Minimal Fabric Interference at Céline


Céline, SS11, Paris.

Fashion, as we know, is always evolving in cycles. Sometimes we want clothes fitted, sometimes we want them loose, dark colours will often follow light colours and extensive embellishment can sometimes be followed by cleaner design lines.

When designers return to minimalism it usually seems to be an attempt to wipe the slate clean. It’s as though they’ve become tired of two much messing around and just want to let beautiful fabric be beautiful fabric and interfere with it as little as possible.

It seems this was definitely the case at Céline for the Spring/Summer 2011 collection. When you view the collection it seems that there has been a conscious move to not overwork the designs and not over think concepts. In technical terms this means not trying to shape the fabric too much, not trying to add in too many panels or darts, and avoiding embellishment all together, aside from a simple topstitch at times.

There is also a sense of wabi-sabi about the collection, from the treatment of the fabric through to the natural hair and make-up. Wabi-sabi, is a primarily Japanese aesthetic which in simplest terms means a sort of imperfect beauty, and a feeling of impermanence. This term is often used to describe the aesthetic of designers such as Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons. This often results in unfinished hems and seams, as though the clothes just effortlessly came together like that and were just perfectly complete as-is, without the need for fussy trimmings.

The catch to this aesthetic is that minimalism leaves nothing to hide behind which places greater importance on the finishing and the fit of the clothes. The silhouettes also need to be more interesting or unusual and the panels that are there need to be well placed to avoid the collection looking generic. Leaving unfinished edges also means that the garment needs to be that much more perfect in order to seem resolved as a design in order to avoid looking like an unfinished garment. 


Céline, SS11, Paris.

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