15.01.2019

Help! I'm a minimalist in the age of Gucci

Worry not, dressing like a modern minimalist is anything but complicated

Help! I'm a minimalist in the age of Gucci

Words: Daniël Geldenhuys | Photograph: Getty

Minimalists are probably (quite rightly) feeling a little alienated by the fashion world right now. Athleisure is everywhere, Balenciaga heralded the rise of 'ugly fashion' and the all mighty Gucci, a runway deity, seems to cheerlead a message of 'more, more, more!' And then there's the demise of Céline, a fashion house that not only defined what it meant to be a modern minimalist, but an intelligent one at that.

All is not lost. Today, fashion is more about the inclusivity of variety than the old mind-set of 'this is in, this is out.' Everyone is allowed to thrive, and Gabrielle Boucinha is proof. When creative director Phoebe Philo stepped down from Céline, proud fangirl Gabrielle launched the instagram @oldceline as a way to keep an archive of the brand's Philo aesthetic. At the time of writing, the account has 154k followers, representative of a legion of minimalists in protest of new creative director Hedi Slimane and his amputation of the brandname's accent (and total creative overhaul) to a, ironically more minimalist, 'Celine'. 

"It was very liberating to see a fashion house present women with what they actually want to wear," Gabrielle told Refinery 29. "It's not even about Hedi. It's about what women wanted, and now have collectively lost."

Still, today's minimalists have plenty of inspiration to look to. In the South African insta-sphere, model Emma Jane Menteath's mix of #OOTDs, art and travel speaks the Céline language fluently. Rebecca Arendse, the influencer-turned-photographer who goes by @theminimaleblogger serves a wheat-tinted dream of clean, modest, sophisticated style. Abroad, designers like Victoria Beckham and Simon Porte Jacquemus keep the modern minimalist an undeniable part of the conversation. It's no coincidence these four people advocate a very defined sense of modern femininity. Emma, Rebecca and Victoria are girl bosses in their own right, which pairs perfectly with their unfussy feminine style.

By definition, dressing like a modern minimalist is everything but complicated. A simple block-colour dress is your wardrobe's hero piece – you can dress it up or down, and layer according to the weather. A wide cut trouser, quite possibly high waisted, adds subtle grandeur to your collection of simple tops. There's also something to be said for a beautiful (masculine) shirt: buttoned down to show a beautiful necklace and worn with a very laidback sensibility, it becomes the ultimate balance between masculine and feminine energy.

Apart from said clothing staples, the modern minimalist is all about arty accessories. They are what makes reconciling the world of bold look-at-me style with a more quiet, determined aesthetic possible. Anything that feels somewhat sculptural is a total must. Precious metals, dainty rings and necklaces, and heirloom-inspired pieces are just perfect. A classic white sneaker is a go-to, and the transition between masculine brogues and feminine strappy heels is seamless. The minimalist's biggest obsession for summer? Straw hats and bags.

The minimalist might not be the loudest voice in fashion today, but that's part of how her personality functions. She's a breath of fresh air, and once you get to know her you'll see she's one of the smartest women you'll ever meet.

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