has brought out a new model inspired by the minimalism
of the 1990’s, a trend which is now making a roaring come-back.
It’s not so easy to keep it simple! Whatever the field, young talents tend to show everything they’ve got in their first project. They complicate the shape, add lines, and bundle together ideas, concepts, and references, afraid that their first test run will fail to take hold. This is a quirk of youth, with verve needing time, experience and perspective to flourish. Little by little, this creative energy is channelled and the object is reviewed, reworked and streamlined for later versions, coming with more elaborate, less complicated or more powerful functions which will ensure it leaves a lasting impression.
We often forget it, but doing something better with less is an art form. This is what we mean by minimalism, a trend which ran through a wide variety of disciplines, as a reaction to a rich and wildly disordered profusion of creativity. It appeared in art in early 1960’s USA, as a counterpoint to abstract expressionism and pop art which threw effects and colours around with wild abandon. On our side of the Atlantic, minimalism was rather the child of modernism, and in particular Bauhaus. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the greatest proponents of this school, referred to this streamlining as “less is more”. This could be considered a search for perfection.
Mies van der Rohe’s maxim was applied to architecture, by artists designing simple structures with elementary shapes based on robust materials, often left bare. Minimalism also appeared in music, design and fashion, which wholeheartedly adopted the “less is more” ethos in the 1990’s. This trend was a response to the eighties, a decade of wardrobe excess with exaggerated volumes, colours, and rivers of sequins.
Consumer culture peaked in this decade, revelling in cash and the rich fashions that accompanied it. Of course, this reaction was nothing compared to later decades but, at the time we did not know it. In the dying days of the millennium, people felt the need for purity and streamlining. Implicitly, this also brought a desire for essential, timeless and high-quality items which could weather changing tastes and fashions. We began to talk about “sustainable fashion” for the first time in fashion history. Thirty years later, this term is now on everybody’s lips.
The recent pandemic has sharpened our focus on a number of subjects: we want to consume less but better. After two years of relative limbo, there has also been a lasting effect on our creativity. Through a series of new collections, we can see a desire to be stronger and more relevant, and less reliant on the superfluous.
We need to slough off the excess, stripping back design and style to the bare essentials. It was only natural that the word “minimalism” would be splashed back onto the covers of our fashion magazines, and the timing has been perfect. In May 2022, klokers
launched the Minim
watch. Instantly recognisable for its unique glass, large letters, and streamlined design, it carefully maintains the identity and character of a watch company that is like no other.
Text : Frédéric Martin-BernardCopyright Walker Evans Beauties of the common - 1955