If ever there was a perfect marriage between two brands, it’s Derek Lam 10 Crosby and Athleta. Derek Lam’s 10 Crosby line is the epitome of contemporary women’s sportswear for today’s on-the-go woman: clean lines, sophisticated pallete and silhouettes, modern yet classic. Any designer whose muse is “understanding how women live” is just going to get it right. And he does. And this collection is no exception.
I was so honored to have been asked to style and cohost the launch of this collection at my local store in Corte Madera. In preparing the model’s looks, and my words for the evening, I could not control my excitement. It was electric and fueled me in a way no other collaborative experience I’ve worked on had before. After much reflection, I was finally able to articulate it–and three ideas emerged.
The first was how this was TRULY a collaboration — and not a collection. It’s rare that two design houses working together can create pieces that are on brand for both brands— until now. The reason is simple: both parties came to the table with as much to learn as they had to offer. Derek Lam and Liz Giardina (Derek Lam 10 Crosby VP of Design) educated Athleta’s design team on seamless color blocking techniques. Athleta designers shared their expertise in performance fabrics and built in support design– techniques Derek Lam now seeks to incorporate into their future collections. The result was a seamless collection that is authentically Derek Lam as it is Athleta – and nothing short of pleasing to the eye, the silhouette and the touch.
(Pictured, Nancy Green, GM of Athleta and Derek Lam)
The second salient feature is the truly couture approach to designing fitness and athleisure wear. The Downtown leather jacket embodies this to the core — it’s a leather jacket that is as buttery and soft as it is edgy and sophisticated. Yet, it breathes and it bends. It was 102 degrees yesterday during the launch party, and I threw on the jacket to test for fit to better educate myself. The jacket never came off — the whole day and the whole night. I needed another leather jacket like a hole in my living room wall — and certainly not one in blazing heat. But, as I explained to everyone (and justified to myself), I did not need it, but could not live without it. I could bend my elbows and feel like I was wearing a sweatshirt while wearing leather. It’s what dreams are made of – and epitomizes this collection: functional, fashion forward, performance athleisure wear. In leather!
Finally, I’m awestruck by how the inspiration behind this collection translates. After studying aerial photographs of major cities across the United States, what emerged were shades of greys and blacks– the concrete jungles which drive our economies; with pockets of blues and greens–our natural surroundings which ground us. The Block Avenue pieces — the performance leggings, capris, tanks and crop tops fuse these so beautifully in a carefully orchestrated, physique flattering way that feels nothing short of organic. The city streets, full of traffic, chaos and busy people who are alone, together, glued to their tech device of choice, getting from one place to another appear full of order from above — simple, unchaotic mathematical orderly grids, as reflected in the Mesh Tank. Angles and shapes seen from above manifest from what feels amorphous below showcase themselves almost ethereally in the Corner Lane pieces. The mix of the emerging prints feels natural and effortless paired together, or with the Downtown Leather Legging, pant or short for a subtler statement — all the while channeling the symbiosis of our urban and natural surroundings.
(Stylist, Betina Baumgarten, Best Foot Forward; Lesley D, Athleta Brand Ambassador and Senior Yoga Instructor at Yoga Works; Grace Yu, fitness and yoga guru, Bay Club Marin; MJ of Aveda; Sarah Knowles, Designer)
In sum, the word that keeps coming to mind is seamless — and I don’t mean the fabric. What modern woman – the woman who is trying to do it all, and be everything to herself and those that matter to her –does not want THAT in her life? I strive for seamless transitions, seamless pick ups and drop offs with my kids, and pieces that seamlessly outfit me head to toe, looking and feeling fashionable, fearless and fabulous as I attempt to seamlessly get through my day – trying to fly as much as I try to remain grounded. In Derek Lam’s own words “For me, the greatest compliment is when something I design can walk off the runway and right into her life.” This collaboration does so — and more–seamlessly.
The limited edition collection is available in stores now and online at http://www.athleta.com. #powertotheshe