Mastering the Elegance of Minimalism: MASC Spring/Summer 2012 Womenswear

When London department store Selfridges announced the line-up of its ‘Bright Young Things’ initiative for January and February 2012 (whereby a select number of promising fashion designers are chosen to communicate the essence of their work in the store’s ground floor windows that are seen by an estimated 1 million people every week), it didn’t come as surprise to The Style Examiner that the British label MASC was included. Ever since we came across their collection at a peripheral display during London Fashion Week in September 2011, we have been very certain that this is a label to watch.

MASC was founded in 2011 by designers (and couple) Duncan Shaw and Billy Yick, who share an impressive catalogue of achievements. They graduated in Fashion Design from Nottingham Trent University in 2007 with top marks, showed their collection at the final gala show of London Graduate Fashion Week, and successfully stocked their debut range in a dedicated pop-up-shop in Selfridges. Following this auspicious start, Shaw was selected to study in Paris at the Institut Francais De La Mode as the only British graduate on the Masters Fashion Design programme, and gained a Distinction upon graduating in 2009. Since then, the duo’s visibility in the fashion arena has grown at a deserved swift pace with their work featured in prestigious fashion publications.

According to Shaw and Yick, MASC was born from the idea of equipping the female body form with an armoured elegance and chic minimalism. To achieve this, MASC’s garments and accessories (all hand-made in England) resort to notions of concealment, Japanese simplicity, and mask-like mystery in highly structured and geometric silhouettes. This elegant effect is made possible by using very precise cutting techniques, carefully choosing luxurious fabrics, and mastering effective forms of drape. Alongside their mainline range, MASC also offers limited edition pre-collections as part of their ‘1 of 5’ programme, whereby each piece is one of only five in existence.