Hit the Slopes in Style

Whether you’re a serious skier, or prefer to just enjoy a hot chocolate and see and be seen on some of the hautest slopes in the world, there’s no sense in dressing like a schlub when you’re surrounded by so much natural beauty. Designer sportswear is making a serious comeback, re-invoking the days where men and women took to the slopes dressed impeccably in ties and skirts. Gone are the recent—and tragic—days of the giant, skiing onesies, sensible concoctions which unfairly add 50 pounds to your svelte and athletic body, and only seem to come in tacky, garish colors. (Why is this? So other skiers/snowboarders know you’re out there, and can see you in time to swerve? Either way, there’s no excuse to go rolling down the slope looking like a neon Pillsbury doughboy.)

Don’t worry—designers have heard your pleas for trendy yet functional skiing gear, and are delivering in a big way. Aspen, whose slopes we covered extensively in our print editions of Haute Living magazine, is arguably the chicest, most classic place in the U.S. to ski, and it’s an area that is playing a pivotal role in instigating this much-needed sportswear overhaul.

Last week, Lisa Johnson, the founder of Aspen Fashion Week who has helped organize around a dozen open-air runway shows at the base of Aspen Mountain for their recent fashion week, was highlighted on VFDaily.com, detailing the resurgence of fashion ski wear. As she says to Vanity Fair’s Darrell Hartman, “I think all of the ski and outerwear brands are definitely making a push to try to be more in fashion.”

Some important trends that we can expect in sportswear come from a surprising yet in-the-know source. Vancouver silver medalist Julia Mancuso, who recently debuted her lingerie line, Kiss My Tiara, at the 2010 Winter Olympics, will be consulting on ski-wear design with Spyder, the performance-oriented brand that has outfitted the U.S. Ski Team since 1989. She says, “I’m looking to add something a little sassy and fun. Out in the snow, it’s a white backdrop, and you need to be extra-special to stick out.”

Some other extra-special trends that VF saw and reported on from Aspen Fashion Week include Aspen favorites Kjus and Obermeyer showing sporty color-blocking, Los Angeles-based Aether showing sleek, masculine men’s jackets, Rossignol inspired by pop-art and retro patterns, collaborating on an ultra-hip line with of-the-moment French designer JC de Castelbajac, and a collaboration between Vicenza-based designer Gustavo Sangiorgi and Aspen retailer Lee Keating, which resulted in a new, 10-piece collection blending major ski-wear trends of the moment, such as plaid, camouflage and fur linings, with upscale accents like horn buttons. The crazy, expressive colorfulness of the 80s was also a major inspiration.

So when planning your next trip to Aspen, or the Swiss Alps, or anywhere the skiing is good, do justice to your beautiful surroundings and don’t settle for a sub-par wardrobe. There’s too much haute-couture sportswear out there to waste another minute!

Source VF Daily