Less is More: Minimalism in Fashion

Minimalist design an d 90s fashion trends on runway

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”, once said Coco Chanel, the designer who stood at the beginning of the minimalist style of clothing. Minimalism in fashion is an artful celebration of simplicity, elegance, and functionality. It champions the idea that “less is more,” encouraging a curated wardrobe comprised of essential and timeless pieces. Clean lines, impeccable tailoring, and neutral color palettes are fundamental elements of this powerful and enduring style that continues to captivate designers and fashion enthusiasts even in the ever-evolving world of fashion.

Minimalism is most often associated with the 90s fashion trends. However, the roots of this style can be traced back to the 1960s, a decade marked by profound social and cultural changes. As a counter to the lavish and embellished styles of the previous decade, designers such as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Martin Margiela and Calvin Klein redefined elegance with their understated and sleek pieces. The minimalist design embodied a departure from excess and heralded a shift toward simplicity and sophistication.

Minimalism in fashion – runway looks from 90s

Designers Who Shaped Minimalism

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel’s influence on minimalist wardrobe cannot be overstated. Her design philosophy was centered around simplicity and functionality. She was widely known for inspiring a shift in feminine fashion standards from a „corseted silhouette” to a more sporty chic look. She preferred man-inspired wardrobe pieces, black&white looks and comfortable handbags. In 1920s she introduced a “little black dress’ that unlikely to ever lose its popularity among modern women.
Her pioneering designs, emphasis on simplicity, and liberation from the constraints of traditional fashion shaped the path for minimalist aesthetics in the decades that followed.

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent played a significant role in the evolution of minimalism. His iconic “Le Smoking” tuxedo suit for women, introduced in 1966, broke gender barriers and showcased the power of simplicity and androgyny. This groundbreaking design demonstrated that a minimalistic approach could convey both elegance and rebellion. He skillfully sculpted silhouettes that celebrated the body’s natural form, creating comfortable and chic garments.

Calvin Klein

In the 1990s, Calvin Klein played a pivotal role in defining and popularizing minimalism in fashion. The American fashion designer, known for his clean-cut silhouettes and understated designs, became synonymous with modern sophistication and effortless elegance during this decade. Calvin Klein’s offerings included exposed lingerie, denim, cotton T-shirts, and slip dresses. The advertising campaigns featuring famous models and celebrities clad in Calvin Klein’s basic underwear designs became legendary, leaving an indelible mark on popular culture. His designs played the role of one of the most popular 90s fashion trends.

Minimalist style of the 90s

Jil Sander

What would minimalism be without Jil Sander? A German fashion designer, was a true pioneer of this style in the 1990s. Known for her precise tailoring, clean lines, and restrained use of color, Sander’s pieces epitomized modern elegance and understated luxury. Brand’s impeccably tailored suits and dresses became one of her most recognizable signatures. Jil Sander redefined power dressing for women, offering a sophisticated and confident alternative to traditional business attire.

Helmut Lang

An Austrian fashion designer, was a trailblazer in merging minimalist design with urban and streetwear influences. Lang’s style had an edgy and avant-garde edge, appealing to a younger and more rebellious audience. From plain white cotton tank tops to androgynous boy-pants and Crombie coats, his clothes occupied the realm where casual wear met alluring elegance.

Martin Margiela

No story about minimalism in fashion would be complete without Martin Margiela. His vision went beyond the traditional constraints of clean lines and simplicity. He embraced a concept known as “deconstruction,” which involved dismantling and reconstructing garments to challenge conventional fashion norms. He eschewed logos and overt branding, focusing instead on creating minimalist wardrobe that allowed the wearer’s personality to shine through.

Runway minimalist style runway looks

Minimalist Style Icons

Several style icons epitomized the minimalism in fashion movement in 1990s. Carolyne Bessette-Kennedy, who was an American publicist for Calvin Klein and a wife of John F. Kennedy Jr., captured the world’s attention with her sophisticated and understated style. Her wardrobe consisted of well-tailored pieces in neutral tones such as black, white, beige, and navy, allowing her natural beauty and grace to take center stage. One of her signature looks was the black dress, which she frequently wore to formal events and public appearances. Carolyn often donned basic white T-shirts, paired with well-fitted jeans or tailored trousers, showcasing how everyday essentials could exude elegance when combined with confidence and grace.

Kate Moss was another fashion icon of the 90s. One of the key aspects of the supermodel’s style was her embrace of the “heroin chic” aesthetic. Her waif-like figure, tousled hair, and barely-there makeup became synonymous with the fashion industry’s fascination with a more androgynous and undone look. Her favorite combo of skinny jeans with a slouchy T-shirt or tank top become one of the most influential 90s fashion trends. Silk maxi dresses were constant pieces in the model’s minimalist wardrobe.

Julia Roberts, the beloved American actress, was a style icon in the 1990s. She captivated audiences not only with her talent but also with her effortless and classic sense of fashion. Julia embraced the casual-chic look, frequently pairing jeans with relaxed blouses or simple T-shirts, slip dresses and oversized suits. She effortlessly combined feminine grace with a touch of androgyny, creating a signature minimalist wardrobe that captivated the fashion world.

Minimalist wardrobe of Carolyne Bessette-Kennedy, Julia Roberts and Kate Moss

Minimalist Style Today

Minimalism in fashion continues to be a significant and influential movement. Rather than constantly chasing trends, minimalist style enthusiasts prioritize buying items with purpose and meaning, reducing impulse purchases and promoting more sustainable fashion choices. They choose good quality, versatile items that can be easily combined with each other. This decision contributes to a more conscious and ecological approach to fashion.

The Polish brand MOYE known for its silks also follows the rule of “less is more”. Their minimalist design is perfect for “day to night” outfits. You can wear a classic cream shirt with blue jeans for a casual look or pair it with a black skirt with a slit for an evening event. Loose pants perfectly with an oversized sweater in the fall or a silk top in the summer. Iconic slip dresses will become true wardrobe staples. Choose the option for yourself: flirty mini, elegant midi or sensual maxi with a deep neckline on the back.

All MOYE’s pieces crafted from natural silk are available at www.moyestore.com.