is this the end of athleisure?
It’s time to pack away the sneakers and embrace your femininity
After seasons of sneakers and sweats, it’s time to get your glam on.
Some things in fashion are a given: Karl Lagerfeld’s seasonally clever reinvention of the Chanel bouclé jacket, Olivier Rousteing’s embellished Balmain minidresses and Clare Waight Keller’s collections full of flirty dresses for Chloé. So when Waight Keller departed the French fashion house earlier this year for Givenchy, we lamented the loss of our go-to designer for all things pretty. And we should. Because after seasons of athleisure adoration, those Chloé women in their ruffled frocks and T-bar sandals are everything we want to be now: carefree, optimistic and, yes, feminine.
For her final collection, Waight Keller did what she does best – pussy-bow blouses, printed minis and lace column dresses. The look was undeniably
dressed, albeit with a bohemian twist. But there was a strength among the froth and frill, which didn’t need to be underlined with sporting logos or racer stripes. Waight Keller’s a feminist to be sure, but she knows the message doesn’t always need to packaged up in mannish shapes and unisex styles. It’s about owning the power on our own terms, especially when wearing a fabulous heel.
So does this mean we’re going to finally embrace dressing up again? Not exactly. We’ve worked too hard to get comfort listed in the style lexicon to step back into toecrushing courts on a round-the-clock basis. But while it’s unlikely athleisure will ever be replaced completely, it’s now once again acceptable to get your glam on. Don a race day-ready look for a late-night ramen run, a swishy skirt for drinks with that new “friend” from finance, metallic for a midday meeting. Just make sure the look is belted and teamed with an elegant pump (we recommend you start with a mid-heel, lest you twist an ankle on the first run).
Don’t just take our word for it. See Christian Dior, where Maria Grazia Chiuri’s elegant, mainly navy palette was made modern with the addition of fishnet stockings and guitar-strap cross-body bags for the rebellious femme. JW Anderson melded nipped-waist sophistication with bold geometric prints. And relishing in his first collection at Calvin Klein 205W39NYC, the epitome of American sportswear, Raf Simons experimented with transparent plastic tunics encasing feminine floral pencil skirts for a past-meets-futuristic feel.
Then there’s Miuccia Prada, who wants us to embrace the “madness of glamour”. Her Miu Miu glossy sandals with glitzy buckles, crystal-accented belts and bejewelled necklaces make you want to charleston your way down to the speak-easy, or supermarket. In fact, it’s the finishing touches that count: slightly worn-in stained lip, curled lashes and luminous skin. Plus a top-handle bag and retro frames.
For those still seeking a sportier aesthetic, considering even Waight Keller sent ’90s-era parachute pants down the runway, it’s safe to say that at least trackpants are here to stay... just pair them with a heel.
Dress, $710, Anna Quan, annaquan.com
Sunglasses, $420, Christian Roth, christianroth.com Sunglasses, $340, Max Mara, maxmara.com
Dress, $429, Rebecca Vallance, rebeccavallance.com
Earrings, $129, Mimco, mimco.com.au
Bag, $4,290, Loewe, (03) 8614 1190
Heels, $685, Max Mara, maxmara.com