Dedicated to Gooner gals and pals who love to don jumpsuits and smart jackets as they do their jerseys.

10 May 2012

Country Costumes: France

Les Bleus was my first love. I watched them lift the World Cup as a bemused 7-year old who stayed up until the early morning with her older brother to watch Brazil and France go head to head 7 hours behind our time zone. Being young, I didn't understand much, but I did remember a player that went to pave his way as a French legend and soon became a household name, Zinedine Zidane. His head was still full of hair back then... not so much Fabien Barthez. Though at the time I've yet to discover my love for football 8 years later, I remembered the summer of 1998 to be exactly in three colours: bleu, blanc, and rouge. 

France's 0 - 3 win against favourites Brazil in Stade de France cemented their place as the top footballing nation entering the new millennium. In true French style, they greeted the summer of the year 2000 by winning the European championship in Belgium. They went to win the Confederations Cup in 2001 but followed with a disastrous campaign in South Korea as they exited in the group stages of the 2002 World Cup having been predicted a contender. Collecting another Confederations Cup in 2003, their less than attractive performance in the 2006 World Cup had no one believing they were going to reach the finals.

Everybody certainly remembered the dramatic end to France's hope of winning a second title. One incident overshadowed the whole event: Zidane vs. Materazzi and a little move called the headbutt. Though Zidane was clearly wrong to rise to the provocation, everyone, especially France watched in agony as Zidane walked out the pitch, passing by the trophy he once won almost single-handedly. This would be the last time the world watched Zidane play football professionally as he announced retirement afterwards.

France fell to what I call a post-Zidane syndrome afterwards. They exited in the group stages of both the 2008 Euros and the 2010 World Cup. They were criticised for holding on to ageing players, but when the younger players came to offer their services - a generational conflict unfolded led by the two headed demon, Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri. Stories of unrest within the French camp filled their South African campaign and the players went into what the Frenchman does best: a revolution.

Unlike 1789, 1830, and 1848 - this coup had obvious results: punishment. The squad was suspended, the instigators fined, and the captain questioned by the president. The team regrouped from the drama and managed to qualify for the 2012 Euros. As someone who has a tiny piece of her heart reserved for Les Tricolores, I'm looking forward to see a much-refreshed French squad. With that in mind, this look invokes new beginnings in a parisian chic packaging. Simple, strong, clean lines with classic French icons such as the Hermès Kelly bag and Chanel clip ins. The outfit itself is understated yet packs a punch - burgundy trousers, floral top, and a luxurious smoking jacket. Add a tough minimalist sandal to show that you're here with a point to prove and you might just be ready to win something.

Trousers, Isabel Marant, £195
Top, Vanessa Bruno, £280
Blazer, Balmain, £653 (on sale)
Bag, Hermès, price upon request
Earrings, Chanel, price unavailable (vintage)
Shoes, Givenchy, £636 


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