Stylish basketball shorts, strappy equestrian helmets and ball caps, skeletal shoulder pads, steel-cage corsets, box-shaped face masks and sandal-like running shoes …
The S/S 2014 Sport collection from Brooklyn’s Chromat Garments is so far outside the box that you have to remind yourself this is still primarily a lingerie and swimwear label.
The buzzy, barrier-smashing Chromat unveiled its new collections during New York Fashion Week, and these pieces won’t reach stores until early next year.
But make no mistake: this wildly inventive and ambitious team is out to change our perception of what underwear looks like, where and when it should be worn, and how lingerie brands are supposed to behave.
The new collection is called Mathletes and, according to Chromat, was inspired by competitive mathematics and “the robotic athleticism and intellectual mastery of NASA astronauts.”
The result is a combination of sleek, very fashion-forward activewear garments that resemble team uniforms for some kind of futuristic sport. The apparel pieces are paired with truly outrageous, statement-making (and often humorous) accessories like the Cube Crown or Cage Visor, along with two new footwear styles that somehow manage to convey the distinctive Chromat aesthetic. (There’s also a companion swimwear collection filled with strappy, geometric cutout looks.)
Mathletes represents an exponential leap upward for Chromat, which has so far made its name with structural high-concept pieces and which expands its industry profile and customer base with each new collection.
Although the Mathletes range will grab lots of attention for those jaw-dropping (and somewhat impractical) masks and headpieces, the multi-functional mesh-and-Lycra base layers are extremely wearable and will earn heavy rotation in many women’s wardrobes.
Mathletes is also bound to become widely used by magazine directors and fashion stylists who hunger for innovation and fresh ideas. Chromat has already dressed Beyonce, Madonna and Nicki Minaj, so it’s a cinch that some of these pieces will show up on concert stages and red carpets, too.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this exciting collection is Chromat‘s decision to plaster its brand name all over its garments. It’s a strategy borrowed from the ubiquitous waistband logos on men’s underwear and sport short, but there’s a lot more than just vanity or marketing involved here.
It’s a big incentive for early adopters who want to broadcast their brand allegiance to one of the fashion world’s rising stars, and it will create a sense of community around Team Chromat — the same way a souvenir sports jersey identifies and unites its team’s followers.
More importantly, adding a signature to its creations suggests Chromat is planting its flag and laying claim to new territory in American fashion, daring others to follow.
Here’s a look at some of its SS14 Mathletes Sport collection. Take a deep breath, and proceed.