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Skiwear trends for winter 2011

Hot Trends for this Season’s Skiwear checks out all the latest skiwear trends for the 2011/2012 ski season.
Make way for style!
There’s really something for everyone this winter. The skiwear collections are not only more technically functional than ever before, they’re also incredibly rich and varied. Daring and imaginative, there’s a real search for style and attitude and this year anything goes. Slope clones are out, and it’s up to you to invent your own style from the wide variety of looks, designs, fabrics, patterns and colours. It’s going to be a bold and bright winter!
Colours galore: technicolour is back!
Get ready for an explosion of colours that put the peps into winter this year. The brands have really let themselves go with some amazing colour combinations: red & violet, orange & lime green, aubergine & vivid green, pink & chick yellow will not be unusual. Norrona was one of the first to combine improbable colours and the trend caught on...
Contrast is hot, and bright colours can be combined either by mixing the top and the bottom, or with clashing coloured zips. If the overall look is retro, technicolour has never been as hot, especially if it’s in a colour blocking version with asymmetric patterns. Launched by the freestylers, the trend has now spread to all-mountain gear.
The labels have also launched mix & match colour collections with all the colours in each line designed to be combined with one another. The retailers are clapping their hands with glee!
The zipper comes out
This winter’s star is... the zip! Zippers are no longer just practical, they dress up the skiwear, stand out and make a statement. With colourful waterproof zips the norm, the bright and big-toothed Riri zip is all the rage, particularly on the freestyle slopes. As for zips with metallic teeth, they can be seen on skiwear lines from the very smartest to the most rock’n’roll.

Technical innovation award of the year goes to YKK with its Ultra Light Zipper concept: the zipper teeth are welded directly and seamlessly onto the Gore-Tex fabric thanks to a PU band that guarantees adherence and water repellence. This new type of zip combines lightness and flexibility, and is used for ultra light, technically advanced mountain and freerando gear. You can find it at Millet, Norrona and Haglöfs.
North Face signature
When the mountain comes down to the street: crossover gains ground
The labels have created stylish hi-tech clothes designed first and foremost for the mountain but that are perfectly at home on flatter ground. Versatile skiwear that can be worn on both the ski runs and in town is one of this year’s major trends and it comes in several versions.

‘My tailor is rich’ version with fitted suit-like jackets that you can find at Orage, or with discreet stripes, hounds-tooth, or flannel like the 1907 line by Rossignol or else Look, the new kid on the block...

There’s the Carhartt-style working man’s version. The workwear style is a clear winner this season with checked overshirts, sleeveless woodcutter jackets with leather shoulder insets, and imitation canvas trousers. They come in shades of beige, brown and bottle green. You can find them at Analog, Orage, O’Neill, Holden, and Peak Performance with the line designed by free-skier Henrik Windstedt.
Wild spirit at Castelbajac
Street version: long bomber jackets in pure ‘back-to-school’ style have really caught on. Teenagers love them and will wear them to class or in the snowparks. Find them at DC, O’Neill, Orage, Oakley, B. Snowboards, Analog...

Outdoor version with a heavy duty jacket that you can wear to go skiing, to stroll around town, ride a bike or hiking... It makes sense to get a wear-anywhere jacket in these belt-tightening times. You can find them at Salewa, The North Face, Mammut, Haglöfs, Scott, Patagonia, Bergans of Norway...
Denim fabrics: the winter star
For another hot trend in versatile clothes with an urban look, you can’t ignore denim. These waterproof and breathable jeans are incredibly like the real thing. At Bogner for instance, the impressive illusion is created by a jeans photo print on polyester and stretch fabrics. Analog also uses sublimation to make astonishingly realistic ‘fake’ jeans. The technically advanced denim style can also be seen at Oakley, B. Snowboards, L1ta, L1, Capp3l, Holden, 886...
Absolutely bluffing
Making a good impression
There’s been so much print around that it feels like an overdose: too much print kills off print! But it’s still around and can be seen in different forms this winter. You can find it as an all-over pattern, discreetly placed or as asymmetrical patchwork. The patterns are often oversize graphics like at Oxbow, or else dreamlike and surreal like at Roxy or Quiksilver.

