Is Being Understated the Newest Fashion Trend? | Elle Canada

On the hit HBO series Succession, the Roys, a billionaire family that owns a global media empire, take a subdued approach to getting dressed, favouring the nondescript over the ostentatious. For people who could undoubtedly afford an endless parade of flashy fits, the loudest seen on the show was perhaps the embroidered Gucci jacket worn by Kendall to his 40th-birthday party—a piece with clout, to be sure, but hardly one that would stand out on the streets of New York. In an age of accessibility, when luxury goods are just a click and a few Afterpay payments away, fashion’s visual codes are becoming increasingly subtle and complex. Today, it’s sometimes what your clothes are not saying that comes across louder.

After years of favouring branding-forward designs, with splashy logos and bold monograms taking centre stage, some designers are now putting the emphasis on subtlety. It’s nothing new, says Ana Andjelic, who has worked as chief brand officer at Banana Republic and Rebecca Minkoff and is the author of The Business of Aspiration. “Whenever you have strong logomania, [it’s followed by] things going in a different direction—more inconspicuous and in the know and more hidden.”

While some consumers still covet obvious branding and logos, there are plenty of brands that have a following specifically for their more restrained approach. For spring, that looks like the roomy belted trench coats, crisp tailored shirts and layered silhouettes spotted at The Row, loose trousers and jackets at Lemaire and chic monochrome sets complete with matching accessories at Max Mara.

For Métier London founder and designer Melissa Morris, this understated elegance is key when creating handbags for her clientele, a list that includes Nicole Kidman and the Duchess of Cambridge. Known for her refined shapes and materials, Morris takes a traditionally luxurious approach to design, one that honours function without compromising on form or quality and with nary a logo in sight. “Métier is designed for people who have plenty to say and nothing to prove,” she told British Vogue. “They value the highest-quality craftsmanship and timeless design rather than large logos or seasonal trends.”

“Luxury brands have taken note that consumers want to be more mindful of what they wear and how they express themselves, especially as the pandemic has caused economic hardship for so many,” says Hannah Watkins, head of printsand graphics at trend-forecasting agency WGSN. She explains that many consumers are looking to live more sustainable lives, an aspect of which may be about buying less. “Opting for a more minimalist approach to branding will also enhance an item’s longevity and cost per wear,” she adds.

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