The goals of fash­ion­able foot­ballers

Au­thor ex­plains the magic and the mad­ness be­hind how fa­mous soc­cer play­ers choose their styles

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - LIFE - DANA GEE

Si­mon Doo­nan is a bona fide bon vi­vant so it makes to­tal sense that the cre­ative am­bas­sador for Bar­neys New York would do a colour­ful, cheeky cel­e­bra­tion of the style of the beau­ti­ful game.

In Soc­cer Style: The Magic and the Mad­ness, Doo­nan breaks down the get-ups of fa­mous play­ers, from the leg­endary 1960s Manch­ester United for­ward Ge­orge Best to to­day’s pitch-per­fect Gucci lov­ing Cris­tiano Ron­aldo, the Real Madrid star play­ing for Por­tu­gal in this year’s World Cup.

The book is a fun and a com­pletely un­apolo­getic, full-on fawn­ing by a true English foot­ball fan.

Doo­nan grew up in a work­ing class neigh­bour­hood in Read­ing, Eng­land, and through the foot­baller days of his youth he started to un­der­stand sar­to­rial sense and just plain liv­ing it up.

Doo­nan chat­ted with Post­media about his book and who he con­sid­ers to be fash­ion­able foot­ballers.

Q Why did you want to do Soc­cer Style: The Magic and the Mad­ness?

A I grew up with soc­cer in Eng­land where it’s a huge part of the cul­ture. I was al­ways fas­ci­nated by the style and flash of the high-pro­file play­ers: their dra­mas, their cars and hair­cuts and their ink. The cul­ture which has evolved around soc­cer is rich and fre­quently hi­lar­i­ous.

Q At the be­gin­ning of the book, you say the lens you view foot­ball through is “less Fever Pitch and more Satur­day Night Fever Pitch.” What is about the sar­to­rial side of foot­ball that so in­trigues you?

A I re­late to the lads. I grew up in a fac­tory town af­ter the War in aus­ter­ity Britain. I was ob­sessed with the ’60s gen­er­a­tion of play­ers like Ge­orge Best and Mike Sum­mer­bee. And I shared their pas­sion for style and E-type Jaguars.

Q You point to the great Ge­orge Best as a turn­ing point for you? What kind of in­flu­ence did the Man United star have on you as a kid?

A Best was a tough brave player, a real ma­cho dude, who also liked fash­ion. I felt a kin­ship with him in his love of dress­ing up. There was some­thing op­ti­mistic and glam­orous about his van­ity, which ap­pealed to my post­war aus­ter­ity gen­er­a­tion.

Q Of your cat­e­gories of fash­ion­able foot­ballers (Good Taste Am­bas­sadors, La­bel Kings, Psychedelic Nin­jas, Hired As­sas­sin and Bo­hemi­ans and Faux­hemi­ans), which are you per­son­ally most into and why?

A My favourite group of play­ers is the crazy un­in­hib­ited dressers. I call them The Psychedelic Nin­jas. Ex­am­ples in­clude Ney­mar, (Paul) Pogba, (Djib­ril) Cissé, (Dani) Alves and (Roberto) Firmino. These guys love to wear avant-garde crazy clothes — Ba­len­ci­aga, Bal­main, Gucci — and they have a very healthy dis­re­gard for any neg­a­tive feed­back or mock­ery. They use fash­ion as a form of cre­ative per­sonal ex­pres­sion. Bravo!

Q Who is your favourite fash­ion­able foot­baller right now and why?

A (Real Madrid’s) Cris­tiano Ron­aldo seems to en­joy spend­ing his dough. He has Her­mes blan­kets on his pri­vate plane. When I read about the fab­u­lous movie stars of the si­lent movie era like Ru­dolph Valentino and Glo­ria Swan­son, I think of Ron­aldo.

Q What are the big­gest trends you see in foot­baller fash­ion right now?

A Hand tat­toos are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar. Ser­gio Ramos of Real Madrid has big flow­ers on the back of his hands. Beards are ev­ery­where. Many play­ers — Pogba and (An­toine) Griez­mann — sim­pli­fied their rad­i­cal hair­cuts for the World Cup. Am sure they will go back to their old ways when the next sea­son be­gins.

Q What can we all learn from foot­baller fash­ion?

A Foot­ballers/soc­cer play­ers feed the fash­ion econ­omy. They love to shop. They are true pa­trons of La Mode. They show us that style is life-af­firm­ing and life-en­hanc­ing.

Q You men­tion in the book that foot­ballers pay full re­tail and that makes you happy. Why?

A I have been in the re­tail world my en­tire adult life. My salary has al­ways de­pended on peo­ple pay­ing full re­tail. God bless the shop­pers of the world. They are the true pa­trons of fash­ion.

Q There are so many style trends con­nected with foot­ball over the years. Which one do you love now?

A I am very ex­cited about the new soc­cer jersey de­signs. Peo­ple, not just fans, are buy­ing soc­cer jer­seys and wear­ing them with their street-style and hip­ster out­fits. You don’t have to be a soc­cer fan to wear a Nige­rian or Span­ish jersey. It’s a style mo­ment. This is a big rev­o­lu­tion. In the old days, only hard­core fans wore soc­cer jer­seys. Now they have be­come a huge hip sig­ni­fier. This is the big news of the 2018 World Cup. The shirts are stylish and groovy and can be in­te­grated into your reg­u­lar street-style wardrobe. My faves are Colom­bia — light­ning bolts com­ing from the armpits — and Croa­tia with the checker­board pat­tern, which re­minds me of the Louis Vuit­ton Dau­mier pat­tern.

Q Foot­ballers and their hair, has there even been a more in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship? What did you like bet­ter frost and tip, corn­row or man bun David Beck­ham?

A David Beck­ham’s chang­ing hair­styles lib­er­ated gen­er­a­tions of blokes who never thought about their hair. He and his var­i­ous styles un­leashed the met­ro­sex­ual cre­ativ­ity. He is the pa­tron saint of soc­cer style.

Q You ad­dress the whole WAG (wives and girl­friends) thing and open with the hi­lar­i­ous and fa­mous Peter Crouch re­sponse when asked what he would have been if he hadn’t be­come a foot­baller? He re­sponded, “A vir­gin.” So that said, to be a WAG is to be ...?

A The big WAG mo­ment hap­pened back in 2006 at the Ger­man World Cup when Coleen Rooney and Abbey Clancy and Vic­to­ria Beck­ham took Baden Baden by storm. Watch­ing these young girls hav­ing a blast and shop­ping their brains out pro­vided fod­der for the tabloids. Now things have changed. Most WAGS want to be taken se­ri­ously.

Q You are cre­ative am­bas­sador for Bar­neys New York. How long have you been there and what does your job en­tail?

A have worked for Bar­neys since 1986, and for most of that time I have been the cre­ative direc­tor, re­spon­si­ble for win­dow dis­plays and ads and all the fun im­age re­lated stuff. The Am­bas­sador po­si­tion is rel­a­tively re­cent. I get to host store events and give quotes to the press. It also al­lows me to do other stuff, like my new TV show. It’s a com­pe­ti­tion craft­ing show with Amy Poehler and Nick Of­fer­man called Mak­ing It and it de­buts July 31 on NBC. Etsy’s Dayna Isom John­son and I are the judges.


Writer, colum­nist, and the soc­cer ob­ses­sive Si­mon Doo­nan.


Soc­cer Style The Magic and Mad­ness.

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