Plenty of designers are finding fashion inspo in the ’90s at the moment. Think: oversized sweatshirts, tear-away pants, and even mood rings. But it’s the aesthetic of another era that informs the new gym-class-ready collab from Jennifer Bandier and Nikki Kule, aptly named Kule x Bandier. “This collection is a nod to 1970s sport culture,” says Bandier of the eight-piece offering, which dropped today online and in her upscale activewear boutique in New York City.
The era of baseball tees, running shorts with white trim, and striped tube socks has always subtly found its way into Kule’s work. (Something the former Brooks Brothers designer credits to her parents having run their own clothing brand during that decade.) But filtered through a fitness lens, her affinity for that period presents itself as relaxed separates in solids and stripes, including a particularly unique pair of leggings called the Jordyn ($125) that “has a trompe l’oeil effect to mimic the classic knee-high sport sock, which is super fun and playful,” says Kule (which rhymes with yule, FYI). An actual pair of tube socks ($38) appears in the collection as well—they’re classic white, ringed in burnt orange and blue, and emblazoned with the word “love.”
Childhood memories weren’t the only thing Kule and Bandier (who’ve been friends since they were kids, BTW) drew references from for their collaboration. A certain cult-favorite film was also influential: “There was a mood board before we started, and it was really inspired by The Royal Tenenbaums and the characters Richie and Margot,” says Kule. “This is the activewear Margot Tenenbaum would wear to work out in,” adds Bandier.
“It was really inspired by The Royal Tenenbaums and the characters Richie and Margot.”
Homages to the 2001 Wes Anderson-directed dramedy are easy to spot in the form of monochromatic tracksuits ($135 each for the jacket and pants). But there are also references to other cult films set in the ’70s, such as Dazed and Confused—specifically the parking lot scene where a power-hungry Parker Posey squeezes cafeteria ketchup on incoming freshmen whilst memorably wearing her “seniors” sweatshirt—Kule’s interpretation, by comparison, reads “sexy,” instead.
There’s plenty of nostalgia woven into Kule x Bandier to be sure, but underneath it all is a foundation of fabric intended to not just look like the P.E. uniform you wish you had in middle school, but actually perform IRL: “The collection features leggings made of compression fabric that you can really sweat in,” Bandier says. Now, whether you wear them to work out or just to watch Netflix is really up to you.
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