History of Ski Part two

Posted by Maria
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1970s Vintage Anba Skiwear

Earlier this week Maria covered the history of ski wear in its early days. If you somehow missed it click here and then come back for part two! Enjoy!

The 1950s was a decade of prosperity and growth. As more people gained access to travel, skiing quickly grew in popularity. With these larger markets came new developments, particularly in textile technology. Synthetics proved to be warmer and more waterproof than natural fibers. For decades, skiwear has remained on the forefront of fabric innovation. In 1949 Balenciaga created a shiny, lacquered fabric called Cracknyl for use in skiwear and raincoats. A handful of companies specializing in skiwear production were founded in this era. They proved to be extraordinarily influential. Head was founded in 1950 in New Hampshire. In 1952, French outdoorsman and entrepreneur René Ramillon founded Moncler. The company began selling sleeping bags and soon expanded to down parkas.

Willy Bogner founded this eponymous line in 1932. The company’s first fashion show took place in Munich’s Hofbräuhous in 1948. His wife, Maria Lux, is generally credited with some of the most important innovations in skiwear. She presented bold colors that stood out against the all white landscape. Most groundbreaking of all were Bogner stretch pants, made from a wool/nylon blend, which featured a strap at the inset to keep the pant snug in ski boats. The stirrup pants were an instant success, adopted by Hollywood wiggling actresses Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. The snug trousers were referred to as the “The Bogners”. In 1951, the line was featured on the cover of Grazia and the company gained international acclaim. The pant continues to narrow as Bogner’s influence grew.


(L) Balenciaga Cracknyl Short Pants, 1949. (R) Moncler Ad, 1952.


(L) Bogner ski suit on the cover of Grazia Italia, Dec 1951. (R) Willy and Maria Bogner.


(L) Bogner, 1960s. Photo Courtesy Bogner Press Office. (R) Bogner Suit, 1960s.


(L) Bridgette Bardot Skiing in France, 1950s. (R) Lucy & Ethel, 1950s.


(L) Jacqueline de Ribes & Leo Gasperl, Photo by Victor Skrebneski in Cervinia, Italy, late 1950s. (R) Ski Wear Fashion Spread photographed in Switzerland for Mademoiselle Magazine, 1950s.


The elastic effect was not popular with all ski tastemakers. In 1957, Fred Picard, “international authority on glamour in the snow”,chimed in on the trend for the Spokane Daily Chronicle . “Properly fitted ski pants should have a taunt, narrow look which gives a girl a slim long-legged appearance. But if they are too tightly fitted of elasticized fabric they may have the opposite effect and reveal bumps and bulges which are better concealed.” The article shows the far-reaching draw of the ski vacation, and how it was being marketed to the new generation of single women. “The best way to hunt a husband is on skis. A girl can look sexier in ski clothes than in a bathing suit. Most men find women intriguing if something is left to the imagination. A beautiful girl is never more radiant than when her cheeks are glowing and her eyes sparkling from healthful outdoor exercise at 10 below.” Picard lost the battle and in 1962, Sports Illustrated reported , “The best ski tailors in the world: Bogner of Munich, skiwear division of Christian Dior, Ernst Engel of New York. Among the slimmest stretch suits of all are those by Engel. His men’s ski pants and jacket have elasticized side inserts, modeled on those worn by French racers. His new women’s pants are cinched below the knee with a strap that takes some of the tiring pressure off the strap under the instep.


(L) Sports Illustrated, 1962. (R) Pink and White Mink Ski Suit by Ernst Engel, Vogue, November 1963.


(L) Dior Sport Ad, 1964. (R) Bonne Bell Lipstick Ad featuring US Ski Team Ernst Engel Suit, 1967.


The 1960s saw the second wave of ski style, one marked by real innovation in design and the unparalleled glamour of high society, royalty, and Hollywood. The handsome and suave Jean Claude Killy seemed the embodiment of James Bond. Audrey Hepburn sparkled in her chocolate Givenchy cat suit in 1963’s Charade. Sporty photographers Toni Frissel and Peter Beard captured the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, and Ann Bonfoey Taylor on the slopes. The shots are impossibly chic. A new generation of fashion designers was drawn to the mystic of ski life. Some even launched their careers through it. Emilio Pucci was born an aristocrat and grew into an avid skier. After the war, he designed skiwear for himself and his friends. Harper’s Bazaar photographer Toni Frissell spotted him in a chic hooded parka and streamlined pants and encouraged him to produce more. In 1948, he designed his first collection, produced by White Stag. He began to research textiles and develops his distinct bold style. The rest is history. Throughout the 1960s, he continues skiwear innovation alongside his main line, launching stretch bodysuits Viva Panty and Capsula.


(L) Jean Claude Killy, 1960s. (R) Jean Claude Killy Sports illustrated, November 18 1968.


Audrey Hepburn, Charade, 1963.


Promotional Picture of Audrey Hepburn for the film Charade, 1963. Audrey is wearing a brown ski outfit designed by Givenchy. Photo by Vincent Rossell.


(L) Jackie O, 1960s. (R) Jackie O with children, Sun Valley, 1966.


(L) Grace Of Monaco on Holiday In St Moritz. February 1962. (R) Princess Grace with her kids Albert (4) and Caroline (5) during vacation in Gstaad, Switzerland Feb. 1962.


(L) Grace Kelly, date unknown. (R) Queen Farah Diba, of Iran, on her first skiing lesson, March 9, 1962.


