Emacs has its own version of powerline. You can turn off most of the annoying frills like the menu bar, the scroll bars, the toolbar and the fringe. You can also use a nice typeface (I'm very partial to Deja-vu Sans Mono) and a nice color scheme (I like blackboard).
My actual .emacs file has a ton of things unrelated to this, so here are the relevant bits:
;; Make the window simpler
Powerline and the color theme are installed separately. You can get powerline using the new package manager through M-x package-list-packages. You might have to configure some additional package sources first:
It might take a little more configuration to get the powerline colors matching to what you want. You can also customize the shape of the separator: it doesn't have to be an arrow.
Unfortunately, the blackboard theme in the package manager is using the old color-theme package which has been made obsolete with Emacs 24. You should use the version ported to the new and improved theming mechanism.
Just based on the name, it looks like that file uses the old color-theme-mode instead of the new theming facilities. You'll either have to find a different version, port it over (I don't know how much effort that would take) or just use color-theme-mode.el again, which is a little annoying.