Category Archives: Outerwear

Uniqlo: Ultra Light Down

uniqlo ultra light down vest women polka dot gingham checkxuniqlo winter 2013 2014 ultra light down vests jacketsxuniqlo ultra light down jacket vest stuff sack pouchxuniqlo ultra light down men jacket camo denimx
uniqlo ultra light down men vest jacket camp hoodyMy shopping advice to everyone is this — run, don’t walk to the nearest Uniqlo store (or computer for uniqlo.com) to scoop up some ultra light down.  With prices of $49.90 for vests and $69.90 for jackets, it is all too easy to consider an assortment.

Last week, after five hours and as many hooded down vests later, I emerged from a Manhattan Uniqlo overwhelmed but hardly defeated by the excessive goodness in store.  Sure, the down collection is nothing new – but the success has driven more selection in styles, colors and prints!  To me, the prints are the real coup:  polka dots, gingham, plaid and more for women; camouflage, houndstooth, denim and others for men.  I was defenseless against the super-cute hooded vests with dots and checks!

The designs are simple and flattering – the women’s styles in particular benefit from this approach, as they are not overdone with excessive quilting and shaping.  In terms of weight, these garments fall in the down “sweater” category, perfect as outerwear in cool (not cold) temps and excellent layering weight.  As for quality, the fill is 90% down / 10% feather with downproof nylon shell fabric.  Zippers are YKK.  The included stuff sack is a reasonable size that makes for easy storage.  The concept of the compact stuff sack is widely promoted as an integral part of this collection with instructional videos running throughout the store and down garments put into their pouches by sales clerks at checkout.

It is exciting to see performance apparel stories take root in mainstream fashion.  Uniqlo has been effective in educating consumers about the benefits of down (light, warm, packable, versatile, comfortable, natural) and showing how to make it a part of everyday dress.  (Another success is their Heattech program developed with leading technical fabric supplier, Toray.)

Personally, I have been a big fan of Uniqlo since the Japanese fast fashion retailer opened the SoHo store in 2006.  Some of my most worn staples are Uniqlo, product quality is excellent and price can’t be beat.  I expect the same of these down pieces and am thrilled to have added to my vest collection for daily uniform wear and broadened my on-hill layering options.  And I can’t wait to layer a polka dotted hooded vest under a contrasting color technical shell!

Posted in Fashion, Lifestyle, Outerwear, Shopping, Ski, Snowboard, Trend | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Hermès Ski, Part Deux: Lookbook

hermes ski winter 2013 lookbookxhermes ski winter 2013 lookbook gogglesxhermes ski winter 2013 lookbookxhermes ski winter 2013 lookbookxhermes ski winter 2013 cookbook leather pants helmet

In addition to gorgeous print ads, Hermès produced a lush lookbook to showcase the new ski collection.  The inspiration for the line evidently is 19th century mountaineering.

Garments utilize traditional materials updated with technical performance characteristics:  anti-UV calfskin leather, waterproof broadcloth, windproof stretch canvas and goose down, cashmere and mink which require no updating to provide warmth and luxurious softness.  Accessories include goggles, leather-wrapped helmet and silk balaclava in an exquisite print for which Hermès is legendary.  The color palette is quiet and subdued with curry yellow punctuating chalk white, camel and black.   Consult the Hermès web site to view the collection.

All this fanciness does not come cheap – a quick estimate puts the price tag for a Hermès ski jacket and pant ensemble at seven thousand dollars, never mind the requisite layers and accessories.  My next post will swing to the other end of the spectrum and get real with incredibly pleasing ultra light down at the entry price of fifty dollars from fast fashion giant Uniqlo. . .

Posted in Accessories, Fashion, Outerwear, Ski | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hermès: Luxury for A Sporting Life

hermes FW 2013 luxury ski collection iselin steiro sporting lifexhermes FW 2013 luxury ski collection iselin steiro sporting lifexhermes FW 2013 luxury ski collection iselin steiro sporting lifexhermes FW 2013 luxury ski collection iselin steiro sporting lifexhermes FW 2013 luxury ski collection iselin steiro sporting lifexhermes FW 2013 luxury ski collection sporting lifexhermes FW 2013 luxury ski collection sporting lifexhermes FW 2013 luxury ski collection iselin steiro sporting life

All that is generally considered to be luxury ski apparel has been trumped this season by French fashion house Hermès.  After being absent for many decades, Hermès is re-introducing ski – part of the brand’s heritage since the 1930s.  The tightly edited line consists of luxurious and functional apparel and accessories.

