SOCCER LOVERS BOOK REVIEW: SOCCER STYLE by Simon Doonan
Cool – Fun – What We Need Now.
Published by Laurence King Publishing — On Sale: Now (June, 2018)
Who knew George Best was considered the fifth Beatle?
Soccer books have exploded on the scene with great force — finally, there is a book that focuses on the style side off the field — where famous soccer icons show their personality.
Soccer STYLE – The Magic and Madness by Simon Doonan is a great companion for the World Cup – for soccer die-hard fans as well as the flock of newbies joining the ranks of soccer fans in America.
What can you discern about soccer culture by looking at the style of players?
What do the tatoos, the cars and the hair say about the player and the game?
Personal choice reveals a player’s personality and now that soccer fever is raging full force, this one-of-a-kind book that charts the style of soccer from its very beginnings with George Best to icons of soccer today with Lionel Messi — well, is it a really fun read.
All soccer lovers should check out why Doonan thinks of Ronaldo as one of the Label Kings and Neymar as one of the rare Psychedelic Ninjas.
Beyond describing the flash of iconic soccer starts, SOCCER STYLE covers brings New York style wit to soccer with observations which will make you stop and laugh out loud and ponder your own style.
“I like nice clothes, whether they are dodgy or not.” David Beckham
While I have never seen Beckham look dodgy, there are over 230 photographs to ponder. Who knew Messi sported a wine colors velvet suit and actually looked good in it or that Zlatan really had that many tatoos?
Whether you are a true fashionista or an avid soccer fan, this book is a lighthearted look at the world’s favorite game.
Writer, columnist, and a football obsessive Simon Doonan is the Creative Ambassador for Barneys New York. Of course. Naturally, the person who speaks out on soccer style is a maven of New York style and has been for years.
Doonan has been in the fashion world for over 35 years and has written six books, including the tongue-in-cheek style guides Eccentric Glamour and Gay Men Don’t Get Fat.
This summer, Simon will be appearing as a judge on upcoming NBC television show, Making It, co-hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman.
We loved Doonan’s look at the beautiful game so much, we interviewed him. Here is Diane Scavuzzo Questions & Answers session with Simon Doonan:
Diane Scavuzzo: How does a player’s style give a glimpse into the heart of the game?
Simon Doonan: Clothing is non-verbal communication, so are tattoos and haircuts. When players like Naingolan and Alderweireld hit the pitch you know they are ready to do battle.
Look at Zlatan: there is a direct connection between his approach to the game and his bold personal style.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are the craziest and or best style choices you have seen?
Simon Doonan: I believe in excess and flamboyance.
What’s the point in being young and rich and fabulous if you don’t fly your freak flag?
Djibril Cisse is one of my all-time style heroes.
I love that he wore a Givenchy kilt with a matching sweatshirt. I also appreciate the good taste dudes like Thierry Henry.
When you are a young player it’s great to be uninhibited – like Beckham when he wore a sarong – and then as you mature you might want to dial back the crazy, just as Becks did.
Diane Scavuzzo: Was soccer lacking style for a long time, and if so, what changed? Is it because players are now being paid more and having style (sometimes) takes money?
Simon Doonan: I started going to games in the 1950’s. Nobody had money for fripperies. Then, in the 60’s the wage cap was lifted. Along came the swinging 60’s and – bam! – players could participate in the new fashionable swinging youth culture.
This era is epitomized by Man U legend George Best. He was such a rockstar that he was known as The Fifth Beatle.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who are the greatest style icons of the game today?
Simon Doonan: I love the Brazilians – Alves, Neymar, Firmino – because they turn it out with reckless avant-garde style …. clothes, ink, and haircuts. Ditto Pogba!
Diane Scavuzzo: Why are soccer shorts longer now than they were decades ago?
Simon Doonan: Everything is cyclical. Believe me, those short-shorts will eventually come back. Remember those satiny man blouses in the 90’s – Becks, Scholes, and Giggs – rest assured they will come back and we will all look back and laugh at the Arsenal lads of today in their skin-tight sausage-casings.
Diane Scavuzzo: As Creative Ambassador for Barneys New York, do you think soccer players now seen as celebrities like other sports’ heroes? Besides just the top few such as Beckham, Ronaldo, Messi ….
Simon Doonan: We fans see them ALL as celebrities. But there are few who have broken thru to enjoy wider recognition: Becks, Ronaldo, Messi, Rodriguez et al.
If you are able to score an underwear deal then you have broken through.
I think Freddie Ljungberg was the first.
Diane Scavuzzo: How would you describe Messi’s style?
Simon Doonan: Messi is such a genuine bloke, very unpretentious and humble. But he has a history of turning up the volume for Award shows. In my book, I pay special tribute to Messi’s Dolce and Gabbana Ballon d’Or suits.
Remember the flaming red number?
Diane Scavuzzo: And, Ronaldo’s?
Simon Doonan: When men are extraordinarily beautiful – and confident – they always get picked apart.
Ronaldo is a strange unknowable character, a god from another planet.
Not relatable at all. Women love him but men have to be won over.
Zlatan is a physically impressive dude but he is somehow accessible.
Ronaldo is an enigma. Regarding his style, he is definitely what I call in my book, A Label King.
He enjoys his Gucci and Louis Vuitton luxury accessories, lots of them. We are talking about a bloke who has Hermes blankets on his private plane. And don’t even get me started on his car collection. Check out my Car Porn chapter.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do most soccer players have a sense of style? Any tips for young want to be soccer stars who are figuring out their own sense of style?
Simon Doonan: The key is to find a style which reflects your personality. In my book, I classify players into different groups: Good Taste Ambassadors, Hired Assassins, Label Kings, Psychedelic Ninjas and Bohemians and Fauxhemians.
Harry Kane is a good-taste guy – never trendy, very classic, very Chariots of Fire – and he would look terrible in Neymar’s Psychedelic Ninja outfits. Antoine Griezman and Cesc Fabregas do the Hired Assassin look. It’s all about self-expression.
You do you.
While many old-fashioned soccer aficionados might never have thought that soccer and fashion would exist in the same sentence, this book goes to show the success and adoption of the beautiful game in America.