|The sneaker trend featured during the Spring 2014 Couture and Fall 2014 Ready-to-wear collections. | Image Sources: Style.com|
Sneakers are the premise of cool right now. In fashion’s perpetual search for the next must-have item and the hottest new look, fads are birthed and die faster than you can say, "trendy". But it’s without a doubt that the practical, humble and comfortable “it” shoe’s reign will gain more and more traction because of how representative it is of what personal style has become.
When Karl Lagerfeld had sample-size supermodels navigating Chanel’s Spring Summer 2014 haute couture runway in sneakers at the Grand Palais in January, I was like: “OhMyGodHeDidNotJustPairSneakersWithHauteCouture!" But he did, and he was right on the money. He actually did it again this past Tuesday for Chanel’s Fall 2014 ready-to-wear collection. He had Cara Delevingne and Lindsey Wixson modelling in Chanel-version warm up sets and matching sneakers to match. Talk about real-life street style influencing luxury fashion. I see girls dressed like that when I’m doing after-work grocery shopping at the Woolworths in Kloof street. They’re the stereotypical working women who’ve just finished gym and needed a litre of milk before heading home, so they throw on a coat over their gym gear and push their grocery-filled trollies between aisles of neatly branded and merchandised goods, much like the Chanel show we all witnessed on Tuesday. If you don't believe me, go to the Woolworths in the Lifestyle centre between 17h30 and 19h00 on any weekday and see for yourself. Apparently real life has become the realest and coolest new trend on the runways, especially after Lagerfeld converted the Grand Palais into a Chanel-branded supermarket for active-wear-sneaker-clad models to
shop strut there stuff in.
|I was at work on Tuesday trying to write a press release and check my twitter feed for visuals of the Chanel Fall 2014 show as it was happening at the Grand Palais. It was by far the most "social-media'd" collection of the season. | Source: Twitter|
I've noticed Lagerfeld's penchant for taking topical social subject matter and turning it into luxury-branded fads. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, he just seems to have a natural knack for knowing how to keep the Chanel brand current. Lagerfeld is a fashion designer as much as he is a businessman and he’s totally recognized the social, monetary and style value of the sneaker for fashion consumers in 2014. The incredible reaction to his SS'14 haute couture collection has also confirmed the ubiquity of this sneakers-with-everything styling trend. But this wasn’t a trend initiated by Lagerfeld’s couture collection, it began on the sidewalks, not on the catwalks and bears testimony to how the trickle-up theory materialises into runway realities.
Sneakers have been synonymous with the street-style kids of cool since blue jeans and biker jackets have been associated with bad-boy James Dean swag. The current fashion climate has made the emergence of this footwear trend ready to flourish, especially considering the fact that "ugly shoes and flats are totes the new heels". The incredible rise of sports-luxe fashion has also paved the way for sneakers to become an acceptable shoe to juxtapose against a beautiful designer piece. In a world where our lifestyles are defined by the workload stressful jobs, online and offline social pressures, information overload and the ever-increasing need to be able to travel from home to work or one side of the globe to the other - something's gotta give and a practical, functional and comfortable dress code can act as great armour to cope with insane pace we're marching to nowadays.
So style your sneakers with a dress or pair your sweatshirts with pearls, it's all about the dualism between being on-the-go and looking good. I think great personal style is no longer defined by what you look like when you have to look good. It's a consistent expression of your taste whether you're at home, at work or out socialising. Ultimately the sneaker trend is just fashion's appropriation of an idealised scenario where everyday people are trying to be stylish and practical at the same time.