SS17 runway trend: The Athleisure effect

Pam & Gela, Pam & Gela, Moschino, Courreges, Courreges, Versus SS17

Workout ready: Pam & Gela, Pam & Gela, Moschino, Courreges, Courreges, Versus SS17

Remember Sport Luxe? It was a big trend a few seasons ago when luxury designers added some sporty touches to their collections (while also loading them with embellishment and other unsporty details). It was quite popular I seem to remember.

Well that was then and this is now and Athleisure has eaten Sport Luxe for breakfast. Embellished neoprene? Pah! It’s all about high performance materials and cut-for-movement shaping now.

Actually, to be fair sport luxe shouldn’t be dismissed quite so easily because it was probably just a little bit responsible for Athleisure’s current popularity. Just like we wouldn’t have had Elvis without Bill Haley or Game of Thrones without Buffy (the great and glorious Buffy), the need the forerunner is clear so that the next gen isn’t such a shock to the system.

Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Markus Lupfer, Courreges, Courreges, 3.1 Phillip Lim, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Moncler Gamme Rouge SS17

Workout ready: Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Markus Lupfer, Courreges, Courreges, 3.1 Phillip Lim, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Moncler Gamme Rouge SS17

How so? Well, Sport Luxe convinced many women that they didn’t need to dress uncomfortably to look good, that trainers or skate shoes were a valid wear-anywhere choice and that sweats and track pants only needed a few tweaks to make them suitable for officewear.

Which brings us to SS17. So Sport Luxe is kind of over and Athleisure is the big fashion industry disrupter. High-end designers aren’t driving this trend. Health-conscious and comfort-conscious consumers plus savvy retailers and sports firms looking to grow their revenues by reaching women are in pole position here.

But high-end labels certainly jumped on this particular bandwagon at last month’s runway shows and offered up some super-cool looks to help energise the trend (pun intended).

Preen, Courreges, Dolce & Gabbana, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Markus Lupfer, DKNY SS17

Sport influence: Preen, Courreges, Dolce & Gabbana, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Markus Lupfer, DKNY 

The athleisure interpretations on the runway divide into two themes. The first is a track, field or gym-ready look that takes athleisure quite literally. These are clothes-to-go with body defining cuts, utility details, sporty colourways and decoration that directly references sports – such as numbered tops or stripes on rugby shirts. But a little indulgence is still allowed – Moncler’s bomber and shorts in white luxe lace makes that clear.

Alternatively, there’s a sports influence that’s more about everyday (or after dark) wear with an edge. But it’s one that really makes you feel the force of the sports trend.

Versace, Versace, Markus Lupfer, Pam & Gela, Preen, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Lacoste SS17

Sport influence: Versace, Versace, Markus Lupfer, Pam & Gela, Preen, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Lacoste

Think the humble Fred Perry top ruched or embellished; sporty outwear that looks like you might be wearing it to stay warm before you strip off for your medal-winning run; shorts and jacket or shorts and blouse combos in luxe materials; and sporty items teamed with the very unsporty, or impractical details like a wide leg cuts for sidestripe pants or frills all the way down your track pants.

One thing this trend does underline is the importance of key items like shorts, leggings, track pants, bomber jackets, and bralette crop tops for casual SS17 dressing. Expect to see plenty come festival and vacation time.

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