In the equestrian calendar, Spring rings loudly with the thundering sound of hooves. Fashion is integral to the most glamorous events: the Logines sponsored Hong Kong horse races, the notoriously lucrative White Turf, an 111-year-old horse race at stunning, snow-topped St. Moritz, Switzerland and elegant Royal Ascot in Britain. Nothing is as marvelous as watching the immaculate beauty of horses in motion, their fluid power, their golden-bronze coats gleaming as they trot, gallop and canter. Mounted on the horse is the rider, who throughout history has exuded an aesthetic athleticism and highly manicured look. Equestrian fashion is pervasive. This spring is an equestrian extravaganza, rich with the warm, oaky tones of the saddle. As a horse rider and admirer of all things equestrian, my spring wardrobe is a raw palette of camel, cream and tan.
Equestrian style is steeped in aristocratic tradition and history, and designers are continually inspired to perpetuate a dialogue with the equestrian world. Jean Paul Gaultier may not have been a rider, but he appropriated the genre’s style codes and played with the sensual connotations attached to crops and harnesses when he designed for Hermès. “I find the riding equipment and details such as leather harnesses, saddle stitching [and] saddle nails really inspiring”, he says. “That’s a very vivifying experience, I’d say, like a crack of a whip…For me, the Hermès woman is an elegant amazon. She’s a free woman who holds the reins.”
"Round-hoof'd, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long,/ Broad breast, full eye, small head and nostril wide,/ High crest, short ears, straight legs and passing strong,/ Thin main, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide:/ Look, what a horse should have he did not lack,/ Save a proud rider on so proud a back." Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis
Spanish, Mexican and Western rider fashion is visible in luxury and high-street shops, particularly in Zara, Dior, Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Chloe. In the past, Gucci styles like the horse-bit loafers and Jackie bag were crafted with the girth strap and anchor saddles in mind. In their 2018 Spring/Summer collection Chloe gave the runway equestrian vibes. Designer Natacha Ramsay-Levi exhibited her spectacular velvet, horse-embroidered suit, python cowboy boots, tailored leather outwear, buckle-detailed shoes and equestrian stirrup and bridle inspired bags.
The beauty of the equestrian style code lies in its tailored fit, earthy tones and timeless elegance. It’s also so easy to construct. The look can be achieved with old jeans, a distressed leather belt, a soft loose-fit cream blouse or shirt and leather boots. Drape a leather jacket or an equestrian blazer and a bohemian bag over your shoulders and you’ll emulate the gallant and sophisticated style of the rider.