Water World: Sportmax and Adriana Lima dive into the blue this season
Since its launch in 1969, Sportmax has stayed ahead of the game. The first label to create clothing for a fully coordinated wardrobe, the innovative label made its catwalk debut in Milan in 1976, and for S/S17 Sportmax has taken an aquatic turn, with a collection inspired by Japanese photobook Shima no Ama. Documenting female pearl divers descending beneath the waves, the ethereal images were captured by Kusukazu Uraguchi and published in 1981. Also getting more than just her feet wet is the brand’s S/S17 campaign star Adriana Lima, who makes a splash in Sportmax’s water-inspired photo shoot and film, shot by Roe Ethridge.
Diving into the blue, Sportmax’s S/S17’s collection looks to the dynamism and beauty of Uraguchi’s swimmers, captured in sublime black and white images of them descending into the deep, or hauling their treasures onto the shore. Fluid shapes, such as billowing skirts and wide trousers in soft, hand-washed cottons and silks, echo their flowing movements, while undulating stripes, in oceanic blues, foamy whites and rich reds, evoke the rolling waves of the sea. Shoals of Japanese fish and gently bobbing oriental chrysanthemums feature as prints, while baroque pearls and goldfish are reimagined as dangling earrings, an opulent interpretation of a fisherman’s catch of the day.
Sportmax was taken by the joy and naiveté of Uraguchi’s divers, swimming unselfconsciously in white dresses. Their skin was sunkissed, their hair was tied in slick ponytails, their faces concealed by swimming goggles. White shirtdresses, ribbed sweaters and tight ruched shorts evoke these carefree ensembles, and also tap into the label’s unwavering attention to a luxurious yet clean colour palette.
Sporty drawstrings are a recurrent motif throughout the collection, both tightening and releasing hemlines, like the length of a bubble skirt or the waistband of a loose blouse. They also define pockets or peekaboo circular cut-outs, these motifs of pull and release echoing the fluctuating tensions of the Japanese swimmers diving, ascending or treading water.
The women of Shima no Ama dove for pearls with carefree smiles and joyful optimism, and flashing her own pearly whites is Adriana Lima. The Sportmax S/S17 campaign features the fresh-faced, bronzed beauty taking a dip in azure-blue water, and posing with a beaming smile next to a series of playful props.
Sportmax’s seasonal accessories feature in aquatic still-lives, like its pointed satin mules with a porthole-like cut-out, floating in a bubbly plastic bag, next to seaweed and stones. Other treasure-like accessories include the new SM 207 bag, a laser-cut leather tote with an inner pouch overflowing from its lining, and knotted belts with embellishments that evoke diving weights. We can’t wait to dive in.