|Title||Distinction by indistinction: luxury, stealth, minimalist fashion|
Setting out from the Simmelian premise that fashion is the site of tension between conformity and distinction, this essay enquires into the element of distinction heightened in minimalist luxury fashion. Minimalist luxury reveals the inherently divisive nature of fashion, putting distance between “us”—the nonchalant, productive, and moral—and “them”—the vulgar, useless, and amoral. Its seeming austerity is an effective mechanism of status assertion, highlighting fashion as a continual cycle of exclusion. The essay examines the class-, gender-, and race-bias implicated in minimalist luxury, before using Martin Margiela’s contrasting practice at Maison Martin Margiela and at Hermès as one case in which the ideals of minimalist luxury are strategically exploited. The case of Margiela also underscores the challenge luxury fashion faces as digital mediation increasingly prioritizes fashion as a visual, rather than material, practice. Digital mediation facilitates the global diffusion of the minimalist aesthetic, dividing the world into mythical classes according to taste, which supports Simmel’s idea of fashion and its potential pertinence to wider intercultural relations.
|Journal||Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption|
|Journal citation||6 (3), pp. 203-225|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1080/20511817.2021.1897265|
|Web address (URL)||https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20511817.2021.1897265|
|Published||19 Mar 2021|