Franco Arese, in the name of Karhu and running

Karhu has launched the Trampas ‘Franco Arese’, a tribute to its chairman and his sporting legend

“Karhu and Finland are in my destiny”. Franco Arese talks about destiny, he does it with extreme lucidity, with that touch of irony typical of those geniuses who have always added articulate thinking to their sports practice. The Piedmontese from Centallo, born in 1944, talks about it in front of us.

He is a middle-distance runner crystallized in the myth, an entrepreneur constantly able to mix tradition and future, a man who became a few days ago a sneaker to wear, thanks to the Karhu Trampas ‘Franco Arese’.

He speaks loudly, sincerely and directly, like the manifesto of a gentleman from another era, to which the brilliance of modernity has been added. He returns to the tartan of the Helsinki Olympic stadium, rewinds the tape of memories, stopping it on his long and elegant run, on his arms extended in search of the apotheosis of the “land of champions, the land of great middle-distance runners, from Paavo Nurmi to Pekka Vasala…”. For a few seconds he lingers on the glitter of that European gold medal that has just completed half a century of legend.

He wears the Karhu Trampas dedicated to that historic continental success in the 1500 meters: blue like the tank top he wore on that sunny Baltic afternoon, red like the shorts that allowed him to cross the finish line ahead of Poland’s Szordykowski and Great Britain’s Foster, atypical shorts worn because beautiful, avant-garde, and also a bit for superstition… For those shorts I also had a heated discussion with the Federation, but they did nothing”.

FROM INJURY TO THE TOP OF ASICS

It was 1971, Franco Arese’s moment of grace, the year in which his graceful levers set Italian records on 1500, 5000 and 10000 meters, as well as on the mile. It was the apex of a career that would soon come to a drastic halt, “a rupture of the Achilles tendon, which happened during a race in Milan. A very serious injury, I had to keep my leg completely in plaster for almost seventy days. In the end I was just bones. I tried to run again, but I wasn’t me anymore, my muscles were struggling so much”.

In the months of slow and ineffective recovery, Franco Arese’s body stopped, but not his mind. “I was used to do 50 races a year, I didn’t know what vacations were, I rested just a couple of weeks in December to wait for the new season… I was always going from one plane to another, from one race to another. During the period of my injury, I started thinking about what I wanted to do after my sports career. I remember talking to my brother and saying to myself: shouldn’t you quit? In that month and a half I decided to give up running, and it was a lucky choice”.

Destiny, luck. In the middle of these ungovernable poles lies the skill of an athlete capable of reinventing himself, of finding in his passion for shoes his own dazzling second life. “It was traumatic to make that decision, but I quickly found my way. In life you have to be good at making choices. I was in love with shoes, always have been, I knew all the brands and started working as an agent. Then, during one of my trips to ISPO Munich, I met the Japanese president of Asics Tiger. I proposed him to become distributor for all Italy, but he said no. He asked me to prepare a four-year business plan for him, and at the time I didn’t know what a business plan was…”.

Despite the initial stalemate, Arese’s approach to the Asics universe quickly turned into a dizzying climb, first focused on the broad Western panorama, then on the eastern peaks. “I remember that I was given the position of Italian distributor during the European Indoor Championships in Milan, we were at the Palasport of San Siro. After some time I became partner and then Chairman of Asics Europe. In Japan I was really esteemed, and that’s why I also joined in the board of Asics Japan“.

A thirty-year history with the flavour of cherry trees and the Rising Sun, a working romance closed and reopened in front of a distant but strong Nordic call, in front of the irresistible and evocative melody of a land that has become a second home for the entire Arese family.

“It was an act of love for Finland”. When talks about the rebirth of Karhu, the famous bear brand that populated all the major athletics meetings of the first seventy years of the twentieth century, Franco Arese seems to be referring to a phoenix, to an inevitable process.

