Opinion: A Kick About Fashion

Zul Andra would like to replace fashion creative directors with football managers.

BY ZUL ANDRA | Feb 4, 2016 | Fashion

Photographs from Flickr Commons and Wiki Commons

Exits from three top Creative Directors have left the fashion world in a state of shock. Rumor mills are spinning tales of other possible exodus. Who will tailor our clothes? Is high-end men’s tailoring doomed? Are we all going naked?

Brendan Mullane left Brioni, Alessandro Sartori departed from Berluti and, most recently, Stefano Pilati quit Ermenegildo Zegna. With the exception of Sartori, who has been with the house for 5 years, the rest were in their 4th.

Perhaps the news came as unexpectedly as Raf Simons leaving Dior in late-2015, or Simon’s predecessor Hedi Slimane continuing to do strong work with Saint Laurent since 2012. (We are not saying Slimane will leave, but the Creative Director post at Dior is still up for grabs.)

But in the football world, top managers leaving is as common as Steven Gerard missing a penalty. In a high-stress and demanding sporting arena, the only concern is if a team is winning or losing.

So if Alex Ferguson left Manchester United after 27 years or his successor, David-what-his-face, was shown the door after a year, “put your head down and get on with it” is the mantra the footballing world would adopt from Ferguson.

This is not to say that the fashion world is devoid of pressures. Demanding fashion seasons, accelerated cycles and a whiff of time between inspiration and production can burn creatives out.

And just as football clubs are owned by multi-billionaires, so too are fashion houses. Threading through mounting expectations from all corners requires someone with a nuanced relationship with it—and still look good in a suit and tie.

So here are my picks: jobless football managers who could fill in the shoes (or loafers, or sneakers, or double monks) at Berluti, Brioni and Ermenegildo Zegna.

Jose Mourinho for Brioni

The Portuguese manager was sacked by Chelsea in late-2015 after two seasons with the club. When not shooting deathly squints at his players, he gets his suits tailored to meet his impeccable dress sense.

As reported by Financial Times, Brioni’s Master Tailor, Angelo Petrucci, jets around for private fittings and Mourinho is one his many clients. If Mourinho can appreciate fine suits, we are pretty sure he’d be a nice fit for the Italian fashion house.

A large plaque in one of the classrooms at Brioni tailoring school reads: “The tailor is your doctor. He cures your physical defects with his skill. He presents you in society as a more harmonious figure.” Very Mourinho.

Petrucci’s other clients also includes Vladimir Putin. We know Mourinho enjoys playing mind games with other managers.

Perhaps this time, Chelsea’s owner and Russian businessman, Roman Abramovich, could be his next target. In whispers, of course, as he mends lord Putin's brand new emperor-like suit. 

Or Mourinho could screw with Fabio Capello, when the latter joins Ermenegildo Zegna.

Fabio Capello for Ermenegildo Zegna

The Italian has left behind an illustrious career when he was sacked as the manager of Russia’s international team. (Russia’s at it again, sacking people and shooting random things in the sky.)

Having managed Milan, Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid, Capello is no stranger to the strains of the footballing world.

But who cares about that? What you should care about is when he turned into an interim fashion designer during his stint managing the English national team.

For the 2010 World Cup, Capello contributed to the design of the team’s Marks & Spencer suit. “Fabio is quite particular on how he wanted the boys to look,” Duncan Morris, Marks & Spencer Marketing Manager, told Bloomberg Business. “He actually had a definite sartorial direction.”

Bloomberg reports: The two-button wool suit has a slim silhouette, narrow lapels, four-button cuffs and a “decadent” red check lining. Trousers are flat-fronted and half-lined, while the four-button waistcoat gives “style kudos”.

Bravissimo, Fabio!

Ermenegildo Zegna too has a defined approach to menswear. One of the most sought-after collector’s item back in 2013 was a classic Zegna couture called the “Napoli”. 

The suit sports a sharp English silhouette with slimmer sleeves and a soft Neapolitan shoulder. Similar to what Capello’s vision was. Now, put that vision on Zegna.

Michel Platini for Berluti

Well, he’s banned from any football-related activities for 8 years after being found guilty of ethics violations at FIFA. You know what you could do with that time? Learn how to make shoes.

And where can a person of Platini’s calibre go to? Berluti—a French atelier with over a century worth of history. That’d be right up the former player and manager’s alley. The Frenchman, after all, was conferred the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur in 1985 for his contributions to French football.

Is Platini sorry for what he has done in FIFA? Reportedly not. He’s appealing against the verdict, which leaves him much time for shoe polishing.