Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rugby Spring 2010: Vintage Athletics and The 1924 Olympics Games


[Pictured: 1924 USA Men's Olympic Rugby Team, gold medalists.]

Rugby's Spring 2010 collection can be divided into three themes: "Spring Prep", "Nautical Voyage" and "Vintage Athletics".  With the talk this week about the Winter Olympics and Chariots of Fire (takes place at the 1924 Olympic Games) I figured it would be neat to explore the inspiration behind Rugby's "Vintage Athletics".

Recently I was made aware (see: comments of COF post) that the 1924 Olympic games in Paris, France were actually the last time the sport of  rugby union was played as an Olympic event.  Three teams entered the competition: The United States, France and Romania.  The US were defending champions coming off a gold medal victory over The French at the 1920 games held in Antwerp, Belgium.  After both France and the US absolutely crushed Romania they played for the gold medal on May 17th.  The United State prevailed in the rematch, winning by the score of 17-3, becoming the last team to ever win a gold medal in the sport.  To this day The United States remains the Olympic champions.

Rugby's new collection draws heavily on this history (seems quite obvious now with the all the dots connected) and from the 1924 Olympic games in general.  As I mentioned when discussing Chariots of Fire, the uniforms of the era were incredibly stylish and after rewatching the movie I actually appreciate them more than the prep/university wear also heavily featured.  Nods and references to the USA's historic rugby squad and various other countries (most notably England) are all over the spring collection.  As someone who is completely enamored with the creative process of design, knowing where the inspiration came from gives me a much greater appreciation for everything Rugby is doing.  I'm not usually down with their excessive patches and branding, but in this case I love that it's coming from someplace both real and revered.


[Editor's Note: Special thanks to Antonio for pointing most of this out. There is no way in hell I would have realized it all on my own as I'm not even remotely that smart.]