Beyond a limited but subtly impactful number of intricate buildings that dot the continental United States, 19th century American architect Louis Sullivan’s most widely referenced contribution to the canon of Modernist art and design is this aphorism: form follows function. The intent behind this statement is not to simply propound visual austerity; rather, it observes the tendency of an object’s exterior to organically reflect its interior construction and operation. When tasked with developing outerwear suitable for the Japanese athletes attending the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Mitsuru Yamada, who would come to be the lead designer for Descente ALLTERRAIN when it was formally launched in 2012, sought to leverage the century’s worth of alpine sportswear knowledge possessed by mother brand Descente in providing enough lightweight insulation and waterproofing to withstand all aspects of Vancouver winters. The technical innovations that underpinned the resulting Mizusawa Down jacket, further applied throughout the larger Descente ALLTERRAIN collection, bring Sullivan’s maxim to life in striking shapes fundamentally informed by the unparalleled performance contained in an ingenious combination of welded seams, high fill power down, and supple, resilient fabrics.
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