With her rock-'n'-roll background, Priscilla Polley’s huge experience is perfect for bringing high fashion to sportswear and a playful sports aesthetic to more classically glamorous shoots and editorials. A stylist who calls New York City her home, she has her boots on the ground when it comes to fashion's flirtation with fitness.
You've seen many designers incorporating Swarovski crystals into sportswear this season, right?
Luxury sport is a growth category. Major players such as Nike and Adidas continue to sponsor high-end collaborations, and designers like Tim Coppens are experimenting with Swarovski crystals to bring drama to their collections, bridging sport and high fashion.
How does the stylish New York woman manage to combine the daily ritual of walking, running for the train, beating the other cab hailers, trekking up walkup apartments, with the fine art of looking fly?
The good news for all of us busy, car-less New Yorkers is that flatforms and sneakers are killing it right now, so, for the moment we don’t have to sacrifice comfort. We can all do with a break from sky-high stilettos.
Which sports do you see embracing a little bling here and there? Which ones could benefit from a little sparkle?
Sports silhouettes have become as ubiquitous as fashion pieces for the music industry (just look at Rihanna’s collaboration with Puma, or Kanye’s Yeezy). Footwear, in particular, is a place where a little sparkle could be fun, plus athletic tech accessories and optics.
How do you prepare for styling a shoot?
It begins with a conversation between the stylist (me), the photographer and the client. Once we’ve settled on a creative direction, we put together mood boards and contact designers to confirm pieces for the shoot. Don’t forget we’re shooting items the season before they’re in store, so we have to work with runway collections that are shared internationally. Maintaining strong relationships with designers is key to getting access to the fashion pieces we need.
Inundated by images and references, do you find you still get inspiration from the street?
Absolutely. I spend a lot of time checking out how local high-schoolers are dressed playing basketball in my Brooklyn neighborhood court. I go up and ask them about their wardrobe. High-school kids are the crystal ball to the future of sports fashion.
Have you noticed a shift in sportswear design towards not just utility and technology, but also style? If so, what trends are you seeing? Any brands worth mentioning?
At the moment, it feels like every It-brand is rushing to embrace sportswear, and I expect we’ll only see more in the coming seasons. VPL has always been a brand that has pushed the boundaries between sport and fashion; they collaborated with Swarovski back in 2007 and were one of the first high-fashion brands to embrace sport as a trend.
Americans have been dressing ‘sporty’ for some time now. Is there a particular decade you gravitate towards more than others when it comes to the athletic look?
The Seventies were both sporty and sexy, so that era gives me great fashion inspiration, but I honestly think contemporary trends are the most interesting.
Photography by Monica Feudi (Creatures of the Wind), Thomas Kletecka (Tim Coppens), Guillaume Roujas (Mary Katrantzou).