More than just a shirt

Iconic football shirts reap­praised as de­sign clas­sics in a Lon­don ex­hi­bi­tion.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Art -

FOOTBALL shirts are not just sym­bols of team al­le­giance: the colours, de­signs and styles are be­ing reap­praised as icons of sar­to­rial cool at an ex­hi­bi­tion in Lon­don.

The Art Of The Football Shirt takes vis­i­tors through 180 dif­fer­ent football shirts, from in­stantly recog­nis­able clas­sics to strange strips that pushed the bound­aries, and jer­seys that crossed over into fash­ion, mu­sic and pol­i­tics.

It shows how plain shirts grad­u­ally gave way to a tidal wave of graphic de­sign ex­per­i­ments, with art school grad­u­ates let loose to play with shapes, pat­terns and colours.

Cu­ra­tor Neal Heard, who owns 70 shirts in the collection, said kits were now jump­ing out be­yond the sport once again.

“These things are fash­ion items now,” he told AFP. “I call it the ‘bas­ket­ball-isa­tion’ of football – it’s be­com­ing more about lifestyle and less about the tribal res­o­nance of a team’s shirts.”

He com­pared mod­ern football jer­seys to New York Yan­kees caps – a sym­bol worn by many peo­ple with­out any al­le­giance to, or even knowl­edge of, the base­ball side.

“Shirts and football are go­ing more that way. The teams are see­ing them­selves as brands,” said Heard, cit­ing Ital­ian side Ju­ven­tus’s newly-in­tro­duced J-shaped logo.

He also said pop­u­lar football com­puter games were spread­ing a love of the kits among young­sters. “Kids know their teams and colours and see the play­ers wear­ing them as lifestyle he­roes,” said Heard, a 48-year-old sports­wear con­sul­tant who penned The Football Shirts Book: The Con­nois­seur’s Guide.

The ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes an iconic XI cho­sen for their leg­endary football sta­tus, but breaks down the collection into sec­tions such as streetwear, mu­sic, pol­i­tics and graphic de­sign, rather than eras, coun­tries or club and in­ter­na­tional shirts.

The iconic XI in­cludes clas­sics such as Eng­land’s red 1966 away shirt, the bright yel­low 1970 Brazil jersey, AC Mi­lan’s red-and-black stripes, Celtic’s green-and-white hoops and the black-and-white stripes of Ju­ven­tus.

It also in­cludes, from 1988, the Nether­lands’ Marco van Bas­ten/ Ruud Gul­lit era pat­terned orange shirt, and the white West Ger­many top fea­tur­ing a tri­colour band of the na­tional flag’s black, red and yel­low – two Adi­das shirts that trig­gered the 1990s graphic de­sign ex­plo­sion.

Heard said the early 1990s pe­riod was dom­i­nated by art school grad­u­ates left free to ex­per­i­ment, in­clud­ing tak­ing the pat­terns cre­ated by shin­ing light through an ash­tray onto a pho­to­copier. “The ge­nie was out of the bot­tle. One of the iconic ones would be the Ar­se­nal ‘bruised ba­nana’. That was a touch­stone for that time. But all the big boys were do­ing it,” said the New­port County fan.

Dutch col­lec­tor Jesse Rabbel­jee, who pro­vided the other 110 shirts, added: “Around 1988 to 1990 things started to evolve – and in the 1990s it got com­pletely mad.

“I didn’t like them. But re­cently they have been grow­ing on me.”

The 43-year-old said those de­signs were re­turn­ing.

“Now were in a ‘retro-new’ style: us­ing the old pat­terns and styles from the 1980s and 90s and bring­ing it back with a new touch. It won’t take long to go back to crazy kits again,” he told AFP.

Rabbel­jee, who works with chil­dren with be­havioural prob­lems, started his collection in 1999 with a yel­low and green Nantes jersey like the one Bob Mar­ley once wore, found in a thrift store in the United States.

One sec­tion of the ex­hi­bi­tion looks at how football shirts have crossed over into the mu­sic scene, in­clud­ing the Nantes colours worn by Mar­ley, the Manch­ester City shirts sported by Oa­sis and the sky­blue Eng­land third kit fea­tured in the Eng­land/New Or­der 1990 World Cup song World In Mo­tion.

Cu­ri­ous strips in­clude Hull City’s tiger print shirts; Fiorentina’s 1992 change jersey, with­drawn af­ter ap­par­ently in­ad­ver­tent swastikas were found on it; and Stock­port County’s Ar­gentina-style strip, pulled when Bri­tain went to war with Ar­gentina over the Falk­land Is­lands in 1982.

Span­ish side Cul­tural Leonesa’s 2013 cock­tail jacket and bow tie top is fea­tured, along with a Bre­ton­striped France change jersey by de­signer Jean-Paul Gaultier.

The free ex­hi­bi­tion is part of the Jacket Re­quired menswear trade show at the Old Tru­man Brew­ery.

— Pho­tos: AFP

Football shirts (from left, top) from Ar­se­nal’s ‘bruised ba­nana’ top from 1991, a Ja­panese club, a Nether­lands away shirt, an Ar­se­nal away shirt; (from left, bot­tom) a 1998 Mex­ico shirt, a 1992 Manch­ester United away shirt, a 1989-1991 Liver­pool away shirt and a Ger­many shirt from 1994-1995, form part of The Art Of The Football Shirt ex­hi­bi­tion in Lon­don.

— AP

Brazil cap­tain Car­los Al­berto, left, and Eng­land cap­tain Bobby Moore, pose for a photo prior to their World Cup 1970 match in Guadala­jara, Mex­ico. The bright yel­low 1970 Brazil jersey has gone one to at­tain iconic sta­tus.

West Ger­man mid­fielder Lothar Matthaeus (left) and for­ward Pierre Lit­tbarski cel­e­brat­ing with the World Cup tro­phy in 1990 in Rome af­ter beat­ing Ar­gentina in the World Cup fi­nal. The white West Ger­many top, fea­tur­ing a tri­colour band of the na­tional flag’s black, red and yel­low trig­gered the 1990s graphic de­sign ex­plo­sion.

A football shirt of the French Football Fed­er­a­tion, dated 19801982, fea­tur­ing the Gal­lic rooster.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.