AN ODE TO THE SLOPES
Ski culture has long been a source of inspiration for artists and fashion designers alike. A new glossy hardcover, The Stylish Life: Skiing (Teneues), chronicles the history and evolution of the alluring sport.
There’s nothing quite like the rush of skiing down a snowy mountainside, and after a day spent skimming the slopes from peak to base, a fireside sip of hot chocolate at the resort’s chalet—stylishly dressed, of course, in brand-new après-ski attire—is in order. This image has been romanticized in countless films, and with numerous celebrities and royals flocking to resorts in St. Moritz and Aspen each holiday season (not to mention the constant buzz surrounding athletes like Lindsey Vonn), the world of skiing has gained a reputation synonymous with romance, energy, and class.
Members of high society first took note of alpine skiing when floods of luxurious ski resorts popped up in Europe and North America in the 1930s and the sport debuted at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Germany. And just as ski culture rose, haute couture was enjoying a golden age of its own, with designers like Coco Chanel crafting the unofficial uniform for the modern, active woman. Fashion and the ski world have influenced one another for decades—athletic shapes appear constantly on the runways, while new technology and fashion trends continue to evolve skiwear offerings.
“Skiwear is one of sports’ greatest blends of function and fashion, always having been driven by two distinct influences: practicality and glamour,” writes Gabriella Le Breton in The Stylish Life: Skiing (Teneues), a new glossy tome that chronicles the evolution of ski sport and culture.
As the book describes, skiwear options have multiplied exponentially over the past century—the two-piece tweed outfits traditionally worn were replaced in the ’50s by synthetic, waterproof textiles. And, of course, the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s saw neon spandex colours and bold shoulder-padded details added to the mix.
Today, skiers dot the slopes in an endless array of suit styles—including luxury brands like Moncler and Fendi—in a host of vibrant colours, materials and patterns. And just as high-fashion designs have taken over the sport of skiing, many ski-inspired looks have likewise moved from slope to street. Bobble hats, oversized sunglasses resembling goggles, Norwegian-style wool sweaters and elegant après-ski loungewear have become so common in our wardrobes that sometimes we might even forget their alpine origins.