Impractically perfect

Tuesday 19 February 2013

News

REPORT BY BECKY SUNSHINE
Sensible, functional dressing – sportswear, utility, military – has a new luxury spin for AW13. What was once dismissed as ubiquitous and everyday: parkas, biker jackets, jogging pants and the like, has been revitalised in the form of new, rarefied, upscale fashion hits. Vogue’s Emma Elwick-Bates reckons we all need a little luxury in our lives and this is the smartest way to do it. “I think the renewed interest in Nineties street, skate and sportswear is a factor: luxury sneakers, embellished sweatshirts, leather jogging pants.

A Margaret Howell grey flannel army shirt could easily assimilate into my wardrobe, or a Chris Kane oversized camo parka.” (This is, of course, a kind of camouflage designed to make you stand out, rather than blend in.)

All that’s needed, it seems, is a designer’s deft touch and a smart upgrade of fabrication. Take, for example, Thomas Tait, who showed luxury sportswear pieces (organza-like jogging pants and taffeta tracksuits) you definitely wouldn’t want to sweat in; or Christopher Raeburn, whose military mesh skirts and parachute-silk bomber jackets are not for the assault course.

Matches editorial and content director Kate Blythe hit the nail on the head: “I saw an industry friend yesterday in a blue leather hoodie by Richard Nicoll, who said to me, ‘You can’t touch me if you have greasy fingers, and I can’t ever wear this in the rain.’ I thought that was hilarious – it’s outerwear!” Not any more. And fitting, as Nicoll’s collection was all about making the ordinary precious. “It’s about wanting to be dressed up, a bit polished, but still feel like you’re wearing easy pieces within your comfort zone,” added Blythe.

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