x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

The promotional hue of pink and denim blue

True colours The French rugby union side Stade Francais have been pushing the envelope of fashion for a few years now.

Stade Francais are using the kit to promote the French identity.
Stade Francais are using the kit to promote the French identity.

The French rugby union side Stade Francais have been pushing the envelope of fashion for a few years now. In 2005, the club president Max Guazzini decided to turn his team from macho to metrosexual by changing the team's away kit to all pink. It is a strip the players still don, but that is nothing compared to what the players are wearing for this season's Heineken Cup campaign - a variety of multicoloured portraits of Blanche de Castille, a 13th-century French queen of King Louis VIII. Disappointingly the arms and side panels are only denim blue.

The pop artisans of Paris are currently second in Pool Four of the Heineken Cup with two wins and two defeats, and are also challenging Toulouse at the summit of the French Top 14 division. And the images of Blanche, who once helped to organise a fleet to try and invade England, go much further than dazzling the opposition. They help reinforce a strong French identity on the team, despite the presence of the Australian coach Ewen McKenzie and several foreign players.

More than 90,000 replica pink shirts were sold last season, and the management expect fans to eventually warm to the many colours of Blanche. It is all part of Guazzini's promotion of the team. Can-can dancers are a regular sight at home games and Madonna and Naomi Campbell have both been to matches. Surely these two fashionistas can come up with something really special for Guazzini and Stade in 2009/10.