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By Raffaella Tomassi
By Arpita Ashok
With the Olympics fast approaching, it’s hardly surprising that sports luxe is becoming one of the key trends for SS12. Alongside the beautiful spring silhouettes, the pretty pastels and the general embrace of femininity that summer entails, lies a trend based on something regarded as rather more sinister in the fashion world: practicality and, dare I say, exercise. (ex•er•cise/ˈeksərˌsīz/: Activity that makes your hair messy.)
The runway has shed sequins, lace and vampish seduction for an altogether more pure look. Isabel Marant nods to the sporting world, emblazoning large white numbers onto bright red basketball shirts. Alexander Wang’s ‘T’ collection and 3.1 Philip Lim’s RTW Spring collection both feature minimalist tailoring and toned-down neons. Azzedine Alaia gives mesh a much-needed makeover, transporting it from locker room to the most fashionable wardrobe.
The discerning fashionista might err on the side of luxurious utility, focussing on the safer trends within the look, such as colour blocking subtle neons and mixing with metallics. For the sporty types, favourite brands receive a designer touch from recent collaborations inspired by the imminent Olympic games. The spectrum from sports to luxe with many interesting looks in between, means that whether you are happy being a spectator, or want to go for gold, there is something sports luxe out there for you.
Tips for the pro:
Designer collaborations with major sportswear brands cater to the die-hard fans of the sports luxe look. Stella McCartney has teamed up with Adidas to provide the official kit for Team GB. Her pieces are available online at Very and SweatyBetty.
If you want to give your hi-tops a revamp for the sunny season ahead, a trip to Liberty of London is bound to be fruitful. Liberty has adorned the classic Nike trainers with a variety of their flowery and intricate prints. If you lack the height of an athlete, Liberty even has a wedge-heeled pair to tickle your florid fancy.
More luxe than sports? Here’s the lightweight look.
If these collaborations seem a little too practical, go for a more stylised look. Soft and simple tailoring is a virtue of sports luxe. Zara and Topshop have some beautifully cut blazers in a variety of pretty colours, which are more ‘Roger Federer donning his blazer post-match’ than ‘I am a character from classic Skins’. For the vintage bargain-hunters out there, a pastel bomber-jacket is a must-have (see Asos Marketplace for a few hidden treasures). If you are on a budget, Topshop has some great mesh-insert tops in the sale, which are a steal at only £8.
Still not convinced? Play a defensive game.
For those of you who can’t bear to miss out on this undeniably key trend for summer but secretly shun the controversial look, here are some survival tips.
Feign ignorance of the collaboration.
‘Collaboration?! This is classic Stella McCartney. What’s an Adidas?’
Pair sporty pieces with cumbersome statement jewellery and sky-high heels.
‘How can this be sporty if I can’t walk, let alone run?’
‘I’m actually just off to the gym….’
Then run before anyone sees your silver body chain.
(Trainers would actually be quite useful at this point.)
If none of this has inspired you to ditch lace for lycra, rest assured that there are plenty more ways to be on trend this season, and it will probably all be over by the 12th of August. Sit tight.