With the Champions League finalists decided and the league campaigns winding down across Europe, the eyes of the world’s soccer fans are turning to Brazil in anticipation of the upcoming World Cup. Here at Highsnobiety we’re no different and naturally we’re getting ourselves worked up about the new threads that will be gracing the Maracanã in June. All 32 competing nations have released the designs that they’ll be sporting in the South American heat this summer, so we’ve singled out some of our favorites to pick up the sartorial Jules Rimet.
Check out our picks below and see the 5 Best English Football Kits of All Time here.
If there exists a guarantee for something that will always look good on a football shirt, it might well be the shoulder-to-waist sash. From River Plate to the Cubillas-inspired Peru of the late ’70s, the sash remains a surefire winner. The home top would be a decent effort on its own, with the embossed badge design and national flag-accented collar and sleeves, but we can’t see further than the sash-design away jersey, made, of course, in the colors of the national flag. Les Diables Rouges are many people’s dark horses and we’re excited about seeing Hazard, Lukaku and Miralles trotting it out for the first time against South Korea on June 26 in Curitiba already.
The Germans have got a fair bit to celebrate in 2014, it being 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Their shirt this year harks back to those days, with a descending red chevron that clearly references the jersey worn by Klinsmann et al as they crowned the reunified national champions at Italia ’90. As is befitting for the Herzogenaurach-based brand, the Drei Striefen of adidas adorn the shoulders of the Nationalelf top, and the three colors of the German flag round off the lower sleeve. The 1990 team were just about the dullest champions in recent memory on the field but were probably one of the best dressed. If the standard of this year’s jersey is anything to go by, they could be celebrating similar success in Rio come July.
The Cameroonians have got form for out-there attire – it was they who previously tried to play in vests, and later in a daring footballer’s onesie – and this year they’ve not let the side down. Made by PUMA (who else?), and featuring an embossed repeating design of lions, traditional cave paintings, and their nickname (“Les Lions Indomitables”) alongside contrasting block-color yellow sleeves and frankly absurd second badge (with – you guessed it – a roaring lion), the West African giants have managed to create a shirt with their now-traditional level of lunacy about it. And while it’s unlikely that Eto’o and co will be hanging around for too long in Brazil, in our eyes they’re already dancing around the corner flag like Roger Milla.
Ah France. One would think that the land that gave the world Chanel, Dior and Givenchy as well as Platini, Zidane and Henry would have created a decent combination of these two worlds at some point, but non. France have historically sported terrible jerseys, from the nondescript bar-code efforts of the ’90s to the knock-off bought-off-the-market fakes that were sent home from South Africa in disgrace. This year though, we think they’ve cracked it. The home strip is a minimalist masterpiece, with an understated badge and contrasting collar, set in just two colors. The second strip follows a similar route, but adds an extra frisson of style with the classically French granddad collar and Breton-stripe design; more Jules et Jim than Jules Rimet. In Brazil this year, one suspects that the French would be happy simply not to be laughed out of the tournament, but in these threads theres no chance of that happening; and they’ll be too full of Gallic ennui to notice even if it does.
There are a few things that make a great football shirt; the sash, as mentioned above, is a perennial favorite; the granddad collar too can elevate a good shirt to a great one. But sometimes we see things that take a classic design and do something altogether new with it. In the thousands of shirts that have graced World Cups over the years, we’ve never quite seen anything like this one from Mexico. The thin green/black stripes recall Denmark ’86 (one of the all-time greats), ditto the chevrons and Germany ’90, but this pair of shirts brings a new angle, with the lightening bolt designs integrating the quintessential adidas shoulder stripes with the national federation badge, and separating the three shades of green on the sleeves, lower torso and shoulders. The embossed “Mexico” on the back of the collar rounds it off with no little aplomb. The away top too, punches well above its weight, adding a fluorescent orange to the electric-motif chevrons. Brazil 2014 will feature 32 brand new kit combinations, all but one a variant on a previous theme; only Mexico – themselves standing on a legacy of innovative jerseys – from Jorge Campos’ multicolor goalie tops to Luis Hernandez’s screaming Aztec gargoyle – do something not yet before seen, and for that we salute them.
For being the first team to incorporate a hashtag into their jersey and immediately becoming the hipster’s choice.
For knowing that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and keeping the classic red-and-white checkerboard design.
For being the only team without an official shirt launch and photo shoot, instead preferring to release a picture of Edin Dzeko’s jersey on a floor, with the tags still on.
For releasing three jerseys, even though they’re at home and will only have to play in one.
For charging £90 ($150) for a plain white shirt with a badge on it.
Mike Meehall Wood for Highsnobiety.com