Earlier this week I had the chance to have a look at and (most importantly) try on items from the brand new NikeLab x Olivier Rousteing: Football Nouveau collection. It’s dropping next week on the second of June and I was very excited to have a preview before it went on sale. The NikeLab store in Shoreditch welcomed me in with open arms (quite literary, the members of staff there are lovely – more on that later). I was able to try items from the men’s and women’s collection, pre-order if I wanted to, and my thoughts on the pieces I tried are below.
When I reached the store there was another appointment going on which overran. This family kept becoming larger and larger as more and more people started arriving to try on the collection. It was annoying, yes, but the members of staff were so lovely – I was plied with drinks and conversation and relatively happy to wait. When it was eventually my turn I was taken into a cordoned off room full of mirrors and most importantly, the collection consisting of clothing and shoes.
I am not a footballer and I haven’t played football in a long, long time. I am a runner and I looked at the collection through a runner’s eyes. I think it’s so important for me to mention that because my opinions about it are based on their functionality as running garments, not football garments. This is why when I went in, the shoes held no interest for me at all. For all you footballers out there, I am sorry I didn’t try them on or write about them but I genuinely would have had no idea where to even begin other than saying ‘they are pretty’ and ‘I can’t run in them’ which would have helped absolutely no one.
Fanta was the amazing woman who took me through the whole collection. I could instantly tell that clothing and design and fashion were Fanta’s passions. She explained every garment to me and gave me her honest opinion on them and I was very grateful for this. It would have been so easy for her to say she loved everything but by telling me her truth we were able to have a very interesting discussion on each piece from it’s cut and style, to the fabrics used, and potential functionality of the clothes.
I have been to a fair few places where the member’s of staff couldn’t give a toss about what they were trying to sell and having someone who not only knew what they were talking about but actually enjoyed talking about it was a wonderful change. I just wanted to say this because complaining about bad customer service is easy but writing about excellent experiences? Doesn’t happen all that often and it should.
Right, not onto the clothes!
NikeLab N98 Jacket x OR
This jacket was by far Fanta’s favourite piece of clothing. She loved it and couldn’t wait for the second of June because then she would be able to wear it.
The classic N98 Jacket has been transformed to reinvent the off-pitch look of football. Both the men’s and women’s versions feature gold framing and an embroidered woven crest placed over the heart, a traditional location for football crests. I tried on the men’s and women’s jackets and a feature of the women’s is that it can also be worn as a dress.
I shall start with the women’s. Firstly the fabric is heavy and luxurious. Different textures have been used and i am someone who loves details and touches like that. The length is wonderful however as a short women I cannot imagine what it would be like for a taller woman. If you do choose to wear it as a dress it would be a very short dress!
When unzipped I think the jacket falls beautifully, framing my body. The gold highlights on the shades of black draw attention to it and really do cream ‘luxury item, don’t touch because I spent a fortune on this’. Initially I tried on an XS in this jacket and when I zipped it up I was so conscious of how hard it was for me to breath in it. Once I’d swapped it for a S I could see and admire it’s beauty rather than worry about inhaling. I know I mentioned how short it would be for taller women but I do think it is made for taller people. You can see in the pictures the amount of gathering by my wrists. Usually I don’t mind things like that but this jacket is expensive and a true luxury item. I also like eating and in this I wouldn’t be doing much of that unless I leave it unzipped.
Now onto the men’s jacket. I was instantly more comfortable in this. It looked like a traditional jacket rather than a body-con dress. I would see myself wearing it far more often to and from the gym or run clubs and even while running, though only for short runs as it is quite a heavy and therefore warm jacket. The pockets are fully zipped (and in the women’s jackets) and I love that. They were heavy and sturdy and as soon as I opened one I thought ‘The Mothership would approve’. And she would because I didn’t see them breaking any time soon.
This men’s jacket was something I really, really wanted but which I didn’t get. When Fanta found the price for me I took it off and put it back sharply. At £345 I would only be buying it if I planned to never take it off and then be cremated in it.
NikeLab Crop Top x OR
I have been in love with crop tops since I was a child in the 90s. I wasn’t allowed to buy and wear them then but now I am all grown up and really, really want to. This one has a massive gold Swoosh running through the chest with gold trimming the aglets and drawcord stoppers. I know I have already used the word luxurious a lot in this post but that’s what this crop top is. It’s made up of a blend of mesh, ribbing, and kit fabications also making it very very comfortable. So much so that I didn’t want to take it off.
I would wear this to the gym and while running (when it’s much, much warmer). Fanta also talked about the layering options and I could feel my imagination firing up with all the possibilities. Out of all the items I tried this was the one I pre-ordered and the one I could see myself wearing often and with confidence.
NikeLab Track Pants x OR
Side note: pants are knickers and these are bottoms or trousers. But my sheer Britishness causes me to digress.
These track bottoms have been inspired by traditional football training bottoms and feature a modern tapered fit. there are zips are the bottom cuffs, allowing for styling options and it is constructed in a blend of mesh and knit fabrics giving it weight and comfort. It also has gold trims on the zips, aglets, and drawcord stoppers.
I really, really liked these but I think the weight and thickness of them don’t make them the perfect spring/summer item of clothing. I can only imagine how much I would sweat in them. I also don’t think they fit me how Olivier Rousteing would have liked and on various parts of my legs fit more like leggings than track bottoms.
NikeLab Shorts x OR
Like every other item in this collection these shorts also have gold trim on the zips, aglets, and drawcord stoppers. The shorts feature ribbing and lux structured knit fabrics which all deliver comfort. The pockets have mesh eyelets which enhance breathability.
I wanted to add these men’s shorts to my pre-order very, very badly. I think there is a problem with so many shorts designed for women and it’s a simple issue – the designers don’t understand or care that butt cheeks don’t always need to hang out. With these there definitely isn’t that issue BUT they didn’t fit me properly. They only came in men’s sizes and I didn’t like how much I had to tighten the drawcord in order to have them stay up. Olivier Rousteing please design women’s shorts which are of a similar length and style, please, please! When I hung these back up I felt quite sad – not only were they a wonderful length, the pockets had zips and I don’t think anyone understand how wonderful zipped pockets are (except maybe The Mothership).
My main criticism with this collection is that it seems to be going on sale in the wrong season. The garments are thick and heavy and very warm and would definitely be more suited for when it starts getting cooler. But with Euro 2016 I am pretty sure waiting wasn’t an option. And this isn’t to say I can’t see why this collection is going to be so popular – I can. Not only is it beautiful it allows me (and so many other people) to access high fashion without being intimidated. Sport makes me feel comfortable and these clothes do too. You almost forget that they are designed by Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing because the are made to be sweated in and it’s hard to be intimidated by something which will soon be drenched in perspiration.
As I said the collection goes on sale on the second of June, next week Thursday. Thank you very much Nike for giving me the chance to see and try on the collection early!