“I had reached the end of my career with Asics and I didn’t want to get involved in the sneaker market anymore, but my sons stimulated me”, a stimulus that came in the form of a family vision, an opportunity to be seized. “It would have been a mistake to throw away all his experience”, says Enrico, the youngest of Franco’s three sons, all of whom are now involved in Karhu. “Initially we wanted to create a brand in his name, ‘Arese’, inspired by Finland. My father is particularly tied to that country: when he was a professional, he used to go there every year to train, leave on his own and go to Turku between July and August, where he trained with Pekka Vasala and other Finnish athletes. We had a brand idea, but we didn’t have shoes yet. Suddenly, my brother suggested that Karhu was having a very bad time. So we went to Finland, held a meeting, and and we began negotiations to join the company”.

When you buy a brand like Karhu, you can’t just think about quotas and turnover, you can’t just think about products and market. When you buy a brand founded in the Suomi language back in 1906 and passed by the feet of the ‘Flying Finns’ or by those of the ‘Human Locomotive’ Emil Zatopek during the golden Olympic hat-trick (5000, 100000 and marathon) in Helsinki ’52, it means coming into possession of a precious heritage, of a mythological legacy, of a past to be reverently honored.

A reservoir of notions and victories from which the Arese family immediately drew, starting to insert the concept of sneaker in a fascinating historical container, forging the contemporary street shoe in the great vintage sports figures. A process that, combined with the ever-present production of pure, technical running shoes, has quickly led Karhu back to being a prestigious brand. We are bringing Karhu back to where it deserves to be. My three sons know very well that the concept of turnover comes after that of prestige, comes after that of status. That’s why we don’t sell our products casually, that’s why we only rely on certain stores around the world”.

Destiny, luck, prestige. The last piece of Franco Arese’s sporting-entrepreneurial epic is enclosed in the search for excellence: a search conducted for years on international athletic tracks and on company desks, a search that today finds its apotheosis in the most programmatic of objects, the Karhu Trampas Made in Italy dedicated to him. With these shoes Arese also wanted to re-embrace the tartan and the emotions of the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, as evidenced by the striking video below.

Foto e video di Karhu
IG @karhuofficial@karhurunning
karhu.com

Testo a cura di Gianmarco Pacione


Stan Smith, much more than a sneaker

The story of a tennis myth and the shoe that made him immortal

“Some people think I’m a shoe”. The title of Stan Smith’s autobiography is highly self-deprecating. It is understandable to smile in front of the royalties obtained over the years, in front of the incessant fame linked to a name that has become a sneaker, to a sneaker that has become a name. It’s understandable to smooth out a thick moustache, never thinned from the distant 70s to today, from the retro grass of Wimbledon to photo shoots alongside Pharrell Williams.

“Some people think I’m a shoe”. Certainly the new generations think so, certainly those who did not grow up in the myth of a tennis player capable of reaching the top of the world, of winning the first Masters in history, of conquering the US Open in 1971 and the green London the following year. Results that were repeated and amplified in the doubles, where the legendary duo with Bob Lutz took shape: a connection that led to 5 successes on the courts of Flashing Meadows and Melbourne.

The pedigree of a racquet giant. Yet typing the search ‘Stan Smith’ on Google does not turn up images of serves, volleys and Davis Cups lifted (7, to be exact). Only images of shoes result. The namesake shoes, branded Adidas, which since 1973 have accompanied and duplicated this sacred monster of tennis: according to some, overshadowing his identity and career, according to others, including Smith himself, spreading his legacy in popular culture.

THE TENNIS PLAYER STAN SMITH

Stan Smith was coming out of Pasadena. He came out of postwar Los Angeles culture. He loved to skate, and he was very good at it, but what he was best at was the art of the forehand and the backhand. Born in 1946, after a dominant collegiate career shaped on the courts of USC (University of Southern California), which earned him three All-American honors and several NCAA titles, he began assaulting the Slams with his long and seemingly slouching physique, with his calm and balanced style.

