To Maria van Nguyen, minimalism is more than a way of dressing; it’s a lifestyle. Her blog Vanillascented has attracted a crowd of loyal followers over the years, and her expertly curated Instagram feed is a fashion favourite.
Originally from Oslo, Maria van Nguyen is now finishing her design studies at Parsons in New York – and we’re sure we’ll see a lot more of her in the future.
WHO IS YOUR STYLE ICON?
”I admire people that select carefully, put quality over quantity, and have a small wardrobe with pieces they wear over and over. They don't follow trends but instead their clothing is a reflection of their personality. Style should come naturally and it is most beautiful when it is effortless and easy.”
WHAT IS YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE?
”Elegant but cool. The most important thing for me is to dress comfortably, which is why I prefer a loose silhouette. I like clothing to be versatile and practical.”
IF YOU HAD TO LEAVE YOUR APARTMENT IN A HURRY, WHAT WOULD YOU GRAB?
”Well, that's practically me every morning. I grab a pair of sneakers and my mp3-player, filled with sexy RnB and hip-hop.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO LOOK?
”Sneakers, wide trousers, a loose t-shirt. All in a white/black/grey colour palette.”
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNER?
”Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran for their practical clothing, philosophy and values when it comes to design. Then there’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (The Row) for their subtle but luxurious pieces in the highest quality and amazing choice of materials. I always appreciate designers that are creative but still find the right balance of making actual wearable clothing.”
WHY IS FASHION IMPORTANT?
”Clothing is important because it's intimate. It adds to our feelings and personality, and it's a way for us to communicate and connect with other people.
As a fashion designer I also think clothing is important to make our lives easier. My goal is to highlight the basics and essentials in order to create a small and ideal wardrobe that lasts for years, which allows you to spend more time and energy to focus on other things in life.”
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN HISTORY, WHAT FASHION ERA WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE IN?
”I would rewind just a little bit back to the 80s/90s when minimalism was at its strongest. The concept of minimalism is misunderstood in many ways today and the word is thrown around in wrong contexts.”
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD?
”I knew from an early age that I would be in the creative field. I chose to go further in depth with fashion design because I found it interesting how each of us makes a subjective decision about clothing every single day.”
WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY FASHION PLEASURE?
”There's no guilt involved but it's a pleasure; not wearing a bra. Whoo.”
WHAT DO YOU NEED RIGHT NOW?
WHAT IS YOUR LATEST BEAUTY DISCOVERY?
”I re-discovered the beauty of silence when I finished up my last essay this semester. I read White by Kenya Hara who talks about the importance of listening, and then I read Quiet by Susan Cain who explains how introverted people are just as important as extroverted people.
That… And also being happy. You are most beautiful when you are smiling because it express a feeling of love and what is more beautiful than that? Smiling is also great because it's contagious and so it easily spreads beauty around.”
For more outfit inspiration from Maria, visit her blog and follow @vnyen on Instagram.
Adam Katz Sinding is the photographer behind Le 21ème.