Street Style's Minimalist Movement: Are The Days Of Fashion Month Peacocking Coming To An End?

Leandra Medine

Pictured at left in February 2013; at right in September 2013.

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Senior Digital Editor

Is it just me, or has the street style parade been looking ever so slightly more somber lately? To be sure, it's not that street style is past its prime; there were more bloggers, photographers and crazily-attired folk milling around Lincoln Center last month than ever before. But when it came to the most sought-after subjects of every fashion week snapper's lens, gone were the dizzying mixed prints and clashing colors of seasons past. In their place were monochromatic, minimalist looks whose silhouettes were the real statement makers.

Take Leandra "Man Repeller" Medine, for instance. The super-blogger and author built her brand on a platform of clogs, drop-crotch pants and shoulder-padded sequined jackets; at the September shows, however, Leandra wore a different all-white ensemble almost every single day (we were particularly partial to those stunning Rosie Assoulin palazzo pants, in case you're keeping score). And when I chatted with BryanBoy about his new collection of colorful fur accessories just a few short months ago, he admitted he too is going through a minimalist phase. True to form, he seems to have traded in his de rigueur printed pants and mad collection of hats for simpler duds as of late: think charcoal tees, crisp trousers and basic (well, as basic as Balenciaga can get) black boots. For the guy who once wore a thigh-length Margiela fur headdress to the shows, this swift change of ways made me sit up and take notice.

The fashion world's most-photographed editors, too, are dressing differently during fashion month nowadays. Take Miroslava Duma, the petite founder of Buro 24/7 known for pairing colorful pieces from Ostwald Helgason and Christopher Kane with oversized Miu Miu earrings and colorful sunglasses. When she took her front-row seat at Thom Browne's show in September in a simple white shell and black midi skirt paired with simple pointy-toed pumps, sans jewelry, the effect was shocking—in the most sophisticated sense. Even Anna Dello Russo—she of the fruit-shaped fascinators, colorful furs and "fashion showers"—has been test-driving minimalism on the streets this season. Just last week, she paired a heather grey tie-front shift from Céline's exquisite fall collection with a simple black clutch and ankle-strap stiletto sandals. Sure, the heels in question were trimmed with their own miniature mohawks, but that doesn't change the fact that this was the most pared-down look we've probably ever seen from the poster child for over-the-top glamour.

So why the sudden shift toward street style simplicity? In my opinion, there are two possible reasons. The first is pretty simple: mixed prints just aren't as popular on the runways as they were several seasons back. Witness Suno, the label founded in 2008 and famous for its use of Kenyan textiles and graphic prints: for Spring 2014, designers Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty showed black-and-white florals and embellished whites instead of the usual pattern parade. Or consider the ever-growing editor obsession with labels like Céline, The Row and Jenni Kayne, all of which produce beautiful, solid-colored clothing that appeals to women who love quiet luxury.

It's also entirely possible that now that bloggers like Leandra and Bryan and editors like Miroslava Duma are superstars in their own right, they don't need to wear outfits that scream "LOOK AT ME!" every time they make a public appearance. Whether or not she's in harem pants and six-inch Charlotte Olympia platforms, we know our Man Repeller when we see her. She could just as easily step out in a rumpled button-up and ripped white jeans—as she did before the Calvin Klein show several weeks ago—and we (and those photogs) would still be equally enthralled. And at the end of the day, we think there's something extraordinarily fresh about a girl who uses silhouette and line—not a cacophany of competing patterns—to make a sartorial statement.

Click through above for some before and after shots of our favorite street style stars. Do you prefer the colorful, crazy looks that made them famous—or the more streamlined and sleek ensembles they've been wearing recently?


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