Complex Obsession is our roving column where members of our staff share the one thing that they can't stop wearing. Today, Nick writes what he's wild about.
Collaborations have been so brutally thrust down our throats for the last decade that even feigning excitement about anything with an "x" requires an advanced acting degree from Julliard.
However, there are moments when stars align and something undeniably special is born. The lone shining example of 2012 is PALACE's mix with England's soccer juggernaut UMBRO. The initial shock value (why does this even make sense?) provokes attention. Then, the backbone of the whole project grants it undeniable legs and a story line that makes some people (ok… me) unimaginably excited.
PALACE succeeds in hitting a nostalgic nerve, choosing to use the England national team kit of the 1990 World Cup as body of the collaboration. It is the shirt of Paul Gascoigne, who famously cried into his number 19 top. It is the kit worn by Chris Waddle as he missed from the spot to end the squads run. His number 8 (not Gazza, who would take the number later in his England career) strikes a bold red on the home version of PALACE's offering. It is a bit tongue-in-cheek, a rather English acknowledgement of failure, an added layer to an already strong story.
The 1990 World Cup was the first that I honestly remember. It made me fall for football and it made me (oddly) a fan of Puccini's Turnadot, as Luciano Pavorotti's rendition of "Nessun dorma" was used as the tournaments theme shooing by the BBC. The shirt reminds instantly of song, of tears, and of forming a passionate bond with sport.
Beyond nostalgia, there is also the simple intrigue surrounding PALACE. It is a throwback brand. Cool for not giving a fuck and admirable for going an odd route in upping its own exposure.
An English brand collaborating with another English brand celebrating a moment that ultimately wasn't at all glorious.