Too Hot to be Cold

Warning: Controversial Views Ahead.

I find getting dressed in winter more exciting than in summer. I prefer high-waisted shorts and woollen tights to light sundresses and would happily swap a swimming costume for a set of hats, gloves and scarves. The cold is a challenge, but more layers means more options! This view confirmed itself to me when I went skiing last weekend. As I was getting off my first chairlift of the trip, I spotted a snowboarder with a lot of taste. She was wearing an elegant pair of fuseau ski pants and I was mesmerised that, even at 4265 feet high and –5°C, there was an outfit I could crave for. Fashion, like humanity itself, can adapt to any environment. These brilliant fuseau trousers exist thanks to human challenges, dexterity and innovation. They exist because, in the last century, a long line of talented designers have taken an interest in ski clothing and invented practical gear, always aligned with the style of their times. Playing with novelty accessories and rich fabrics, these artists have made ski fashion one of the most distinct categories of dress.

credit: Vogue

The first fashion designer who actively designed skiwear is Pucci. Avid skier, Emilio Pucci was raised in an aristocratic Italian family and represented Italy in the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. Pucci then attended Reed Liberal Arts College, in Oregon, where he coached the ski team and designed their uniforms. His early designs embraced psychedelia with rich colour palettes and innovative prints. In the late 1940s, the Olympic skier was among the first couture designers to focus on skiwear, he designed the first one-piece ski suit and photographs of models wearing his clothes on the slopes featured in Harper’s Bazaar, encapsulating the arrival of ski fashion.

credit: Vogue

Between the 1960s and 1980s fell a period that represents the apogee of ski style, producing many of the iconic designers of skiwear. Pierre Cardin, for example, known for his bold, geometrical and futuristic designs, is remembered as one of the pioneers of the industry. The discovery of new fabrics allowed him, as well as other artists, to experiment with new materials such as vinyl and fake fur. Some of Cardin’s unforgettable designs include a dreamy white ribbed bodysuit with an eccentric hood; iconic turtlenecks; and padded nylon jackets with clever zip off sleeves.

Credit : Vogue, 1969

These fashion designers were not only successful thanks to their innovative designs, but were also renowned because of the muses who were wearing them. Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy are amongst these icons-come Bond Girls who were caught styling skiwear on the camera of renowned photographer Slim Aarons. High society took over the Alps, turned them into fashion runways, and just like that, après-ski style came to be.

Credit : Vogue

Credit : Pinterest

So if you’re going on a ski trip this winter, think knitted sweaters and corduroy, oversized sunglasses and Moon Boots. After hitting the slopes, sip a well-deserved hot chocolate and just pray for summer never to return.

Credit : Pinterest

Anouk Sarfati