It’s officially a new era for Lululemon. The fitness fashion megabrand has been in experimental mode for a while, opening new store concepts like Lululemon Lab in New York City—but now it looks like the pace of change is about to pick up. The brand’s first-ever creative director is starting to really put his (high-fashion) stamp on things—and that could mean major changes to Wunder Unders as we know it.
Lee Holman, who was promoted into the newly created role last fall, has serious fashion world and activewear bona fides, with stints at Nike, Burberry, and Abercrombie & Fitch. And the fall 2016 line is the first full collection he has seen through from start to finish. So what should you expect from the fall pieces that are rolling out to stores over the next month?
Holman calls the new Lululemon look “a combination of function with beauty,” adding: “The design team was inspired by a new wave of hybrid workouts, which combine fast and fluid movements into one sweaty [session].”
Get a first look at the fall line here, including Holman’s intel on the behind-the-scenes work that went into the final products.
Keep reading to see five ways Lululemon is hitting the reset button this fall.
1. Introducing a new fabric to up its performance leggings game
Lululemon is introducing a brand new fabric in the fall 2016 line: Nulux, part of its Naked Sensation category (which retails for $128). “The Nulux fabrication was engineered to feel lightweight, cool to the touch, quick-drying, and quick-wicking for high-sweat activities like run, spin, or circuits,” Holman says. “We continue to design with how athletes want to feel in mind, how the body and brain communicate with pressure and texture on the body.”
For the first time, customers will be able to buy “cardio naked leggings,” which Holman says were made to minimize distractions and maximize comfort. (So instead of worrying about whether your waistband won’t stay up through another round of burpees, you can focus on getting in an extra few reps in that circuit.) The designers’ main focus when formulating them? Compression. “They’re engineered to heighten your senses so you can be at your full potential,” Holman says.
2. Giving prints an elevated, high-fashion feel
Holman may be an expert on athletic performance clothing, but as a Burberry alum, he’s fashion-minded, too. He tapped designers to hand-draw each printed pattern (which range from $88 to $128): “You will see two new engineered prints—Marble Mix and Florence—which have been individually body-mapped to fit and flatter the body in motion,” he explains. “Fall pieces also feature new dyeing techniques: ombre and shibori.” The overall effect? Less pay-attention-to-me, more cool-girl.
3. Offering more coverage up top
If working out in just a sports bra is not quite your vibe, you’ll have no shortage of layering options. In addition to expanding the longer line bras (which hit mid-torso and are often paired with a higher-rise legging), Holman says looser tanks and tees (from $58 to $68) of varying lengths are included throughout the fall line. Just don’t expect whole racks in crazy patterns. This season, the colors are subdued (think heather gray, navy, and black) and prints are kept to a minimum.
4. Taking bras to Olympic-level heights
This year, Lululemon was tasked with creating the official uniform for the women’s Canadian beach volleyball team. The result? Mid-support bras with an emphasis on no-distraction straps. “We are focusing on functional craftsmanship to eliminate chafing and elevate new breathability solutions for sweaty workouts,” Holman says. It’s about time sports bras have a medal-worthy performance.
5. Trying to solve that whole sweating-in-your-outerwear thing
Figuring out what to wear when you work out in chilly temps is tricky business. Often, forgoing an outer layer will leave you freezing, but as soon as you put one on, you start breaking out in a sweat. It’s an annoyance that was a big focus at the Lululemon Lab, and a problem Holman says the jackets in the fall collection solve. “They were designed with engineered ventilation, quick-dry materials, and thermoregulation [which allows the body to maintain its core temp] to help manage sweat during all kinds of activity,” he says.
And the jackets (which go from $98 to $198) were put to the test—literally. “We tried these jackets with our elite athletes last winter in Whistler [in Vancouver] and it was important that we offered full unrestricted range of motion, while providing protection from environmental elements,” says Holman, with the goal of taking you “from sweat to street, throughout any season.” We’ll raise a glass (of the ultimate smoothie) to that idea—now if only they could solve the question of why it’s suddenly so much harder to wake up early for workouts.
Temperatures may be dropping, but your workout routine is heating up! Check out our Fall Fitness Preview, your guide to having your healthiest fall yet. And make sure to mark your calendars: Well+Good’s annual Fitness Biathlon in NYC is back this October 22.