gael monfils and karlie kloss in vogue october 2009 "french open"
oftentimes, nationality is great issue of pride -especially on such a visible playing field, so to speak. naturally, outward appearances are highly regarded and scrutinized [think: the dozens of spreads involving national team get-ups, and i really do mean get-up, for the most recent olympics opening ceremonies]. looks, colors, symbols and names are all a major aspect of the commitment and confidence of players and fans.
having attended university in a town where wearing a jersey or some other aspect of sports paraphernalia is considered "on trend," this pleasantry with and everyday acceptance of supporters for their teams always seemed like a cop-out in the what to wear department of the everyday. however, as the calm uruguayan ensemble strides alongside the neon-glo decked out dutch kit came to my realization that perhaps there is some semblance of structural bliss and stylistic nuance in the athletic uniform.
i decided to do some research to find out what kind of platform this fashionable perfomance wear this could be OR whether there were more to the uniforms of the multitudinous sports teams than just a color, advertisement, and insignia. in other words, i decided to actually excavate the colors, meanings, and structures of the shirts/shorts/pants/skorts to see if there were more relevance between fashion+design and athletic uniforms.
take, for instance, the australian athletic colors -the "green and gold-" have no relevance to their flag; but, they have come to stand for even more than just athletics as a color scheme when paired together. though many athletic teams strive to have a tough mascot or a daunting nickname, this green and gold that can only signify one thing for many people, australian citizen or not, apparently symbolizes the colors of their floral emblem, the golden wattle. more than a galvanizing name [ie, cameroon: the indomitable lions], it is the colors that australian players and fans take pride in; it is these visual aspects of the team that perpetuate athletics and cause people to keep an eye for the jerseys, kits, and caps of their favorite teams.
due to the impending [now played...this post is going up late :( ] world cup finals, i recently had some musings involving the crossing of platforms between the sports and fashion worlds. we see all sorts of connections between these different realms of culture including photo-spreads and spokesperson contract extended to sports stars, like the example above with gael monfils gracing the pages of us vogue last fall and sports themed high-fashion editorials. however, as evidenced by recent collections, the sports world has left more of a mark than simply fit bodies and roguish good looks.
a new york times fashion and style article from wednesday discusses the very question of the branding and modeling crossover roles that many stars [in particular soccer stars] tend to accept and the amount of brands who use these familiar faces -and bodies-for representation. conversely, many magazines,stylists, and photographers choose to use sports as a theme of editorial spreads. we often see the juxtaposition of "tough" and disciplined athletic garb, form and function executed by supermodels.
furthermore, many influential brands and design houses choose to become synonymous with their home country and strive to create iconic pieces, uniforms, and goods especially for their national teams. dolce & gabbana's sartorial support of the italian soccer team, fifa's commission of louis vuitton design services in trunk form, and ralph lauren's overzealous polo customization for the usa 2010 winter olympic squad all come to mind...
which brings me to my final thought spurred by the ss2010 runway seasons from both alexandre herchcovitch and alexander wang of the inspiration which actual athletic uniforms and equipment lend to the high fashion world.
herchcovitch, in an interview published on his website gives this statement in regards to his choice of sporting gear as inspiration:::
all above photos from alexandre herchovitch ss2010
i'll leave you with alexander wang's iconic jersey, sheers, and leather layers with the faint hint of the structure of past american football uniforms and headgear... elegantly layered and structured with a clear idea of using these shapes to accentuate the feminine form:::