How does a top international activewear brand with yoga and holistic wellness at its core celebrate two decades of success? By throwing a party in one of Australia’s most magical indoor spaces that was a series of social firsts.
Late last month Lululemon marked its global 20th birthday by gathering 300 of its greatest supporters – mostly from the fitness and influencer community – to don identical, gender-neutral sports luxe looks and congregate outside the iconic National Gallery of Victoria. In fact, this marked history as the first party ever allowed in the NGV’s forecourt, a host of giant red and white balloons (Lululemon’s signature colours) serving as the framework for an outdoor dance party and bar area.
First up, a surprise performance by MTV Award-winning global singing superstar Anne-Marie, who has just announced a 2019 tour of Australia and New Zealand off the huge success that followed songs like Friends, 2002 and Rockabye with Sean Paul.
WATCH: AN INSIDERS VIEW OF THE LULULEMON 20th BIRTHDAY PARTY
Next, guests filtered inside the NGV for a group yoga and meditation session under the stunning Leonard French stained glass window ceiling that features in its main hall. An hour later, feeling stretched and zen, guests filtered back out for a late night of dancing and drinks. (The epitome of the rollercoaster of energy levels, this was no ordinary party.)
While British-born Anne-Marie might have been a surprise treat for the evening, the singer’s personal history and values made her the perfect choice for a fitness party. Most fans are probably unaware the 27-year-old was a multiple world champion in the art of karate during her youth, and to this day promotes healthy body image and self-esteem to her fans.
GRAZIA spoke exclusively with her backstage before her surprise Lululemon party performance.
It might come as a surprise to global fans of your music that you had an elite sports background. How do your two great achievements connect? I’ve always loved sport and music exactly the same amount. Everyone’s always saying ‘but you stopped karate to do singing’ and I’m like ‘no, it’ll never be like that’. I can’t ever choose one over the other. I love stuff like this and collaborating with sports brands. I mean karate is one of my favourite things and I love to go to the gym as much as possible, so this makes sense to me.
How does your interest in fitness and wellbeing inform your music? It’s crazy because I was doing musicals from the age of five (Ed’s note: Anne-Marie shared the lead child role in Le Miserables on the West End with Jessie J) and then I got into karate at the age of nine and I kind of got back into music properly when I was in college. I didn’t really think of them working together until people started asking me about it in interviews. It’s crazy to think of how much sport has helped my performing career and me in general. Before karate I couldn’t really focus on anything – I was quite a crazy child. Karate changed me as a person and without it I’d be handling this career very differently.
Do you mean physically or mentally? It kind of helps with everything. It’s funny because people think karate is all physical but actually its very mental as well.
You’ve just announced you’re touring Australia and New Zealand early next year. What else do you have on the horizon career-wise? I’ve never really thought about the past or the future. I’ve always been the kind of person who lives now, and the thought of the future is quite scary for me. When it comes to making albums you obviously have the goal of making an album, but I’m not thinking about that moment beyond and what’s next. In everything I do, I’m thinking of the right now.
That ties in nicely to yoga’s philosophy of being in the present moment. Are you a fan of this kind of exercise too? I just saw that room with all the yoga mats [speaking of the NGV’s main hall where Lululemon will later host a huge group class] and it looks so cool. My manager is totally in love with yoga, so maybe six months ago I went to a lesson for the first time and I came out and everything felt so light. It was a crazy feeling.
Lululemon is obviously a fashion label and you clearly make very body choices with your own clothes and fashion, especially on-stage. Where does that come from? I’ve always wanted to look different to other people. From a young age, the thought of wearing the same outfit as other people gave me anxiety, so I used to go to charity shops and try to get old stuff people couldn’t get from shops anymore just to look different.
What’s your go-to look? I love wearing stuff that’s all the same colour and the same print, so you’ll see most of my outfits are colour coordinated. But I’m always changing and I’m always trying new stuff. I’m always going through different stages – my body changes, I’m always putting on weight, losing weight quickly. And I’m constantly trying to figure out what makes me look best on stage because everyone’s always taking photos and videos and sometimes [makes funny face] I’m like ‘OK, maybe I’ll wear a choker next time!’ [Laughs]