As typical of Hermès, the print ad campaign is beautiful, charming and dreamy.  A continuation of A Sporting Life theme, this campaign features Norwegian model Iselin Steiro with photographs by Nathaniel Goldberg.

Posted in Accessories, Fashion, Outerwear, Ski | Tagged | Leave a comment

Alpine Style: In Fashion

self magazine november 2013 snow hot ski skier kate bockxself magazine november 2013 snow hot ski skier kate bockxself magazine november 2013 snow hot snowboard kate bockxself magazine november 2013 snow hot snowboard kate bock

Snow Hot featuring Kate Bock, photos by Arthru Belebeau.  SELF, November 2013. 

elle magazine october 2013 ski lift néon apres flashbackSki Lift:  Even as temperatures dip, the colors remain hot – neon to be precise.  ELLE, October 2013.

swarovski elements crystal ski goggles 2013 candice swanepoelCrystal-encrusted ski goggles.  SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS 2013 brand campaign featuring Candice Swanepoel, photo by Nick Knight.

banana republic apres ski collection men holiday 2013The Après Ski Shop. . . Inspired by the Alpine mountains.  Ready, set, snow.  Banana Republic, Holiday 2013.

neiman marcus mans store tom ford winter 2013Tom Ford for The Man’s Store, Neiman Marcus, Holiday 2013.

Posted in Accessories, Fashion, Outerwear, Ski, Snowboard, Trend | 1 Comment

Last Look: 2013 National Team Uniforms

asksel lund svindal ski race norway uniformNORWAY:  Aksel Lund Svindal filling out his vibrant yellow speed suit and clean white and black outerwear by Phenix.

julia mancuso laurenne ross ski race usaUNITED STATES:  Julia Mancuso in black, Laurenne Ross in vivid green, uniforms by Spyder.  The green was kind of fun but I am hoping new uniforms have a more patriotic look.  I do have to give the USST and Spyder a nod for infusing inherently uptight uniforms with a sense of relaxed American mountain lifestyle.

maria hoefl riesch ski germany bogner milka pinkGERMANY:  Maria Hoefl-Riesch wears Bogner vivid pink outerwear and the snow tiger suit which is a long-standing tradition for the team.

nadia fanchini italy ski argentina race coach schladming 2013ITALY, ARGENTINA:  Bold letters in black and white clearly identify these teams in uniforms by Kappa.  Nadia Fanchini of Italy at left.  I quite like the graphic impact and utility of this strong look, especially Argentina’s stylized execution.

tina maze slovenia ski world champion schladming uniform milkaSLOVENIA:  It’s a good thing World Champion Tina Maze carries herself with such presence because this uniform by Halti is a lot to pull off.

austria ski anna fenninger michi kirchgasser milkaAUSTRIA:  Anna Fenninger in bright blue, Michaela Kirchgasser in white, outerwear by Schöffel.  The Austrian kit, like the team itself, is very strong and a contender for the best – distinctive and refined, powerful and wearable colors, complementary variety, consistent interesting themes and details, well merchandised and executed.  The back of the blue jacket is emblazoned with the claim Power Team, true enough!

ski race austria germany maria riesch puffy jacketPuffy Jackets:  Hannes Reichelt of Team Austria in black Schöffel.  Bogner male and female versions of team insulated outerwear; Maria Hoefl-Riesch again in pink.

With the Sölden FIS World Cup ski races kicking off the new season in just a few days, here is one last peek at some national team uniforms from 2013.  I am always curious to see if and how much teams change their kits year to year.  From early season training photos, I have seen a little new but much of the same from last season.  With 2014 being an Olympic year, there will be no shortage of new uniforms to be revealed!

Posted in Outerwear, Ski, Ski Racing, Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Moncler: Mountain Heritage Vs. Fashion

moncler gamme rouge ad ski snow 2013xmoncler gamme rouge ad ski snow man husky dog 2013Vogue, September 2013
moncler gamme rouge ad woman ski snow black white 2013xmoncler gamme rouge ad man husky dog ski snow 2013Elle, October 2013

While combing through the thick fall fashion magazines, I was thrilled to come across new Moncler print ads that actually represent an alpine setting!

