I’m not always a big fan of the utilitarian look, preferring more feminine & classic styles. One of the few good things to come out of the Nineties however (let us forget the uninspiring & ubiquitous “blue jeans & white T” look) was a new sporty & sleek utilitarianism. As an antidote to the neon, punk, & padded shoulders of formative years, fashion responded by adopting a casual athletic look (this later led such innovators as Dries Van Noten to really experiment with shapes, sizes and silhouettes). High fashion throughout the first half of the twentieth century responded to socialised ideals of how a woman should dress, with particular emphasis on the class to which she belonged, or indeed, aspired to belong. Whilst such vestiges may remain present amongst Russian oligarchs and German baronesses, kids in Britain, Paris & America turned the idea of “class” on its head by opting for sleek and unromantic urbanity, no pretensions necessary. Architectural angles, no-nonsense lines and cuts, this wasn’t for the wallflower.
From a range of displays across Adidas stores in London, I chose the leading picture because of its reclamation of femininity within an unashamedly tough & competitive (not just with others, but with oneself?) sporting arena. Adidas is a simple brand built upon the three-stripe image, but today’s customer has more than one identity that she shares with the world, & she doesn’t want anything to be a clear-cut prescription where boundaries are rigid. Stella McCartney’s collaboration with the brand brought us loose tank tops in fine grey knits, beige racer-backs & easily wearable bikinis: clothes not just reserved for conversations on the race course or athletics track but for our everyday vernacular.
Stella McCartney for Adidas, Fall 2008 Collection:
Terry Richardson & Kate Moss. A pairing almost as inimitable as Kate Moss & Corinne Day. Again, the new hook that the Nineties grabbed & ran with was a more functional & bare grasp of beauty, Kate taking her place as the spearhead of Generation X’s naked aesthetic. The image below, untouched by time, remains a photographer’s shot rather than a fashion editorial piece. Helmet in hand, Kate exudes a toughness, a don’t-mess-with-me persona, yet at the same time her vulnerability shines through from an almost effected exploitation with the sexually charged intensity of the shot. (Different replications of the image lengthen or reduce the use of the light beams). The all-black outfit, wet-look hairstyle, matte red lips & white stilettos remind us that what may seem simple in isolation, can together create an image that is powerful, lucid & lasting.
Military-buttons finish a navy blue coat: on the street, NYC:
Cropped pink parachute pants give a sporty & relaxed feel to high end fashion. Model Coco Rocha in Milan:
Paris (- again courtesy of The Sartorialist):
Utilitarian goes neon: Dries Van Noten hits the spot:
Leading Pic: taken by yours truly, Adidas store, Oxford Street, London
Dries Van Noten: www.mondblog.blogspot.com
Stella McCartney for Adidas pics: http://frillr.com/?q=node/9243
Kate Moss by Terry Richardson: http://theworldsbestever.com
Military buttons, Coco pic, Baggy pants w/ white line trim, Paris pics: http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/