They said he was a poker player lent to the racket. They said that his attitude, that his wooded moustache did not betray emotions, did not give opponents points of reference or character cracks through which they could unhinge psyches, points and sets. “When you walk on the court you have to clear your mind,” Smith declared, “you have to clear it of everything that is not necessary for the purposes of the match.”

A giant serve-and-volley specialist, his game was fast and effective, economical and pragmatic, highly cerebral. In 1972 he reached his peak, during the same years he signed an agreement with the brand created by Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler in Bavaria: an agreement that would lead to the creation of the most iconic product in the history of the three stripes.

LIKE A SHOE, MORE THAN A SHOE. ADIDAS AND STAN SMITH

Robert Haillet was Stan Smith before Stan Smith. One of Adidas’ top athletes, in 1965 he accepted the proposal of the German brand, sealing with his own name the debut in the world of technical-tennis footwear of the Dassler brothers.

White leather, synthetic sole and three specular dotted lines. It was Horst Dassler, Adolf’s son, who invented this shoe. Horst also opted for the testimonial Stan Smith after Haillet’s retirement: an obviously strategic, marketing choice, due to Smith’s position in the world ranking, but also to the possibility of exploring the still virgin American market.

Smith wore the ‘Haillet’ for a few seasons: in the meantime, green Achilles heel protectors were added. Then he wore a hybrid model, between ’73 and ’78, bearing his face on the tongue and the words ‘Haillet’ on the upper. Finally, any reference to the French predecessor was removed, giving way to the definitive ‘Stan Smith’.

THE PAST, THE PRESENT, THE FUTURE. THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD

Adidas began selling millions of ‘Stan Smiths’ worldwide, impressive statistics that brought this signature shoe into the Guinness Book of World Records. In half a century of history, the demand around this sports object has never waned.

The single pause in production between 2011 and 2014, in fact, was followed by a relocation of the shoe in the streetwear scene, thanks to ambassadors such as Pharrell Williams and A$AP Rocky. In addition to the evolution of the ‘Stan Smith II’, the seemingly endless parable of the ‘Stan Smith’ has touched countless limited editions, produced together with celebrities such as Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Jay-Z.

Throughout this relentless spread, the man Stan Smith first continued to play, then became a coach, and finally was named President of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Unanimously considered one of the best 100 tennis players in history, he has never been left out of Adidas. Between shoots, videos and ad campaigns, his face and mustache continue to remain inextricably linked to one of the most worn shoes in the world.

“I’m Stan Smith and some people think I’m a shoe. It’s basically pretty normal. Unless you’re a historian, it’s very hard for you to know my career…”


The Seventh Issue

Muscles and thoughts, quick and endless journeys, sports poems. Athleta is here again, with a brand new look and the usual desire to penetrate the imagery of sporting culture. The cover signed by Neil Gavin introduces Athleta Magazine Issue 07 and the New York ‘Stomping Grounds’, urban cathedrals consumed by hands and muscle-ups. The same hands that embrace the Basque boulders of Harri Jasotzea: a tradition that merges, an ocean away, with the divers of Acapulco, ‘Los Clavadistas’. From history to history, from tradition to tradition. The feeble levers of the Kenyan runners of ‘Home of Champions’ move as fast as the ruined metal sheets of the Demolition Derbies, messy sanctuaries where rural America finds its paradise. The ‘Atlas Race’ is another rural paradise, an exterior and interior journey through the evocative Moroccan desert: a sensory itinerary recreated, thanks to the artistic power of skateboards and basketball, in the urban slides of ‘Riding the Floating City’ and ‘Ballin Somewhere’. Issue 07 also takes a leap into the future, into the engineering marvel of Rizoma, the atelier of motors, the place that combines high-tech and elegance. Enjoy the ride.


Must watch: ‘Colin in Black & White’

Culture, racism and classism in Colin Kaepernick’s life as a quarterback

Created by Ava DuVernay, the first African-American woman to receive a Golden Globe nomination for ‘Selma – The Road to Freedom,’ and Colin Kapernick, former NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, who went down in history as the first athlete in US majors sports to kneel during the national anthem, ‘Colin in Black and White’ is an inspiring new biographical miniseries available on Netflix.

