Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Introducing Ivy Park

I’m sure by now you’re familiar with Ivy Park, Beyonce’s collaboration with Arcadia Group mogul Sir Phillip Green. Announced back in February, Beyonce’s activewear and athleisure brand will be launching in a few days – 14th April. I have to admit, when I first heard the news, I was more than a little sceptical. In a world where “celebrity-designed” collections and collaborations are the norm, I’m automatically cynical about the authenticity of these partnerships, which are used by brands to tap into the celebrity’s fanbase and social media reach in return for a lucrative fee.
However, I’m always happy to be proven wrong and after hearing about how the collaboration came about, I stand corrected. Beyonce reached out to Sir Phillip Green herself and had her sights set on a partnership from the start; “I think he was originally thinking I wanted to do an endorsement deal like they'd done with other celebrities, but I wanted a joint venture. I presented him with the idea, the mission statement, the purpose, the marketing strategy—all in the first meeting. I think he was pretty blown away and he agreed to the 50-50 partnership." Total girl boss.

It’s safe to say my interest was piqued…until I saw the collection in real life at the Starworks AW16 press day. While checking out next season’s offerings from the likes of Roksanda, Julien Macdonald and Nicholas Kirkwood, I spied the Ivy Park rail. The collection is legit, the real deal. The collection is dope, I immediately picked out half a dozen pieces pieces I needed from the edited selection I saw – the full collection is 200-pieces! Among my favourites were a mesh hoodie and shell shorts with a thick waistband emblazoned with Ivy Park. The collection was predominantly black and white but also featured beautiful cobalt-blue pieces, honeycomb prints, varsity-inspired detailing and lots of mesh. It is very Beyonce.

Ivy Park really carves out its own niche within the masculine-dominated sportsluxe streetwear market. I find that sportsluxe/activewear/athleisure brands tend to be rooted in menswear and expand into womenswear but lack the consideration that a woman’s body needs, pieces tend to be on the oversize side and adapted rather than designed specifically for women. It’s clear that Ivy Park is designed by a woman for women. This is best showcased by the leggings, which come in 3 different rises – “I” which is low-rise, “V” which is mid-rise and “Y” which is high rise.
The pieces are also constructed with women in mind, "There's an invisible underlining in our garments that sucks you in and lifts your bottom so that when you're on a bike, or when you're running or jumping, you don't feel that extra reverb. And there are little things like where a top hits under your arms and all of the areas on a woman's body we're constantly working on. I was so specific about the things I feel I need in a garment as a curvy woman and just as a woman in general."
Ivy Park is launched on 14th April online and at a number of retailers including Topshop, Net-a-Porter and Selfridges. I’m fortunate to be heading to the global preview on 13th April so keep an eye on my Snapchat - @Reena_Rai – for an exclusive first look.
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