Fashion pundits dissect the ‘Quiet Luxury’ fashion trend, share tips to ace it

19 January,2024 08:02 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Aakanksha Ahire

Quiet luxury screams elegance and sophistication. A 2023 fashion trend, it has seamlessly transcended into 2024. If you are someone who has had a penchant for simple things in life including fashion, we got fashion pundits to dissect this trend and suggest ways to help you weave this trend into your fashion world

Radhika Apte, Vidya Balan and Alia Bhatt are among a few celebrities who have been focusing on quiet luxury. Their choice of outfits has always been minimal, sophisticated, and elegant. Photo Courtesy: AFP

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‘To sit with people of the high-class society, you need to look high-class' - This has been the perception of many who have always yearned to be counted as rich. Wearing garments or accessories that flashed logos of luxury brands were access cards that allowed entry into the upper class. This obsession led to many burning a hole in their pockets. Come 2023, the world witnessed a change in this perception bringing back quiet luxury in fashion.

The reasons for quiet luxury to gain popularity are myriad. However, for most of us, this term largely remains just a fashion trend that we read about now and then instead of becoming a way of life - simply because we don't know how to make the shift, even though we wish to give it a try.

Mid-day Online sat down with fashion pundits to dissect this trend and get tips to help you make your wardrobe ‘quiet luxury-friendly.'

Loud luxury vs quiet luxury
As the words go, loud and quiet luxury are strikingly different. Loud luxury involves making a bold style statement. According to fashion designer Sahil Kochhar, "Loud luxury is a bold declaration of opulence, a style that revels in extravagance with big logos and monograms that are attention-catching." Similarly, fashion designer Shilpi Gupta states, "Loud luxury gains more attention as it uses vibrant shades, bold patterns, and visible branding."

In Photo: Sahil Kochhar (left), Srika Badkar (centre), Shilpi Gupta (right)

Quiet luxury, on the other hand, employs a simple approach. Celebrity fashion stylist Srika Badkar, says, "Quiet luxury is mainly a combination of understated elegance and exclusive taste." It makes use of a neutral colour palette, minimalist designs, and fine materials.

"The main difference between the two is that quiet luxury takes a more simple and understated approach focusing more on the craftsmanship of the product whereas loud luxury is bold, extravagant and makes an immediate statement focusing more on using brand logos on most of the products."

Loud luxury and quiet luxury go accurately with the saying, ‘Money screams, wealth whispers.' If you wish to look wealthy and catch up with the ongoing
fashion trend, you need to embrace the classy elegance of quiet luxury.

Rise of quiet luxury
A 2023 trend, quiet luxury has seamlessly transcended into 2024. Experts say it is surely here to stay for a long time. According to Badkar, quiet luxury has been an essential part of the history of fashion. It was mainly associated with the elite and their sense of understated fashion which focused mainly on the quality of the garment and the craftsmanship that went into it.

"The term ‘quiet luxury' or ‘old money' is now used by Gen Z to popularise it as a trend, especially since post-covid economic recovery. It focuses less on flashing the luxury brands you wear and instead takes a minimalist approach," says Badkar.

Adding to this, Kochhar states, "A few years back, social media gave rise to excessive consumption and logo mania amongst the masses to reflect belongingness to a particular social class. However, more recently this loud display of wealth has become less favourable or gauche, as people are seeking more exclusivity."

"Other factors like the need to achieve minimalism and sustainability, a change in consumer choices from trendy, mass-produced and fast fashion pieces to timeless, personalised and distinctive pieces also led to people opting for quiet luxury," says Gupta.

Quiet luxury is synonymous with minimalism. Minimalism believes in the ‘less is more' phenomenon and focuses more on the quality of products over quantity. This can be in every aspect such as art, fashion, lifestyle, and music. Badkar says, "Quiet luxury, in a way, falls under the larger umbrella of minimalism. It focuses on associating itself with the usage of products that don't focus on the extravagant display of brand logos."

Commenting on the same, kochhar states, "Minimalism and even maximalism can be associated with a fashion or lifestyle approach. For example, buying simpler designs vs experimenting with various colours, prints, patterns etc."

