Since 1952, French active-and-skiwear brand Fusalp has been synonymous with champion skiers and athletes. In 2014, Sophie and Philippe Lacoste, members of the Lacoste family, acquired a 77.6 percent stake in Fusalp. Now the brand is delving into the activewear market under the creative direction of Mathilde Lacoste, the brand’s artistic director. “I had the luck of joining a team with a plethora of technical know-how and enthusiasm, some of whom have been at Fusalp for forty years,” says Lacoste. “Over the past year, we’ve really focused on the optimization of our high-performance garments.” The new collection is available on the brand’s website and features pieces ranging from $50-$400.
We spoke with Lacoste about her background in fashion design, the evolution of Fusalp and what’s coming up next and where she’ll be spending her summer.
Where were you before Fusalp?
After graduating from the Fashion Styling and Textile Design program at the Duperré School of Applied Arts in Paris, I joined Lacoste in Paris, where I spent twenty years as Head of Trends, working closely with the development of all products, alongside creative directors such as Christophe Lemaire and Felipe Oliveira Baptista. I was also in charge of the brand’s color spectrum, particularly focused on the range of polo shirts.
How are Lacoste and Fusalp similar?
The value of sport and wellbeing is at the heart of both brands. Fusalp was founded by two tailors in 1952 on the banks of Lake Annecy in the heart of the French Alps with an initial focus on alpine ski wear. Most notably, Fusalp created the first technical fuseau, or ski stirrup pants and the racing one-piece ski suit that was worn by France’s national team in the 1960s. We strive to create the quintessential balance between the technicality and comfort of the material we use to the precision, elegance and style of our cuts. Each silhouette is meant to facilitate movement. We aim to design pieces that are timeless, often highlighted and enriched by our heritage colors throughout each collection.
What’s new and exciting coming down the pipeline for Fusalp?
For spring/summer, we’ve developed our first true athleisure capsule with feminine cuts and a sport-chic spirit, true to our philosophy and DNA. Each piece is ultra-versatile and easy to mix and match–whether worn as everyday pieces or for activities like yoga or pilates. We’ve also played with our traditional logo by introducing a black logo for urbanwear and our Magnetic Rooster capsule which also gives a twist on the Fusalp logo–the rooster being inherently related to our history of performance and victory. The color palette is fresh and optimistic, which I believe is imperative and meaningful for everyone this year. For fall/winter, we have a very playful, youthful and bright collection that is ideal for both skiing and everyday wear. This fall also happens to be the 70th anniversary of Fusalp–which means many surprises to come!
What did you feel was missing in the activewear market that you wanted to offer with this collection?
We wanted to revisit the codes of the activewear wardrobe and design pieces that are structured with technical materials, true to the Fusalp DNA. What’s unique is that after this past year, we wanted a collection that reminds us about how important it is to refocus on better connecting with each other and those closest to us again, by providing versatile pieces that are dynamic and invite movement.
How do you like to wear these new athleisure pieces?
I personally enjoy layering and mixing and matching–for example our Manon leggings and Florence top in a marvelous pop of sorbier red, mixed with the sleek Lancelot jacket from our menswear selection. Each summer, I look forward to spending time with my family in our home in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, near Biarritz in France, not far from the border of Spain. It’s a special moment for tranquility, enjoying the outdoors–from paddle boarding and hiking to yoga and cultivating my inspiration.