Modern football kits are stretching credibility they’re not worth the ballyhoo | Simon Burnton

Gone are the days when it was enough for a new strip to look good. Designers are obsessed with spinning a complex yarn

In 1976 the groundbreaking choreographer Peter Darrell debuted Mary Queen of Scots, an attempt to tell the story of the doomed monarch entirely through the medium of dance. Darrells ballet is historically pretty accurate, James Kennedy wrote in his review for the Guardian. The events, as here transmuted into classical dance, did (more or less) happen. Why did Darrell and his lively company do it? Well, you can have marvellous historical plays and poignant, if imperfect, historical operas, so why not a successful historical ballet?

Forty-three years have now passed since Darrells ballet opened to the public, a near-half-century of constant innovation in the arts. Attempting to describe historical events through dance is no longer so groundbreaking but a new canvas has been found and it uses shirts as its stage, and polyester instead of pirouettes. The right answer as is proved, for the umpteenth time, by this three-hour long misadventure, is that ballet, or any kind of dance for that matter, is no good at telling protracted, intricate stories, continued Kennedy in his review, but it is as nothing compared to football kits, perhaps the most confusing method yet invented for spinning a complex yarn.

Manchester City took to the field for the Community Shield final in a shirt of refreshing simplicity, entirely without sponsors and unburdened by frippery. Inevitably they will wear it only once and the rest of the work Puma has done for the club this year stands as an exemplar of the more extreme end of modern kit design.

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The home kit tells the story of the post-industrial north with a woven Jacquard wave pattern [which] is a visual representation of the looms which were integral to the industrial revolution in Manchester. The away shirt is directly inspired by former nightclub, The Haienda, which is to say it is basically black (presumably because it was often dark when the Haienda was open). The right sleeve has a sky blue trim and the left sleeve peach, which we are expected to believe creates a colourful representation of this legendary cultural icon that was the heartbeat of the city. Their third kit uses the colours yellow and peach to embody the modernity of the club and its mission to play attractive, technically skilled and attacking football.

The casual observer could no more decipher any of this than they could a balletic distillation of Marys marriage to the Dauphin of France, and theres more of it to come: Manchester is renowned for its music scene and for sure in future seasons well see inspiration coming from different kinds of music within the city, pledges Josele Angulo, who led Pumas design team, offering a tantalising teaser for a future version based on the Inspiral Carpets squiggly-eyed cow.

Manchester
Manchester Citys kit for the Community Shield was refreshingly simple but we probably wont see it again. Photograph: Rob Newell – CameraSport/CameraSport via Getty Images

Gone, it seems, are the days when it was enough for a new kit to look good, or just a bit different. Contemporary designers need extensive knowledge of a clubs history, geography and even, sometimes, its architecture.

Chelseas new home shirt is covered in an all-over graphic comprising imagery of the famous North Stand, the East and West Stands and the raucous Shed End merged into an abstract print. The club have been talking about redeveloping their ground for many years, which is perhaps why they have produced a shirt which looks if anything like a post-demolition Stamford Bridge.

Evertons features some diagonal lines or, in kit-designer speak, a modern graphic influenced by the distinctive crisscrossed steelwork from the upper tier of the Bullens Road stand, the work of legendary stadium architect Archibald Leitch. Their away kit, meanwhile, is in an unusual shade of orangey-pink which is officially defined as living coral. We knew that this particular colour would strike a chord with the Everton fans, said Robin Dunn, Umbros head of performance, as they have a familiar history of salmon and coral coloured strips. This amounts to a similarly hued shirt worn in 1890-91, which would test the memory of even the most long-toothed supporter, and as a third kit for one season since.

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Umbro also make West Hams kit but has resisted the temptation to describe their away strip as dead coral and gone with the more traditional white. It is inspired by the class of 1980 winners in white of the FA Cup that year and is thus not to be confused with last years third kit, which was also all-white but for different reasons.

Similarly Newcastles home kit pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the clubs Inter-Cities Fairs Cup win, though it is as different to its predecessor as it is possible to get while still featuring black and white stripes.

Manchester Uniteds home kit features multiple nods to the 1998-99 treble winners, while on their travels their shirts will feature a fresh savannah-toned aesthetic and an intricate patterned design that takes its inspiration from the many mosaics that adorn the streets of Manchesters creative district, the Northern Quarter.

Liverpools away and third kits feature, respectively, a design that takes inspiration from iconic street signs around Anfield (in other words, its white), and a graphic that pays homage to the shape of Liverpools street signs (its rectangular).

It is not the kits that are the problem here so much as their credibility-testing explanations. The annual deluge of designs is by now a familiar part of the modern English game and even quite entertaining in its way, but perhaps in time we will realise that, like the life of Mary Queen of Scots, they are really not worth making a song and dance about.

Original Article : HERE ;

This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific

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