Within the 6 episodes, Kaepernick’s own narrative voice accompanies scenes from his own adolescence, juxtaposing them with deep social reasoning. The quarterback, ostracized by the NFL for ‘kneeling’, lays bare the genesis of his thinking, his ideals, describing a parable that began with his childhood adoption.

Raised by white parents, Kaepernick lists a long series of more or less overt episodes of racism he suffered at an early age in the small California community of Turlock. Only after gaining a certain cultural and social awareness did these life moments allow Kaepernick to formulate a long introspective journey and lay the foundation for his now world-renowned activism.

Played by Jaden Michael, Kaepernick describes his long battle to become a quarterback, a battle hampered by racial stereotypes and, paradoxically, his phenomenal flair for baseball. During this difficult sporting trajectory, Kaepernick discovers and embraces the ‘black culture,’ inspired by icons like Allen Iverson and Spike Lee.

The various narrative scenes set between Kaepernick’s home and Pitman High School are interspersed with monologues by Kaepernick who, observing his human journey, creates connections between his life and moments that have marked African-American history, not only on a sporting level. Kaepernick’s phrases are knives that plunge into the wounds of American society: direct and effective anthropological annotations that come up with significant metaphors, such as the one between slavery and the conditions of today’s football players.

“I couldn’t rebel because I didn’t know how. Now. Now I know how and I will”. Kaepernick’s rebellion has gone from the NFL fields to the small screen. A rebellion that needs to be watched, that needs to be understood.


The power of play in Steve McCurry

The 10 best playful portraits of the famous American photographer

What is the meaning of play for Steve McCurry? What is the meaning of play for one of modern photography’s most famous lenses? In the work of the native of Philadelphia this concept plays a fundamental role, unleashing all its primordial force, its evocative capacity, its ritual charm.

The representation of the game in McCurry is Huizingian: a free and instinctive practice, which tends to a natural pleasure, intrinsic to the human being. Born in 1950, the American photojournalist has widely documented this phenomenon during his numerous travels, studying peoples and cultures also through the medium of play.

McCurry, member since 1986 of the Magnum Photos cenacle, was made immortal by the shot ‘Afghan Girl’, taken in a Pakistani refugee camp: a portrait that quickly became the most recognized photograph in the National Geographic history. Some of his many solo exhibitions, organized all over the world, have seen the game as the main protagonist.

We pay homage to this thematic thread through the selection of 10 emblematic, highly evocative shots, capable of defining McCurry’s playful photography. Images, moments that unite Madagascar to India, Myanmar to Brazil, in a single enormous playground.


Shawn Stüssy and the genesis of streetwear

From Californian waves to skateboarding, from the streets to the catwalks. History of a fashion visionary

“I had everything I wanted, but there was also great responsibility. And what’s the point of having it all if you can’t enjoy it?”

Shawn Stüssy’s story is a strange climb, a strange path. The story of a man who, starting from Californian surfboards, has managed to dress underground landscapes and streets all over the world, generating the concept of streetwear.

The story of Shawn Stüssy is a strange climb, a strange path. The story of a boy who was first immersed in hippy culture and waves, then became a guru of the global fashion scene, and finally moved away from everything, from fame and recognition, to raise his children.

An anomalous climb, a path that, for over thirty years, continues to inspire subcultures and famous fashion houses, skaters and designers, style and collective aesthetics.

BETWEEN BOARDS AND T-SHIRTS, BETWEEN CALIFORNIA AND JAPAN

It was the early ’80s in Laguna Beach: they were the years of a rebellion that had already begun but had not been codified. The ‘rats’, the boys, were surfing, were living on the crest of a wave made of freedom and psychedelia, riding creativity and long hair.

Shawn Stüssy was a participant and creator of that scenario. Born in 1954, the grandson of a Swiss emigrant, Stüssy soon began dancing on the ocean and working on those boards that allowed him to glide over the water.

