Fashion: No fuss, no frills, no problem: Unfussy coats; zipless jackets: the look is simple and monochrome. Marion Hume reports on New Puritanism

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Midwinter style comes unadorned. The tricky detailing of the past is replaced by clean, straight lines. Instead of bright colours and pattern, there are monochromatic tones of black and polar white. In place of baubles, bangles and beads is absolutely nothing at all.

This winter, the most pervasive fashion look has been dubbed 'New Puritan'. It is proving to be popular. At the winter shows, designers as diverse as Calvin Klein in New York and Joe Casely-Hayford in London embraced spare and simple style. On the high street, Miss Selfridge, Jigsaw and others now have plain Jane clothes where once there would have been the splash of vivid prints to brighten a grey day.

The glossy magazines have caught on to the New Puritan look. Almost every fashion stylist in London and New York seems to have re-run Peter Weir's Amish movie, Witness, on their video recorder. Model books, the telephone directory-style tomes in which head shots of models are catalogued, have been scoured to find fresh-faced beauties who resemble Kelly McGillis, circa 1985. Male models have sought to emulate Harrison Ford's down-on-the-farm sawn-off dungarees. And, for European publications, northern Sweden has become the location of choice for fashion shoots.

Meanwhile, American Vogue took Christy Turlington and a blonde wig out into American midwestern fields of corn on the cob. Harper's Bazaar put Tatjana Patitz in a flat hat and surrounded her with a troop of clean-scrubbed Harrison-in-Witness lookalikes in sensible footwear.

In Britain, photographers drove out into the countryside to find the best-looking wheat fields. Everyone was jumping on the haycart. But in reality, these clothes are unlikely to be worn out in the fields. Instead, these straightforward, unfussy coats, trailing skirts and buttonless, zipless jackets are much more likely to turn up in town, where their simplicity might be viewed as something of an antidote to the stresses of modern, urban lifestyles.

So we photographed them in that most urban metropolis of all, Manhattan, to prove a point - that the new puritan clothes look every bit as desirable when served without the corn.

(Photographs omitted)

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