Fashion Prom Style Blog

چهارشنبه 20 اسفند 1393

Yoga pants stretching the fashion rules

نویسنده: Randall Farris   

If wearing yoga pants outside of the studio or gym is a fashion faux pas, the Tencel and Lycra-clad masses in Vancouver don’t care.

With sales of activewear on the rise, many in Vancouver are unapologetically embracing the trend.

“It’s comfortable, easy to wash, you can do your workouts, then head out and get your groceries,” said Karen Lam, reeling off the reasons why she loves her yoga pants. “Because I’m a mom, I’m all about comfort and time. It takes time to put looks together, and I like something easy.

“I feel good when I wear them, and I still think I look good.”

Lam is the production manager for Burnaby-based activewear outfitter Tonic, so she may live in yoga-wear more than the average person. But she’s not alone. In Vancouver, activewear has long spilled over from studios to the street, ubiquitously paired with trendy jackets and fancy footwear. Yoga pants also come in many styles and colours.

From its roots as a hot yoga-wear manufacturer, Tonic has expanded its offerings to include a “lifestyle collection,” which features acres-yoga clothing made of soft cotton or bamboo jersey that people can wear beyond the studio, said Lam.

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“It’s all about taking fashion elements so people are interested in wearing it on the street and not just the gym,” she said.

U.S. market research firm NDP described the increasing penchant for activewear as a consumer-driven trend, prompted by people’s overriding desire for comfort and function.

Yoga-wear giant and trailblazer Lululemon’s sales have increased more than 50 per cent in its last two fiscal years to $1.6 billion US.

Many retailers have also expanded into the fast-growing niche. In 2008, The Gap acquired activewear brand Athleta, while Swedish chain H&M launched H&M Sport last year after successfully garbing Sweden’s Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Games.

Even haute fashion houses are getting in on the action, with couture hoodies and cashmere track pants gracing the runways.

One of the casualties of the yoga-pant craze may be the go-to staples of decades past: Jeans.

Last year, sales of jeans fell six per cent after years of steady growth, said NPD in a report last fall. In comparison, sales of activewear increased by seven per cent to $33.6 billion US, occupying a 16-per-cent share of the total apparel market.

Women’s activewear alone hauled in about $11.5 billion in sales in 2013 in the U.S., a nine-per-cent jump from 2012.

The numbers don’t surprise Emma Hogan, 24. She only has two to three pairs of jeans, but seven yoga pants that she wears everywhere, except work (she is a flight attendant), and fancy restaurants.

Aside from being comfortable, yoga pants are also flattering, she points out. “They’re (high-waisted) and are raised up over my little pooch,” she said. “Even if you gain a couple pounds you can still fit into them.”

Chloe Logan also wears her yoga pants “every single day.” She has about a dozen in her closet, and doesn’t bat an eyelid wearing them as she runs errands and meets up with friends.

“It’s so popular here ... it’s not so much a faux pas anymore. Maybe it was a few years ago,” she said.

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The first model Simon Porte Jacquemus sent out for his show here Wednesday night wore a pair of stiff fisherman’s waders and a mask.

Yes, that’s it: She was otherwise topless. The young woman padded barefoot down the runway that wound through eloquently tattered rooms where plaster peeled from the walls, her face was obscured by a swath of brown paper.

Unnerving, perhaps, but not surprising. Nudity is a favourite tool of designers — particularly the young ones — who are under pressure to find ways to startle, provoke, dazzle and stand out in this fiercely competitive fashion capital. Newcomers and even veterans presenting their wares during Paris Fashion Week, which opened Tuesday, must confront the city’s grand history of creativity and reputation for technique when preparing for an audience — editors and retailers from around the world — who expect to be wowed.

In front of this relatively jaded audience, nudity might not shock, but it catches the attention. It can still send a murmur through a crowd.

It’s not as though Jacquemus — whose label bears only his surname — is some anonymous aspirant off the street. He is among the 26 semi-finalists for the second annual LVMH Prize, a list chosen by dozens of industry luminaries from media and business. So, while his work might not yet be commercial, it speaks to the future of fashion and its creative urges. His collection was presented to music with a strong, primitive, tribal beat. The models had sketches of Picasso-esque faces drawn on the side of their own faces — a walking homage to cubism. Those blank, rough-hewn masks spoke of surrealism, as did hand-shaped bodices that palmed the breasts.

Models walk the runway during the Versus Fall 2015 collection show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear on March 3, 2015 in Paris, France.

But all one could really focus on were the boobs.

Tiny, naked breasts coming down the runway. The models were so close to the audience that one could see the fine hairs on their slender arms, as well as the goosebumps. Even when the models faces were concealed, it was possible to read discomfort in their taut body language.

Everything about the mis-en-scene and the references read “art.” Jacquemus aimed to use the female body in the manner of paint or clay. He wanted to make his audience see it in a new way. But there was little in the execution that elevated the work from anatomy lesson to something more thoughtful or evocative. In this case, a naked breast was just a naked breast.

