On the Piste

Taking to the slopes is always risky. Taking a bad fall when trying to show off one’s style in front of onlookers is not only a matter of skiing ability. Despite everyone knowing that skiwear is supposedly all about sporting comfort and practicality, it’s all too easy to end up looking ridiculous. Those who are entirely disinterested in what they look like when they head out onto the piste run the risk of committing some serious style transgressions especially because so many skiwear manufacturers these days seem to be aiming for looks that are not really suited to anyone other than Jackass-style student skiers for whom humour and whacky aesthetics are apparently a good thing. So, be warned, unless you’re in that very particular demographic, you readily run the risk of ending up looking like something that has escaped from Carnival on Ice.

Then, of course, there’s Bogner. Founded in 1932 in Munich, Bogner is a German brand literally born on the slopes. The founder of the company, Willy Bogner, was a champion skier and jumper himself, holding no less than 11 German titles, meaning that the ability to actually perform as functional skiwear under rigorous athletic conditions was built into the brand’s DNA from the outset. But, with Bogner, performance was only one part of the picture. The company rapidly gained a reputation for slick styling, being selected to dress the Olympic team and making ski style history. In 1948, Willy’s wife Maria showed her designs for narrow ski pants in an elastic fabric, pulled tight under the foot by a stirrup, in Bogner’s first ever fashion show. The result was a sensation. The sexy new look rapidly crossed the Atlantic where the now legendary style of ski pants were actually known as ‘Bogners’ upon their arrival. Soon Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman and Jayne Mansfield were showing their style on the slopes in their Bogners.

Since then, the company has grown from strength to strength, diversifying to include a number of collections other than skiwear. In 1986, the hyperactive Willy Bogner produced an award-winning sports film called ‘Fire + Ice’. Shortly afterwards, a new range was launched under this name as a high-end line of top quality ski and snowboarding clothing, joining the Sport Ski collection that focuses on high-performance skiwear meeting the gruelling requirements of the professional sports skier.

One of the distinctive features of Bogner’s Fire + Ice and Sport Ski ranges is that, whilst most definitely being produced to the highest standards using German precision production and state-of-the art high-performance fabrics, they retain a certain streamlined aesthetic that made it so distinctive in the first place. If numerous other producers in recent decades have followed the trend of producing baggy, saggy ski clothes in voluminous fabrics, Bogner remains distinctive for it’s fitted sleek looks that hark back to the romantic Art Deco imagery of the skier as a graceful and athletic figure dashing across the snow.

Both the Fire + Ice and Sport Ski collections can easily be worn straight off the piste into the lodge without attracting anything other than admiring looks. Both retain a fitted elegant smartness that easily crosses from hurtling down the slopes to relaxing in a bar or restaurant without looking out of place. The collections in the current season are notable for simple blocks of acidic colour with a nod to India or even Prince & The Revolution in the form of beautiful paisley prints in equally bold colours or subtle peace sign motifs worked into the garments in more sombre dark colours.


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