January 19, 2014
SUNDAY FROM MY DESK
Yesterday Milan Fashion Week started. As designing sportswear now
has become more and more driven by the engineering of the fabrics
and equipment, it is not easy to create items of beauty
and function but true fashion will always really require both
– understanding the materials, whether organic or synthetic,
and how they function in a design. Bringing forward fresh ideas
whether for the runway, the slopes, or the ice rink is really
what keeps it all interesting. One of the most elegant sportsmen
of all time was Leo Gasperl… ”the angel of the snow”. He was the best
model for ski fashion and was always a good reminder of elegance…
Handsome and incredibly elegant. The maestro of the slopes.
Gasperl was the fastest man on skis in the world.
Winning the “Flying Kilometer” race in 1932 at St Moritz
where speed skiing had started, for fifteen years he was never beaten.
A record ski jump of 136.3 k.p.h saw him floating in the air
with superhuman characteristics, like a bird.
Here, in 1939, wearing the “Thiring Mantel” the breaking bat’s cloak
invented by a Viennese physicist, he works to soar even higher.
Leo Gasperl ‘s skis had a strap with a spring expander that gave extraordinary
aerodynamic form. Inspired by Gasperl and driven by his passion for skiing,
in 1950 Carlo Mollino wrote a book called “Introduzione al Discesismo”,
the first technical book – a skiing manual – ever made in Italy about speed
skiing and the dream of defining Nature. Here, one of Mollino’s illustrations.
In 1950’s, the Austrian ski manufacturer Kneissel,
a company making ski equipment since 1861,
began aerodynamic studies for new skis in epoxy resin
and to see whether science could bring additional speed.
The effects of air pressure and wind speeds were precisely measured
in a scientific way, now in a wind tunnel at a laboratory in Gottingen, Germany.
Emilio Pucci started his career designing ski outfits,
bringing elegance to the sport, including this
anti freeze mask, made from one of his drawings.
The attraction of the slopes for recreation
began to draw celebrities to the slopes.
Here Gina learns to ski with Gasperl,
both stylishly turned out for the hill.
There is nothing that says, la dolce vita, than an après ski.
Here with her instructor Gasperl.