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24-03-2013
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arlekindearrabal's Avatar
 
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Who was the original minimalist?
Who was/were the original minimalist(s)?

In your mind, would consider minimalism an European or a wholly American/New World design ethos?

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24-03-2013
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Neither. I would say it's mostly inspired by Japanese aesthetics though it's hard to pinpoint where it exactly came from.

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24-03-2013
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Thanks for your prompt answer, saann. I would agree there may have been a cue taken from traditional japanese design when the movement (if I could call it so) started, though my second question is framed within a fashion design context, of course.

Anyone else care to contribute?

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24-03-2013
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It's always hard to precisely pinpoint who did what in the past, it doesn't seem long ago but the nineties are now in fashion history and we can only speculate.
The famous minimalists were of course the likes of Calvin Klein and Jil Sander, but who's to say which one thought of the idea first?
They accredit Gabrielle Chanel with inventing the Little Black Dress but they can't know for sure - I've seen early 20th century black dresses by Jeanne Lanvin - made only a few years after Queen Victoria died, the greatest black dress wearer of them all, so it would've been quite a statement I think.
They also accredit Mary Quant with inventing the mini-skirt, but André Courrèges would disagree with you, and I've seen evidence of Quant editing the hemlines on sketches from the '60's put in publications to make it look as if she had been designing short skirts the longest, and almost exclusively.

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24-03-2013
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I guess everybody sees "minimalism" in a different way, but in the grand scheme of high fashion but IMO, quick reply: Vionnet. Her style wasn't necessarily characterized by making bold statements about womenswear (Chanel), lavish color & surface decoration (Poiret), but about the cut/patterns of a dress only..making a beautiful, flattering piece that didn't necessarily say "Stare at me", but instead, "Notice me."


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25-03-2013
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Thanks, eugenius. I had never heard (or rather, read) about Vionnet being considered a minimalist, but given your explanation, it seems plausible.

And Crying Diamonds, what you say about mis-appropriation is very interesting. Fits right into my query.

For instance, to many, Jil Sander would be the mother of all contemporary minimalists. But in popular culture, designers such as CK and Miuccia Prada are more closely associated with the movement.

This all ties into my second question. Many envision so-called 'American style' as a combination of minimalism and sportswear. But could this style have really originated outside the confines of America's high design spheres, and rather be really another wholly European contribution to fashion design?

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Last edited by arlekindearrabal; 25-03-2013 at 12:03 AM.
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