Sporting style

While comfort has never been associated with chic-ness,oomphy tennis stars broke all the rules on this one.

Written by PriyankaPereira | Published: February 23, 2009 4:26:48 am

Formal shirts at Lacoste,metallic boots at Adidas and Alexander McQueen for Puma—sports stores are getting tres chic

While comfort has never been associated with chic-ness,oomphy tennis stars broke all the rules on this one. While fashion gurus have remodeled their lines to make clothes that really get the adrenaline going,from Narendra Kumar Ahmed’s cropped cabin jackets,Lecoanet Hemant’s formal track pants to Manish Arora’s vibrant,sequined sports shoes.

But now sportswear labels have hopped on to fashion street with candy pink ballerinas and cocktail dresses by Puma and Swarovski studded jackets by Nike. Throw in a little bit of Juicy Couture and who needs high-end shopping anymore?

Talk about mixing pleasure with competition and Puma seems to be playing it both safe and smart. “Our company’s strategy is to make Puma a sports lifestyle brand rather than concentrate just on sports products,” says Rajiv Mehta,managing director,Puma Sports.

With a collection of cocktail dresses,sunglasses,belts in neon colours with chunky crystal buckles,gold clutches,comic strip handbags and ballerinas at the outlet,it looks nothing less than a designer store. “We’ve also tied up with Alexander McQueen to design an entire collection for us and a Japanese designer will be doing our denim line,” says Mehta,who feels that in times of recession,sports brands will continue their stronghold only if they diversify. “Also you don’t need to be a sports enthusiast to be dressed in these clothes.”

For hip-hop lovers,Adidas has hit the nail on the head by launching the Missy Elliot line Respect Me at all the Adidas Originals stores in India. Elliot’s trademark style with rap star bling bling has already popularised this line in India. “Our audience is increasingly becoming style- and fashion-conscious,” says Andreas Gellner,managing director,Adidas India,who has also launched Porsche Design,Freizeit and Urban/Core. From metallic boots to printed T-shirts,denim two-fourths,trendy caps,scarves and belts,Adidas has taken a giant leap from when it started.

Nike strides into novelty too. “Nike addresses the needs of sports-inspired consumers who love a casual athletic look,” says Sanjay Gangopadhyay,marketing head,Nike India. Move over track pants,vests and backpacks,this most sought-after sports brand now has everything from crew neck T-shirts,printed hoodies,blingy jackets,embroidered shirts,scarves,hats and caps in red,orange,yellow,electro lime and green.

When we say that sports brands have had a makeover,we mean that they now stock formal wear as well. Lacoste has a range of formal shirts for men and women,besides the usual trousers,dresses and jeans. Abhishek Munshi,a regular there,says,“This is like doing two things at one go. While I buy my gym wear,I can also pick up a few formal clothes from the office line.”

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