Little more than 25 years old, he opened his own business in a sort of hippy commune.Without money, this fiberglass craftsman became known thanks to the distinctive signature with which he began to mark each product: that handwritten logo, influenced by tags and graffiti, and that u enriched by the umlaut would be the keys to the explosion of the brand.

In 1981 the young Shawn received a job offer from Japan, from a surfboard manufacturer who had had the opportunity to observe and study his aquatic jewels. These trips to Japan became a way for the Californian to get a glimpse of high fashion, to beat the trendy stores in Tokyo, to assimilate trends and aesthetic tastes.

One year later, the definitive point of no return. Stüssy participated in a Californian trade fair, Action Sports Retail. There he exhibited his boards and, at the same time, began distributing custom jerseys.

“I had never been to that kind of trade show. So I told myself to print the words ‘Stüssy’ in white on some black T-shirts. I sold 24 boards in those days”

A TRIBE DRESSED IN STÜSSY

Stüssy became a fashion designer without realizing it. In 1984 he was approached by Frank Sinatra Jr. (no relation to ‘The Voice’) and launched a clothing line.

His products immediately had an epidemic impact on the entire underground forest of surfers and skaters. The first, iconic painter’s hat became a cult object, a must-have, as well as t-shirts and jackets frescoed with irreverent graphics, images stolen from other brands and reinterpreted. Shawn Stüssy’s genius was exalted precisely in this process of appropriation and reinvention of high fashion.

Stüssy’s symbolic work drew from Rolex and Chanel, from the crown and the famous No.4, demythologizing the legendary aura hovering over these brands. Between punk and Warhol, between waves and asphalt, the umlaut first crossed the Californian borders, with the first, historic flagship store opened in New York, then the ocean waters, reaching Japan and Europe.

It was a vertiginous rise, it was the birth of the streetwear concept. A process that was certified and magnified in the media by the constitution of the so-called International Stüssy Tribe: an elite circle, formed by European and global streetwear gurus such as Luca Benini, Jules Gayton, Alex Turnbull and Hiroshi Fujiwara. Names that to the profane of the environment will say little, but that belong to the elite of the most influential figures in this evolutionary process of the fashion world.

REACHING THE PEAK TO SAY GOODBYE

Like the greatest revolutionaries, once he sat on the summit, once he reached the top of an environment that had casually welcomed and venerated him, Shawn Stüssy decided to leave his company.

A choice made at only 41 years of age. A choice dictated by the desire to spend as much time as possible alongside his own children: “I wanted to be as pure in raising my children as I had been in raising my business”.

Stüssy sold to Sinatra Jr., closed the door and never looked back. Today he continues to live between France, Spain and Hawaii. His collaborations, his aesthetic signatures continue to be in demand by fashion giants, as well as surfboard manufacturers.

Not a hermit, then, but a visionary who, at almost 70 years old, still manages to tease, to inspire, to make people desire his subversive genius, his umlaut painted by oceans, roads and cultural revolutions.


The 6 best movies about basketball

From He Got Game to White Men Can’t Jump. When basketball becomes legend on the big screen

“Basketball is like jazz,” said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It is an artistic form, where rhythm and inspiration punctuate every dribble, every action.

Basketball is an inspiring muse for the world of fashion, thanks to its underground spirit, to the cool NBA universe, to its visual heritage. Basketball is a subject increasingly used in contemporary art: an art enchanted by the countless nuances of the game invented by James Naismith. Basketball is also a point of reference and an ideal cue for great cinematography.

For this reason we propose a collection of films, 6 to be exact, which we believe are the greatest basketball masterpieces that have appeared on the big screen. Enjoy.

