Here’s a refreshing change of pace: a Valentine’s Day lingerie collection that avoids all the usual clichés of the occasion. No hearts, no flowers, no ribbons or bows and precious little pink.
Free People is the latest fashion lifestyle brand to stake a claim in the trendy-but-crowded activewear market. But the launch this month of its FP Movement collection begs the question: Is Free People serious about women’s fitness, or just helping them look good?
The boho cousin of Urban Outfitters covers a lot of ground in its ambitious FP Movement range, a grab-bag of apparel and accessories organized into three ‘shops’ or categories — ballet, yoga and surfing.
At first glance, that might seem like a random grouping, but all three activities are consistent with Free People‘s tribal approach to fashion for twenty-somethings: they’re expressive, individualistic endeavors supported by communities of like-minded devotees, and best performed by youthful, limber bodies. They’re also very style-driven activities that lend themselves to the kind of colorful, layered ensembles that are Free People‘s signature.
The result here is a collection that will appeal less to the peak performance crowd than the faux fitness tribe — those fashionistas who want to share in the sportswear style revolution without, you know, having to work up much of a sweat.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of useful pieces here. Many items in the big FP Movement catalogue (specifically, the leggings, leotards and yoga bras) would be welcome at your next low-impact workout.
But others are meant for show only. For example, the Giselle wrap and skirted Pirouette sweatpants (above) look fabulous, but you won’t see too many of them in barre class — there’s just too much going on in these pieces to make them practical.
At times it seems like it’s not so much a fitness-driven lifestyle being promoted here as a fantasy version of one. Why else would you need a lace “dance shrug” or the beautiful but slightly ridiculous long-legged stretch lace romper?
This problem is most obvious in the ballet offerings. The FP Movement lookbook includes numerous images of dance models en pointe or working on their jeté, and lots of closeups of ballet shoes. But, significantly, the collection includes two ballet shoe options, neither of which is suitable for actual use. Instead, you get a hand-crafted ballet-inspired slipper that comes with a warning to NOT use it for actual dancing (!), and some really lovely hand-painted vintage shoes (above) that are only meant to hang on a wall.
Free People says its Movement line was “inspired by movement of all kinds”, but it notably excludes running, tennis, cycling, crossfit, beach volleyball and just about every other kind of high-output fitness activity imaginable. That’s because it’s not really a performance athletics line, but a fashion collection for active young dreamers. You won’t find a pair of high-end running shoes in this collection, but you can buy a designer surfboard bag to go along with your $3,000 custom Free People surfboard.
There’s nothing wrong with Free People‘s approach, as long as consumers know what they’re really buying. These days, a lot of fashion brands are piggybacking on the fashion activewear movement by offering cheaper goods that look great but can’t take the punishment of a serious workout.
For its part, Free People is trying to find a middle ground between fashion and physical activity, while leaving the serious performance gear to other brands.
Best Bets: The yoga line is the best part of this collection, so try the Geo Insert yoga shorts ($48) or Hatha crop leggings ($78).
These days it seems like half of North America (the frozen half) is suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Yes, it’s a thing: the depressive state induced by shorter winter days, a lack of exposure to sunlight, slush-frozen toes, and the horrific realization that perhaps spring is never coming back and the next ice age has, in fact, already begun.
Well, as they like to say in California without a hint of irony, everybody just chill.
This winter will end one day and before you know it you’ll be thumbing to Coachella wearing little more than a few layered pieces from Free People‘s latest catalogue.
Everyone’s favorite boho label knows how we’re all feeling at this time of year, and last week released a sunny new lookbook for its Intimately Free People lingerie collection.
Titled ‘At First Light’, it features blonde model Martha Hunt basking in the morning sun streaming in through the windows of a very cozy apartment. Shot by David Bellemere, the series oozes comfort and warmth, as Martha poses in a variety of cotton, lace and crocheted pieces from Free People‘s large selection of soft intimates.
