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BRISTOL | FASHION
STYLE FILE Spring into action with sports luxe, says Bristol stylist Harriet de Winton
ports stars have long been heralded with rockstar status. In the 1990s, their legions of fans religiously followed any trainer or tracksuit endorsement but in spite of sport’s mass appeal the gulf remained wide between street wear and the fashion pack. The stigma surrounding sportswear as everyday wear started to evaporate with visionary Stella McCartney’s first collaboration with Adidas 8 years ago. McCartney gave the time and attention normally reserved for a mainstream collection to a sports range, and it soon became apparent that it was good enough to wear outside of the gym. Sports luxe began to explode into the fashion conscious public who previously would have given a wide birth to the likes of JJB Sports. In 2014, sports luxe defined fashion’s new obsession with comfort. This didn't put off the high end couturiers or style obsessed celebrities – Karl Lagerfeld sent models down the runway in trainers, and Kanye West threw himself into a collaboration with Adidas, finally able to express his creative vision in a way he felt had been long deserved. The high street is also pulling up its tennis socks and embracing sports luxe with a bit of help from some top designers. H&M is collaborating with Alexander Wang, whose unmistakable sporty minimalism hits a harmonious note. We are yet to see the fruits of Beyonce and Philip Green’s sport luxe partnership, but you can be sure the trend is here to stay with Net-a-Porter setting up sister site Net-a-sporter. Trainers were seen adorning the feet of the front row crowd at London Fashion Week. Frankly, this is long overdue. With the amount of schlepping across town from show to show, many slaves to fashion will be praising the gods for this sartorial sea change.
But how does the average person wear the sports luxe look? I love trainers, but when wearing them anywhere other than the gym I still feel more like a Florida pensioner than a fashionista. I even tried the heeled trainer, but ended up looking like I had club foot. Thankfully, the high street has has taken the sports luxe materials and transformed them into gorgeous sandals and wedges. When putting this outfit together, I started with the bonded neoprene knit skirt from Bristol graduate designer Sara Ladd. Her sports luxe collection is full of practical and beautiful garments, and 90% of it is reversible. Topshop has mastered sport inspired footwear for the more vertically challenged like myself, and these Lenka heels are massively comfortable as well as bold and brilliant (although I wouldn’t recommend a lap of the track in them). When it comes to colour palettes, sporty collections can’t seem to pull away from a nostalgic fondness for the grey sweatshirt. Neutral palettes of slate and stone are off set by zingy brights and neon tones, much like any adult gym kit. Instead of my favourite team’s scarf, I got local knitwear designer Amber Hards to channel another 2014 trend and monogram my initials on one of her gorgeous scarves. The lambswool scarf itself is slightly felted to create a luxuriously soft fabric, knitted in fresh colours, shot through with grey and black, all in accordance with the sports luxe wearer’s manual. I am also wearing what Topshop call a Borg faux fur sweat, although it’s more that glorious fluffy texture of the inside of a brand new sports sweatshirt. I wholeheartedly believe there is a lot to love about ‘athleisure’, in spite of some camps seeing it as uninspiring and unfeminine. It has the colours, the comfort and now the unequivocal endorsement from the fashion pages – sports luxe is another example of retro fashions swinging back into style, so better start saving for that new pair of trainers.
HARRIET ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS I am 22, and going to a few weddings this summer. I like the idea of wearing a hat, but I am really bored by the current high street offerings. I don't want a feathery fascinator and all the hats seem to old for my style. I am wearing a simple, tailored dream dress and I’d love a splash of colour with the headgear. I have a fairly healthy budget as I’d like to buy a piece I can wear for years with different outfits – Rosa, Bristol The key with headgear is not being afraid to make a statement. A polite, neutral headpiece can look tired and insipid. I found a world class milliner called Patricia Buffuna (1) in Seville last summer whose avant garde take on summer straw breathed new, fashionable life into classic British staples. Her flamboyant creations are contemporary and stunning. Being over in Spain it takes a little more effort to source her work but I insist you look her up for inspiration. The Milliner’s Guild (www.millinersguild.co.uk) in Bristol is home to a very talented collective. With a beautiful shop and workshop nestled in St James arcade, Broadmead, they feature designers from across the UK and also provide a made to measure, bespoke service.
1. Vintage boater on Etsy, prices range from £20. 2. Grosgrain ribbon at Creativity, prices vary. 3. Foxglove Button, £165 by Tamsyn Brocks.
The best thing about the Milliner’s Guild is the service. Instead of risking an online purchase, you can walk in the shop and feel the quality of each piece. They offer personal touches like matching the band of a fascinator to your hair colour. If you’re feeling particularly creative, they also offer workshops and summer schools to create a unique piece. Now you’ve sourced a supplier, but what to wear? Successful headgear falls into two categories. Option one: sharp and classic, encompassing traditional styles like the boater, top hat, trilby or pork pie. These recognisable silhouettes have recently been restyled brilliantly for the female market. I have worn a vintage boater (2) (www.etsy.com/uk is full of them) to
weddings over the past two years, changing up the ribbon band with something gorgeous from haberdashery Creativity (3) on Worrall Road. Option two: go flamboyant. Some of my favourite creations from the Milliner’s Guild are their most bonkers and daring. Foxglove Button (4) by Tamsyn Brocks is a prime example: an oversized and brightly coloured foxglove draped across a crisp eau de nil button with handpainted, traditionally tooled foxglove detailing creates a stunning statement. The hat does all the work, allowing you to dress simply. For behind the scenes pictures of this shoot and to find some of Harriet’s popular Fashion Fixes, visit: www.fixuplookchic.blogspot.co.uk
Adidas high tops, £60, Schuh Holly velcro sandal, £140, Whistles
MSGM dress, £310, Harvey Nichols Bomber jacket, £130, Topshop
Do you have a wardrobe worry that Harriet could help with?
Email her at email@example.com, and we might publish her answer WWW.THEBRISTOLMAGAZINE.CO.UK
THE BRISTOL MAGAZINE 23