Fashions houses get horse sense
Horse rider Fashion has gone much further than the old days where you used to purchase your riding wear from your local saddlery. Major fashion houses such as Gucci, Dior, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Ralph Lauren have a very large presence amongst riding wear in both the equestrian and polo scene.
Not only are these fashion houses creating collections for the well-dressed rider each season but also they are active participants in eventing sponsorship and riding development programs.
The Annual Gucci Paris Masters held in December brings friends and riders at the invitation of the House to compete in this spectacular event. To top of the three days of competing is The Gucci Grand Prix with a staggering prize of 350,000 euro.
With any fashion house comes spokes models and ambassadors. In the case of eventing and riding Gucci have selected some of the biggest celebrity names amongst riding circles. Monaco Royal Charlotte Casiraghi has starred in Gucci’s most recent riding campaign, and Jessica Springsteen is their ambassador. Both have had collections made for them and then sold at Gucci stores. Show jumper Edwina Tops-Alexander joins the pair with a multi-year sponsorship contract with Gucci as well as Jaeger-LeCoultre.
There has always been a strong association between these mammoth fashion houses and the equestrian world. So there are no surprises that they design fashion ranges for the well-dressed rider that knows the quality and workmanship that is synonymous with the houses’ reputations.
Not just for the field
In the past few years, these major houses have also created Haute Couture lines inspired by equestrian lines. These lines showcase leather ruffles, suede jodhpurs and peplum riding jackets, and while these items may not stand the pace of high-performance training, they do continue to use the racing form as inspiration.
These brands have and will continue to dominate the equestrian field, particularly in Europe. By creating fashion lines and sponsoring players they are placing recognisable and well-regarded players as the faces of their Houses.
A savvy marketing strategy like this lends credibility to the sport and to all who strive so hard to compete year round.
And while some riders out there may not appreciate or even like these major fashion houses having a presence they are doing one thing for the sport, they are keeping it in the spotlight and publicised.
Let’s face it Gucci, Dior and the likes, may be out of reach for the average rider as their target market is a totally different audience.
As well as competing in the Gucci Paris Masters may not be on your eventing calendar, but we can all agree that this is great publicity for the sport.
One of the most sacred things about horse riding and competing is the prestige and history that come with it. So you can be rest assured that no matter how many fashion houses get involved in the sponsoring and designing of eventing and riding wear, the strict rules and guidelines for appearance and grooming will remain. They are what keeps the discipline so highly regarded.
So keep an eye out on what the major fashion houses are displaying. It may just give you an idea of what’s to come in the following seasons. Or follow it on pinterest.