Nike x Sacai capsule collection aims to make sportswear more feminine
Sports brand Nike has collaborated with Japanese fashion studio Sacai to launch a capsule collection of women's performance sportswear that incorporates pleats and lace (+ slideshow).
Sacai founder Chitose Abe used references from Nike's archives of running, tennis and American football apparel to create the eight-piece collection.
Working with designers from the NikeLab research team, she added pleats and lace to the heritage sportswear garments. Nike said the aim was to create "feminine" pieces that retained their function as exercise gear.
"The idea of functionality is important to me, as is fabric innovation, which has always been at the heart of Sacai," said Abe. "For me, Nike is an original icon with performance and innovation at its core."
The designer added plissé sections to the back of the brand's Windrunner jackets, pleating Nike's technical fabric for the first time.
Incorporating Abe's signature panelling, alternate strips of nylon "ripstop" fabric and mesh material are used to create volume at the back of the colourful windproof jackets.
Also incorporated into skirts in matching hues, the pleats flare outward when the wearer moves quickly.
Nike's three-layered cotton-blend Tech Fleece material has been cut into five styles including a range of tops with crew necklines and a pair of sweatpants.
Sections of the back of grey-marl sweatshirts have been removed and replaced with mesh fabric hemmed using a lace developed by Nike and Sacai.
An elongated version of the top that includes an opaque back rather than mesh is worn like a dress, while a hooded sweatshirt features a ruffled peplum detail.
The lace is used to fill the gaps in printed T-shirts that are slashed vertically down the front.
"Abe has a fluidity and strength to her work that we feel is perfectly encapsulated within this collection," said Nike Sportswear creative director Kurt Parker. "The garments come to life as the wearer walks and moves, expressing both beauty and strength. We feel it's a perfect marriage between sport and style."
Abe also reinterpreted the silhouette of Nike's Air Max trainer into a slip-on leather shoe with an elasticated tongue.
Colours for the footwear include black, navy, grey, white and Nike's signature "volt" luminous green, all used in different paired combinations.
The hue used for the sole is extended halfway up the side of the shoes to create the illusion of a wedge.
The Nike x Sacai spring collection will be available at NikeLab stores in New York, London, Paris, Milan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai from 19 March, as well as the NikeLab website and stores including London's Dover Street Market and Paris' Colette.
The range will launch in Japan on 25 March. Additional pieces and colours for the summer collection will go on sale in June.