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.

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