Monday 14 January 2013

Nottingham Man styles up the Giro d'Italia

Being in Milan has its uses. I heard that British fashion designer Sir Paul Smith would be unveiling the leader's jersey (maglia rosa) of the Giro d'Italia in his showroom near the centre of Milan. So I was able to pop in and attend the launch event.

I hadn't known what to expect as although it was about cycling, theren wa a twist since it was being held at the main premises of a top fashion designer and a Knight of the Realm! In fact, it wasn't stuffy at all. People mingled freely and were welcoming. Sir Paul had time to say a few words to many people and he even posed for photos with us lesser mortals!

Standing with Andrea Monti, director of Gazzetta dello Sport, in his very down-to-earth style, and in a packed room, Paul Smith revealed each of the different leader's jerseys to the audience.

"It's just a jersey," he said of the maglia rosa. "There's only a limited amount you can put into designing a jersey. I've done my best, and I hope you like it!"

I like the way that he has put his signature on the collar and also his name features on the back of the jersey in very subtle print. He has also added in some of his trademark multicoloured stripes, and a splash of red, influenced by Andy Warhol's pop art. It's certainly a stylish jersey - even if it is the same colour as all the other ones in previous years!

Well, I say it's great that a British man can come along and design jerseys for a bike race in a country that is known for fashion. It wasn't Dolce & Gabbana or Giorgio Armani who got the gig this year, but Paul Smith - a bloke from Nottingham with a penchant for quirky styles and zany colours.

Mind you, let's not forget that Paul Smith is a keen cyclist himself. He was a racing cyclist in his younger days. As a boy, he was so passionate about cycling that he would keep his bicycle in his bedroom, never letting it out of his sight. And yes, he even cycles around Italy these days - apparently his favourite place is the area around Lucca and Viarreggio in Tuscany. He may not ride as fast as the racers in the Giro d'Italia, but Paul Smith will sure be bringing style to this year's Giro d'Italia!

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