| Beckham is the inspiration behind the new uniform
Giorgio Armani, the football-mad Italian designer, has designed a new, ultra-fashionable, official uniform for the England team.
Giorgio Armani’s official England team uniform which the players will wear for the next four years includes two suits, an overcoat, an avant-garde, asymmetric raincoat, a revolutionary cardigan-jacket, underwear, sunglasses, watches and luggage.
The new kit is in a colour palette of navy, light blue and pearl-grey and Armani will supervise the final fittings.
Exclusive sketches, drawn and signed by Giorgio Armani, show how David Beckham, the England captain, will look wearing the classic, two-button suit in cotton/linen and the lightweight wool overcoat; the side-buttoned, trenchcoat; and the more casual ‘sportive’ ensemble that includes light wool-crepe, flat-front trousers, a cotton, button-down shirt and that ‘cardigan’.
In light cashmere, with a polo collar and snap closure, it was personally chosen by Beckham and has already been christened the ‘Beckham Jacket’.
The team will wear the new wardrobe for the first time in an official capacity when the players fly off to play a friendly against South Africa. They will also wear the uniform for Euro 2004 in Portugal and the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Beckham was reportedly the chief inspiration behind the new uniform. A heavy-duty Armani shopper, he regularly goes on retail-therapy spending sprees in the Emporio Armani shop in Manchester. Sven-Goran Eriksson, the England coach, is also an Armani fan.
Initial ideas were thrashed out at a meeting in London just before Christmas. Armani sat down with Beckham and Eriksson, together with Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand and David James, the West Ham keeper, who has appeared in both Armani menswear shows and in his underwear advertising campaigns.
Beckham reportedly fell in love with the sporty cardigan-jacket Armani was wearing for the meeting, a sample from next winter’s collection.
After Beckham called the next morning to order one for himself, Armani decided to make it part of the official uniform.
An avid Inter Milan fan, Armani has been designing team uniforms since 1994, when he did the official World Cup clothing for the Italian national squad.
He also designed the official uniforms for Newcastle United for the FA Cup final in 1999 and designed Chelsea’s 2000 FA Cup uniform as well as their official uniform for next winter.
British designer Paul Smith, now Sir Paul, prepared bespoke beige single-breasted outfits in viscose linen for Glen Hoddle’s 1998 England World Cup squad. But fashion critics were divided on the merits.
For Euro 2000 in Belgium and Holland, Burton Menswear pulled off a coup when it was asked to dress Beckham and company. It was the first time the high-street chain had been selected for the job since the 1966 World Cup.
Burton was again picked to clothe the England team for the World Cup in Japan and South Korea last summer.
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