Q Dear Marylou: With so many fashion designers showing Athleisure, how is this affecting the luxury brands? __ H.Y., Cleveland, OH.
Dear H.Y.: First, let’s define Athleisure. Or, more appropriately, let’s let the folks at Merriam-Webster define it. (The word is not included in their current dictionaries, nor is it included online, but according to associate editor Emily Brewster, this definition will appear later this year: “casual clothing designed to be worn both for exercising and for general use.” For the most part, designers are separating their luxury collection from their newer, and less expensive, Athleisure collections. Among the name designers offering both are Derek Lam (his own collection plus an Athleisure line for Athleta labeled 10CAthleta) Tory Burch (her eponymous label plus Tory Sport), Cynthia Rowley (her own name plus Cynthia Rowley Fitness). These relatively new Athleisure collections are doing well to date, but there is no evidence that they are out-performing the top lines. The top designers who do not have Athleisure collections are simply assimilating more and more of these gym-and-beyond clothes into their regular collections.
Which brings us to George Carr. The brother of Zack Carr, (who was the design director of Calvin Klein for 12 years and later the chief creative director of Calvin Klein for 11 years and the founder and designer for his own namesake collection for three years), George Carr is now producing a collection based on his brother’s illustrations—illustrations Zack Carr bequeathed to him. (Zack, a much heralded design figure of his time, died in 2000.)
By combining elements of his brother’s sketches, George Carr has come up with a CARR collection he calls Athluxury. The sports-evolved leather jacket in the illustration here, for example, is now combined with a silk Lurex jacquard slip dress from Zack’s illustrations, both exquisitely executed in the tradition of couture dressmaking. By elevating gym and sports clothes in luxury fabrics and teaming them with elegant evening designs, George Carr has indeed brought Athleisure to new Athluxury heights.
(George also worked in the fashion industry, including several years at Calvin Klein, where he was vice president of sales, marketing and retail branding, and Ralph Lauren Womenswear, where he was vice president of retail branding. Additionally, he's an actor, author/writer, producer and director in Hollywood.)
For more information on the CARR collection, write to George Carr, 155 West 15th St., #18, New York, NY 10011, or log in to CARRnyc.com.
Illustration by Zack Carr
Q Dear Marylou: Who started the idea of men wearing vests with the bottom button undone? Why? __ D.M., Baltimore, MD.
Dear D.M.: Some fastidious trendsetter in Edwardian England started that unbuttoning to assure wrinkle-less comfort when seated. Menswear experts say that even when the bottom button is open, there should be no shirt fabric showing between vest and trousers. Many of the young fashionistos now wearing vests with jeans are leaving them totally unbuttoned. Moral: Same garment/different time.
Q Dear Marylou: What clothes will camouflage the beer belly I acquired after a back injury kept me from my usual workouts? __ J.D.P., Iron Mountain, MI.
Dear J.D.P.: Yes. Until you get away from the bar and back to the barbells, wear a loose-fitting shirt and don’t tuck it into your pants. Fortunately, this look is very much in fashion right now. It eliminates a layer of fabric at the waistline and lets air flow through to you. Stay away from pullover sweaters. Wear long scarves that dangle over your belly bulge.
Q Dear Marylou: Why, when I know my favorite rayon blouse is washable (because I have washed it successfully), does the fabric care label say Dry Clean Only? __ A.C.C., Peachtree City, GA.
Dear A.C.C.: Some rayon fabrics are finished in a way that makes them washable. Others are not. Designers, manufacturers and retailers protect themselves from less-than-diligent launderers/caretakers by recommending Dry Clean Only. The dyeing and finishing processes formerly used in making rayon fabrics often resulted in colors that ran in the wash.
For readers who may have purchased vintage rayon garments, know that you can prevent this color running by adding a teaspoon of Epsom salts to each gallon of tepid wash water as well as rinse water. This will prevent even the most delicate shades from fading and running.
(Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets she cannot answer mail personally. Send your questions to email@example.com.)
©2016, International Fashion Syndicate
Marylou Luther, editor of the International Fashion Syndicate, writes the award-winning Clotheslines column, a question-and-answer fashion advice feature read weekly by more than 5 million.
In addition to her syndicated newspaper column, Luther is the creative director of The Fashion Group International, a non-profit organization for the dissemination of information on fashion, beauty and related fields. Her twice-yearly audio-visual overviews of the New York, London, Milan and Paris ready-to-wear shows are must-seeing/reading for industry leaders. Her coverage of the European collections appears in newspapers throughout the U.S.
The former fashion editor of The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Des Moines Register is biographied in “Who’s Who in America.” She won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s coveted Eugenia Sheppard award for fashion journalism, the Women in Communications award and, in 2004, the Accessories Council’s Marylou Luther Award for Fashion Journalism, which will be given every year in her name.
Her essays have appeared in “The Rudi Gernreich Book”, “Thierry Mugler: Fashion, Fetish, Fantasy”, “The Color of Fashion”, “Todd Oldham Without Boundaries” and “Yeohlee: Work.” A book with Geoffrey Beene was published in September, 2005. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, where she received the prestigious Alumni Achievement award, Luther is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, Theta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta.