While luluelmon stretches and compresses its infamous yoga pants, Athleta is prepping for its first designer collaboration, and it’s a good one. Derek Lam brings his modern, urban aesthetic to an exclusive collection of performance and post-workout apparel that makes it clear the “athleisure” trend is no where near ready to surrender to wool trousers. It’s a bold move for the Gap Inc.-owned Athleta, which has been seen as the more approachable and moderate of the major women’s athletic wear chains.
The collection takes Athleta to higher price points and edgier looks: $398 black leather jogging pants; $228 blue and gray color blocked cashmere sweaters. “Versatile clothing with elevated style that takes…the modern woman…throughout the day,” is how Athleta’s president Nancy Green describes Derek Lam 10 Crosby for Athleta. The collection does include some more typical Athleta pieces in performance fabrics like seamless long sleeve tops, tanks and capris. But the standouts are signature Lam: a funnel neck jacket, mid-calf leather coats and custom designed New Balance sneakers—all black, of course.
The Derek Lam collection launches Wednesday, Sept. 9 online and in select Athleta stores, including 50th & France and Mall of America in the Twin Cities. Both stores are throwing launch parties from 6 to 8 p.m. (Join me if you can—I'll be at the Derek Lam Launch Party at Athleta Mall of America from 6 to 8 p.m....celebrating fashion that's both cool and comfortable, and my birthday!)