The German sportswear empire Adidas has carved a very 21st-century niche for itself in the luxury market, collaborating with some of the most directional and often avant-garde names in fashion, including Jeremy Scott, Rick Owens and Yohji Yamamoto. The company’s latest project, for spring/summer 2014, sees it work with British product designer Tom Dixon, known for his interiors, furniture and lighting rather than apparel. It’s another astute move; the functionality of the collection – unveiled in Milan earlier this year as “The Capsule” – combined with its restrained graphic qualities and cutting-edge way with form makes it the perfect antidote to the garish, overly fussy sportswear that dominates the high street.
Dixon worked to a tight brief to create his version of the perfect capsule wardrobe (hence the launch title). He describes it quite simply as “everything you can pack neatly in a bag for a week away” and was inspired by notions of “the Dandy Traveller” and “the Space Man”. The clothing (£140-£1,150) is largely unisex and utilitarian, and presented in prosaic style – high-tech performance wear crossed with British modernism.
The designs are purposely simple and intended to transcend seasons. You can layer up or down depending on the temperature, and if you need to shorten a hem, the items are designed so that you can simply take a pair of scissors to them.
The navy, yellow, khaki and green colour scheme and techno fabrics call to mind elements of military attire or camping gear. Indeed, you could sleep in the padded parka, which is part outerwear, part sleeping bag. Then there is a five-in-one overall design (second picture), which incorporates coat, jacket, trousers (third picture) and a skirt or shorts, and two styles of luggage – one hard (first picture) and one soft. Each is designed to contain a week’s worth of clothing, perfectly packed in zips and pockets.
While it is all certainly chic, this is also serious kit to get you through heavy-duty travelling. You could wear any of it to a private view in Paris, but it would also suit a train journey across Asia. “I got the idea for it in Milan,” says Dixon, “where I’ve often had real problems.” The designer was once stranded without a hotel room in the city during the Salone del Mobile design fair, and spent the night on a park bench.
The Adidas by Tom Dixon spring/summer 2014 collection went on sale on Friday November 15 and is a seriously limited-edition range. While there are 49 pairs available of each of the three styles of footwear (including blue shoes, fourth picture), there is only a single padded parka, and a maximum of four of each style of bag available in the UK.