Wondering why everyone seems to be on their way to an Ashtanga Yoga-themed cocktail party these days? That’ll be the rising influence of ‘Athleisure’, a more casual extension of the Sports Luxe trend pushed by designers like Alexander Wang and Christopher Shannon.
As aspirational as green juice and Pret protein pots, Athleisure can simply be defined as sportswear too expensive to actually sweat in. More and more of us are buying into Athleisure as a lifestyle, one that says “I care about my body, and I’m not going to iron a shirt every morning when I wake up because I’m way too busy”. Athleisure wearers might list Instagram Influencer, Digital Prophet or Global R&B Superstar as their profession. Damn right, it’s better than yours.
Adidas stole an early lead on its competitors, following the Y3 partnership with Yohji Yamamoto, and collections designed by Jeremy Scott, Stella McCartney and Mary Katrantzou, but now Nike is fighting back. Following a breathlessly lauded hook-up with Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci, Nike is now unleashing its most eagerly awaited collaboration to date. Allow me to present ‘Football Nouveau’ by NikeLab x Olivier Rousteing. Yes, him from Balmain.
Now suspend your disbelief if you will, and try and imagine that the great love of the titular Parisian’s life is not self-promotion, or strapping Kim Kardashian into yards of cantilevered couture, but football, which forms the basis of this capsule collection of gold, as in medals, and black – because what else are you going to wear to a yoga-themed shindig?
There’s all the usual form, function and technical performance palaver you’d expect from a brand like Nike, but most of you will be thinking how this’ll look trotting up to the goji berries in Whole Foods. A reimagining of the iconic N98 jacket is billed as “versatile enough to be worn either as a dress or a jacket”, but only if you have spectacular legs or a total lack of shame.
Of course Rousteing is front and centre of the associated campaign, flanked by actual real sportspeople, Blaise Matuidi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Laure Boulleau, adding to the authenticity of an Athleisure collection more suited to football than marketing pitches. As with Balmain’s collaboration with H&M, don’t expect it to be around long. Like football, aspiration is a national pastime.
Written by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) for www.katiechutzpah.com