Even before Gisele and Tom, fashion and sports have always been linked. Today more than ever, star athletes and fashion powerhouses often cross paths and approach each other with mutual admiration and inspiration. Think Anna Wintour in Prade at her exclusive box taking in Wimbledon. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton sitting front row at the Louis Vuitton men's show and esteemed fashion houses unapologetically sending tennis sneakers, albeit crystal embellished ones, and tracksuits down the runway.
Since the 1970’s when Joe Namath rocked a full length white fur coat out on the town in Manhattan, the country’s most visible athletes have also gotten attention for their off-the-court wardrobes. Maybe it has to do with the lack of individuality wearing a uniform creates or because standing out off the field is just as crucial as it is on the field. Either way sports stars, especially those of late, have been upping their wardrobe game and the public is noticing. Today's NBA stars like Russell Westbrook and James Hardenhave ditched the typical shirt and tie post game uniform for leather jeans, over-the-top printed shirts and custom tailored suits by some of the fashion scene’s hottest labels like JW Anderson, Off-White and Givenchy. This appreciation of high fashion has also led some athletes like Serena Williams to collaborate with brands like Nike on cutting-edge outfits to wear on the court. Her Nike catsuitcaused a stir in the national news and her choice of a Nike X Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh tennis dress proved once again that being a sports star and fashion renegade are not mutually exclusive.
Athletes might have a sincere love of fashion but the sports world has also served as a muse to fashion houses for decades. In 1967, American designer Geoffrey Beene designed floor length sequined football jersey dresses. These Pop Art inspired pieces were colorful, relaxed and were adorned with numbers and stripes much like the real things. Beene’s ability to take a piece of everyday American life and elevate it to high fashion levels was groundbreaking at the time. Fast forward to the 1980s and Ralph Lauren’s appropriation of the equestrian set. Suddenly, well-heeled Manhattan ladies were sporting jodhpurs, saddle belts and riding blazers to their lunch dates and board meetings. In the last few years fashion houses like Gucci, Vetements and Off-White have also been recognized and lauded for their on the court influence. Vetements, the French label, had celebrities and fashion darlings lining up for their re-worked tracksuits and sneakers from classic athletic labels like Reebok and Champion. In terms of sneakers, lately it is no surprise to find a pair that rivals in price with the high heel of the moment. Gucci's latest pairs look like your standard running shoes, but are wild with embellishment, unique color schemes and cost four figures. Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh has revolutionized the sneaker game with his collaboration with Nike. His line, which re-imagines Nike's most iconic sneakers, has been wildly successful appealing to both high schoolers and fashion insiders alike. This designer appropriation of athletic apparel lends itself to today's way of dressing. In many workplaces jeans are ok, suits are a thing of the past and sneakers are encouraged.
This season, Judith Leiber has also been influenced by sports culture for her latest novelty handbags. Three football clutches have been introduced and they are just in time for football season. Our football pigskin bags combine our usual MO, impeccable design with a whimsical sense of style. Whether you get one in classic gridiron brown, soft pink or dazzling gold, they are destined to make a splash and score plenty of second looks. These bags are just a few of the new arrivals we are excited about.