There are still plenty of versions of check around, from plaid to pixel, loud, big and small...
Stripes are apparently eternal and several brands feature them this season.
Women will also be sporting plenty of polka dots on the slopes this year.
Ladies who love fur but don’t want to vex BB will whoop with joy at the arrival of a remarkable and ultra-realistic fabric developed by the Taiwanese manufacturer, Hyperbola. The incredibly true-to-life fake fur is achieved with a photo print of Siberian rabbit fur reproduced on a 3-layer laminate surface: look for it at Peak Performance. For men, Hyperbola has produced a truly streetwise ‘brickwall’ print for great city camouflage. Could photo print be the hit of the 12/13 season?
The competitive spirit versus vintage chic
Keen carving fans will note the return of the racing trend with some degree of satisfaction. Some brands, like Rossignol with its World Cup line, as well as Vuarnet and Icepeak, have reinterpreted the sports codes and dug into the world of 1950s to 1970s competition to come up with highly contrasting looks featuring conspicuous markings, patches, piping and other bright colours for a classic but aggressive look. In contrast, the chic, slightly vintage, less-is-more look comes back winter after winter and is with us once again this year. An ode to elegance with well-cut fits, sculpted bodies with waist-cinching belted jackets and the eternal stretch ski pants for women, you’ll find this style at Henri Duvillard by Degré 7, Fusalp, Rossignol 1907, Vuarnet... Some labels have gone for glamour by combining ready-to-wear dress codes with technically advanced skiwear. Jean-Charles de Castelbajac is unquestionably a past master of this art with the collections he’s been signing for the last 11 years in collaboration with Rossignol. When ski goes haute couture, it flaunts leather, fur, tulle, Swarovski glitter, lurex and shiny fabrics...
Total look Rossignol
This winter has seen an innovation as exciting as Gore-Tex and the first hi-tech waterproof-breathable clothes: ultra-breathability has now hit the stores with membranes that are twice as breathable on average (40,000 m2/g/24h) as the already high standard of 20,000m2/g/24h. No fewer than three manufacturers have worked on their fabric’s breathability to the joy and comfort of freerando fans, hikers and all skiers who sweat a lot. Gore, the inventor of microporous membrane, has just brought out the new Gore-Tex® Active Shell fabric, already adopted by fifteen labels including Millet, Haglöfs, Norrona, The North Face, Peak Performance and Mountain Equipment. At the same time, Polartech, the American inventor of polar fabrics, has created Neoshell, the first waterproof soft shell that resists the pressure of a 10,000 Schmerber water column. While the soft shell is famous for its high breathability, it was not especially waterproof before. Finally, the Japanese firm, Toray, has created Dermizax NX, a fabric that’s twice as breathable. It has been adopted by two brands with exclusive rights: Bergans of Norway and Kjus.
Active Shell 3 layers Gore-Tex® by Millet
Keeping warm
At the other end of the spectrum to the issue of breathability is the eternal down jacket. Filled with goose or duck down, shiny or not, they’re absolute cocoons and you can’t beat them for warmth. Lighter versions are very popular this season; narrow-baffled and easily compressible, you can slip them into your backpack in case you get cold, or else wear them as a second layer under your waterproof-breathable jacket. All the labels have them, from Patagonia to Millet and The North Face. New this year, you can find taped baffles at Eider, or a jacket that doesn’t look like a puffer at Helly Hansen as the baffles have been moved to the inside!
To stay warm, the brands are increasingly using synthetic insulation like Primaloft or Thinsulate padding, which has an excellent weight-to-warmth ratio and dries really quickly, unlike down. If you feel the cold easily, get the new Columbia jacket featuring Omni-heat Electric technology, in other words electric-powered heating integrated in the lining (a technology that Columbia also applies to gloves and boots).
Skiing for the future: eco-design is developing fast
Patagonia first launched its eco-friendly designs based on organic cotton in 1996. Since then, the eco-friendly leader has made considerable progress, using recycled plastic bottles to produce sustainable polar fabrics and technically advanced polyester skiwear. Polyester, nylon and polyamide are synthetic fibres made from crude oil, a non renewable resource, and so it was urgent to find a way to recycle these synthetic fibres. It’s now happening for polyester and is just beginning for polyamide...
Apart from Patagonia, other good eco-designers include Picture, the little newcomer whose second collection uses fabric remnants to pad its jackets, or giants like Quiksilver, which has made a real effort with the Oakley product line.
Bio-Ceramic membrane by Picture
To each his fit (or cut!)
This article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning cut or fit. This winter, everything goes, with a wide range of fits, and we’re all in favour of it. Most of the big names have at least five trousers fits on offer, including baggy, standard, slim, carrot, and even skinny...
Freestylers go oversize, with long jackets and even longer t-shirts that hang below the jacket, combined with extra large pants that drop very low over the hips or even fall under the bum! This group might also adopt a slim and simple style with tight but not clingy trousers, or so-the called carrot fit with a baggy crotch that's worn tight from the knee down. Freeriders will go for the loose cut, while carvers will prefer the so-called regular cut, in other words, not too loose and not too tight. The one-piece (more modern than an all-in-one!) is still around and really practical for powder enthusiasts. Women will also be seen skimming the slopes wearing belted jackets and figure-hugging stretch ski pants.
Cool attitude at Protest
To complete this article, suggests you read our advice on ski clothing.
Text and pictures: Sandra Stavo-Debauge
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