The excellence sport evokes in performance repeats itself in the excellence sport evokes in design. You can see it in a fly rod or a golf club, a shotgun or skis. And certainly nowhere more than in the clothes of sport.
In recognition of this, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in 1956 established the American Sportswear Design Awards to honor the people whose creative talents have conspicuously advanced the style and comfort of the clothes that women now wear for and because of sport. After only two years the awards are among the most highly coveted in fashion.
Next month, on May 28 at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will make the third annual ASDA presentations.
For the Sporting Look Award the citation reads: "To the women's sportswear designer who, by his or her creation of a distinctive mood, has continuously contributed to the American Sporting Look."
For the Designer of the Year Award: "To the women's sportswear designer who, during the past year, has made the most significant contribution to American Sportswear through a specific collection, idea or innovation."
The ASDA nominating committee, headed by Miss Elizabeth Fairall, vice-president emeritus of the Julius Garfinckel Co., has already named 12 candidates for each award. Votes are now coming in from the 600 retail fashion executives who have the responsibility for the final selections.
Previous ASDA winners were: for the Sporting Look Award, the late Claire McCardell in 1956 and Sydney Wragge in 1957; for the Designer of the Year Award, Rudi Gernreich in 1956 and Bill Atkinson in 1957—all of whose names stand for the very forefront of fashion.
Directly inspired by their ASDA honors, both Wragge and Atkinson have designed two new collections for this season. Atkinson's, a spring wardrobe for women golfers, appeared in the SPORTING LOOK in our March 24 issue. Wragge's collection, to be shown in color in our May 26 SPORTING LOOK, takes its motif from the America's Cup Races, in a year when they are being renewed for the first time since 1937.
The America's Cup will also set the theme for the program at the St. Regis. It is, I think, appropriate both for its timeliness and for the fact that in the graceful boats which vie for yachting's greatest prize sport and design meet perfectly.
Just as they do in the performance of the two people who on May 28 will receive one of fashion's finest laurels, an American Sportswear Design Award.