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Florence Griffith Joyner’s trailblazing fashion sprints to the front with film

The news that Tiffany Haddish will produce and star in a film about Florence Griffith Joyner has renewed attention on the Olympic champion’s brilliant if controversial career – and shone new light on her trailblazing fashion.

In the late 1980s, when the sprinter shot to fame, no one looked like her. “Flo-Jo” competed in outfits that were part-rock star, part-cartoon crusader, a unique look to which Beyoncé and Serena Williams have recently paid tribute.

Announcing her project, Haddish said she was “looking forward to telling Flo-Jo’s story the way it should be told. My goal with this film is making sure that younger generations know my ‘she-ro’ Flo-Jo, the fastest woman in the world to this day, existed.”

Griffith Joyner was the first American woman to win four medals in track and field at a single Olympic Games, in Seoul in 1988. However, since her death 10 years later, aged 38, her sporting legacy has been muddied by allegations of doping – despite the fact she never tested positive and was subjected, according to the chair of the International Olympic Committee’s medical commission, to “all possible and imaginable analyses”.

Away from the track, Griffith Joyner’s style made her a pop culture phenomenon. Running in one-legged spandex bodysuits, shiny leggings, full hair weaves and s 6.5in painted nails, she brought MTV zest to the track.

Florence Griffith Joyner poses in Los Angeles on 5 April 1988.
Florence Griffith Joyner poses in Los Angeles on 5 April 1988. Photograph: Tony Duffy/Getty Images

“No male athlete [has] brought glamour and individuality to his sport as well as being at the top of his sport,” Donna Lopiano, president of the Women’s Sports Foundation, said at the time. “She is a combination of Dennis Rodman and Michael Jordan.”

Like those NBA stars, Griffith Joyner blurred lines between sportswear and the catwalk. She could knit, crochet and manicure, skills which helped create her looks.

“She was designing uniforms in high school and clearly understood how one presented themselves to the world determined how they were received by audiences,” says Darnell-Jamal Lisby, a fashion historian.

“She was keen on connecting her passion for the sport through her style, while also understanding that she was one of the only black women on that level who also served as a role model for future generations.”

That came to pass. In February, Serena Williams paid tribute at the Australian Open with a hot pink, orange and black one-legged bodysuit. In 2018, Beyoncé dressed as Flo-Jo for Halloween, in a version of her violet unitard.

The “one legger”, as Flo-Jo called it, was created accidentally.

“It was a two-legged outfit and I was going to make another style [but] I was cutting one leg off and I liked that look,” she told Jet magazine.

“Some people think that one-legged outfits are more bare than having both legs out …I think it was shocking. People say it’s too much for sports. They figure people can’t run fast wearing that.”

She also said she was “here to say you can wear anything you want if you’re ready to go when the guns go off. You’re going to run fast regardless. Makeup is not going to stop you. The outfit is not going to stop you.”

Her style remains influential. In the case of Beyoncé, Lisby said, “the idea of presenting oneself in this ‘superhero-like’ depiction is very integral to her artistry, as it was Joyner’s. Showing black women in such powerful perspectives was and still is key in motivating members of the black community and women across the world.”

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Hungary holds France to 1-1 draw at Euro 2020

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By AP

Peter Gulacsi deflects a shot away from goal during the Euro 2020 group F match between Hungary and France at the Ferenc Puskas stadium in Budapest, Hungary, June 19, 2021.


Peter Gulacsi deflects a shot away from goal during the Euro 2020 group F match between Hungary and France at the Ferenc Puskas stadium in Budapest, Hungary, June 19, 2021.

  –  
Copyright 
Laszlo Balogh/AP

Antoine Griezmann scored midway through the second half of Saturday’s first match to give France a 1-1 draw with Hungary after the latter held its own in the first half.

Hungary surprisingly took the lead in first-half injury time on Saturday with Attila Fiola scoring at a packed Puskas Arena in Budapest.

In the end, Griezmann equalised from just inside the penalty area after Hungary failed to clear Kylian Mbappe’s cross from the right. Mbappe also had a late shot that was saved by Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.

