While the fashion always has its moment in the spotlight each year at the US Open, New York-based designer Danielle Ribner is doing her best to make tennis clothes more than just a once-a-year who’s-wearing-what.
“This line is for girls like me,” Ribner said in her Chelsea studio last week, when TSF sat down with her to talk about her trendy chic line, Loup. “I wanted cute, feminine clothes that you could play in, but wear after.”
After attending Parsons in NYC, Ribner worked in women’s fashion before setting out on her own to create Loup. “I realized that no one was really doing anything about this niche, and still, I’m the only one,” Ribner explained. “All these technical fabrics make them really easy to wear, and you can go from the court to running errands and not feel out of place.”
Ribner swears to this, saying she’s sporting her duds all over the city during the humid summer and she always feels extra comfy. “And it’s especially good for traveling since all the stuff is so versatile.”
One player who is packing Loup in her suitcases is American Sydni Katz, a 20-year-old traveling on the ITF Tour. Player comfort is something Ribner said she was almost obsessed with, making sure the fabric and fit were just perfect. “I used soft and silky athletic materials, but the clothes look like something you would find at a cute boutique.”
The San Dieguito Pro Shop in California is one such boutique that is carrying Loup. But Ribner promises the brand is expanding, and says she’s working on making connections on the East Coast.
See more of the Loup line after the cut.
Ribner says her look is inspired by tennis players of a era past.
“As a kid, I was always watching tennis thinking: ‘what could I dress her up in? How could I make her look cuter?'” Ribner said. “Tennis players in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s were such trendsetters. I think people forget that.”
Ribner’s East Village-inspired looks come in tones as simple as black and white, but as trendy as hushed violet and dusty rose, giving the clothes a feminine look they might lack. Our favorite? The Gathered Zip Up jacket, seen below. “Yes! Yes! This jacket,” Ribner agrees. “I have a friend who wears this thing everyday — they are the best!”
Loup’s web site speaks volumes about the line itself: simple, chic, if not a bit pretentious. But Ribner isn’t trying to appeal to the ultra-sporty girls out there, she knows there are girls out there just like her who want to look good and be active.
“I thought there had to be other girls out there like me,” she said. “That’s where this line came from.”
The Basic Tank and Gathered Dress also caught our eye, and the Racer top has a front pocket on the breast that might not be big enough for a tennis ball, but most certainly could fit a folded-up number from a cute guy you pass on the street.
From the built-in shorts to the simple, no-frills design (Loup even lacks a logo), Ribner seems to be set on making a look work, and not a brand explode. Asked whether the line will go all out in their spring 2010 collection, Ribner seemed as cool and collected as the clothes she’s making.
“We’re just taking it one step at a time. I’m really proud of this line, people love this stuff when they put it on,” she said. “What’s next? We’ll see. But I want to keep it simple. That’s Loup.”
(photos via Loup)