Arriving as it has in mid-January, you would be forgiven for an eye-roll at yet another activewear collection, but athleisure-fatigue is something the designer has also taken into account. “The market is oversaturated, and we really need to offer something special,” she explains. “It can’t just be about function or beauty anymore. Women are demanding both, and want to connect emotionally with the garments they buy. Garments need to speak to who a woman is now. The experience you get when wearing a garment is essential now.”
For Ilinčić, the collaboration was an immediate yes. The result of many conversations between herself and Audrey Reilly, senior vice president of women’s design at Lululemon, technical fabrics and functional details meet high fashion with seamless results. It brings together iconic pieces from Lululemon and iconic elements from the Roksanda main line DNA, like colour blocking and voluminous shapes,” explains the designer. Reilly agrees. “Colour was a way into both our worlds,” she adds.
Where the partnership’s first collection was built around a palette of icy lilacs and mustard, the second drop is warmer, calmer and somehow even more refined. It goes without saying that colour comes naturally to Ilinčić. “I feel so confident with colour. I do it really instinctively. I choose colours with conviction and with belief, and I think you can feel that. I always try to surprise people with my colour combinations. They always have to be beautiful and evoke certain feelings and emotions, but always have an element of surprise. In this second drop there are some very tranquil colour combinations, like mustard and mulled wine, but then there’s a shot of green, something that’s completely unexpected. Sometimes I look at art books or nature, but most of the time I just follow my heart.”
Ilinčić's favourite piece? The sweeping Face Forward Cape, which comes in both black and mustard, a follow up to the £898 Infinity Coat from the first collection. According to the Lululemon website, it’s “designed for the office commute”, but she disagrees: “It looks as good with a couture dress as it does in the rain when you take the dog for a walk. It ticks all the boxes.”
Above all, the collection is a sign of women, quite rightly, asking for more from their clothing. “Performance is non-negotiable in all our designs,” explains Reilly. “Our base fabrics are built around touch, temperature and movement, and the next to skin cut and second-skin sensation and durability is critical, too – you should be able to keep a pair of our leggings for two years.” But, no longer do these hard-wearing properties come at a cost, aesthetically. “It’s designed for a woman of our times,” says Ilinčić. “Her life is busy, intricate, involved and has so many cultural facets. But above all she’s short on the luxury of time, and wants garments that will work for the whole day.”