In the first half Fiola had latched onto the ball after Roland Sallai won a header down the left flank, burst into the penalty area and held off defender Raphael Varane before clipping the ball into the bottom corner.

World Cup champion France also missed several good chances before Hungary’s goal.

The 67,215-capacity Puskas Arena is the only stadium to be running at full capacity in this year’s championship.

In the aftermath of his team’s impressive performance, Hungary head coach Marco Rossi burst into tears during the presser.

“A stage like this I always watched only on television,” he said. “Now I find myself here and at 56 I feel like a child that goes to an amusement park.

“I am not so stupid or so arrogant to say that now we are going to Munich [to play against Germany in Group F] to win it. No, we’ll go to Munich to try to put on a good show and play our game, but always staying grounded.”

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Fashion returns to catwalks as Dior takes over Athens ancient stadium

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The 2,000-year-old Panathenaic stadium in Athens was able to hold 70,000 on marble seats for the first modern Olympics in 1896. So there was plenty of room in the front row at Dior’s catwalk show at the venue this week, where the guest list was capped at 400.

Despite most international buyers, editors and clients watching from home on their laptops, Dior’s Cruise collection was a blockbuster live event. The brand was keen to point out that the ancient stadium made for a responsible choice of venue, being well-ventilated and spacious. It was also undeniably grand, especially when backlit by fireworks and soundtracked by a full orchestra. A mostly Greek and Italian audience were joined by the Greek president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and the actor Anya Taylor-Joy.

The catwalk show remains fashion’s most powerful lever for generating attention and prestige. For luxury brands who are watching profits dwindle – and observing with envy, as the cult leggings label Lululemon announces 88% revenue growth in the first quarter of this year – there is a strong business case for keeping the catwalk alive.

But there is more at stake here than luxury brand profits and designer egos. Catwalk shows are symbolic of fashion’s identity as a creative art as well as a business. They give fashion a voice in wider conversations. It is in this spirit that Kerby Jean-Raymond, the first Black American designer to show at Paris haute couture, will next month livestream his Pyer Moss catwalk show from Villa Lewaro, the elegant Hudson River estate built by Madam CJ Walker, the African American entrepreneur who was America’s first self-made female millionaire.

Now designers are pulling out all the stops to lure hearts and minds away from trainers and drawstring waists and back to dressing up. Dior’s Athens spectacular is just one of a raft of upcoming fashion blockbusters. Earlier this week, Louis Vuitton staged and filmed a space-tourism themed catwalk show outside Paris, without a live audience. Max Mara are taking their catwalk to the Italian island of Ischia next week, while Valentino and Saint Laurent have announced catwalk shows in Venice in July.

For the Dior designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri, each catwalk collection is “an immense atelier for research and imagination. For a creative person, it is a beautiful thing to do, an opportunity to collaborate”.

Chiuri used the Athens show to explore how the relationship between a prestigious Parisian fashion house and the global cultures and traditions which appear as references on its catwalk has evolved. In 1951, a famous set of pictures by the photographer Jean-Pierre Pedrazzini showed models in Christian Dior ballgowns posing in front of the sculpted female figures of the Caryatids of the Acropolis, mirroring their graceful poses. Seventy years later, Chiuri is aware that a French fashion house using an ancient Greek monument as mere stage props for its latest silhouette would not fly with modern sensibilities.

“As a designer, if you are careless, then you diminish beauty and culture so that it becomes a cliche,” she said. “That is what we work to avoid – we were very focused on what is contemporary to Greece now.” The collection shown on this catwalk will provide work for Greek fashion businesses, with houndstooth pieces woven at the Silk Line, an Eastern Macedonian factory which uses traditional Greek jacquard techniques. The Greek fisher’s caps on the catwalk were made by Atelier Tsalavoutas, which has manufactured the caps since the 19th century. In a statement, the house of Dior emphasised their respect for the iconic venue, where they “worked hand in hand with Greek archaeologists to ensure the site’s complete and unconditional preservation”.

