POP IT LIKE IT’S HOT (Your collar, that is)
Elevated sportswear. It’s the trend that keeps on giving. Cushioned soles, supportive underwear, suck-in-stay-dry fabrics with wearable tech; the athleisure trend sparked a sigh of collective relief when it re-surfaced onto the high fashion scene this autumn/winter and it looked nothing like Sporty Spice. The moment of the fashion season was the emergence of Edie Campbell on the Chloé runway, wearing a head-to-toe burgundy tracksuit, collar popped in true Leinster rugby player style and a cooler-than-thou attitude to boot. Chloé, the label synonymous with ethereal, bohemian maxi dresses and floaty silhouettes embracing the tracksuit? It must be a serious trend to be reckoned with.
RETURN OF THE TRACK (SUIT)
I remember my first full Adidas three-stripe tracksuit like I remember my first kiss (unfortunately not as sweet at all). I was fourteen years old and I had fallen in love with a French teenager called Julien who reminded me of one of the lads from 3T who was rumoured to be Michael Jackson’s nephew but I only had dial-up internet so I couldn’t possibly ‘just Google‘ it. He called everything ‘beautiful shit.’ Rather than a translation mishap, I interpreted it as a profound comment on our common human existential crises. A year later, I would visit Paris on a school tour and in the fashion capital of Europe, I would buy a pair of Adidas rip-offs. The horror! OK, the tracksuit is not chic (or is it?) but when worn with a badass attitude that symbolises ‘lounging is my jam,’ it is the epitome of laid-back cool. So, although I wasn’t nailing Gallic insouciance, I was pre-empting the revolution that came with Vetements. Or, actually, I was probably just being a basic bitch.
THE SCHOOL OF LIFE UNIFORM
Here’s an exercise. Think of the type of people who rock a tracksuit in their day-to-day lives (I might omit the obvious).
- The Mafia
- Actual athletes
The one thing they have in common? Commanding attention wherever they go. Tracksuit+attitude=comfort+respect=power
While you might not want to go full Royal Tenenbaums in a hipster’s dream (the Adidas three stripe), you will also want to avoid any Sporty Spice/All Saints references -reigning in the look is key. Mixing and matching with non-sporty separates can elevate the look to brunch-worthy apparel. You don’t want your friends catching you wearing a trackie at the local Spar knowing full well you don’t own a gym membership. Juxtaposing sporty elements with tailored details exhumes any Vicky Pollard vibes before you can say ‘yeah but no but’.
THE DEMNA FACTOR
Love him or loathe him, you can’t deny that Demna Gvasalia is the man of the moment. Having been crowned the coveted title of creative director at Balenciaga, Gvasalia had no easy task taking up the helm of a label with American super, gen X darling Alexander Wang, as his predecessor. But Demna Gvasalia is clearly not a sheep. Not exactly a sloth either. His underground label Vetements seems to be changing the face of fashion for the good, the bad and the ugly. The very, very ugly. I can’t help thinking there’s a certain air of The Emperor’s New Clothes about Vetements but there’s no denying the influence it is having on its contemporaries. The aloof, anti-fashion aesthetic with oversized hoodies that wouldn’t look out of place on a fourteen year old emo outside Central Bank is rubbing off on the other outfitters and leaving an indelible mark. The Georgian Maison Martin Margiela alum’s laissez faire attitude to following conventions of high fashion sees boundaries of gender torn down, the rule book ripped up. And many other designers are following suit. Gvasalia’s clothes reflect the day-to-day concerns of a busy woman; Rihanna has been pictured in the almost-iconic Vetements oversized hoodie and matching trousers on numerous occasions. At Balenciaga, the puffa (puffer?) was the outerwear du jour as well as at Lacoste, Marques’Almeida, DKNY and Raf Simons.
THE SARTORIAL OLYMPICS
The atheisure trend has been steadily building its following over the last few years. When Victoria Beckham dons a pair of runners, you know a trend has staying power. And with the Olympics in Rio brewing up a storm at the minute, fashion has gone sports mad, the latest Vogue editorial shows Gigi Hadid in various athletic poses, wearing tailored silhouettes with sporty references. Think neoprene, racing stripes and ruffles. Jonathan Anderson showed that he isn’t afraid to mix it up by sending velour-clad lounge lizards down the runway and not a hint of Paris Hilton in sight! Ever since the ‘Rene Did it First’ jumper, Lacoste has become cool again and models wore vinyl hooded rainmacs with racing striped pants and peplum track tops with drawstring trousers.
POWER SUITS – THE MODERN UPDATE
Powerful women throughout history have favoured a tailored pant-suit. Hilary Clinton, Maggie Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Suzy Menkes. On the opposite end of the scale, tracksuits are the go-to fashion ‘suit’ of choice for the likes of Rihanna, Mary J Blige, Missy Elliot and Rita Ora. So, hell, yeah. I’m getting in on this trend. Anything that allows some extra ‘give’ for that burrito baby is a winner by my standards!
Top: Danielle Romeril
Track pants: Topshop
Pool Slides: Buffalo Dublin
Earrings: Om Diva
MUA: Sarah Lanagan
Photographer: Sean Moore