In the next month, the world will see itself in the grips of football fever, a pandemic that occurs once every four years. No doubt the accomplished players show great skill on the football pitch, however off the pitch instead is where my interest lies. Football stars meet fashion? Why yes, and often with interesting results. And no, they aren’t merely limited to underwear advertisement campaigns (although admittedly there’s a fair few of that too). Come find out what happens when football takes on fashion!
Exalted like gods, the players of the biggest sport around the world have found new life off the field. We’ve seen famous faces endorsing a whole range of lifestyle products, from soft drinks like Pepsi to personal hygiene products like shavers.
It seems like if you’re young, fit and a footballer, odds are that you’ll most likely find your face plastered on a billboard somewhere, even if they’re for products that are completely unrelated and slightly bizarre!
Thierry Henry for Renault
Christiano Ronaldo for Clear Men
Unsurprisingly, the fashion industry has also embraced these players wholeheartedly. Fit male athletes with sculptured muscles from a variety of nationalities? It’s practically a match made in (fashion) heaven!
Here are the top 5 moments when fashion met football:
#1. Football players as models
A host of football players have been the face of countless fashion advertisement campaigns. These are but just some of my favourites:
Kaka for Giorgio Armani (2007)
Cesc Fabregas, Xabi Alonso and David Villa for Hugo Boss fragrance (2010)
Christiano Ronaldo for Pepe Jeans (2005)
Cesc Fabregas and Jozy Altidone who walked the Fashion for Relief 2010 Naomi Campbell-hosted fashion show
David James for Emporio Armani (1995)
Paolo Maldini for H&M (2007)
#2. Football players as magazine owners
English football star and Britian’s best dressed man as selected by GQ magazine, Rio Ferdinand has started an online magazine called #5 which explores the realm of sport, fashion, film and music.
The magazine has featured some of the best atheletes in the world from a wide variety of sports such as Roger Federer, Lebron James and Wayne Rooney but lest you think it’s an testosterone overload, there’s also a good mix of models, film stars and general trivia.
#3. Football players as boutique owners
Italian football legend, Paolo Maldini, may have hung up his boots but he’s not content to live a quiet life of retirement. He most recently made headlines when it was reported that he was in business with ex-Oasis rocker Liam Gallagher for Pretty Green, Gallagher’s new clothes store. With plans to become a leading fashion house in Europe, the order is quite a tall one for the ex-football star/current budding business mogul. Whatever it is, I expect this will not be the last we hear of Maldini!
#4. Football players as fashion designers
Thierry Henry is celebrated not only for his skills on the football pitch, but he’s a veritable fashion designer too having collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger on a highly successful capsule collection.
All proceeds of sales went to the One 4 All charity, which fights against racism and social inequality, which goes to show that Henry is not merely a football star, fashion designer but a philantrophist to boot.
#5. Football players as actors
Zinedine Zidane was a surprise face during the Yohji Yamamoto-led Y3 Spring/Summer 2010 short film. Upon viewing it, the reason why the football star was cast became clear.
The Y3 Spring/Summer 2010 collection celebrates sports heritage and with the 2010 World Cup in mind, there’s no better icon to pick than the Frenchman who’s a bonafide football legend.
As you can see, fashion and football are not two mutually-exclusive items. They’re definitely not as far-fetched as the scoffing football fanatics will have you believe. In fact, when you think about it, this year’s world cup trophy case is created from none other than Louis Vuitton, one of the most famous high-end brand across the globe.
No surprise given their “legends” campaign that featured three of the most high profile players in the history of the game, Pele, Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane.
Last but not least, let’s not ignore the significant amount of commercial space that has been given to showcasing footballers and their skin. Or to be more precise, football players as faces of underwear campaigns. Here are the top five best underwear campaigns as fronted by football players:
#1. Freddie Ljungberg for Calvin Klein Underwear
#2. David Beckham for Armani Underwear
#3. Hidetoshi Nakata for Calvin Klein Underwear
#4. Christiano Ronaldo for Armani Underwear
#5. The Italy team for Dolce & Gabbana Calcio Underwear
Be it high fashion or underwear, football has certainly wormed a special place on the mantle of pop culture. What’s your favourite moment when fashion and football collides?
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