Sept. 15, 2010
It's fashion week in New York, and bicycles are proving to be more fashionable than ever before.
In a Saks Fifth Avenue series of print ads that feature models in high end designs by Giorgio Armani and the like, women pose with bicycles, skateboards, hockey sticks and skis among other things.
But it's not just the fact that they are posing with bikes, but the models of bikes they chose, and the fantastic incongruity of the clothing they are presumably wearing on the bikes.
One ad shows a model wearing a partially see-through, wrapped gauze Batista Valli dress, and high heeled booties, standing next to a turn of the (previous) century high bike.
Another ad shows a model with a black wrap jacket, a lace skirt, and four-inch heels pushing a fold up bike.
The ads appear in Vogue and W magazine.
In another photographic series that appears in W Magazine, photos of residents of the East End of London show two characters with their bicycles.
One man has his bike hanging around his neck, as if it were a piece of jewelry.
The other is sporting a small bike of a brand and type I never knew existed (maybe someone who reads this blog can write in and tell us what it is.)
On his back is an old-fashioned wicker basket like the kind you might normally see on the front of the bike, attached to the handlebars. But clearly no one in this spread is doing what normal people normally do.
In an fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine this month, a woman stands holding a gorgeous white lifestyle bike (again, can any of you aficionados tell me the brand,) holding her daughter's hand. In the background is a bike store in New York City.
She is wearing knee high boots, a long suede skirt and a white knit hat to match her white sweater. Her daughter is inexplicably looking like she is in a very bad mood, probably the result of a long photo shoot gone awry.
An ad for Michael, Michael Kors, the secondary line from the designer, shows a model sitting on a lifestyle bike kissing a man who is leaning over with his hand on her knee. It's as if she just rode up to him and he's greeting her. She wears a knit hat, jeans, and knee high boots.
The lighting of the print ad is in warm red and orange tones, suggesting a lovely fall afternoon bike ride.
The ad is a real departure for Kors. Though he does often combine a sporty image with his ads, usually it's a blond woman wearing sunglasses on a speed boat or a yacht, with a shirtless man in aviators.
Or she is shown walking on his arm presumably on their way to an Bridgehampton charity event wearing a cascading lavender dress with spiky heels.
But to show that cycling is now at the apex of fashion, the August issue of Vogue magazine ran a Beauty feature on Evelyn Stevens, the female racing phenom whose roots are in New York.
Stevens started her young adult life as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers, but was derailed from the straight and narrow career track by her sister who suggested she enter a cyclocross race in California where she was visiting. Then a friend suggested she begin training and racing on a bike in New York's Central Park, "and the 27-year-old was, to borrow a term from her former occupation, sold," wrote Robert Sullivan.
Lo and behold, she began to win one race after another. Soon thereafter she was drafted by none other than the HTC Columbia pro cycling team. It's the same team that includes in its roster such greats as Mark Cavendish, sprinter and multiple stage winner of this year's Tour de France, as well as Mark Renshaw, notable for his head-butting in this year's Tour.
We had many, many other examples to show you including this shameless pitch for the Hotvelociti dresses (full disclosure, BBB has an interest in the company), that were made to go from the bike to the cafe, and were introduced this year for spring and fall, 2010. Left is pictured Elizabeth wearing the Purple Passion dress with matching purple thermal jacket with multiple reflector strips for safe riding on city streets--and knee high boots.
Another line is coming in 2011, with sleeveless and backless styles for summer with matching jackets, and long sleeved versions for fall 2011, also with matching thermal jackets.