Although luxury and fashion are certainly nothing new to Moncler — arguably as much of the brand’s identity as function — the repositioning of the label in recent history has diverged from why I relate to the brand.  Celebrity collaborations, flash mob fashion shows and Bruce Weber ad campaigns of golden retrievers leave me cold and do little to reinforce the brand’s distinguished mountain heritage.  The reality:  Moncler has changed from a luxury sport brand to a luxury fashion brand.

I love Moncler not just for the finest quality goose down garments – but because the brand was born in the mountains and of adventure.  Founded in 1952 in France, Moncler manufactured tents and sleeping bags which led to the creation of the duvet (down) parka.  These innovative new garments outfitted mountain climbers for expeditions, evolved further into ski-specific outerwear and a trademark style inevitably resulted.

With the purchase of Moncler by businessman Remo Ruffini in 2003, positioning of the brand has transformed to court the fashionable elite more so than the luxury-minded athlete.  New urban retail outposts have fed this strategy.  Demand and business appear to be on the rise, an IPO is in the works – cementing this trendier direction.

I will do my best to filter through the fashion overload to keep my relationship with Moncler one of a little luxury, a lot of utility and always the mountains.

moncler heritage history vintage climb ski france down

Posted in Fashion, Mountaineering, Outerwear, Ski, Style | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ski Style: Bold Stripes

malcolm milne ski race australia rossignol mossantMalcolm Milne of Australia going for it in a striped Mossant Sport of France jacket.

rosi mittermaier ski racer west germany abetone italy2/27/1974 AP Press Photo:  ABETONE, ITALY – Rosi Mittermaier of West Germany flashes through the gates Wednesday to win the World Cup Special Slalom race at Abetone, Italy.  Click to watch Rosi win two golds (DH, SL) and a silver (GS) at the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics; watch to the end to see more fantastic sweaters!

vintage retro ski jacket paris fashion stripes10/28/1965 Press Photo:  PARIS FASHIONS:  Ski-ing outfit designed by a Paris dressmaker specialized in sports wear.

Posted in Fashion, Outerwear, Ski, Ski Racing, Vintage Ski Racing, Vintage Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flag Day: Vintage Ski Fashion

vintage ski fashion us uk flags stars stripes 197012/18/1970 Press Photo:  Stars and stripes head for the slopes this winter too, in the flag waving colors of red, white and blue.

If I were designing winter Olympic uniforms for Team USA – the star pants with stripe cuffs would be serious inspiration!

Posted in Fashion, Outerwear, Ski, Vintage Style | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Vintage Ski Outfit: Leather Jacket, 1931

vintage ski outfit montreal 1931 elizabeth willisElizabeth Willis of Montreal, dressed to ski in 1931, reminds me as much of Amelia Earhart as she does a skier in a leather jacket and jodhpurs.

Posted in Outerwear, Ski, Vintage Style | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Shopping Munich: Globetrotter

The Globetrotter shop in Munich is a massive four floors of outdoor clothing and equipment presented with the most thorough, precise and functional merchandising I have ever seen.  This German specialty retailer aims to make shopping an experience – and they succeed.

globetrotter munich shop outdoor gearxglobetrotter munich shop geyser waterThe tank on the lower level for testing kayaks and canoes erupts into a geyser that reaches the top floor.

globetrotter munich shop outdoor photographsxglobetrotter munich shop outdoor photos displayThousands of photos line the stairwells – it is visually staggering and impressive in execution!

globetrotter munich shop outdoor experience merchandising displayThe top floor hosts a large branch of the Bavarian alpine club, Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) – complete with extensive maps, information, merchandise and educated staff to help plan mountain adventures.

A 360° tour can be viewed on the Globetrotter web site; this video provides a walking tour – both show off the gorgeous fixtures and unique features of this store.  I strongly recommend a stop at Globetrotter to shop the wide selection of premium outdoor brands or just for inspiration.

Globetrotter Munich:  Isartorplatz 8-10, 80331 Munich, Germany

Posted in Accessories, Bike, Equipment, Footwear, Mountaineering, Other Mountain Sports, Outerwear, Shopping, Ski, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment