Redefining Modest Style for SS'19

So what is ‘modest style’? As its name might suggest, it typifies the ethos of wearing less-revealing clothes, yet designers and fashion police alike fail to pin down its exact interpretation, owing to cultural and geographic variances. How interesting then, that as modest style takes centrestage in Milan, it appears to contradict the sex-glitz-glamour of Milan Fashion Week.

It’s unexpected (yet wholly understandable given the power of fashion to effect change) that Milan is reinventing itself amidst the sudden wave of right wing-ism I speculate took flight following the #metoo movement. Gone are the low-cut sheer garments of yesteryear, and in come boxy jackets, ankle-length trousers and layering of garments. Female empowerment has driven modest fashion as today’s most appropriate presentation of a lady’s identity.

I’m taking cue from inspirations on the runway in saying that dressing modestly doesn’t mean looking boring, and it certainly doesn’t prevent you from staying on-trend. Instead, have fun with colours, prints and layers like some of these brands have done, while simultaneously demonstrating top notch styling.

 Credits: Vogue

Credits: Vogue

MARNI spring summer collection ’19

At Marni, Italian designer Francesso Risso delved into the process of creating art while de-emphasising the final product. The result is a beautiful collection of clothes that looked deliberately incomplete. As tribute to blank canvasses (the starting point of all artistic expression), muslin fabric featured prominently throughout the whole ensemble, and hems were left raw on purpose to hint at impending metamorphoses into an complete art pieces. The feature dress mixed classicism with the ultra-modern; Grecian-like in form, it paired a high neckline with a long hemline that covered the model down to her ankles. There weren't any sparkling embellishments except for the intricate pleats stemming from the waist of the dress.

 Credits: Vogue

Credits: Vogue

Max Mara spring summer collection ’19

Max Mara stayed true to its underlying brand philosophy of timeless expressions. On top of shedding positive light on strong expressions of femininity, the SS’19 collection featured unabashed diversity in its representative models taking centre stage. This season, Halima Aden who has built a career as the first Muslim model choosing to wear a hijab and dress modestly on stage, is back on the runway. Most outfits in the collection are made simple with either a single pattern or solid colour. I particularly love this two-piece ensemble because its many intricacies are downplayed by its manifestation in just a single colour. The ruffles are also a great addition to the silhouette, without having to accentuate the body figure heavily. Get the full scoop on the Max Mara SS’19 collection here.

 Credits: Vogue

Credits: Vogue

Yves Saint Laurent spring summer collection ’19

Disregarding the now-conventional modest styling, Yves Saint Laurent goes against the wave with overt expressions of sexiness. As the epitome of the sexy aesthetic, the brand launches the collection with a combination of short dresses, shorts and skirts; not your biggest advocate of modesty here. Yet it’s easy to see the brand getting behind the #metoo movement, with bold visual statements of female sexual power. My pick of the lot is this reinvented Le Smoking tuxedo paired with the corset-waisted pants, worn over white boots.

 Credits: Vogue

Credits: Vogue

I think there are many things in common between dance and fashion – both speak about the body
— Maria Grazi, Creative Director of the Arts

Christian Dior spring summer collection ’19

Christian Dior's spring collection ups the female empowerment ante by showcasing the fusion between contemporary dancers and modern fashion. With an emphasis on comfort and mobility, all dresses were designed to be light, and without restrictive corsets. Shades of tulle were layered over and underneath the long-length dresses which covered up most parts of the body.

 Credits: Vogue

Credits: Vogue

Giorgio Armani spring summer collection ’19

The Giorgio Armani collection features clean and light overtones by showcasing the spring collection of ethereal designs in pastel, grey and silver palettes. One interesting detail of the collection is the choice of materials used — delicate fabrics like satin and organza are used to portray the softer side of women. This display of subtlety ironically empowers the persons clothed; the fluid, soft draping of the clothing actually accentuates the form and solidity of the underlying body parts, and the ensuing silhouette is nothing short of quiet feminine confidence.