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Runway Alert: Rugby Stripes

Rugby stripes are the new racing stripe.

Simple, colorful and often clashing, rugby stripes (and rugby shirts) serve as a reminder of athleisure’s omnipresence in men’s fashion. For Spring ’19, men’s wear designers used the stripe to deliver both a feeling of sport and prep school style to their collections.

Rugby stripes were a key component in Marni’s quirky ode to the non-athletic athletes for Spring ’19. Designer Francesco Risso turned an item that virtually every man has probably once owned—a long-sleeve rugby striped top—into a runway ‘It’ item with elongated sleeves. Risso took a whimsical turn with a rugby striped mohair sweater and coordinating mint green long shorts.

Thom Browne magnified rugby stripes in a collection that offered a comical take on preppy, country club fashion. The brand incorporated black and white stripes on oversized fur coats and blazers, pairing the pieces with vertical striped pants, striped platform brogues and trunk-like mini bags and briefcases emblazoned with, you guess it, more wide stripes.

Facetasm designer Hiromichi Ochiai made a case for donning multiple rugby tops. He told Vogue the collection was based on “Ivy style with something totally different, like neon lace.” The result was rugby T-shirts in traditional maroon and navy worn with a deconstructed kilt made from a variety of men’s shirting materials, and as many as three rugby tops worn together. Oddly placed undone zippers revealed stripe after stripe.

Maison Mihara Yasuhiro took a similar approach, sending models down the runway in rugby polos with additional sleeves dangling from their bodies. Prada and Stella McCartney, however, maintained the classic rugby look with sweaters in timeless colors like red, navy and cornflower blue.