How To Embrace Quiet Luxury Design

As social media rose to prominence and the attention economy blossomed, design got loud. 

Fashion houses around the globe wielded whimsy to pull focus and go viral (See: Schaiparelli’s lion-headed dress, JW Anderson’s pigeon purse, and just about every Viktor & Rolf couture show). The world of interior design, too, saw a demand for maximalist spaces with bold palettes and baubles aplenty.

Something’s changed. It’s hard to say what exactly drove the pivot. The Balenciaga scandal and Demna’s subsequent aesthetic shift may be a contributor. Or perhaps it’s a broader cultural readjustment, where the post-pandemic era has created a collective yearning for earnestness, ease, and simplicity.

Whatever the reason, the era of quiet luxury is undoubtedly upon us. Are you ready?

The Tenets of Quiet Luxury

As with any movement, quiet luxury has some guiding principles. If you’re interested in embracing the look in your wardrobe or home, these concepts should inform your aesthetic.

  1. Seek the understated. Quiet luxury whispers. Colors are soothing, lines are clean, logos are only on tags, and you won’t find sequins, ruffles, or embellishments here.

2. Quality is paramount. Quiet luxury centers brands that use sumptuous natural materials and build deep partnerships with the artisans who craft their pieces.

3. Create opulence. When it comes to luxury, it’s about look and feel. An opulent look might come from layering pieces and incorporating multiple textures. When you move beyond the visual, those layers will feel just as rich to the touch.

  1. Prioritize vibe over price. Just because a brand is expensive doesn’t mean it fits the quiet luxury ethos. Louis Vuitton’s logo is instantly recognizable—and endlessly duped—which is precisely why a Vuitton logo tote is not part of the quiet luxury ethos. Instead, quiet luxury is about embracing understated pieces.

Quiet Luxury in Fashion

So, you want to begin assembling a quiet luxury wardrobe, but you’re unsure where to start? While not an exhaustive list, this handful of designers epitomize the look.

Max Mara

Max Mara is known for a warm, neutral palette, luxurious knits, and timeless menswear-inspired silhouettes.

Understated, impeccably tailored pieces from the brand are staples in the closets of chic women around the world—Kate Middleton, Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lopez, and Oprah Winfrey are all known to wear the brand.

Max Mara is the place to go for pieces to anchor your quiet luxury closet. We recommend you start with the Manuela coat, which exemplifies the brand’s viewpoint and has remained a top seller since its first release in 1998.

Totȇme

Founded by husband-and-wife duo Elin Kling and Karl Lindman in 2014, Totȇme designs for women who wish to create an edited capsule wardrobe.

With a focus on sustainability, Kling and Lindman craft clothes that are meant to incorporate with your existing pieces and last for years. Rather than chasing fashion trends, they embrace subtle updates to timeless styles. It doesn’t get much more quiet luxury than that.

The Row

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen were Hollywood moguls by the time they were teens. When they reached early adulthood, they were ready to leave the film and television spotlight behind.

That’s when they turned their attention to fashion, founding the ultra-luxury brand The Row. Known for its oversized (sometimes boxy, sometimes slouchy) silhouettes, moody neutrals, and rich fabrics, The Row is beloved by the quiet luxury set.

Phoebe Philo

If you ask a fashion insider to name their favorite quiet luxury designer (or favorite designer, period), there’s a high probability they’ll say Phoebe Philo.

The former creative director at Céline and Chloé in the early 2000s, she set the look for it-girls everywhere. (Remember those iconic Céline ads featuring Joan Didion? Philo was behind them.) After several years out of the spotlight, Philo returns this fall with her eponymous label.

Quiet Luxury at Home

Quiet luxury is not relegated to your closet; you can also incorporate the sensibility into your interior design.

These brands embody the style in furnishings and decor, with clean lines, calming hues, and high-end materials.

Sutherland Furniture

Creating outdoor living spaces is a luxury, to be sure, and designing with high-quality, handmade pieces means your furniture will stand up to the elements and remain a source of enjoyment and serenity.

Sutherland Furniture focuses exclusively on crafting outdoor pieces. The simple lines and soothing color palette allow Sutherland’s collections to effortlessly blend with their natural surroundings. And with materials like teak, stainless steel, and performance fabrics, these pieces will remain at home in your outdoor space for years to come.

Room & Board

If your taste skews midcentury modern or Scandinavian, Room & Board is a place to find quality furnishings. Chairs in supple, caramel-colored leather and dressers in weathered wood finishes are hallmarks of the brand.

Room & Board is based in the United States and manufactures 90% of its items at home through partnerships with artisans across the country.

Custom-Made Pieces

Perhaps the ultimate in luxury is having pieces created just for your home. Custom-made furniture is the way to realize your unique vision and establish a singular feel in your space.

In Acampora Interiors’ Watch Hill Coastal Classic project, a pair of custom-made bunks make for a playful guest space perfect for sleepovers. Photo by Read McKendree.

Custom-made furniture and millwork are especially well-suited to rooms with interesting nooks and crannies. If you own an antique home, commissioning custom pieces can help you make the space work for your family while honoring the history of the building.

The custom breakfast table in Acampora Interiors’ Watch Hill Coastal Classic project was built by the master craftsmen at Saltwoods, based in Needham, MA. Photo by Read McKendree.

In the end, quiet luxury rejects the notion that to have style, you must follow every fashion and design trend. It’s a declaration that true style is about timeless elegance and personal comfort, which begets confidence and joy. When you fill your wardrobe or home with pieces that have staying power, you welcome real luxury into your life.