Our hot summer fling with neoprene has turned into a full-fledged love affair for fall. It all began with an innocent trial period sandwiched between warm weather leather and flatforms. Unbeknownst to us, we grew more attached to our new crush by the minute until bam — we were inseparable. Sure, it sometimes makes our co-workers think “Again?!” but the heart wants what it wants.
Now, this isn’t the first time we’ve gone bug-eyed for neoprene. The foamed synthetic rubber has been around the block. In the 50s, surf twins Bob and Bill Meistrell from California started fiddling around with the fabric and in 1953, opened the oldest waverider shop in the world called Dive N’ Surf (later renamed Body Glove), which stocked the first commercially viable wetsuit crafted from neoprene. In 1981, the brothers changed the game by pioneering the neoprene swimsuit, which led them to become the first surf brand to grace the covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, not to mention a sultry spread in Sports Illustrated with Kathy Ireland and Elle Macpherson in 1990.
By that time, land-locked designers were taking note. Donna Karan hopped on the bandwagon for her spring collection in 1994. She sent out a fleet of messy-haired models clad in swingy neoprene dresses and skin-tight minis. Later, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier and more would experiment with the new-wave fabric.
For Fall 2014, everyone and their mother came out with a neoprene this or a neoprene that. Just take one look at the gallery below and you’ll get the idea.