Gone are the days when it was enough for a new strip to look good. Designers are obsessed with spinning a complex yarn
In 1976 the groundbreaking choreographer Peter Darrell debuted Mary Queen of Scots, an attempt to tell the story of the doomed monarch entirely through the medium of dance. Darrells ballet is historically pretty accurate, James Kennedy wrote in his review for the Guardian. The events, as here transmuted into classical dance, did (more or less) happen. Why did Darrell and his lively company do it? Well, you can have marvellous historical plays and poignant, if imperfect, historical operas, so why not a successful historical ballet?
Forty-three years have now passed since Darrells ballet opened to the public, a near-half-century of constant innovation in the arts. Attempting to describe historical events through dance is no longer so groundbreaking but a new canvas has been found and it uses shirts as its stage, and polyester instead of pirouettes. The right answer as is proved, for the umpteenth time, by this three-hour long misadventure, is that ballet, or any kind of dance for that matter, is no good at telling protracted, intricate stories, continued Kennedy in his review, but it is as nothing compared to football kits, perhaps the most confusing method yet invented for spinning a complex yarn.
Manchester City took to the field for the Community Shield final in a shirt of refreshing simplicity, entirely without sponsors and unburdened by frippery. Inevitably they will wear it only once and the rest of the work Puma has done for the club this year stands as an exemplar of the more extreme end of modern kit design.
The home kit tells the story of the post-industrial north with a woven Jacquard wave pattern [which] is a visual representation of the looms which were integral to the industrial revolution in Manchester. The away shirt is directly inspired by former nightclub, The Haienda, which is to say it is basically black (presumably because it was often dark when the Haienda was open). The right sleeve has a sky blue trim and the left sleeve peach, which we are expected to believe creates a colourful representation of this legendary cultural icon that was the heartbeat of the city. Their third kit uses the colours yellow and peach to embody the modernity of the club and its mission to play attractive, technically skilled and attacking football.
The casual observer could no more decipher any of this than they could a balletic distillation of Marys marriage to the Dauphin of France, and theres more of it to come: Manchester is renowned for its music scene and for sure in future seasons well see inspiration coming from different kinds of music within the city, pledges Josele Angulo, who led Pumas design team, offering a tantalising teaser for a future version based on the Inspiral Carpets squiggly-eyed cow.