The sportswear leaningsvand yearnings for S/S 12 and the Olympics hoo-ha (you'd think I wouldn't be interested being a total sporty flump but actually as it happens, I'm getting right into it....) will inevitably lead me to investigating real HARDCORE sportswear. It would be disingenuous to talk about the coolness of gym shorts, trackie bottoms and sweatshirts without going to the innovations of the likes of Nike, adidas etc.
For now though, we can coo over the aesthetics of labels like Mother of Pearl, who for a few seasons now have been fusing sportswear detailing and vibe with luxurious fabrics. They've really tapped into the feeling that women can have their feat firmly planted to the ground, their body unrestricted and free without forfeiting femininity. This mood I think will be ever more prevalent next year and as some of you might know if you've read my last Observer column, I've already got my running shoes on to go with this particular fashion flow.
S/S 12 sees no big change up from what Mother of Pearl have been doing and that's a good thing when we get more of those relaxed shapes - parkas, giant culottes, shorts that are cut right in all places, sweatshirts, tees, loose bombers and a whole array of dresses that would never make you feel like you're too 'dressy' - in a well-judged colour palette. Petrol blue, lime and orange clash brightly against the muted tones of the mint green, terracotta and creams. The drawstring rucksacks of my yoof (remember the Miss Selfridge and Kookai ones that all the cool girls toted about...?) have been revamped in solid and glossy leather and even the Head tennis bags that the rich kids used as gym bags (I had a crap canvas bag) have reappeared in colour blocked formation.
The random recollections of P.E. lessons of yesteryear run alongside the overall feeling that Mother of Pearl's collection is really connected to home-time clothes. The same 'relaxed' feeling when you tear off your school uniform to put on something more comfortable and more associated with 'play'. It's Play Clothes 3.0 of course. We are talking about pony skins, supple leathers, heavy silk crepes and soft wools after all. Still, it doesn't stop me from thinking "I'm off to shoot some b-ball in these Pierre Hardy kicks." That's the memories of early evenings watching Fresh Prince on BBC2 talking.
The artist collaboration for this season's Mother of Pearl sees Fiona Banner's ISBN works and other prints grace the collection in more subtle ways than previous collections where the artwork was the main focus. Instead, Banner has published this MoP lookbook complete with ISBN number, registered under the title of 'Mother', in line with what her repetoire of work that focuses on books and publishing, taking the clothing back into the art realm without it being blatant on the clothes themselves.
Like I said though, things are going to take a PROPERLY sporty turn for the months to come but Mother of Pearl is definitely a FRESSSSSSHHHHH jolt to activate the mood...
**EDIT** Lo and behold it's sample sale time in London and Mother of Pearl's one is coming up... if you're not in London and can afford it, SHOWstudio also have a pretty big selection of Mother of Pearl current season in their ever expanding shop!