Glamour and style return to the slopes this season
By Ellen Gray
Luxury is the operative word on the slopes this winter. Fashion-forward skiers will no doubt thrill to see the return of glamour, sophistication and high style, as skiwear takes a bow to both designer street looks and technical function.
Gone are the days when baggy pants and long jackets, often a staple of snowboard enthusiasts, ruled the slopes. Replacing the look are form-fitting jackets, adorned with fur, metallic finishes and jewel tones, paired with functional stretch pants first introduced by Bogner in the 1950s. In fact, when it comes to luxury, skiwear designers such as Bogner, Toni Sailer and Skea rule the day, with beautiful collections that are as eye-catching asthey are versatile.
ML Furs, a highly respected boutique in Denver’s chic Cherry Creek North, is the exclusive purveyor of the Bogner brand. The marriage of the upscale boutique with the industry’s most-respected skiwear designer is indeed a match made in heaven. As you head to one of Colorado’s fabulous resorts this winter, you’ll want to tackle the slopes in style, and the season’s beautiful collection will show off your moves both on and off the slopes.
Many of the pieces that will mark the slopes this season feature elements of fur. According to ML Furs, it’s runway on the slopes, and Bogner’s Fire + Ice collection is a prime example. Drawing inspiration from motor racing sports and the iconic style of Steve McQueen, the designs are incredibly intricate, using materials and threads that can take as long as 30 hours to assemble. The Fire + Ice line is pure street style, and highlights why the Bogner name remains the uncontested leader in ski fashion.
“Bogner Sport, the most sought-after ski brand worldwide, not only combines fashion and function, each piece is a work of art, a collector’s item, from the illustrious one-pieces, jackets and helmets, to the transitional mid and base layers that can be worn all year while hiking, biking or even golfing. Their brand boasts an aura of exclusivity, according to Ms. Gross of ML Furs.
Sleek fit rules the day, and established designers bring color and glamour to the season. Sophisticated skiwear transitions easily from slopestyle to après ski, with colors and fabrics that meld perfectly with runway fashion. In addition to a beautiful collection featuring contemporary styling, fabrics and design, skiing legend Toni Sailer is showcasing a smaller, limited line inspired by the “black blitz from Kitz,” a predominantly black collection that features luxurious materials including leather, lambskin and fur. Kitzbüehl, Austria being one of the most famous, demanding downhill’s in the world, often boasting the Men’s World Cup. Toni Sailer’s elegant women’s collection is both athletic and versatile, featuring four-way stretch material with a shiny, satin finish. Emphasizing femininity, the outfits showcase an elegant, athletic silhouette, including a stunning jumpsuitincorporating a blouson jacket.
Bogner, long recognized as the fashion leader in beautiful skiwear, once again delivers a fabulous lineup, with great looks that incorporate modern and biker black-and-whites, navy/denim and red-white-and-blue patriotic themes for the 2018 Olympic Games. Also big this year are eclectic metallics with gold and violet ash straight from the runway, bright pinks and darker mocha tones. Much of the Bogner Women’s line draws inspiration from the urban cowboy trend, merging the Bogner heritage of traditional ski and active sportswear in a relaxed and comfortable style.
Skea, another Colorado favorite, pushes the limits of function and style in this season’s collection featuring technical fabrics, customized trims, gorgeous prints and fashionable silhouettes. Skea designer and owner Diane Boyer, a Vail, Colorado resident and former freestyle skiing champion, understands what it takes to combine performance and high style. The designer’s line appeals to women of all ages, and the clothing works equally well in the big city or on the slopes of Vail. This season’s lineup features fun colors and textures, reflective and shiny touches, and even sequins on both base and mid layers. Look for beautiful accessories to complement the ensemble.
Just Fur Fun
At the end of an epic ski day, there’s an art to looking great when you come off the slopes. There are so many options, so we’ve narrowed down the field to help you select what to wear, whether on a ski holiday in the mountains or elsewhere in Colorado. To help us develop a template for winter après ski fashion, we turned to the experts at ML Furs, who have helped visitors from across the globe to look their cold-weather best.
