Two high-end collections debut in Paris, signal the niche side of quiet luxury
Instagram barraged design sensibilities for the last ten years plus with over-the-top clothing intended to grab eyeballs, often complete with questionable taste. It's no wonder that the "quiet luxury" movement is in full swing. This is partially due to a design palate cleanser by creatives and the public wary of the overexposed inauthentic digital creator world. Shows such as Succession are also being given credit for the new vibe. Last month, two Indie brands—God's True Cashmere and Quira—debuted their collection at Paris Fashion Week. They maintained that the appetite for discreet luxury remains healthy among clients who strive to dress well without becoming a walking billboard for conglomerate-owned household-name designer brands.
God's True Cashmere
Some say the pandemic helped ease the "quiet luxury" movement. Time spent on Zoom calls was one reason why, according to Sat Hari, who, along with Brad Pitt, founded God's True Cashmere before the global Covid-19 crisis that kept folks at home and working professional jobs over a screen.
According to Sat Hari, the brand, which had just launched at premium retailer Just One Eye in December 2019, performed well at that time. "Men especially liked that there weren't any visible or familiar luxury logos. You were cozy at home, but you looked put together on a Zoom meeting," she noted, adding that their small batch production was maintained at a time when other brands struggled to get goods.
Coming to Paris Fashion Week for the Fall 2023 collections marked another step for the organically growing brand based on a button-front shirt akin to a traditional flannel made from 100 percent cashmere. It comes complete with semi-precious stone snaps referencing the seven chakras and numerology's perfect number, 11. The shirts retail from around $1,990 to $2,250. "It surrounds you in a soft garment woven with love and gemstones that activate different areas of the body," Sat Hari assures.
Paris marked the first time the brand opened the collection for wholesale. But according to Gilles Assor, Sat Hari and Pitt are approaching wholesale in a fresh way. "This is the first time we are opening wholesale with the buyers coming to pre-order the Fall 2023 delivery," said Assor, a French luxury industry veteran and the CEO of 1.1.100 Los Angeles, a consulting service that is collaborating with God's True Cashmere on its brand architecture.
Assor and Sat Hari are taking a selective distribution approach but, in the meantime, connecting with retailers to form a mutual admiration and respect dynamic which builds on the company tagline of 'Our touch is our love made palpable.'
While each meeting may not result in a new stockist, it's more about indoctrinating the stores to the lux appeal of the product. "It's about building something together incorporated into the wholesale discussion where values of the brand can be incorporated into the relationship," he continued adding, "Even if we aren't working together now, they come to understand the brand. What's unique about this brand is that once you pick a shirt, or the shirt picks you, the feeling of wearing it and the confidence is kind of an addiction."
In addition to retailers such as Just One Eye, Hirshleifers, Blake, Performance Ski in Aspen, and Goop, come fall, the brand will also be carried at Bergdorf Goodman, Antonia in Milan, and Joyce Hong Kong.
If the experience and distribution model is unique, it's on par with the brand's unconventional origins. Sat Hari has been a holistic practitioner for over 26 years. Gemstones with their mind, body, and spirit properties were a part of her work, and 15 years ago, she established Amrit Jewelry, a collection of intention-minded fine jewelry.
In 2018, on a Tuesday night, according to Sat Hari, who grew up in India, she dreamt that her friend Brad Pitt, dressed by a head-to-toe green stylist, asked for more of the color green in his life. Relaying the dream to Pitt a few days later, he acknowledged that, indeed, he had asked his stylist to grant this wish.
As the actor's birthday and Christmas approached, Sat Hari went on a quest to find a duplicate of a cashmere button-front shirt she had received as a gift. In a coincidental twist, a friend of hers visiting Italy was headed to a cashmere factory in Umbria, and as the fates would have, they made this shirt style.
The shirt wouldn't arrive to gift in time for the holidays, but by then, Sat Hari's intuition told her this was a business opportunity to follow. Pitt was equally enthused with his new shirt and told her he wanted to partner. Sat Hari threw herself into a journey to organize a producer, such as the Umbrian factory, recruited Pitt and other friends of various body shapes and sexes to perfect the unisex fit, worked with jewelers to create the custom snaps, and developed eco-friendly zero paper or plastic packaging among other steps.
"I wondered, 'How am I going to do this?' But I kept getting green lights. I would meet someone to help with a logo or someone else that directed me to the sustainable brushed cotton packaging or recycled paper hang tags," she recalled.
By December 2019, their product was available at the highly curated LA store Just One Eye or JOE, which also stocks Amrit Jewelry. "Paola, the owner believed in us from the start; it sold out immediately," she continued.
When Pitt wanted a tracksuit, a cashmere one was created and sold out before it was in stock after the actor was seen wearing it. God's True Cashmere has also expanded categories such as hats, socks, blankets, pillows, and pants that double as pajamas. The brand's profile lit up once its Instagram launched, and the media started telling its story. Assor's addition this past fall began a further expansion of the label.
"The intention was to build a strong foundation and to grow slowly and keep the integrity of the brand as we grow," she said. Sat Hari's name translates to God's Truth. One thing is sure, wearing this cashmere is akin to a religious experience.
Quira by Veronica Leoni
During her day job, Veronica Leoni serves as design director for The Row, a brand that, despite its Hollywood famous founders, still caters to those 'who know' with deep pockets to purchase their sophisticated, subtle label. The designer launched her label, Quira, for Spring 2021, thus far showing the collection in Milan.
"Quira is personal. It's under my skin when I design it. In my other role, I offer the best of my creativity and experience professionally. Though it's also a bit personal, I am working around a DNA and a heritage attached to that brand, not my own. The starting point of Quira is 100 percent my vision," she told FashionNetwork.com at the presentation.
For her fourth season, she held a presentation during PFW for the collection that she feels "looks the most like her" last month. The brand is after her grandmother's nickname in the interest of over-exposing her name, another marker of discretion. The codes of minimalism with bold elegance are central to Leoni's designs. According to a brand bio, they feature tailoring, draping, and a "peculiar flair" and tout inclusivity and sustainability.
Her Fall 2023 collection also sought to challenge this after her first three seasons were about defining the brand's core concepts. "I always try to enrich the vocabulary eclectically, but I felt safe this season to come to the core and be as naked as possible in terms of message. I refused the ingredients and elements that make the formula," she continued.
The color palette, texture, and use of black to define the silhouette were hallmarks of the collections. "Too often we use black as a commercial solution, but I wanted to use it as a focus of the silhouette and viewed up close, you realize it's more complicated than first glance," she said while describing the collection. "I like that as a designer, I am connected to minimalism, but it's not the time to call it minimalist anymore. We have to have a balance between that and core essential design."
With the design aesthetic fully tweaked, she is clear about the direction she is taking Quira. "My mission as a designer is to give that feeling of being beautiful and empowered. I want to build a community of women who come to me each season because I am reliable and continue to deliver my product that defines design, draping, and tailoring."
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