An Andy Warhol inspired multicoloured image of Blanche de Castille, a 13th century French queen who was married to the flambuoyant and frivolous Louis VIII, her mysterious passive expression evokes a level of sensitiviy and romance while her large crown is like a prop from an Elton John ball . The border material is a sort of cowgirl denim print, reminiscent of Madonna’s Don’t Tell Me phase. Andy himself would be absolutely delighted if he knew his artistic legacy was strapped around the vessel-like chests of France’s most major rugby team, if not a little jealous of this close proximity between his work and his fantasies.
French rugby stars have challenged masculine codes for a while now, perfectly exemplified through their Dieux Du Stade naked calendar series, an annually bestselling erotic publication that blends the neoclassical with male fitness ideals, aristocratic settings and gay porn. Football stars have been doing this sort of thing for decades, with Beckham being on shoot almost as much as he’s on the pitch.
To see the papers all buzzing about a new rugby kit is a really exciting development in sport, I’ve never bought a rugby kit for casual wear but now I am suddenly tempted, it will be interesting to see if the hairier and more beer-prone end of France's rugger buggers will be brave enough to dare such an outrageous design. Adidas have continued to smash high street boundaries with their radical colour schemes, international inspirations like the popular Kingston Jamaica range, and collaborating with top end designers like Stella McCartney. Rugby has very traditional and muddy British origins, so it is pleasing to see worldwide liberality and vintage American pop art glamour making its mark on the sport. Suddenly red and blue kits seem terribly passé.
England now needs to rise to this sartorial challenge. I’m thinking Vivienne Westwood, blown up images of a tiara-clad Diana, with a fluorescent yellow and hot pink Sex Pistols background. What do you reckon?
Down Below: Some shots from a Dieux Du Stade calendar. A nice little earner for the gym-addicted frogs, somehow I can't picture Phil Vickery or Jamie Noon making it a sideline career yet.
Words: Jack Cullen - email@example.com