Achieve Luxury Brand Aesthetics At Any Price Point
By: Olivia Marrone
When looking to emulate the style of your favorite public figure or brand, your first thought might be to purchase an exact replica or the exact piece that you have seen. However, as Michelle of CLEVER&CHIC mentioned in our interview, fashion analysis goes far beyond looking at clothing: it’s a culmination of multiple factors that make up an entire aesthetic rather than an outfit alone. On a larger scale, think of what it’s like walking into the store of your favorite brand: while your main focus is on buying clothes, what you’re being shown is a 360 view of the brand’s aesthetic.
From the music playing to the decor and lighting in the space, when clothes shopping you’re buying into the world that the brand has created. This marketing tactic of creating a “world” around a brand is important for all clothing stores, but especially for designer brands. With their luxurious interiors, five-star shopping experience, and hype around a logo, this aspirational image is what adds to the mystique and attraction of different designer stores. While the price tags of designer items are beyond reach for most, this doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve the same look in your outfits.
Today, we’re going over five different aspects of high fashion brands to pay attention to when trying to achieve that designer look on a budget.
Pay attention to the signature color palette
A brand’s signature color palette is one of the first indications you get of what the brand is all about. For example, think of Valentino‘s luxe and vibrant array of colors that grace the catwalk every season or Saint Laurent‘s mainly monochromatic palette with pops of vivacious primary colors throughout collections.
These color palettes immediately tell you what visual message is at the brand’s core: Valentino’s being spirited elegance and Saint Laurent’s being modern sensuality. Making note of the staple colors of brands, and figuring out ways to pair them together will automatically help you achieve your favorite luxury brand’s aesthetic within your budget.
Look at cuts and signature styles
Much like with their color palettes, brands have signature cuts and styles they continuously reference. Balmain, for example, often produces sharply structured blazers and trousers, while Bottega Veneta has been very recognizable for their accessories like their Lido square-toed heels, pouch bag, and variations of their Jodie bag.
Since fashion is constantly evolving most ideas aren’t entirely new, meaning that by observing these distinct cuts and silhouettes that brands commonly use you’ll be able to achieve a brand’s aesthetic by shopping second-hand and vintage, as well as your current go-to stores.
Analyze the styling in ad campaigns
Being a fashion designer today often includes being the Creative/Art Director of the brand, which goes beyond designing the clothing and includes the entire artistic vision surrounding the brand. Advertising campaigns and runway shows being the most viewed forms of their creative direction, these are perfect ways to get a glimpse into the “world” of a brand without needing to visit a store.
Ralph Lauren is often noted as being the first designer/brand to truly utilize creating a visual narrative that the clothes live within and having his stores and advertisements be visions of the world he thinks of when designing. By analyzing the way that garments are styled in your favorite luxury brand’s ad campaigns, it’ll help you achieve a similar look at reasonable prices.
Take notive of the details in runway shows
Fashion is influenced by many things, often beyond the clothes themselves, and this is best shown through a brand’s runway show. Every aspect of a show is thoughtfully curated, from the setting to the lighting and the music playing in the background, all of this to give show viewers an idea of what aesthetic and message that season’s collection is looking to portray (i.e. Fendi’s Spring 21 show being based around family, the setting & seats were furnished like a home’s interior).
Having a good understanding of the “vibe” of a runway show is a good way to get a glimpse inside the brand, and through knowing this you’ll be able to infuse the essence of your favorite brand into your wardrobe.
Review the head designer’s creative history
Like with many entrepreneurs, you often start your career working for someone else before venturing off onto your own. In the fashion industry, this career timeline is heavily followed, as pieces from a designer’s tenure at a luxury brand (i.e. Tom Ford at Gucci and YSL) become extremely valuable collector’s items for archives of fashion enthusiasts and museums. Taking the example of Tom Ford at Gucci, when looking at his work over the years his aesthetic has never changed: his collections always include precise tailoring, rich color palettes, luxurious textures, and seductive flair to every garment.
By looking at a designer’s history from one brand to another, you’ll be able to notice reoccurring themes with their previous pieces and the pieces they’re creating today as these elements are now a part of the designer’s creative DNA.