Get Physical

Because, surely, the designer blessing (and aesthetic compatibility) of wearing gym sweats with Prada, say, is some kind of sartorial victory.

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In this industry’s fast-paced recycling of editorial buzzwords and inbox newsletter trend forecasts, most of us would be glad to never hear ‘Sports Luxe’ ever again. Like Normcore, its contemporary runway beginnings have not translated so effectively to its high street retail offspring. Flimsy crop tops with all of the striped elastic trim and none of the support. Shiny bomber jackets with lining that makes you sweat, then sleeves too short to wrap around your waist when the going gets hot. Alas, at the end of the day, we’re left with products sporting none of the function they allege to fuse with fashion, and bearing no closer resemblance to Daria Werbowy nor Gisele.

And so emerges luxury sportswear – a quietly lucrative submarket previously dominated by limited edition designer sneakers. Today, it justifies the need for a dedicated workout wardrobe that can quite comfortably (and stylishly) spill over into prêt-à-porter territory, rather than the defunct practice vice versa. It only makes sense that companies with the technical expertise, and perhaps those with means to reproduce that daunting scientific know-how, would be best positioned to pioneer fashion’s trajectory to strong-not-skinny. With the elevation of industry elite, cover story claims of ‘day-to-night’, ‘work-to-weekend’ and now ‘making your sports bra last the distance’ with the simple addition of stilettos or a vampy lip, have never been more true. On the one hand, Mary Katrantzou for Adidas, Ricardo Tisci for Nike, and even the genuine fashion fitness figureheads found in Victoria’s Secret supermodels and Karlie Kloss’ Instagram, sing success stories of strategically synergistic partnership efforts in capturing a new and aesthetically hypnotised generation. On the flip side, and perhaps more maturely and/or pragmatically, Calvin Klein Performance capitalises on the brand’s signature clean lines, viral #MyCalvins cool factor, and runway credibility, without skipping the hard yards in moisture wicking, flat seams, and four-way stretch. The formula is foolproof, and not so likely to suffer the usual temporary fate of fashion. After all, multi-faceted lifestyles are all the rage.

Fortunately for us, online retail has pounced at this opportunity with the likes of NET-A-SPORTER, Mode Sportif, and Stylerunner replacing the garish neons and old t-shirts of our yesteryear gym nightmares with enticing imagery of clean

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lines, neoprene, and toned, sweat-slicked bodies. Where Sports Luxe failed, luxury sportswear will continue to fill the necessity of staying in shape as much as it panders to the ‘necessity’ of new shoes and clothes on a regular basis. Certainly, you and I may not have the abs nor angles to bare all around the clock, but surely the designer blessing (and aesthetic compatibility) of wearing gym sweats with Prada, say, is some kind of sartorial victory.

So, get thee to Soul Cycle – then to the office immediately after.

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MODEL Bella Smith @ IMG

PHOTOGRAPHY & STYLING Margaret Zhang

FRAME 1 & 2: H&M x Alexander Wang Coat and Goggles, Calvin Klein Performance Bra and Leggings

FRAME 3: Cameo Vest, Mikoh Wetsuit, Calvin Klein Performance Jacket, H&M x Alexander Wang Goggles

FRAME 4 & 5: LIFEwithBIRD Top, Mikoh Bandeau, Ruby Sees All Trench, J Brand Trousers, H&M x Alexander Wang Boxing Gloves

FRAME 6 & 8: Bless’d Are The Meek Blazer, Calvin Klein Performance Jacket, Scanlan & Theodore Skirt, H&M x Alexander Wang Goggles

FRAME 7: H&M x Alexander Wang Crop Top and Gloves, Friend of Mine Boiler Suit

NOTE: for fellow Aussies, the Calvin Klein Performance gear is available at David Jones and MYER

About

Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese director, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Margaret has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, UNIQLO, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Margaret’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NYLON, Marie Claire, GRAZIA and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for the past four consecutive years. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim.

For project enquiries Tess.Stillwell@img.com
General enquiries bookings@margaretzhang.com.au