Whether it’s high fashion or high performance, the new tennis apparel is hitting all the right notes for your customers.
In 2006, tennis apparel borrows concepts from the fashion world while promoting comfort, performance, and active cross-over styles that effortlessly move from on-court to off-court. Accessory pieces extend the lines for added versatility and endless merchandising possibilities. Moisture-wicking, antimicrobial fabrics make use of vibrant colors, details, and patterns, which translates into outfits for literally every body.
Haute couture has made the leap into tennis this year with Stella McCartney’s high-style collaboration with Adidas. Multi-layered dresses and tanks coordinated with mix-and-match micro-short skirts, fitted polo shirts, and longer tennis short tights perform double duty as tenniswear and fashion statement. The line is augmented by coordinating shoes, crop jackets, and accessories and geared to the late teens through 20s set.
New Balance’s performance-oriented fashions for men and women are fabricated with UV protection materials, along with moisture-wicking capabilities. The mens’ Zip Polo and Tennis Crew’s stretch mesh inserts and back vents offer breathability. The women’s Circuit Top and Skirt emphasize a sleek athletic silhouette complimented by knit details on the V-neck and side seam of the skirt.
Promoting “sport couture,” Fila continues to be fashion forward, combining all the technical aspects of tenniswear (performance, moisture-management, UV protection, and antimicrobial properties) with elements from the fashion world. Purples and pinks for women, blues in the men’s line, and greens overall, combined with the textures of jerseys and ribbing emphasize the crossover from fashion into tennis and activewear. Fila identifies its 30-to-50-year-old demographic as affluent, educated, and well-rounded, for whom sport is their identity.
LBH & Lily’s
Lily’s and LBH again reflect the diversity of high-tech fabrics combined with the look of the moment. With Lily’s having a slightly fuller fit and LBH promoting a more athletic cut, both lines offer a flattering fit for everyone. Traditional patterns make a comeback with an updated twist, like a drop-waisted pleated skirt or skort/split skirt. Lots of color — purples, blue-greens, reds, limes, hot pinks, and graphite — mix with geometric patterns along with textures (piques, tone on tone, jacquards) to create a diversity of style and design. Again, additional activewear pieces extend the lines for more versatility.
Kaelin & Diadora
Kaelin, a division of Diadora America Inc., introduces a new line each month in ‘06, in a variety of patterns and colorways. Creative prints, soft hues, and vibrant colors like yellows, blues, and limes top its tennis fashions, which extend into team outfits and a full line of menswear. Technical Meryl fabrics afford flexibility, breathability, and moisture-wicking and stay fresh-looking for matches and beyond. Diadora’s emphasis on technical wear and younger team wear are still going strong and are its biggest market. Limes and soft pinks make a strong showing.
New collections for Lejay feature the crossover look so hot right now, ranging from its hip and trendy pieces for the teen to 35-year-old age group (Heartbeat collection) to the more mainstream country-club look. Unique paisleys and prints feature bright pinks and grass greens, corals, deep purple, oranges, and yellows. Lejay incorporates LeDry moisture management fabric with Meryl high-end nylon, for fashion statements that translate well on and off the court.
Bälle de Mätch
Waving its “courtwear everywhere” banner proudly, Bälle de Mätch emphasizes the crossover from tennis, to beach, to fitness, and beyond. Bälle has expanded its women’s collection for spring with broader mix-and-match options, using pink as one of its focal points. With eight collections, varied fits for athletic and more conservative types, Bälle has expanded its demographic and continues to provide new lines of kids’ and men’s tenniswear. Team tennis is big for Bälle due to broad selections and a no-wait shipping and stocking capability.
Bollé makes a splash this year with a new line of undergarments tagged “Barely Bollé.” These functional, streamlined bike shorts, panties, sport bras, and seamless tank tops can be layered under Bollé’s striking graphic prints, which reflect trendy details like embroidery, hardware, and creative trims. Retro designs featuring drop-waist pleated skirts and faux pleats are incorporated into the spring and summer fashion groups; and shorts within shorts are introduced for the first time in the team collections. Hot color combos include pink with white and black; yellow with white and navy, and cucumber green with black and white. Bollé’s fashion fits are moderately cut, appealing to a slightly older demographic.
See all articles by Cynthia Sherman
About the Author
Cynthia Sherman is a contributing editor for RSI magazine.