The family-owned business works with national and international brands, and prides itself on remaining current and contemporary. A keen sense of understanding their customers and what they need is key to the company’s success since its humble beginnings in 1987. With a finger on the pulse of runway fashion, ML Furs caters to modern women who desire high-end outerwear or skiwear for the coming season. This season, the boutique is awash in beautiful style, including
stunning fur, vivid color, denim, navy and metallic.
Forget the image of your grandmother’s fur coat, and look to celebrities and fashion models who more and more are incorporating elements of fur into their everyday wardrobe. Whether the goal is function or fashion – or a combination of the two, elements of fur are everywhere, and are being produced in highly regulated operations worldwide. The furs of today are very lightweight, and in many instances, are so highly styled that it takes a closer look to understand they are indeed the real deal. A huge seller at ML Furs is a reversible, easy-to-wear coat that is fur on one side and water-repellant taffeta or silk on the other. The coat can be worn with pants or a dress, and is the epitome of style and function. So just who is buying these pieces? “If you think back to the days when Sex and the City was on television, you’ll recall that fur was front and center in every episode. They all wore fur, and it was considered the height of fashion,” ML Furs Ms. Gross says. “Today it’s less about luxury and more about everyday style.”
The fur industry is a huge employer around the world, from Africa to Scandinavia and China. The industry employs millions of workers, and is a $15 billion industry worldwide. The U.S. fur industry represents about 10 percent of that number, so imports are a major factor in the business. The majority of skins are sourced in the United States, Denmark, Finland and Russia, all from places that are 100-percent regulated and monitored. “This industry is better regulated than any other,” Mr. Gross says. “You’re not going to find any leopard, or any endangered species. If they’re on the endangered or protected list, they are protected.”
When it comes to this type of apparel, each piece is a true work of art, from the dyeing process to matching up each piece for color and design. The pieces are put together by artisans, and represent hours of work and expertise. This season, designers closely follow the rest of the fashion world, featuring monochromatic jewel tones, muted earth tone palettes from Michael Kors, modern classics from Zac Posen, textures, color, camo, navy, horizontals, reversible, lightweight garments including sweatshirts, hoodies, ponchos, and sheared designs.
With options such as these it’s impossible not to look good. “If you aren’t a skier, we show you how to look good off-piste in some of our longer down garments with fur trim from Bogner, M. Miller and Guy LaRoche,” Ms. Gross says. And fear not, any contemporary fur coat will style well while sipping on a hot toddy! Looking for stocking stuffers or just a touch of fur? ML Furs carries a vast selection of accessories, including the locally distributed Hestra luxury brand dress and ski gloves for both men and women.
Of course, looking hot on the slopes is not just a woman’s prerogative. Highend designers pay homage to men, with high-tech fabrics, exquisite workmanship and sporty styles. Toni Sailer’s limited Montgomery jacket is a work of art, featuring details from hydrophobic reindeer nubuck, carbon zippers and lasered carbon logos. Add a hood, lined with Tuscan lambskin, and lightweight yet ultra-warm Francis ski pants, and this is a standout on the mountain.
Ultimately, the return of the stretch pant is what sums up the style stories.When Maria Bogner began experimenting with the sexy stretch pant material in 1952, little did she know that her innovation would turn the world of ski fashion upside down. Initially a favorite of leggy models, including Aspen’s Monica Brown and Stein Eriksen, the pants sold for a pricey $40 but were hugely popular. Racers immediately loved the new material, both for their sleek look and their aerodynamic qualities which meant faster times. The stretch pant became a permanent fashion craze, and even prompted ski legend Warren Miller to write, “I credit the growth of skiing during those years (the ‘50s and ‘60s) to Maria Bogner and her invention of stretch ski pants. Let’s face it, sex sells. Anyone who was in reasonable shape could put on a pair of her stretch pants and look as sleek and attractive as someone in a James Bond movie.”
Maria Bogner, the wife of Bogner founder Willy Bogner, designed skiwear until the 1970s, when her sons Michael and Willy Jr. took the helm. Willy Jr. continues to run the company, and his wife Sonia works on the design side.
ML Furs, 263 Josephine in Cherry Creek North MLFurs.com
ML Furs, 263 Josephine in Cherry Creek North MLFurs.com
ML Furs, 263 Josephine in CherryCreek North MLFurs.com
Christy Sports, Multiple locations in Colorado ChristySports.com