Plain? Not Quite

For individuals who understand that true luxury doesn’t require ostentatious displays but rather a refined sensibility, quiet luxury is the answer

By Raghavendra Rathore

A Birdi blanket, crafted from camel wool that is hand-dyed and woven into a fabric, is an exceptional example of quiet luxury and indigenous handcrafting. Tailored into a waistcoat in tone-on-tone hues mixed with vibrant accents of Rajasthani patterns, would make it exquisite and one-of-a-kind. Also, it would encapsulate the authentic values of the region’s traditional craft executed with subtlety and finesse. For those who value impeccable creations and authentic artistry, the phenomenon of ‘quiet luxury’ has always been the pinnacle of pure sophistication. As a designer, I have always been captivated by this movement and to me, it represents the simplicity of conscious fashion. Whether it’s in the realm of couture, home decor, or various other aspects of daily life, this minimalist concept embodies a profound commitment to timeless elegance, rooted in traditional craftsmanship.

When it comes to menswear — a realm in which I hold my expertise — quiet luxury transcends both global and Indian perspectives. Each piece I curate is a result of delving deep into its origins, understanding its key characteristics, as well as embracing the rich cultural heritage it carries. It is the authenticity and attention to detail that has driven men to invest in timeless pieces that embody the essence of this growing concept. Through centuries, certain aristocrats, barristers and members of nobility have favoured an understated and muted personal style. Though it has been present throughout history, the current wave of this concept offers us a chance to reflect on its evolution. It traces its roots back to an era when craftsmanship and quality were held in the highest regard, where true luxury was found in subtle details, impeccable tailoring, and a balance between durability and style.

For me, quiet luxury is largely defined by the silhouettes it takes. It represents understated grandeur, where every element of design is carefully considered to create an aura of subtle opulence. It is about crafting garments that make a statement without unnecessary noise; this perfect balance is achieved by using fresh materials and clean tailoring techniques. From sumptuous cashmere and silk wools to luxurious fabrics with subtle textures, each material is meticulously chosen for its quality and ability to convey refined elegance; when artfully tailored, these fabrics possess the power to truly elevate an outfit.

Throughout my journey as a designer, these overarching principles of minimalism, attention to detail, and refined tailoring have formed the foundation of my brand for almost 30 years now. My collections celebrate heritage craftsmanship, seamlessly merging traditional Indian elements with modern silhouettes, resulting in pieces that withstand the test of time. Drawing inspiration from the regal wardrobes of Indian nobility, my design aesthetic and personal fashion consistently promote the ‘old money’ look. This aesthetic is characterised by wide lapel, double-breasted jackets paired with pinstripe shirts and dark ties, or the classic cashmere bandhgala combined with a contrasting shirt.

On a global scale, luxury brands such as Brunello Cucinelli, Bottega Veneta, Berluti, and many others have embraced the trend of quiet luxury. They adopt a vertical approach, overseeing the synthesis of yarn, the processing of exquisite fabrics, and the translation of these materials into captivating collections. Notably, these brands cater to customers who value anonymity in their outfits, as they prefer garments without visible logos.

Looking towards the future, we can observe how the fashion landscape is evolving in the direction of conscious and subtle expressions; the customer base for quiet luxury is distinctly split. On one hand, we have those who relish showcasing fresh styles on social media platforms like Instagram every few hours. On the other, there are individuals who prioritise comfort over self-promotion, a trend popularised by influential figures like Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook. While they may not embrace high fashion, they certainly appreciate the value of exquisite fabrics, even if woven into beautiful, minimalistic t-shirts.

As the fashion industry continues to evolve, quiet luxury will adapt to the changing preferences of its customers. In menswear, brands tend to focus on fabric combinations and consistency, thereby prioritising these elements. In contrast, women’s fashion is expected to embrace a trend towards unique, meticulously crafted hand embroideries. This shift towards personalised fashion is predicted to gain momentum as AI integrates with the fashion industry, enabling highly personalised experiences for those with a taste for subtle sophistication.

Reproduced with permission from Mansworldindia.com

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