Skiing fans and lovers of stylish, luxurious living will love The Stylish Life Skiing, the book from Gabriella Le Breton published by teNeues. This beautiful volume tells the story of the ultimate winter sport and the art, culture, fashion and super-stylish resorts it has inspired. It will surely be on the coffee table of many a luxury chalet for the skiing season 2017.
The story of skiing goes back thousands of years. But it’s the modern Alpine holiday industry – sparked by St. Moritz hotelier Johannes Badrutt in a cheeky bet with some guests – that interests Le Breton most.
She takes her readers on an exciting slalom through the places, people, fashion and culture of skiing.
Chamonix, Zermatt, Saas Fee, Grindewald, Cortina d’Ampezzo, are the resorts Le Breton picks out as her favorite classic European ski destinations. She’s got time for the New World too though, picking out Aspen, Colorado, and some of Utah’s ski cities.
Although this is a book about style, there’s a nice survey of the sporting figures who’ve dominated the world of white. Fortunately, winter sports stars have tended to be very dashing, debonair figures.
Alongside these high-speed artists of the mountains are those who grace the snow rather more gracefully. If any sport can claim a royal pedigree it’s skiing, and each family has their own favorite destination: the Dutch royals at Lech, Monaco’s blue bloods at Zurs, Swedish princes glide down St Moritz’s pistes, and Prince William kissed Kate at Klosters.
The modern day royalty of the celebrity magazines has the paparazzi donning their woollies to crowd around the slopes (and luxury shops, hotels, bars and clubs) of Courchevel in the French Alps above all other resorts. There you might spot a Beckham, Giorgio Armani, Roman Abramovich or Kate’s little sister Pippa Middleton.
Many readers will head straight for the fashion pages in this beautifully illustrated volume. “When skiing established itself as the preferred winter sport of high society during the 1930s, it coincided with the “Golden Age of Couture,” writes Le Breton.
You’ll certainly see some familiar faces here, modelling the most desirable ski wear of their day, and raise an eyebrow at what an array of styles have had their day in the sun in ski fashion.
Even as ski wear has become extraordinarily complex, technologically advanced, and more and more practical and wearable it has kept its glamour. Fred Picard’s words in the Spokane Daily Chronicle in 1957 – “A girl can look sexier in ski clothes than in a bathing suit” – certainly still ring true today, although we might ask Fred to consider some of the very sexy gentlemen represented in this splendid parade of ski-fashion imagery.
Finally, Le Breton introduces us to the word of art and culture inspired by skiing. That’s not the stretch you might think it is at first glance.
Even in the practical world of the pieces of wood (or carbon fiber) we glide down the slopes upon have included some true design classics, produced by the likes of the zai ski factory in the Swiss Alps or Fork Tree Skis in Courchevel.
Architects faced with the most difficult of high-altitude sites have really risen to the challenge with beautiful sky-scraping creations like the “Ferris Wheel” gondola station in St Anton, or Retho Mathis’ restaurant on the slopes above St Moritz.
The film cameras have loved the ski slopes. Who can forget Audrey Hepburn in her Givenchy cat suit in Megève?
The poster designers, landscape artists and photographers have made the most of some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. A 1932 Zermatt poster stands out as a real design classic.
This is a wonderful companion to any ski holiday and a must for any skier, as they enjoy their current luxury ski holiday, remember the last or look forward to the next.
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