Interestingly, Free People is one of a number of lingerie sellers this year who are actively encouraging their customers to start showing off their undies in public.
The lingerie-as-outerwear idea is pretty mainstream by now, and you’d think Free People‘s target market of carefree young hipsters wouldn’t need much persuading. Still, the company last month published a new trends edit on its website called ‘Bare A Bit More’ that shows how to layer outerwear looks in a way that make best use of FP’s bras, tanks and crop tops.
This is actually a pretty useful public service, especially for younger girls who might not yet have the confidence to push these boundaries. If you’re still a bit nervous about baring yourself in public, FP also offers this blog post that includes photos and style tips to show you how to pull off the whole public exposure thing without looking like a casting reject from Girls.
Now, here’s the rest of Free People‘s lovely ‘At First Light’:
This is always a big week for Free People as festival season kicks into high gear and fans of the boho chic label start shedding layers as a matter of principle.
And if you haven’t yet finalized your outfit for Bonnaroo this weekend, there’s plenty of good news from Free People, which has expanded its intimates line and is promising 30% more styles in their 35 boutiques across the country.
It’s part of a big push over the past year to increase the brand’s profile as a go-to source for soft layering pieces — even if FP’s selection of bandeaus, crop tops, rompers and the like stretches the definition of what constitutes a lingerie collection.
Intimately Free People is all about casual comfort — at home, on a café patio or in your favorite mosh pit — and few brands have captured the effortless randomness of hippie style more effectively.
The Philly-based cousin of Urban Outfitters is also making a big marketing push for its intimates collection, and hired UK wild child Daisy Lowe to model its new goods. The Alison Williams lookalike isn’t a household name in the U.S. but the campaign will be popular in Britain, where FP launched its first international webshop last year (and where Daisy is a familiar figure in the tabloids).
(For trivia hounds, Daisy’s mom Pearl Lowe was a former model for Agent Provocateur, while dad Gavin Rossdale eventually settled down with another inner-outerwear icon, Gwen Stefani).
The best part of FP’s new push into the lingerie market is that it comes with another wonderful, romantic video (above), the second in what Free People says will be a continuing series.
‘The Neighbor’ is another urban love story along the lines of last winter’s ‘Roshambo‘ and features Daisy and Jacques Naude as neighbors who take forever to hook up. The catalyst, of course, turns out to be Daisy’s smashing FP undies.
Here are some more shots from the latest Free People campaign.
Few fashion retailers do as good a job blending their clothing and underwear collections as Free People.
The trendy boho chic label’s FP Intimately lingerie range has always complemented its streetwear pieces beautifully: artsy prints and faux vintage styles meant to work as layering items, and perfect for a new generation of innerwear-outerwear exhibitionists. (This is the label, after all, that turned bike shorts into a fashion lingerie staple!)
So it makes a whole heap of sense that Free People has decided to dramatically boost its lingerie offerings and give its FP Intimately line the serious profile it deserves.
FP’s new collection will offer no fewer than 70 new styles — a 40% increase over what’s available on the Free People webshop today.
It will include a mix of FP branded items alongside up-and-coming boutique labels like Zinke, Undrest, Beautiful Bottoms, Jenna Leigh, One Teaspoon and Woo Under.
The collection is grouped into three themes — Cool Girl, Sexy Girl and Pretty Girl — but the Free People aesthetic is evident throughout. Expect a broad selection of bandeaus, bra crop-tops, tanks, bodysuits, boy shorts and underwear sets, all in very soft, casual silhouettes. This is no-stress gear for stylish but laid-back girls.
To kick off the newly expanded line, Free People will also launch an interactive lookbook that includes styling tips, layering ideas and more suggestions for assembling your summer wardrobe.
The new collection debuts on Monday, April 16 on the Free People website. That makes it too late for all you last-minute Coachella shoppers but sets the stage for the rest of 2012’s outdoor festival season to come.
While you’re waiting for the launch, here’s a few images from the new FP Intimately to get you excited.