DALLAS, Jan 5, 2006/ FW/ — It used to be the privy of Nike and Reebok, and the likes of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. But, that has changed as high profile designers like Giorgio Armani and Alexander McQueen foray into the world of sports.
For Giorgio Armani, it has been dressing the England football team for the past several seasons.
Aside from the England team, wherein he is the official designer, his ‘friendships’ in the football world include Real Madrid’s Ronaldo and Luis Figo, Inter Milan’s Christian Vieri and Fabio Cannavaro and AC Milan’s Andreij Shevchenko (with whom Giorgio Armani has opened two stores in the player’s home town of Kiev in the Ukraine).
To Alexander McQueen, it’s designing a line of trainers for PUMA formally launched last September 2005 in London.
A self-confessed sports aficionado and very passionate about sports shoes, McQueen’s sleek designs have captured the imagination of both fashionistas and sports fans.
Neil Barrett also has a line for the German sportswear giant with his PUMA 96 Hours collection, which is all about running, not just a sport but also a lifestyle of performance.
Adidas, another giant in the sporting world has also teamed up with several designers, with the biggest splash made by Yohji Yamamoto.
Historically showing the Y-3 line in Paris, last September, it was introduced to the American market in what is probably the best produced and the most elaborate catwalk show of the New York season with three moving runways and ‘star gate’ as backdrop.
Stella McCartney is another high fashion designer in the Adidas stable who added her touch to traditional work out clothes, creating hoodies, leggings, vests and jackets in her signature style and colors, making it very feminine and chic.
If Stella McCartney has her way, no woman will go to the gym or play sports looking like a fashion victim. To her, there is no excuse for someone not to be fashionable.
Marc Jacobs and Luella have designed trainers for Vans, while John Varvatos has collaborated with Converse, and Philip Treacy is producing a range with Umbro.
And if a designer is not creating something for a sportswear company, they actually put sports on the runway as seen in Milan last July during the Milano Uomo Spring 2006 season.
Giorgio Armani had his models wearing suits and riding bicycles during the finale of his Emporio Armani show. With air balloons and circa 1900s engines, Etro brought the forerunner of the helicopter on the catwalk. Menichetti had skateboarders and of course, skateboarding clothes in his collection.
And, the synergy goes both ways, as athletes grace fashion shows. Tennis star Andy Roddick attended the Lacoste Spring 2006 preview last September in New York. Venus and Serena Williams are already considered front row denizens during the New York season.
The biggest surprise of all… Mike Tyson gracing the Los Angeles debut of Bradley Bayou.
Now, once Phil Jackson, Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban attend any show in either New York, London, Milan and Paris, then the circle will be complete!
Photos by Giovanni Pucci