Travel is a fantasy for most people right now – but billionaires have had a very different experience of the pandemic. On 20 July, the 11-minute inaugural staffed flight of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket will inaugurate the era of space tourism. If it is a success, the 1% will soon be needing a new holiday wardrobe.

So for Louis Vuitton’s latest catwalk show the house’s creative director, the lifelong space travel enthusiast Nicolas Ghesquière, created the ultimate new season capsule wardrobe: a space capsule wardrobe. Images of an escalator leading up to a planet, surfers on an moonscape beach, and a motel car park in an alien landscape were emblazoned on to spacesuit-quilted trousers, Courrèges-style futuristic flat boots, and gravity-defying ovoid silhouettes. “It is a fantasy that has become real, now that it has turned into a competition between titans,” said Ghesquière in a videocall after the livestream of the show, which was filmed without a physical audience. The designer is keen to make a trip himself. (“But not the first flight. I’m not that brave.”)

Louis Vuitton catwalk, detail
Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière has created a ‘space’ capsule collection as inspired by imminent era of space tourism. Photograph: LV PR

The allure of space has always been a metaphor for adventure. This show was as much about the millions pining for a few days on a beach, as about what to pack for a Blue Origin flight. Think parachute-silk sundresses, chunky flat sandals, and miniature suitcases fashioned into handbags. The show was filmed on the Axe Majeur, an art installation on the edge of Paris which takes the form of a futuristic, architectural landscape garden. With its grand scale, modernist colours and airy urban minimalism, the location shares an aesthetic with previous Louis Vuitton show locations such as the Miho Museum in Japan, and the Niterói Museum in Brazil. “We are all missing places we can’t go to, but sometimes exoticism is not so far away,” said Ghesquière.

“A beautiful catwalk show is a celebration that brings to fashion the visibility it deserves,” he added. He is hoping to return to a catwalk with audience in October. “But I also want to be an agent of change now.” Ghesquière intends to keep hold of “the spirit of 2020” in reducing fabric orders, scaling back prototypes, not overproducing collections. “It’s about small decisions that we make every day and being careful that we keep going in the right direction, rather than thinking always of expansion.”

Lockdown dress codes made themselves felt on the Dior catwalk in the chunky white trainers and logo-stamped sport socks that were worn with fluid white goddess dresses. “After the pandemic, everyone wants to feel like they can move,” said Chiuri.

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How to get ready to go out-out | Jess Cartner-Morley

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I can’t wait to have a wardrobe crisis. I miss them. The heap of discarded clothes grows as the clock ticks down. My heart rate rises like I’m Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible. I’m trying to figure out which dress goes with which shoes rather than defuse a bomb, but still. The stakes feel pretty high. And never more so than now.

When the time for “going out-out” comes – which, as I’m writing this, has been pushed back a few weeks – the wardrobe crisis will be back with a vengeance. Getting dressed to go out is a completely different ballgame from just getting dressed. So many things to think about. What are my friends wearing? When they said it would be fun to get dressed up, did they mean, like, jeans and a nice top, or floor-length and a blow-dry? Is it weird to dress to celebrate the end of something that isn’t over for everyone? Why do fancy clothes so rarely have sleeves? What happens if it rains or gets cold? If someone can invent driverless cars, why are strapless bras still so uncomfortable?

Like cooking onions, getting ready takes longer to get right than you think, and if you rush it you will regret it. A wardrobe crisis can be adrenaline-stoking in a good way, if you allow enough time. And by “enough time”, I mean you may need to start the night before, by pulling out of yourwardrobe the pieces you think you might wear. Things have a mysterious habit of not being where you thought they were when you don’t use them for a year. And it won’t be until you, finally, triumphantly retrieve your favourite velvet jumpsuit from the floor at the back of the wardrobe, behind the also-unused suitcase, that you realise it needs ironing, badly – and not until you are ironing it that you remember it only really works with that one belt, which you now have to hunt down and possibly retrieve from the person you lent it to in 2019. A contingency fund of half an hour, just in case, is a wise time investment. You can always splurge on a cocktail if your outfit works first time.

One last thing. The right outfit is almost always the one you tried on first. It’s been a while, but some things never change.

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