If there’s one team in world rugby that rarely disappoints on the eye-catching shirt front, it’s Stade Français. Their partnership with Adidas has been going for nearly 15 years now, and in that time, they’ve been the trailblazers of the modern ‘statement’ rugby shirt. From pink shirts with lightning bolts, to lilies and lady’s faces, faux-denim, tie-dye, leopard print, cartoon faces and whatever the fuck this is supposed to be… it seemed like there was no design too odd, too brash or too plain fuck-ugly for Stade.
And yet, just look at the shirt at the top of this page. It’s pretty damn eye-catching, we’re sure you’d agree… but it’s not ugly… it’s not garish… it’s… actually it’s pretty bloody nice. Firstly, yes, we know we have a thing for lightning bolts – we had many a heated argument with people about why another Adidas lightning bolt-heavy design, this year’s Stormers alternate shirt, is absolutely lovely (it IS). But just look at it! The way the bolts alternate between pink and midnight blue, managing that oh-so difficult trick of being both busy and clean… it’s a fabulous effort.
The plain white of the shirt makes the colours stand out superbly, while not causing any kind of clashes, and if anything, we think the shirt being plain white asides from the bolts might have been a better look here. We’re not fussed on Adidas’ habit of adding the weird contrasting shoulder pads, though at least here it doesn’t ruin things.
This is a Stade shirt that we not only really like, we might actually wear it outside the house. We’d still probably get the mickey taken out of us at our local, but frankly, we’re not sure men who wear Sergio Tacchini polo shirts can really be expected to understand the fashion proclivities of the modern metrosexual renaissance rugby fan… ahem…
The alternate shirt is, in a weird way, a bit more traditional for a Stade shirt… in the sense that it’s brash, eye-catching and probably likely to polarise. Pink shirts are so common in rugby now it’s almost passé, but there’s no denying that this particular shade of hot pink is bright and garish in a way that makes you feel that you could happily wear this while cycling/dogging at night and not have to worry about lacking visibility.
The Eiffel Tower motif is obviously the other striking aspect of the jersey, but it’s a nice nod to Paris’ most iconic landmark, and those paying close attention will notice that the way the tower has been drawn creates a giant ‘S’ on the front of the jersey. Racing Metro might have somewhat surpassed Stade as the big-spending goliath of the greater Parisienne area in the last few years, but it’s a pretty unequivocal way for SF to remind everyone that they’re the club of the French capital.
So two very different, but equally striking shirts, that both in their own way encapsulate the unabashed craziness of Stade’s shirts over the last decade and a half. And yet, unlike many Stade shirts in recent years, neither of these designs has the spirit of lunacy that has perhaps tipped them over the edge of taste at times. Bonkers? Absolutely. Good? For once, we aren’t in any doubt.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD