Saturday, 20 April 2013

The influence of sportswear past and present.

In the fashion world where sportswear used to be an ugly word it has now done a fashion one eighty with trainers and drawstring waists being style staples of the moment.
Vogue 1926, ‘Sportswear has more to do than anything else with the evolution of the modern mode.’
Sportswear throughout the twentieth century has had its moment in each decade influencing the fashion zeitgeist of the time.
 The 1920s sportswear trend can be seen in Jean Patous designs for tennis star Suzanne Lenglen it was the first time when comfort became a key factor in dressing. He raised the hem to knee length, made skirt pleated for easy movement and teamed with sleeveless body. Suzanne Lenglen became the first women to play tennis without a corset. This inspired women to try and copy the sporting design for a day time setting pleated shift dresses with sleeveless button down sweater became in fashion.
Suzanne Lenglen in Jean Patou design

The 1930s was a period of increased relaxation around women and how they dress they were becoming more active and wanted a sophisticated style to reflect this. This is where Chanel stepped up she allowed women to be comfortable but still respectable in their clothing by creating her wool jersey suits. Her sportswear influenced suits appealed to many women and her popularity was further increased in 1931 when she was hired by MGM boss Samuel Goldwyn to provide clothes for his studios major stars at a cost of 1 million. By dressing the movie stars in her jersey suits they were cemented as an indicator of good taste which women could easily copy for themselves.
Chanel Jersey Suit
The 1940s was when sportswear became totally fashionable; it was the period of ‘American ready to wear’ being launched. American designers such as Jo Copeland, Vera Maxwell, Normen Norell and Claire McCardell all created sportswear inspired garments, they took influence from sportswear by its shape and comfort then transformed the relaxed shape into evening garments. The waistband disappeared altogether, bodies became unadorned and simple, garments were shaped around the natural lines of the body and not contorted to give a previous stylised shape, it was the period when mix and match separates were at its height. Wool ribbed sweaters over polo shirts, midriff peaking through matching shorts and cropped top. It’s the fashion that we now reference as preppy chic.
Claire MCardell

Norman Norell

Vera Maxwell

The only sportswear trend that I noticed came out of the 1950s was slacks, ill fitting casual trousers that the new teenager market wore and the less said about them the better I reckon.

1960s fashion has a futuristic acid vibe and this was reflected in sportswear of that period it was a time when designers were creating collections specially suited for sportswear past times, such as Emilio Pucci Ski wear which was commissioned by Harpers Bazaar. It was a kaleidoscope of colours and print resulting in sportswear being seen as fashionable and for the first time truly colourful.
Emilio Pucci
The 1970s is best known for its sportswear influenced fashion, it was a time of D-I-S-C-O. Lycra and acrylic knits came in all shapes varying from hot pants, vests, legging and leg warmers. The use of lycra previously just worn by dancers became a fashion craze that’s influence still can be felt today in the form of leggings (Jury still out on them). The sportswear trend was also seen by high end designers, Yves Saint Laurent 1971 collection featured 1940 gangster style trouser suits and the baggy trousers have their roots in sportswear.
The 1980s sportswear fashion trend is intrinsically linked with hip hop music. It was the time of bodycon, bling and full tracksuits by Nike, Adidas and Reebok.  The influence of sportswear was seen in body conscious designs, stretchy lycra was transformed into figure hugging dresses by Azzedine Alaia and Norma Kamali in mid 80s started using the sport grey sweatshirt fleece fabric and making into separate pieces which had a luxurious style.

Azzedine Alaia

Norma Kamali

1990s influence of sportswear is owned by Tommy Hillfiger, he was best known in this period for the logo taking prominence in design. Sportswear was now seen as a fashion brand in its own right. Fashion recently has been inspired by 90s sportswear with cropped logo t-shirts becoming must haves teamed with gold chain link necklace all seen in shops on the high street such as Topshop and River Island. 

Tommy Hillfigger
Since the 2012 Olympics which saw Stella McCartney design the GB team outfits, the excitement and success of the athletes has reached fever point in the public eye, now we are looking at the sportswear trend with gold medals in our eyes.
 It is now not seen as sportswear but instead as just fashion – Isabel Marant hightops, Nike air max trainers, Sport luxe trousers all are trends of the moment. You only need to look at the many designer sport collaborations occurring such as Alexander Wang-Nike, Richard Nicoll-Fred Perry, Stella McCartney-Adidas and Y-3 to see that it sportswear is a market fully accepted by fashion.
Here are my most recent sportswear inspired buys
Marks & Spencer silk sports luxe trousers

Nike at Office

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