The timeless appeal of classic and elegant riding clothes and all things equestrian cannot be denied nor overlooked. This is exemplified by its perennial popularity within the fickle world of fashion where it always serves as inspiration by world class designers and never goes out of style. Regardless of the vagaries that define ‘in’ and ‘out’, ready to wear and accessories based on the age old sport (perfectly tailored hacking jackets, crisp white shirts with self ties, jodhpurs, handbags decorated with sturdy horse bit hardware, and tall riding boots) always look just right. Just think of decades old images of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on her beloved horse clad in superbly cut tweeds; they are as perfect today as they were years back.
This was also exemplified in the file picture WWD chose to use in their obituary of Nan Kempner which ran in today’s paper. The celebrated socialite and fashion icon, an avowed and unapologetic clothes horse, who passed away on Sunday July 3rd at the age of 78, was pictured wearing a timeless brown tweed jacking jacket, camel cashmere turtleneck, tan breeches, and brown leather tall riding boots- petting her dog- and though she was known for her enviable collection of museum quality couture and designer clothing, the powers that be apparently felt her elegant spirit and essence was captured in this decidedly sporty and rather ‘unfashion-y’ visage.
Of course Hermes is the most legendary label to have long been associated with horses and riding and the fabled luxury house is using art to celebrate this marriage. The artwork of Manhattan- based and Central St. Martin educated Stephen Pusey is on exhibit in the store’s Madison Avenue windows. Pusey is known for his “massive murals combing sharp geometric shapes with charcoal and pencil scribble” according to a June 28th column in www.fashionweekdaily.com, and perhaps the most eye catching of these is his large scale work entitled, ‘Equus’ which is juxtaposed next to the iconic Hermes saddle. The windows will be up through August 22nd, after which they head west to Hermes in Beverly Hills followed by visits to Hermes shops around the country.
Though hardly as old a name as Hermes, Millerton, New York based O’Halloran (www.ohalloranco.com) specializes in all things equestrian. Founded in 1999 by Cathleen Cordova, whose family crest decorates every item, she offers everything from riding apparel, horse blankets, handcrafted jewelry, gifts, home décor, to items for dogs and dog owners.
Back in February 2004, Cathleen attracted attention and got editors looking and talking, when she participated in New York Fashion Week, setting up in an authentic horse trailer right across the street from the Bryant Park Tents. She ‘announced’ her arrival in a hunt like fashion with the help of several men blowing trumpets clad in formal riding habits. And on Saturday, June 11th, she staged “Feelin’ Your Oats”, a formal runway show which fused equestrian with haute couture, under a tent at Excell Farm in Poughquag, New York. The show which also benefited The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation was marked by its variety and the ingenuity of her aesthetic - as seen in the more predictable yet impeccably cut tweed suits (some which featured cutaway jackets and side pleated skirts) and vintage breeches, to less expected beaded evening wear. Though it ended with the requisite ‘Bride’, Cathleen’s vision was not a traditional long white gown but rather a quilted silk hooded wedding dress worn over white leather pants.