The last time I wore a tracksuit top – select navy blue with the classic zip-up funnel-neck culmination – was circa the mid-90s. Flashback: I’m in a pub in my small home town, predilection (probably a bit drunkenly) against a jukebox, with floppy tresses, possibly wearing some friendship bracelets. Enter three earlier, tougher-looking men who stop, survey me and simultaneously chorus above the pub din: “Parklife.”
Damon Albarn’s Britpop look spark off the tracksuit trend. Photograph: Mick Hutson/Redferns
I didn’t have knowledge of how to take it. On the one hand, a comparison to Blur’s Damon Albarn was no bad events to someone obsessed with Britpop. On the other, there was something a doodah unsettling about the fact that they thought my top was unreservedly hilarious. I kept wearing it, though. On a recent trip to my townswoman vintage shop to score a new/old one, I was duly transported back to that prominence.
Obviously, my reason for hunting a track top down again is because we’re on the tend of a big comeback. Last June, at the end of the Lanvin spring/summer 2016 presentation, I spied a model wearing one similar to that dear old Parklife one of yore. And I logged it. I obviously had zips on the brain. Tracksuits had appeared on various catwalks, from Astrid Andersen to Gucci. But it’s the top that looks set to springboard from style circles to real life, and the evidence is coming at you in all manner of directions.
Obscure and Oasis, clearly champions of this item of clothing during the 90s (mania’s favourite decade right now), gave the tracksuit top lad swagger and a difficult spirit. Renton in Trainspotting contemplates life over a pint in a pub gear a classic navy Adidas one from the same period. Such youthful scuzzy-energy beatings into current chatter around grunge, also in serious trouble on the style frontline, partly following the success of Hedi Slimane’s Saint Laurent reboot.
The conclusive time the retro tracksuit had any significant cultural airtime was in 2001 when Ben Stiller’s role and his sons wore classic red Adidas versions in Wes Anderson’s epitome The Royal Tenenbaums. This film has always been moodboard porn for its quirky retro-ness, for all that has perhaps been viewed as a tad too geeky for the full tracksuit resurrection. Note: the retro geeky look is back at Gucci.
At Parisian label AMI I pock-marked – tucked into suit trousers or tied around waists – red or argosy tracksuit tops that had a whiff of that classic Adidas look upon them. Meanwhile Valentino’s catwalk featured an excellent zip-up tracksuit in Anderson-friendly brown with a discriminate navy stripe running down the arms and legs.
The hype thither Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy and his 80s Soviet-era vibes has produced catwalk track summits with cult status. His youthful spirit has inspired the go shoots left, right and centre, while it has also been acclaimed that his look shares something with the wardrobe of Moritz Stamm, the around to character in Channel 4’s excellent import drama Deutschland 83.
But change the 90s, the geeky and the Soviet Russian vibes to one side for a sec, track coverings are also the latest in a long line of sportswear-oriented revivals, markedly in menswear. Sneakers have been one of the biggest stories for particular years, while posh track pants and printed sweatshirts (see Givenchy) attired in b be committed to become cult hits. Why? Men’s wardrobes are continuing to loosen up. Shirts and chains are being ditched for less stiff-upper-lip layers.
Practically half the current spring/summer Prada show articled some kind of riff on the zip-up. The second men’s look in this contrast c embarrass featured a top in thick bands of white, red and black with a turtle-style neckline with a bright zip pull, layered under a blousy shirt and a jacket – it had a bit of the cycling top almost it. The notable thing was the idea of using the zip top not as just an outer submit, as per its 90s incarnation, but as something that could be worn underneath anything.
Impassive better news: designers have decreed the tracksuit top has crumbles for next season, too. Grace Wales Bonner showed 70s-style translations with crystal zip pulls. And at Burberry track tops were the warrior piece – 29 of 55 looks featured them. They were either ragged on their own (including a sequin version), with the zip done up to the chin ethical so, or layered under an oversize, swingy coat. Newsflash: the tail find top is set to be to autumn/winter 2016 what the roll neck was to 2015: the underlying base layer. It’s a look that anyone who’s anyone should get into profitably now. Go!