Introducing the Aristocratic Tracksuit

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Lotta Volkova might be fashion’s preeminent guy-behind-the-guy. She’s the longtime stylist for Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga and Vetements, but her responsibilities for those two brands are much further-reaching than that role, including running the shows’ groundbreaking casting, and weighing in on silhouettes, fabrics, and products. On her own, she’s worked with designers including Sies Marjan, Marc Jacobs, and Kanye West, and has styled for every independent fashion magazine for sale at your local indie newsstand of choice. The sum total of her work over the past decade has been no less than this: reshaping cool in establishment fashion, in the process ushering in a new energy that seeks out the weird, the unfamiliar, and the seemingly un-luxury.

Now you can buy into Volkova’s cool more directly than ever. On Friday morning, she released images of a collaboration with Adidas, long in the works, that mashes up garments and sneakers from the sportswear giant’s archives, with an emphasis on the loose shapes of the ’70s and the logomania loudness of the mid-2000s. In fact, the whole project is something of a return to form for Volkova: in the 2000s, when she moved from her native Russia to London, she produced something like nightlife basics—gauzy racerback tanks, black military jackets, ripped jeans, and studs, leather, and harnesses—under her own brand Lotta Skeletrix.

Courtesy of adidas and Lotta Volkova

Stylistically, though, Adidas capsule is a far cry from those electroclash days. While the super-relaxed track suits in mint green and cobalt blue worn with a remixed, heeled take on the famous Adidas slide feel right in line with the whacked-out streetwear sensibilities Volkova honed at Vetements, the overall collection is decidedly nouveau Volkovian. If you follow her on Instagram (which you must!), you’ll notice that, lately, she has perfected something like demented bourgeios, a combination of Paris’s 1950s and 1970s golden ages of fashion: gone is her black metal fringe crop, in its place coiffed blonde hair and elegantly strange little skirt suits, accessorized with a black standard poodle. In addition to the perfect tracksuit, which is just the ticket for your most deranged Zoom meetings, Volkova is offering one-shouldered jerseys, a zipper-mad windbreaker and matching shorts, ice-skating dresses, and the ideal jumpsuit. Of course, the hair on the models looks fresh from a full day at the salon in 1989. It’s a perfect sleazy panache.

Courtesy of adidas and Lotta Volkova
Courtesy of adidas and Lotta Volkova

As her husband Alban Adam demonstrated earlier this month, the collection is decidedly unisex. Now that we’re moving full speed ahead into a life in sweatpants and tracksuits, the need for a kit with polish is real. You can’t spell sweatsuit, after all, without suit.

The collection drops in stores and on on Friday, August 13.

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