Jacquemus gave himself a difficult, though not impossible, task. Designer Hussein Chalayan has used runway nudity as a commentary on clothing as shelter. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons regularly treats the body as raw materials for her craft. And notably, in 2002, the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited a series of exquisite nudes photographed by Irving Penn from 1949-1950. In them, he transformed the female body into meditations on lines and curves, fertility and beauty. The images mesmerized the eye because they spoke to both the heart and the brain.

Jacquemus is not aiming to be Penn, but he, like a lot of designers, is attempting to use fashion as a way of helping us see ourselves in a different way. The easiest way to do that — some might argue the cheapest route — is to reveal the body in a manner that is still considered taboo. Can we change the rules by breaking them? Yes. Even when done so clumsily? Maybe not.

Designer Anthony Vaccarello also flouts taboos. He cuts his dresses high on the hip and low in the neckline. And for fall, he chopped some skirts so short that one could almost see the models’ nether regions.

Vaccarello, who was recently appointed creative director of Versus — a scion of the Versace label — is known for designing sexy, tough-edged clothes. They are ostensibly for a woman who wears her sexuality like armor or weaponry. For fall, he settled on a theme of stars against a palette of black. They were applied to skirts and dresses as appliqué and metallic adornment. Hemlines were edged in metal fringe. And cuts were angled and oftentimes so complicated that a single garment consisted of a one-legged, skirt-covered, jumpsuit tunic. And if that sounds complicated to imagine, it would be almost impossible to comfortably wear.

But the runway doesn’t have to be about comfort or even logic. Ultimately, it is a place to explore ideas about how we wish to be perceived. Vaccarello designs clothes that make a woman’s sexuality the central element of her public persona. Sometimes that squares with her mood.

He should just remember that gynecology is not part of fashion’s mission statement.

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چهارشنبه 13 اسفند 1393

Normcore Bore: Fashion Finally Gets Over the Sneaker Trend

نویسنده: Randall Farris   

After several seasons of trainers ruling Fashion Week, it seems the industry’s tastemakers have finally tired of putting running shoes on the runway.

The craze began in January 2014, with Chanel and Dior popping sneakers on models’ feet in their haute couture runway shows. Style stars adopted the look last spring. Chanel embraced trainers again—introducing a new knee-high varietal—for its now-legendary supermarket sweep presentation. Marc by Marc Jacobs’ spring 2015 line was a sneaker-happy, post-apocalyptic logo fest. And fashion truly hit Peak Sneak in September, when Alexander Wang sent models down the runway in an entire collection that was sneaker-themed, with the rubber-soled purses to match.

2014 was the year of the humble sneaker becoming a high-fashion must-have. Street stylers had a few seasons’ break from tottering around in platform high heels day in and day out. Working women could get away with Converse at the office. Gym bags got lighter as we just wore our sneaks all day instead of changing in and out for spin class. And off-duty models—well, off-duty models have always loved their Chucks and will continue to do so. Most of them are teenagers anyway.

Sneaker-shy dressers reached for their smelling salts when seeing Marc by Marc Jacobs' offerings last February (Photo: Getty).

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But now, it appears designers have soured on the mashed-up, Frankenstein-y thrill that comes from putting top models in beautiful frocks paired with gym shoes. Normcore has lost its novelty. The current Fashion Month has passed its halfway point, and we have yet to see a high-profile instance of sneakers on the runway. Even Mr. Wang moved away from sportswear this go-around, veering more toward goth than health. The sneaker trend will not be leaving the streets for quite some time—activewear is currently booming, and crossover sportswear-meets-casual-clothes lines are still huge—but it is clear that the designers at the top of the heap have officially moved on.

Many women might be happy to wave all-day sneakers goodbye. For some, sneakers are difficult to pull off. This sounds paradoxical, as tennis shoes are the be-all and end-all of effortless and comfortable footwear. But if you are more of a rock-and-roll type, a boho chic goddess, or a lover of ladylike silhouettes, working a pair of Stan Smiths into your repertoire is not easy. Some people just don’t look good in sneakers outside the gym. The 1980s career mom stereotype—the shoulder-padded and harried woman who seems perpetually mid-commute—is wearing bulky white sneakers for a reason. It can be tough to mix sneakers with street clothes if you aren’t professionally stylish, like the aforementioned models.

For those of us without a predisposition toward effortless sneaker-wearing, there might have been feelings of guilt as the sneaker reigned supreme on the runway and we failed to adopt it into our everyday lives. Isn’t the sneaker trend supposed to be liberating? Why can’t I adapt? Am I a sucker to the patriarchy because I’d rather wear heels than Nikes? Or am I simply gasp behind the times?

Of course, the truth is that sneakers are best worn by people for whom wearing sneakers comes naturally. So it is a relief that sneakers are stepping off of their high-fashion pedestal, returning to their rightful place as a no-fuss staple for people who welcome a break from stuffier shoes. (And if we’re lucky, hybrid sneaker wedges and sneaker bags will be gone altogether.)

We will happily watch boots and pumps march back onto the runways, taking solace in the fact that although the Cara Delevingnes and Rihannas of the world look smashing in Dunks, one of the most perennially stylish women ever, Kate Moss, rarely wears trainers.

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