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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

#SuzyNYFW: Lacoste And Dion Lee Take Sportswear Away From The Street

Lacoste’s Felipe Oliveira Baptista and Australian Dion Lee tread gently with sporty looks for relaxed, summer bodies

13 Сентября 2016

Lacoste Spring/Summer 2017
Lacoste Spring/Summer 2017

Sportswear was once the mainstay of American fashion, when designers like Calvin Klein forged uptown style that reverberated across continents. But those trying their hands at clean, modern, 21st-century casual clothes today often come from outside the United States; the current appointment of Belgian Raf Simons to rejuvenate Calvin Klein is an example.

Lacoste: refreshing the tradition of beach life 

But French brand Lacoste started turning sportswear into fashion a century ago. And the brand's current designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista has brought a quiet elegance to a world of polo shirts with a crocodile logo. This season he cut a fresh style out of terry cloth as a way of dressing a sporty, summer body — for both sexes. “It's something new, very summery — I started thinking about towelling robes as an idea of everything I love about summer,” explained the Portuguese designer, describing a fabric as a “a gentle response to the aggressiveness of our times”. 

Lacoste Spring/Summer 2017
Lacoste Spring/Summer 2017

Ironically, the hoodie — a street symbol of aggression — is an essential part of a traditional beach robe. But this show was about the sensuality of hooded terry cloth as imagined in Capri and on the waterfront in the era of Brigitte Bardot. Add the designer's love of Brazil, expressed in the jungle of greenery around the runway, and Lacoste had a fresh look. That included bright sunshine yellow, grass green and juicy orange colours on towelling, dresses with painterly patterns and those soft, non-aggressive hoodies for both sexes. 

Dion Lee: Summer sculpture 

The Australian designer Dion Lee has found a way of following the body’s line while still making the clothes, not the form underneath, do the work. His skill is in using pleats that contour the shape rather than imposing more familiar stiff lines on the wearer; and in layering transparency so that the body is only the faintest shadow.

Dion Lee Spring/Summer 2017
Dion Lee Spring/Summer 2017

“I am always drawn to sculpture and I like three dimensional things that you can move around,” said the designer. “The body silhouette this season is more about the movement,” he continued. "It's the idea of moving through the garment. I was looking at ways that I could dissect the fabrications and evoke movement through the textiles.”

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Dion Lee Spring/Summer 2017

Dion Lee Spring/Summer 2017

Dion Lee Spring/Summer 2017

Dion Lee Spring/Summer 2017

Dion Lee Spring/Summer 2017

Dion Lee Spring/Summer 2017


It sounds like a complex connection between cloth and skin, but the opposite was true. The collection seemed totally unforced, as though the sporty, athletic outside melted as soon as it touched the figure. The basis was a sporty simplicity, but it was never overdone – just as a single, gold arm bracelet hinted at decoration without forcing the concept.

Lacoste Spring/Summer 2017
Lacoste Spring/Summer 2017

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