He Got Game

The direction of Spike Lee, the interpretations of Denzel Washington and Ray Allen. Three names are enough to understand the greatness of a film. In this gem, that has become a cult favorite, Jesus Shuttlesworth (played by Allen, a Bucks player at the time), is one of the nation’s top high school prospects. Fame, women, obscure prosecutors and big colleges come knocking on the door of this boy with no parents. Jesus, in fact, has to act as a father for his young sister. Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel Washington), Jesus’ father, is in jail because he is responsible for the tragic homicide of his wife and, suddenly, finds himself returning to the playgrounds of Coney Island for his director. The goal of this journey is to ask his son to choose the university of Big State, alma mater of the state governor. A whirlwind series of events is triggered, culminating in a difficult rapprochement between a son full of rancor and a father consumed by remorse. He Got Game’ was presented at the Venice International Film Festival in 1998, accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack in which songs by Aaron Copland and inspired pieces by Public Enemy intertwine.

Glory Road

The history of the Texas Western Miners is a milestone in American social evolution. The small Texas college, thanks to the visionary decisions of coach Don Haskins, was the first team with a line up of only black players in an NCAA final: the one played in 1966 against highly-rated Kentucky,  led by conservative Adolph Rupp. Acts of intimidation, racial insults, public resistance and the desire for change populate this film, masterfully directed by James Gartner, and the entire march of the Miners to the promised land of the national title. The film, a fundamental historical testimony, was nominated for the famous Humanitas Prize, an award for films that promote human dignity and freedom, and won the ESPY Award in 2006.

White Men Can’t Jump

In Los Angeles, the playground is folklore and trash-talking, it’s dollars and snazzy outfits. It was already like that in the 90s, as witnessed by the legendary film White Men Can’t Jump. In the iconic court of Venice Beach, Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) and Sidney Dean (Wesley Snipes) meet each other: streetballers who are, not only because of the color of their skin, polar opposites. An unexpected friendship grows between the two, a basketball affinity that leads them on an ironic and successful journey through the most recognized playgrounds of LA: a journey in search of easy money. The background to the story is a prejudice that has always been present in basketball: the lack of athleticism in white players. It is only a coveted dunk that puts an end to this age-old diatribe.

The legacy of Space Jam

From Michael Jordan to LeBron James, from basketball played to the rhythm of the great Bulls to contemporary hyper-technological basketball experienced as a video game, from the Looney Toons to the Looney Toons. The second chapter of Space Jam (A New Legacy), recently released in theaters, has made many purists turn up their noses, yet it seems to embody the evolution of a film that has delighted generations of fans of the Game. James wears the crown given to him by ‘His Airness’ MJ also on the big screen, finding himself saving the world alongside the cartoonish team signed Warner Bros. In this new chapter  Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley are replaced by Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson, Nneka Ogwumike and Diana Taurasi. The female presence in the Goon Squad is just one of the many innovations grafted in the second Space Jam, set in a totally cybernetic world, where the always funny Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and partners take shape.

Coach Carter

Another film inspired by a true story. In this biographical overview Samuel L. Jackson plays Ken Carter: a coach committed to improving as players and, above all, as students and men, the boys of Richmond High School. Carter spreads the word of education among his young athletes, who are close to violent and criminal environments, putting academic results ahead of sports results. The Oilers, a team of unquestionable talent, even skip games, forced by their coach, to concentrate on the academic results: a choice that put Coach Carter in the middle of a storm of controversy, but that allowed many of his boys to obtain university scholarships. Also in this case, basketball becomes an instrument to tell a wonderful social story.

Hoosiers

A more dated film than the others, Hoosiers is a 1986 masterpiece, directed by David Anspaugh and nominated for Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Dennis Hopper) and Soundtrack. Gene Hackman plays Coach Norman Dale, a coach sidelined by the collegiate system who finds himself leading a small school team in Indiana to unexpected state success. The story, inspired by that of Milan High School, tells of human relationships and social entanglements within the Hickory community. The result is an intense fresco of the cryptic rural United States. The movie is really intense and it was chosen by the United States National Film Registry as a “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant work of art,” resulting, for this reason, subject to preservation by the Library of Congress.


