Gwyneth‘s #courtcore

Another day another trend name. In the past month we have had #courtcore (Gywnnie’s court outfits were both #courtcore and #quietluxury) #barbiecore (Margot Robbie in the new film about the pink icon) and #povogang, featuring TikTok’er @shabazsays sharing reels from his bed – begining with “On today’s episode of ‘I’m rich, you’re poor” and reacting to people on social media who document their lavish lives.

While money talks – or rather shouts loudly for the brands who target a certain type of high-end consumer, ‘Quiet Luxury’, also known as ‘Stealth Wealth‘, is the latest aesthetic to trend literally everywhere. According to a new study from Karen Millen, which analyzed Google data, “old-money style” searches grew 568 percent, while “quiet luxury” and “stealth wealth” saw increases of 373 percent and 334 percent, respectively, over the past month alone.

Kendall wearing a Tom Ford cashmere silk polo ($1,490)

Quiet Luxury describes how overt displays of money are seen as bad taste, and understated, often hugely expensive items have become the new wealth signifiers. Bubbling under for some time, this trend has come to the fore once again as season 4 of Succession brings a renewed focus on the style of the ludicrously rich. The costume designers liase with wealth consultants in order to ensure its stars fully represent the lifestyle of the 0.01 percent and Instagram feeds such as @successionfashion illustrate how the show’s fashion and accessories (if you are a luxury watch fan – this is for you) cleverly determine the status/wealth of the characters.

Sienna Miller‘s ‘quiet luxe’ looks in Anatomy of a Scandal

Vogue thinks Quiet Luxury is “exceptionally high-quality, logo-free ready-to-wear. It’s minimalism with the edge taken off. It’s what we’re actually wearing”. Meanwhile Harpers state. ” it’s not a trend it’s a way of life. It’s The Row, Tove and Khaite, or Phoebe Philo for Celine. It’s softer than minimalism, but more polished than normcore. It’s off-duty Olsen twins mixed with Sienna Miller in Anatomy of a Scandal. It’s Jennifer Aniston in another well-cut black dress, or Amal Clooney in a beautifully tailored suit. It’s old money, ‘stealth wealth’ and discretion rolled into one. In short, it’s difficult to pin down in a few words, which is part of its appeal: nothing truly luxurious was ever easily won”.

According to Glamour magazine, Quiet Luxury is inspired by Succession‘s Shiv. I beg to differ and have been waxing lyrical almost daily in the USP studio, about how the Succession costume team have very cleverly spotlighted how Shiv’s (lack of) style runs parallel with her struggle for power.  The more she finds herself out of her comfort zone at Waystar Royco, the worse her clothes get. Yes, she loves neutrals and minimal details, and nothing she wears (apart from that hideous Ted Baker dress for her hateful mother’s wedding) is cheap, but her bland clothing choices lack personality and flair.

Shiv should be the epitome of Quiet Luxury, but as Highsnobiety cleverly observed,  stealth wealth can often just be another name for really dull clothes – however much they cost.

“The fairly boring clothes these people tend to wear have become a new kind of status symbol for people desperate to appear well-off, despite most of these uber-rich types having pretty awful style”.⁠

Designer labels are generally more refined, use better quality fabrics and have distinct design details that make them more or less recognisable. If you know, you know, and those that do can spot a Tom Ford from a Tesco, or a Altuzarra from an Asda, quicker than you can say IWC. But for those mere mortals that don’t have $1,300 to spend on a Tom Ford hoodie, is this a look regular people can get on board with or is it just media hype?

Bottega leather shirt (£4,300), Loewe white vest (£250)

We’ve seen Quiet Luxury on the recent A/W 23/24 runway shows: at brands such as The Row, Jil Sander and Loro Piana, with Bottega Veneta presenting the ultimate QL/New Normcore look. Kate Moss walked the show wearing – wait for it… jeans and a check shirt. But not just any old check shirt – a check shirt made from leather. The fashion industry lost their tiny minds and declared it the season of  boring dressing – in a good way – £4,300 for a check shirt anyone?

Ridiculous prices for essentially very basic clothes or minimal chic at its very best? For me Quiet Luxury/Stealth Wealth is simply the new status symbol for people who are desperate to appear well-off, while ignoring the fact that most of the uber-rich don’t have actual style, just lots of money.

The ludicrously capacious bag

I’ll leave the last word to Tom – my favourite/worst character in Succession – and his comment when introduced to cousin Greg‘s new ‘girlfriend’.

“She’s brought a ludicrously capacious bag. What’s even in there? Flat shoes for the subway? Her lunch pail? Greg, it’s monstrous. It’s gargantuan. You could take it camping. You could slide it across the floor after a bank job.”