If we’d all listened to Jerry Seinfeld way back in 1992, athleisure might never have been born.
“You know the message you’re sending out to the world with these sweatpants?” he asked George Costanza on his hit sitcom. “You’re telling the world, ‘I give up. I can’t compete in normal society. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.’” But George was clearly on to something: being comfortable wearing something, well, comfortable. When Lululemon came onto the scene a few years later in 1998, it loftily aimed to elevate that comfort to an art form.
While the aughts looked on and wagged a finger or two at the bevy of yoga-pants-clad grocery shoppers around them (all of whom looked anything but miserable), Lululemon quietly kept sowing the seed. As a result, today, comfy sweats, workout wear and performance gear all wear a multitude of hats outside of schlubby TV attire.
But with the upcoming capsule collection launch of Roksanda x Lululemon, the humble sweat pant in particular—and the rest of the 17-piece collection—may just reach art status for its elegance and sculptural versatility.
London-based Serbian designer Roksanda Ilinčić may have a degree in architecture and applied arts, but it was her Masters degree in fashion from Central Saint Martins that put her on the it-designer map. Today, she’s a fave with celebrities and royalty alike, her feminine silhouettes with contemporary edge coveted in all corners. This month, that bold, yet feminine aesthetic meets Lululemon’s technical innovation in a new collection that drops January 14 (the first half of the collab hit stores last October).
Roksanda’s design turn at Vancouver’s pioneering athleisure house roots itself in the contrast between function and fashion. Her “street-to-sweat” collection redefines the genre in equal parts elegance and pragmatism: riffing on many of Lululemon’s iconic silhouettes, her trademark colour-blocking and hue combinations (ochre, persimmon, hibiscus, violet) and her iconic sculptural shapes (voluminous puffy coats, poncho-like dresses) reimagine basics. Made-to-move pieces with packable features and reflective accents are meant to be mixed, matched, and layered for the everyday—and with ruffled sleeves and elegant skirts, quite possibly the everynight.
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