The women who changed the aesthetics of tennis

From Victorian dresses to the Williams sisters. Who revolutionized women’s tennis?

Corsets, busts, skirts that touched the ground. Women’s tennis in the Victorian era left no room for creativity and freedom of expression. However, time has radically changed the idea of women’s tennis outfits. This change is the result of unique moments, of some figures who have bravely decided to break social and visual taboos, trampling the grass of Wimbledon and the courts of the Slams dressed in novelty, rebellion, evolution.

Here we have decided to list some of the women capable of changing the imaginary of sportswear, often running into criticism and boycotts: idealists driven by a feminist wind, by a progressive current. Athletes who have raised their sport not only with the racket.

Suzanne Lenglen

The French ‘Divine’ who dominated tennis in the 1920s, winning 25 Grand Slam titles, one Olympic gold medal in Antwerp and losing only 7 career games. She was the first female tennis celebrity. She was an inexhaustible magnet of attention for the French and international press: her revolutionary game, her passion for the glamorous world and the moody intensity shown on the court, led the large masses to follow women’s tennis.

In particular, in the grand white gala of Wimbledon 1920, Lenglen surprised organizers and spectators with a dress that left the forearms and calves uncovered: an incomprehensible choice for the time. At that London tournament, the ‘Divine’ was also observed drinking brandy at the end of each set.

She stopped playing when she was just 27: “In the twelve years I was a champion I earned millions of francs, and I spent all the money just to travel and play tournaments. I didn’t earn a cent from my career, from tennis. According to absurd and antiquated ideas, only a rich person can compete at a high level. Does this seem right to you?”, these were her laconic words.

Gussie Moran

Moran was a player certainly far from Lenglen’s extraordinary results. This Californian athlete is crystallized in sporting history for a particular crossover that took place at Wimbledon ’49.

The American athlete, then 26, asked the famous designer Ted Tinling to design the first short dress in the history of women’s tennis. Strictly white, as required by Wimbledon regulations, Moran’s dress was created to highlight her sporty panties with lace cuffs.

It was a huge scandal, and the exhibition of the renamed ‘Gorgeous Gussie’ even reached the British Parliament. The first inspiring muse of Tinling, a genius also closely linked to the Italian Lea Pericoli, was accused by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club of having introduced “vulgarity and sin in tennis”.

Billie Jean King

Let’s go back to the tennis elite. We cannot avoid naming the immense Billy Jean King, winner of 78 WTA titles and, above all, a legendary figure in the fight against sexism both in society and in sport.

During the September 20, 1973 match played against Bobby Riggs, the most important of the three chapters of the tennis ‘Battle of the Sexes’ (recently transposed to the big screen), King wore a dress designed by the aforementioned Ted Tinling.

That outfit became a symbol of women’s tennis revenge: a revenge certified by King’s victory against Riggs, in front of over 30 thousand present and 90 million people in front of the television.

Anne White

Wimbledon, 1985 edition: when Anne White took a leap into the future. The American athlete showed up in the green temple of world tennis with a one-piece suit, branded Pony, entirely made of Lycra. The outfit enchanted audiences and photographers, and sparked a huge wave of controversy.

The match was stopped on an even set, as evening fell, and the referee ordered White to change clothes for the following day. White agreed to the request and lost the game. The photos of her ‘space’ suit, however, were published by all the major newspapers in the world.

Venus & Serena Williams

Another time jump, this time directly into the 21st century, where a pair of sisters was able to collect all these flashes from the past, to uniting them and to freeing the bodies of their colleagues from aesthetic preconceptions and demonizations.

Lingerie and colors, personality and elegance, Reebok and Nike: this is how Venus and Serena have definitively broken down the wall of tennis visual orthodoxy, elevating the concepts of freedom and athletic femininity, embellishing them with over 300 (combined) weeks spent at the top of the WTA rankings.

Atypical and iconic, like their path, which began in the difficult Compton area: a long march between stereotypes and prejudices.


