A person is said to be flexible or rigid, depending on their ability to adapt to a new situation, to comply with what is asked of them, even to bend over backwards to be pleasant and welcoming. To cushion the shocks, withstand the pressure, even when she bends under the responsibilities, it can also happen to her to arch her back. Finally, it is by multiplying that it finds the spring necessary to move mountains and thus tend towards the fixed objective.

Social interactions and professional activities, in the first place, require the contemporary individual to conform. We then better understand his regular need to withdraw from this circus of contortions to stretch, find his axis, feel his spine realign. Need sometimes turns into an injunction. Especially when fashion gets involved.

Because, for a century, the latter, whose object is to give shape to the body, has chosen as its credo to make it gain in elasticity and freedom of movement. After bourgeois leisure, such as hunting, tennis, golf, then the most popular, such as basketball or skateboarding, it is today inspired by current practices, hiking, yoga, running… dress for relaxation and endurance sports reinforces the city wardrobe.

A fashion with elastic codes

After the streetwear wave of the last twenty years, worn by artists embodying cool (hip-hop, R’n’B), it is now sportswear that is making official fashion old-fashioned by initiating an inversion of clothing hierarchies. The response from the middle of the couture was not long in coming. New labels and collaborations between illustrious houses and major sports equipment manufacturers are multiplying. New appointments at the head of fashion behemoths, such as that of the late Virgil Abloh at Vuitton in 2018, have marked the change of course.

In town, since then, flourish sneakers, tracksuits – which are now referred to more as sets –, bras, leggings. Pieces taken out of their primary function that invite themselves to our rescue, lending us their fluidity and their resistance, to go the distance. In his smashing essay, Liquid Life (Hachette plural, 2013), sociologist Zygmunt Bauman went further by evoking the flexibility of human relationships, the liquefaction of society as well as “life in a hurry”. Broad topic. All this deserves attention, not without, here too, a few small stretches.