World Cup fashion trendwatch
By Michael Mastarciyan
There are countless things that influence ski fashion.
Everything from snowboarding style trends to urban street trends to the stylistic machinations of the world’s top clothing designers and manufacturers – all of these things play some sort of role in what you find in your local skiwear shop.
Another, and perhaps THE most important influence on what people end up wearing when they go skiing, is what the kings and queens of the sport are sporting when they race.
Here is a quick peek at some of this season’s top trends…
Lime Green and Florida Orange
Didier Cuche won’t feel lonely this season as he sports his trademark orange wool ski hat in the finish area as other racers and nations have caught “citrus fever” this season. From Bode Miller’s lime green helmet to the Canadian Cowboy’s bright Florida orange puffy insulator jackets – citrus colours are THE colours of the year.
Lime green is the jacket hue of choice for the US men’s ski squad this year and it’s got their GS superstar Ted “Shred” Ligety smiling from ear to ear. Ligety, who’s been pushing green and orange in his own personal goggle brand line for years now has become the colour-combo’s biggest and brightest ambassador with a very vibrant and tropical orange and green helmet/jacket cocktail that’s quickly becoming a podium mainstay this year as he tears up World Cup GS courses across the globe.
Italy’s Johanna Schnarf has also caught the lime green bug – with a super bright pair of neon lime green flip-up sunglasses she’s been spotted wearing on tour.
Austrian racer Mario Scheiber’s orange toque has a more subtle tint – one that is more Spanish blood orange than the Florida type – a very stylish choice for those who prefer to choose their colours from a more sedate palate.
Puffy Ski Jackets
Puffy down-filled jackets (or Doudounes as they’re called in France) are also a big hit this season with just about every nation on board with their own version of this comfy-cozy cold weather fighter.
The Austrian version in teal (a blue/green tint) may look summery and “beachy” in hue, but it’s built to keep its wearer warm in the chilliest of alpine conditions.
The Italian’s also have a puffy – their version in Azzurri blue. The Americans (as mentioned earlier) have opted for a lime green Doudoune, but the big winner this year is Croatia’s take on this jacket – which is perhaps the most appealing and detailed. The very cool red and white checkerboard motif found on the Balkan nation’s national flag on a down jacket - a perfect way to stay patriotic, proud and warm all at the same time - especially if you race for Croatia or are a lucky fan that’s got one of these coats!
The “Brightest of the Bunch” award must go to Canada though for the brilliant Florida orange, slim-fitting puffy hooded insulator jacket the Canadian Cowboys have been wearing in finish corrals around the circuit. Team insiders tell me the Cowboys have been going up a size on these jackets as they have a distinct sleek, form-fitting “fashion” cut.
Crochet Knit Hats and Headbands
Worley, Lizeroux, Jacquemod, Grange, Rolland, Marchand-Arvier and just about every other big name on the French squad are bringing a certain French “cachet” to those hats your Grandma knitted for your Mum and Dad in the 1970s. The trend may have begun a few seasons back, but we can now confidently say that high tech fleece hats are “out” and low-tech/handmade-looking wool hats and head bands are “in.”
While the French do get most of the credit for the renaissance of the “crochet” chapeau they are in no way the only proponent of the low-tech headgear look. Italy’s Daniela Merighetti and US skier Julia Mancuso seem to be partial to off-white versions while Italy’s Johanna Schnarf seems to like her pseudo-homemade hat in multi-colours. My “second” favourite hat this season (next to anything the French are wearing) is the little knit number Andrea Fischbacher was “rocking” in Lake Louise at the season’s opening speed races – very home-made looking with the gamine-like charm of a hat you could imagine on a child rodeling down a snowy hill in Central Europe’s alpine heartland or playing ice hockey on a frozen pond in North America.
So if your hat doesn’t look like a vintage wooly hand-made “throwback”, you’re probably best off throwing it onto your discard clothing pile.
The crochet trend doesn’t stop with hats though. As you probably noticed, I also mentioned “headbands” a few sentences back. This – and by “this” I mean headbands, is perhaps the most impressive style contribution the French are currently making in the battle to keep the ski world looking chic.
Yes, headbands have been a staple garment on the World Cup for ages - but currently they’re really only a staple on the ladies side. Think about it - how many teams have men wearing headbands? A few maybe, Ivica Kostelic has been wearing them of late, but in truth, not very many on the guy’s side have been headband-friendly since the 1980s. But leave it to the French men to pull off the ultimate fashion coup – bringing “cool” back to the male headband with a little bit of wool dyed in bleu, blanc and rouge! Thankfully, the 2011 version of the headband is thick enough that it looks more like a hat than the skinny little headbands once made famous by tennis stars like Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe in the 1970’s and 1980’s – which were definitely cool – but only in their time!