5 must-see boxing movies

The most fascinating biographies of the ring narrated by the seventh art

We decided to pay homage to the noble art of the ring, an art capable of creating fascinating human and sporting stories. Stories that have inspired great directors and some of the brightest masterpieces of the big screen. We selected 5 of them, drawing on contemporary and past cinematography: all these films are inspired by biographies of real boxers. Good vision.

The Hurricane

The film is based on the life of Rubin Carter: boxer played by a sublime Denzel Washington. In this film directed by Norman Jewison, Carter’s boxing ascent is described: a sporting ascent preceded and followed by a complex relationship with justice. Carter, accused of triple homicide at the height of his career, is the victim of an incredible mistrial. The boxer will prove his innocence only at the end of a very long legal and personal battle.

Raging Bull

A masterpiece by Martin Scorsese, with Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta. De Niro’s Oscar-winning interpretation reaches peaks of rare intensity, showing the brightest and darkest sides of the legendary Italian-American middleweight. Arguably the best sports film in history, this gem analyzes the demons and victories of the Bronx ‘Raging Bull’, and narrates his extreme life.

Bleed for This

A more recent film than the previous two, Bleed traces the life of Vinny Paz, the ‘Pazmanian Devil’: a former lightweights and superwelters world champion. The film revolves around the very serious car accident and the consequent injury that threatened to completely paralyze Cranston’s boxer. Paz succeeded in an impossible recovery, fighting against the limits imposed by medicine and by his own body.

The Fighter

A complex family fresco, a dramatic dependence, an intense fraternal bond. Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale play half-brothers Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund. Eklund has entered the whirlwind of crack after an excellent but short boxing career and tries to push his stepbrother to the top of the world boxing scene. However, a deleterious and destructive relationship is established between the two. The redemption, the rapprochement and the conquest of the WBU lightweight world title will come only at the end of a detention in prison and a very hard awareness.

Somebody upthere likes me

The novel life of Thomas Rocco Barbella, known as Rocky Graziano, is played by Paul Newman in this film produced in 1956. Thefts and fights, gangs and prison, army and ring: the human vortex of this legendary Italian-American boxer is the plot of this two Academy Award winning masterpiece.


5 playgrounds where basketball becomes design

Nike, Hennessy, Puma, Adidas and Pigalle. Brands and hoops creativity

It’s an historical period in which the fever of sports design and, above all, basketball design is constantly increasing. For this reason we selected 5 courts with enormous visual impact.

Recently built or renovated, these urban streetball pearls have all been commissioned by major world brands: a virtuous practice, which allows to redevelop difficult areas or simply to spread the Game’s word in the most aesthetic way.

Sheki Lei Grind Court, Hong Kong

Located in the popular district of Kwai Chung, this playground, inaugurated by Nike last June, is built in a nerve center of the former British colony. Near its hoops there are 14 elementary and middle schools. The cartoon motifs were painted by the British artist James Jarvis.

NBA Hennessy basketball court, Sidney

The well-known liquor brand Hennessy, the NBA global spirits partner, created a basketball pearl on the Sydney coast. The black paint used by Studio Messa replaced the pools of the renowned Bondi Icebergs Club, creating a striking sporty vision.

Children’s Village Community Center, New York

For the launch of the DON 3 signature shoes, Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, supported by Adidas, donated a series of courts to the Children’s Community Village in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

Puma Unity Corner, Kiev

The opening of the Puma Unity Corner court in the heart of Kiev coincided with the launch of the global UNITY campaign. Within this Ukrainian urban glimpse, images of monuments from all over the world alternate themselves, underlining the message behind the campaign conceived by the German brand.

Pigalle playgrounds, Parigi e Pechino

The Nike Pigalle Converse collection stimulated the creative process of Stéphane Ashpool and associates. In addition to the renewal of the historic and characteristic Parisian court (stronghold of the French brand), Pigalle for the first time crossed the European borders, arriving in Beijing. A new chapter entirely dedicated to the new generations, as stated by Ashpool himself.