MUNICH — After “Sex in the City” comes “Sexy on the Slopes.”
That was the main fashion message at the International Trade Fair for Sports Equipment & Fashion, where ski apparel and equipment manufactures stole the show with as much focus on feminine fashion as technology. The four-day event, held at the Munich Messe here, ended Feb. 9.
Cropped jackets, embroideries, fluffy fur collars and form-fitting looks were among the main fashion messages, along with Seventies-inspired ski apparel.
Although oversized snowboarder pants dominated slopes in recent years, sexier ski apparel is being pitched to appeal to youths and women.
“Until recently, skiing didn’t fit in with the younger generation’s lifestyle,” said Florian Weingärtner, marketing and communications director at ISPO. “But recent developments in technology have made skiing more accessible, more popular and therefore, more trendy.”
Rossignol’s recent collaborations with Emilio Pucci and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac are a good example, as is the growing number of mountain sports labels that are strictly for women.
Take Frauenschuh, the Kitzbühel, Austria-based women’s ski apparel label and high-end retailer, whose fashionable styles included fitted denim ski pants and parkas with fur detailing.
“There is a real demand for sexy ski items that you can wear on the street,” said Michael Prues, Frauenschuh’s sales director.
Wildroses, a Gorle, Italy-based outdoor label, goes so far as to put “for women only” on many of its labels, while Icelandic surf and streetwear firm Nikita’s motto boasts “for girls who ride.”
“If women want to look sexy on the street, then they will want to look sexy on the slopes,” said Gothardin Thylmann, head designer for German company Bogner.
The firm’s high-end approach to skiwear includes Native American-inspired embroideries, fur detailing, and slim-fitting parkas and pants that run between $650 and $5,207, with prices converted from euros at current exchange rates.
Although Bogner and its competitors still use Gore-Tex in their collections, many labels are working with more flexible materials to create a more fitted look.
The rising popularity of ski apparel has driven traditional snowboard firms to expand their collections to cover skiing, as well. Zimtstern, the Zürich-based snowboard firm, showed dynamic retro styles that can be worn by skiers and boarders.
“The snowboarding category is still our main focus, but we also design looks that appeal to skiers,” said Claus Zimmermann, marketing manager for the brand.
Zimtstern, a popular label for young adults, showed brown as a key color for next season, while pastels, pinks and greens were also prominent shades at the show.
Taking mountain sports apparel from the peaks to the streets was viewed as a business opportunity by major firms.
“Women’s wear is our fastest growing category,” said Topher Gaylord, The North Face’s managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
He explained that it was due in part to more European women donning sporty outerwear on the streets. Gaylord said, “Traffic at our booth was very busy compared to prior seasons,” noting that sales for the brand in Europe were up 30 percent for 2004.
On the technical front, buyers highlighted key details such as Zimtstern’s waterproof zippers, Bogner’s ski pants that can be attached to its parkas and Patagonia’s seamless fleece.