High-end fashion houses are sprinting to launch sportswear collaborations

Models in Balenciaga latex suits and Balenciaga sportswear on the New York Stock Exchange on May 22 may have raised a few eyebrows on Wall Street, but this is just another example of fashion collaborations and money-spinning and buzz-worthy activewear.

According to Women’s Wear Daily magazine, searches for “tracksuits” and “Balenciaga” rose 25% after the French brand’s Spring/Summer 2023 show surprised the New York Stock Exchange, while searches for “adidas » increased by 13%.

Balenciaga and adidas’ event comes on the heels of one of the biggest collaborations of the year, as the German sportswear giant also teamed up with Gucci on the fall collections show in February.

The creative director of Italian designer Alessandro Michele, a longtime adidas fan, has artfully fused the brands’ powerful signatures into a collection labeled Exquisite Gucci.

Adidas’ trademark white three stripes complemented Gucci’s signature red and green, as did the interweaving of the two logos (the adidas trefoil and the GG monogram) in a runway collection that’s a classic Michele mix. Think rigorous tailoring and vintage and club culture dresses with sports branding.

The coveted line of accessories includes hats, bags, gloves and boots as well as the famous adidas sneakers – of which Michele is a big fan.

To mark the partnership, the sporty streetwear capsule lands in select Gucci stores around the world, including in the United Arab Emirates and online, on Tuesday, June 7.

It’s a much more summery vision for both men and women, tapping into an athletic vibe that’s been completely gucciified.

Michele draws inspiration from retro tennis and golf looks for dresses, which accompany tracksuits, sports jackets and underwear. The bright colors and geometric branding of the large-scale interlocking logos will delight logomaniacs.

Such collaborations become landmark events and a trendy way to connect luxury names with wider urban fashion fans.

Michael Kors, best known for his city chic and glamorous evening wear, has teamed up with Italian sportswear brand Ellesse to produce a summer capsule dedicated to tennis. A series of ski clothes is in preparation for the fall.

The designs are a luxurious and modern take on retro-athletic styles. Vibrant, sporty and glamorous, they tap into Kors’ memory as a night manager at a tennis club in Long Island, New York in the 1970s before he became a designer.

He remembers women of the time wearing tennis dresses “just to show off their legs rather than playing a game”, paired with a gold watch, diamond earrings and sunglasses.

“Personally, I’ve always been a mediocre tennis player,” Kors said. “But the two sports for me that have always been glamorous, especially when you look at images from the 1970s, were tennis and skiing. Both were part of the hectic life of the jet set. We wore Ellesse in our pro shop [at the tennis club] and did very well. There was this mixture of European glamor with the idea of ​​athleticism. For me, the movement is still very American.

Like the interlocking adidas x Gucci logo, Kors’ MK monogram is reworked in fiery Ellesse brand colors for the printed pattern. The design is emblazoned on vintage-style swimsuits, shorts and backpacks, and elsewhere as an emblem on orange, navy and crisp white track jackets, pants, crop tops and sneakers.

Collaborations are a clever way to merge famous brands to create desirable hybrids. There have been a number of design partnerships for sneakers such as Air Dior and Dior Converse as well as Karl Lagerfeld and Puma.

Balmain produced a limited-edition line of boxing-inspired designs with Puma last fall, and there was the Fenty x Puma collaboration ranging from sneakers to sporty street fashion to the height of the athleisure trend in 2017. .

However, before all of these contemporary collaborations, Stella McCartney’s adidas, which dates back to 2005. Rather than a lifestyle collection, the collaboration with McCartney was all about performance sportswear.

The designer also created the kit for the eye-catching Team GB Olympics in 2016, produced with sustainability in mind.

A model for the Stella McCartney x adidas Agent of Kindness campaign.  Photo: adidas

Last year she created a diversity-friendly outerwear show, and that message of inclusivity also underpins this summer’s Agent of Kindness collection, from brightly colored silhouettes in breathable recycled materials, which is led by American gymnast Nia Dennis.

McCartney says the collection embodies its ambitions “to create exceptional performance apparel that not only looks great, but provides our community with innovative pieces that facilitate high-impact activities.”

Whether these collaborations stay true to the spirit of sportswear or take a brand beyond the track, they all connect to a wider audience who might otherwise only have worn a pair of running shorts for jogging.

Updated: 04 June 2022, 05:47

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