Ann Bonfoey Taylor, 1960s.


(L) Emilio Pucci and Madame Poppi de Salis in ski outfits, Photo by Toni Frissel, 1948. (R) Emilio Pucci Ski Ensemble, 1957.


Emilio Pucci for Vogue Italia, Photos by William Klein, 1965.


(L) Pucci Ski Mask, 1962. (R) Veruschka in Pucci, Photo by Franco Rubartelli, 1960s.


(L) Astrid Heeren in Ski jacket by Emilio Pucci, Photo by Peter Beard, Vogue, 1964. (R) Ski Fashion, 1960s.


(L) L'Officiel, December 1962. (R) Pierre Cardin Outfits, 1963.


Other designers of the space age generation were similarly drawn to skiwear. The look is well suited to the proletarian aesthetic they were dabbling in: androgynous dress, cat suits with hoods that look like space helmets, color blocking, and experimental materials. Licensing king Pierre Cardin produced every item of ski gear imaginable. André Courrèges designed some of the era’s most fetching designs; a 1972 Vogue editorial opens with a dreamy white ribbed bodysuit features clever zipper placement around the waist. His ski bibs are a considered a holy grail among vintage skiwear collectors. Philippe Guibourge, who worked at Jacques Fath, Dior and as head designer at Chanel and Chloe, was the first French designer to start using vinyl for sportswear and designed the first longer, closer-cut ski parkas.


(L) Pierre Cardin Outfit, 1971. (R) Courrèges Knit Suit, Vogue, 1972.


1970's Ski Fashions.


The innovations of this new generation of designers resulted in a decade of beautiful skiwear. The clothes of the 1970s were at once simple and bold. Saturated colors were very popular. The silhouette was lean and long. A group of 1972 photographs from the Condé Nast archive illustrate the handsome color blocking of the time. A slim cut Bogner ski jacket features a green body, blue sleeves and a red yoke. The accessories of the era are wonderful – moon boots, aviators, beanies and visors framed by feathered hair. Bogner and Head continue their prominence, but Fila, Descantes, Rossingnol, and Adidas take off as well.


Photo by Mike Reinhardt, Condé Nast, 1972.


All Photos by Mike Reinhardt, Condé Nast, 1972. (L) Ski jacket & pants, both by Roffe, Sweaters by Demetre and gloves by Bonnie Cashin for Crescendoe, Hat by Brosseau, yellow shoulder bag by La Bagagerie. (M) Red, green and blue ski jacket with red ski pants, both by Bogner, Olympic Timer by Lafayette Watch, and a Glentex cap. (R) Red pullover with matching knickers from Ramah by Bass, Eiger mountain knicker socks, a Pennaco turtleneck, Mohawk ski gloves, and Acme Siren necklace by Donald Stannard.


Photo by Mike Reinhardt, Condé Nast, 1972.


By the end of the decade designers are mining the slopes for more than wealthy patrons. Skiwear began to seep into mainstream dress; turtlenecks, vests and saturated color schemes are all distinct features of the 70s. Stirrup pants, leggings and neon colors of the 1980s illustrate an even more definitive influence. It is in this decade that the bright canvas of the mountains is peppered with boxy, neon shapes. A 1985 photo by Slim Aarons of Princess Bianca Hanau-Schaumburg at her Gstaad chalet epitomizes the era of the garish ski bunny: a watermelon ski suit, leopard belt, Mongolian fur boots, topped off with a glass of champagne. Ski bum culture was immortalized in cult films Hot Dog…The Movie and Ski Patrol. The style was iconic, but the extreme minimalism of the 90s deemed the loud skiwear gauche and unseemly. In 1996, Arthur Elgort shot Kristen McMenamy for Vogue, a beautiful editorial featuring “gleaming white technochic”. The departure from the gaudy 80s also led to the rise in dominance of environmentally aware outdoor companies Patagonia and the North Face. Luxury brands like Ralph Lauren cashed in on the prosperity of the decade by launching active sportswear lines. The dominance of the Italian fashion houses brought forth a new generation of designer ski: Gucci, Armani Neve in 1995, and Prada in 1997.


(L) Princess Bianca Hanau-Schaumburg at her Gstaad chalet, Photo by Slim Aarons, 1985. (R) 31-Patrick Houser, David Naughton and Tracy Smith in Hot Dog... The Movie, 1984.


(L) Le Ski Haute Performance,  Photo by Walter Chin,  ELLE France, November 1987. (R) Vogue, 1985.


Kristen McMenamy, Photos by Arthur Elgort, Vogue, 1996.


Kristen McMenamy, Photos by Arthur Elgort, Vogue, 1996.


Where is skiwear today? The answer lies somewhere between the past and the future. Retailers peddling patented tech savvy textiles, for example as Uniqulo’s Heattech, have enjoyed monumental success. And still some luxury brands look to the past. Hermès’ 2013 ski lookbook was clearly influenced by 19th century mountaineering. The beautifully serene images feature pleated high waisted wool pants, cream suits with exquisite piping and a leather helmet that is as gorgeous as it is impractical. The striking photos are a reminder of the unique nature of skiwear, the specificity of design creating its own thread in the history of dress. Skiwear offers particular challenges that expand the potential of dress, at once stimulating designers’ concepts for dress of the future and enriching the past that they mine for inspiration. And for the wearer, it offers a special occasion to dress the part, be it vintage furs or micro thread shells.


Hermès Ski, 2013.

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