Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Going for Gold, the Olympics and Fashion

It seems like age ago that the 2012 Summer Olympics took place in London, England. 2016, four years later, is upon us and the athletic community will be descending upon Brazil for this year’s Olympic Games. Every four years, fashion heavily regurgitates the athletic/Olympic theme. Louis Vuitton have already announced their Resort 2017 show will be held this May in Rio de Janeiro. São Paulo Fashion Week in October saw brand Osklen look to Ancient Greece, where the games originated. This season, the theme was pertinent during the big four fashion weeks. Two designers in particular that I felt the ode to the Olympics were Lacoste and Chloé.
Lacoste’s founder was René Lacoste. He was a French tennis player who won a bronze medal at the 1924 Summer Olympics for tennis in men’s doubles. He created the Lacoste tennis shirt almost 90 years ago. Sportswear and athleisure has forever been embedded at the heart of the Lacoste brand. Portuguese designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista took the helm at the end of 2010. 

The inspiration for the Spring collection was flags. Sharp tennis dresses, in red, white and blue, were enriched with funky cutouts. Mica Arganaraz wore a dress that explicitly represented the American flag.The United Kingdom, Argentina and more were visible on one male model’s jumpsuit. Closing out the show, Binx Walton’s jumpsuit was an amalgam of fragmented flags. Ine Neef’s wore a red and white striped romper that would be perfect for an afternoon venturing the balmy Brasilia, or touring Rio. A tricolour tunic is ideal for the days spent basking in the summer sun. 

I was swept away by the simplicity of the menswear in this collection. There was the white joggers with navy stripes, a net shit worn over a blue, red and white t-shirt. Piero Mendez’ navy sweater with the Lacoste logo emblazoned on the chest was one of my favourite pieces. It contained the airy athleticism vibe while permeated the money-controlled nature of sports. Logos and branding are everything in sport, and they sell prolifically in fashion.  

“It was about peace and diversity,” Baptista said. If only it contained more of the latter. 
“Kate, Chloe, Cecelia, Corine, Rosemary, Emma, Courtney and many others who embody the liberty and elegance of a perfectly mastered and excessively lived simplicity.” That’s what the Chloé show notes read at the Paris Fashion Week show. The model line-up permeated the collection with a 90’s air. Specifically, the athleisure element portrayed that. Roos Abels opened the collection in zip-up, red and navy sweater worn with a flowing floral skirt. A grey tank top with red piping, a navy zip-up. Giving us a stylish tracksuit was the red and camel coloured top paired with red trousers. Stylising sports has never been this literal. I admire Claire Waight Keller’s bravery. 

The sportiness in this collection didn’t stray far from that. It was a minimal portion of the collection, but there was a sense of the summer ahead, the games in Brazil in the collection. Sports aside, the rest of the collection maintained “a spirit as fresh and colourful as ever.” A paisley print kaftan was enlivened by a patch of red and lace trim. A lilac paisley, strapless jumpsuit was stunning; as was Lineisy Montero’s off-the-shoulder, multicoloured blouse and denim shorts, and Willow Hand’s multicoloured maxi dress. 

This collection, though in parts, athletically inclined, contrasted two themes that didn’t exactly work side by side. 
Neither collection stood out in the way I expected them to. Both referenced the theme of athleticism, pairing it with easy pieces for the summer months. While Lacoste grew tiresome; the blatancy became slightly overbearing; Chloé on the other hand felt like it was holding back. The 90’s air was refreshing but the athleisure felt out of place in the context of the whole collection. If these two collections were competing in the Olympics, I must say they’d achieve a bronze medal at best. 

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