.  A dress that striking can be a backdrop for a variety of jewelry—a statement necklace, a set of cuffs, a large brooch. If the jewelry itself reflects the clean lines of minimalism, jewelry can be an integral part of a minimalist style statement.


The October 2010 issue of Lucky magazine included a fashion spread “The New Minimal” with this editorial comment: “Our favorite work looks mix a dose of structure with the most dignified of color palettes for a pleasingly graphic approach to the day.” Examples of jewelry selected by Lucky to capture the essence of the minimalist trend are a sterling silver necklace from Tous and bracelets from Ben-Amun by Isaac Manevitz.

The January 2011 issue of Elle pictures examples of styles of the new minimalism for day, night and weekend. Among the jewelry selected for evening wear are beaded tassel earrings from Oscar de la Renta and a gold and Bakelite ring from Mark Davis.

A particularly spectacular example of jewelry that captures the minimalist aesthetic is this necklace of graduated diamonds and accompanying stud earrings pictured in a recent ad from Roberto Coin. Minimalism can be not only clean, fresh, and modern, but also breathtaking.

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