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Even Shein has discovered "quiet luxury"

Old money according to fast fashion

Even Shein has discovered quiet luxury Old money according to fast fashion

If we were to define 'quiet luxury', then The Row's neutral ensembles worn by Cate Blanchett in the film Tàr, Gwyneth Paltrow's elegant, unfussy (exclusively Prada) gowns at court, the $1395 grey, unadorned Loro Piana cap worn by Kendall Roy in the second season of Succession are good examples. The trend, epitomized by historic Made in Italy brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Brunello Cucinelli, and Loro Piana, is synonymous with a luxury that needs no ostentation, a symbol of sophistication, but above all, quality. A simplicity without a logo that alludes to a much broader trend, Old Money, introduced into pop culture by the viral push of TikTok (the hashtag counts 4.7 billion views) and the driving force behind a change of course towards simple but sophisticated outfits, even for brands with a price point far below Loro Piana's means. From the neutral silhouettes of Zara and Mango to the minimalist designs of Banana Republic, the new fast-fashion collections, especially Shein's new Quiet Luxury section, raise a tricky question: How can you make accessible a trend that is defined precisely by its inaccessibility?

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Despite the era of fashion gimmicks - to use the phrase coined by Rachel Tashjian to describe Bella Hadid's sprayed-on dress at Coperni - fashion is following a new desire of the market: simplification. Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana, and Givenchy: are just some of the names that have focused on minimalism in recent fashion weeks, sometimes disfiguring themselves to join the brands that have based their success on quiet luxury. In these terms, clothing, however simple, becomes the staging of a status quo: the image of old money is indeed associated with American Ivy League colleges or old English universities like Oxford and Cambridge, with tennis or polo matches, vintage car rides, days on the yacht or at the country club. A dreamy universe, light years away from the everyday life of most TikTok users, translated by the new generations into an updated and revised version of the preppy ideal, consisting of blue blazers paired with tennis-style pleated skirts; Polo shirts by Ralph Lauren worn with khakis and leather trousers or boat shoes; trench coats and camel coats paired with dolce vita and oxford shoes, in a color palette that ranges from beige to white and ivory to blue and grey. In mass culture, the fast-fashion variations of Loro Piana's cashmere jumpers and Cucinelli's Shein counterpart to blazers become emblematic of 'fake it until you make it', the American dream translated into clothing.

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«It's a reflection of the current economic climate» Heather Kaminetsky, president of Mytheresa for North America, told BOF, «there are times when everything is going great and people want to show off, but right now everyone is a little uncertain.»That uncertainty drives people to buy things that seem like a safe bet: Basic items that will work in their wardrobe for years. «People want to invest in quality garments rather than chasing trends that can change from one season to the next says Sarah LaFleur, founder of women's fashion brand M.M.LaFleur. A mid-sized brand may not be able to offer the quality of Loro Piana, but it can at least try, which fast fashion cannot. For the standard bearers of quiet luxury, the mass market options will probably never compare: «Anyone who is rich can tell» said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute - «it's part of the tribal code» after all, if you know, you know.