Kimberly Ovitz Is Mad for Minimalism and “Sick for Press”

With minimalism returning to the fashion fore, diehard fans of the genre are begging the question: What’s different this time around? Thankfully, we have L.A.-based designer Kimberly Ovitz to offer new perspective. After honing her skills in art history and design at Brown and Parsons, respectively, coupled with a few prestigious internships including W magazine and Karl Lagerfeld, Ovitz has built a brand-new brand of minimalism, not to be confused with your tried-and-true Jil Sander turtlenecks.

Inspired by the likes of artists Robert Ryman, Sol LeWitt and Louise Nevelson, Ovitz knows her way around a camera and how design and photography inform each other. She knows which pieces will strike a chord with editors—or, as she likes to say, which looks are going to be “sick for press.”

For spring ’11, Ovitz started with the most prosaic of shapes, the square. The motif showed up everywhere, from patterns cut in square shapes to a set design made of lighted cubes, down to the eye make-up. Artists choose the square for its simplicity, and as Ovitz puts it, the way the uniform shape can “make order out of chaos.”

Ovitz started her line in spring ’09, at the peak of the recession, even while most young designers would be deterred by the approaching abyss. Her work isn’t intended to appeal to the upper-echelon jet set. Her muse is complex, strong, and intelligent. The Ovitz girl is not the one you see demanding her boyfriend hail her a cab; she’s taking the subway uptown for the opening of the latest Richard Serra exhibit.