Ah, the joys of cross-country skiing. There’s the fall/winter season, and then there’s the skiing season. Christine Phung has found a loyal following among skiing enthusiasts across Europe where cross-country skiing is a much bigger sport, and at times more of a necessity, than it is in the US. So, it stands to reason that her first few looks would cater to this audience that has brought her so much popularity. She even went so far as to add a pair of skis and goggles. Fortunately, it’s not quite cold enough to be snowing in Paris this morning, but the sentiment wasn’t lost on the number of enthusiast who gathered to watch the snow.
To some extent, the collection is almost stereotypical in terms of what one would expect for winter sportswear: heavy on sweaters and leggings that go easily beneath ski suits, and heavy on overcoats to handle that trip up the mountain. Yet, there is a number of lighter weight pieces here that are more likely suited for sitting in the lodge next to a blazing fire than being out on the slopes. Short skirts and sweater dresses are all very attractive, but won’t do much to keep one warm on their own.
Silhouettes are understandably fitted for the sports wear that dominates the collection. Even when she’s working with more casual wear, she keeps shapes fitted and close to the body so that coats and ski suits can be quickly tossed on over the clothes without any fear of sleeves or legs bunching. Another very intelligent move she makes is in keeping the knit pattern on sweaters more open so they can breath beneath what are typically heavy down ski or snow suits. Perspiring while on the slopes is a fast way to catch cold and ruin an otherwise wonderful trip. Having clothes that breathe with you is fundamental. Phung even adds some extra padding in places such as elbows and hips, though I’m quite sure none of her clients would ever admit to actually falling.
Prints are the real beauty of this collection, though. Working from an orange/red palette, they provide a nice contrast to all the solid colors used in the sportswear, and strongly signal a more relaxed, less serious and more feminine look to the clothes. Used in the finale piece, the look is strong enough to make one forget that Phung is primarily a sportswear designer. She uses the prints well and demonstrates a strong knowledge of folds and layers that one might not expect from a sportswear line.
Anyone who enjoys spending their winter time outdoors and active is going to find this collection valuable. Anyone who enjoys sitting around a warm fire during the winter will find the dresses and separates very attractive. Anyone who wants to actually purchase some of these clothes should probably do so online, since the few in-store collections are not the most accessible. This is a warm, intelligently designed line of clothes that fits the needs of its niche audience quite well.