There is a new catchphrase working its way through social channels – “quiet luxury”. The keyword is nearing 40 billion views on TikTok. The fact, however, is that “quiet luxury” is nothing new. This ethos has been around for a very long time. Its definition is simple. Understated Wealth. Elegance, simplicity, and timelessness are its hallmarks. This is how the uber wealthy have lived generation to generation. Old money has always walked this walk.
Although current Instagram influencers concentrate on fashion, “quiet luxury” has always been found nearly everywhere. A singularly created, unique parfum stands in the stead of easily purchased high-end fragrances for the body. In the kitchen, a quiet set of dishes – specially designed, crafted and hand-painted in an Italian artisan’s workshop is a must. For the home, forget about the painting already hanging in a gallery, it is all about commissioning an artist to create one’s own unique masterpiece.
Of course, where it is most visible – hence the social media concentration – is in fashion. In the past, “quiet luxury” has been effortlessly worn. Loud Gucci is a no-no. A beautifully cut suit, made from the finest fabrics and tailored in London, is a go-go. A unique polo shirt from an exclusive boutique, set on an old cobblestoned street in Paris, with no visible branding, is preferred over a mass-produced Ralph Lauren one. No label on the first indicates true wealth. Those in the know recognize it, and those not in the know don’t. It has always been the antithesis of fast fashion. And, to be frank, a quiet elitism.
But, current “quiet luxury” – although adhering to the blueprint of the original – is yielding a different spin on this traditional style. This spin has largely been born by tech titans – such as Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates – who sport t-shirts and khakis that cost hundreds of dollars each. And television series such as Succession whereby not looking wealthy is the richest thing one can do. With the rise of social media and the democratization of fashion, quiet luxury has become more accessible to the masses. It is no longer just for the elite but for anyone who values quality, refinement, and understated elegance. Therefore, it is in a way, mass producing what up until now has been truncated. It is, ironically, no longer “quiet”. Rather, it is screaming to everyone and anyone.
As always, “quiet luxury” is about resisting transient fashion trends and embracing timeless design. One of the defining characteristics of the trend is its emphasis on subtle branding. Luxury brands are moving away from excessive logos and flashy branding in favor of more understated designs. This allows the quality of the product to speak for itself and is a way for consumers to express their wealth and status without being overtly showy.
Another quality of the trend is its use of subtle and neutral color palettes. Quiet luxury is all about understated elegance; muted colors like beige, gray, and navy are the perfect way to achieve this. These colors are timeless and versatile, allowing the quality of the materials and craftsmanship to shine through.
“Quiet luxury” is appealing because it is timeless. It emphasizes quality over quantity, and it is all about investing in pieces that will last. This trend is also a reaction to fast fashion, which is characterized by cheap, disposable clothing that is designed to be worn only a few times. It is also a way to express one’s individuality without relying on logos or branding.
In a time when people are gravitating towards simple sophistication, the emergence of the new brand of “quiet luxury” is a testament to the evolving tastes in personal style. The trend is influencing choices and rethinking wealth and quality.