Jo Sykes is making a return to fashion, relaunching her label Sykes for resort 2018.
She looked at vintage images of Italian sportswear and activewear for inspiration for the refined collection, which, she told WWD, has been designed to be comfortable, versatile and creaseless, answering the needs of professional women who are increasingly nomadic.
“I was thinking a lot about what women need now,” she said. “I have always designed for myself and my friends — they are the muses. We are working from home more and need something that can go from the office to a cocktail party.
“It’s taking the movement and spirit of sportswear and infusing it with the elegance of tailoring,” she added, highlighting the use of slinky piqué knits and zip-front necklines as key allusions to her inspiration.
There were nods to styles worn by Seventies tennis players in the indigo maxidress in a fluid knit with sporty navy stripes at the waist and down the front, a beige polo knit top with fine rust stripes, and a pair of black track pants with a white stripe down the side.
Other standout pieces included a white dress in a weighty knit and a wide V-neck collar; a dress made from classic men’s shirting with crisp white cuffs and a zip-neck collar, and a coat in an oversize black, white, gray and red check pattern.
The second, February, drop of the collection, which Sykes was showing alongside the collection’s November debut, was just as accomplished: an evolution of the camel, pink, white, indigo and tomato red palette, with more of that refined soft tailoring and some other dresses, like the pretty buttermilk knit dress with a rose gold zip collar and demure elbow-length sleeves, and the ankle-grazing dress in a bias-cut chevron stripe of pale blue and white.
Sykes is keen that the collection be priced at an accessible level, with prices starting at $120 for tops, dresses ranging from $360 to $745, and the statement coats around $940. Retail stockists are yet to be confirmed.
The Central Saint Martins alum, who left her role as creative director at Nicole Farhi two years ago after it was bought out of administration by Maxine Hargreaves-Adams, the daughter of Matalan founder John Hargreaves, spent six years at Armani before she launched the first incarnation of Sykes for fall 2008. It was picked up immediately by Matchesfashion.com, and soon thereafter began designing the retailer’s in-house label, Freda.
She was recruited from there in 2010 to succeed Michael Herz and Graeme Fidler as creative director of Aquascutum’s men’s and women’s collections, where she had a “steep learning curve in the business side of fashion; thinking about merchandising and pricing architecture,” she said.
In the two years since her departure from Nicole Farhi, the designer has been consulting for various brands and designing for E.Leoty, a sportswear start-up inspired by French heritage corset-maker Ernest Leoty, founded by financial entrepreneur Marion Rabate and set for launch later this year.