Celebrities and brands embrace quiet luxury
This fashion trend isn't just restricted to social media. Many celebrities are seen embracing the trend in their public appearances. "There is a shift in people's mindset, as people are becoming more aware of the nuances of fashion and art. They are seeking exclusivity and timeless designs. This goes for the celebs as well," says Kochhar.

Speaking of international celebrities, Badkar names a few who have pulled off some of the best quiet luxury looks. "Sofia Richie, Kelly Rutherford, and Jacob Elordi are a few celebrities who were seen adopting quiet luxury by wearing garments that were more in neutral colours, flowy fabrics, structured cuts, minimal accessories and avoiding brand logos and anything too bold. Their approach was exclusive, classy and minimal."

Other international celebrities like Emma Watson, Taylor Swift, Bradd Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, and Meghan Markle are also a few who have embraced quiet luxury.

Back home, Gupta adds, "Vidya Balan, Radhika Apte, and Alia Bhatt are among a few celebrities who have been focusing on quiet luxury. Their choice of outfits has always been minimal, sophisticated, and elegant. These celebrities have also been seen embracing sustainable and ethical fashion that aligns with the principles of quiet luxury."

Besides celebrities, many global as well as Indian fashion houses are known for the quiet luxury approach. These include Loro Piana, Hermés, Celine, Bottega Veneta, Ralph Lauren, Ritu Kumar and Good Earth.

Brands that are into loud luxury include Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Balenciaga, Kenzo, Versace, and Marc Jacobs. Badkar says, "These are brands that focus on displaying their branding on the product with their logo, monogram prints, colours and patterns leaning towards a very niche clientele that's expressive and not afraid to take up space in a room."

According to Gupta, "Indian designers like Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, and Tarun Tahiliani follow principles of loud luxury. The choice of rich fabrics, bold couture, and unique and bold silhouettes creates the essence of exquisiteness and glamour."

Welcome quiet luxury into your world of fashion
People's personal choice of loud and quiet luxury reflects their fashion preferences and their social aspirations. Badkar says, "Luxury clientele use high-end brands like Gucci whose GG logo on its products is extremely common. This is done to make a statement to create a sense of belonging."

Similarly, Gupta tells us, "People who prefer sophistication, quality, and timeless designs and primarily focus on personal taste usually have a liking towards quiet luxury."

In Kochhar's opinion, "Loud and quiet luxuries can offer insights into people's fashion preferences, that can at times be a result of their external influences. Their preferences don't necessarily reflect their personalities. Loud luxury might suggest a desire for attention or social class association/projection. While quiet luxuries indicate a preference for subtlety or a lifestyle. However, it's essential to consider individual differences and macro-environmental factors, and not make sweeping judgments based solely on possessions."

Considering the current scenario, Badkar states, "Quiet luxury is here to stay. It was commonly seen in the history of fashion and has continued to the present. The terms for it might change with every generation but it's a style constant and will remain that way."

On the contrary, Gupta adds, "Consumer preferences change with time, and though quiet luxury has gained attention as it focuses on sustainability and timeless elegance, loud luxury won't be out of fashion as it is driven by cyclical trends and bold statements."

Both Badkar and Gupta dish out easy ways to bring quiet luxury into your wardrobe:

Tips by Badkar
Wear more neutral-toned clothes, avoiding too many colours, patterns and prints.

Focus on the quality and craftsmanship of the garment or product you are purchasing.

Avoid any kind of branding, marking or logos on the products you use.

Purchase high-quality products made out of beautiful fabrics that would also last for a longer time.

Look for pieces that fit well and flatter your body type.

Invest in minimalist pieces that have a timeless appeal, which can be handed down to generations - pieces that would remain classic.

Tips by Gupta
First and foremost, invest in timeless pieces that are essentials in your wardrobe, like a well-tailored blazer.

Go for fine and quality fabrics like cashmere and silk that contribute to an elegant look.

Embrace a neutral colour palette or classic blacks, whites, or muted tones. It conveys refinement and sophistication.

Curate a capsule wardrobe that combines quality and minimalism with luxury.

Lastly, look for well-fitted and tailored outfits that look impressive and impeccable.

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