Baseball, like fashion, is most important in the spring and fall. Spring marks the start of a new calendar year while fall brings a whole new set of layers, fabrics, trends and textures. It may not seem like the most natural fit, but there’s a strong movement towards using athletes for more than just athletic endorsement deals but as models for fashion’s biggest brands.
The Yankees lead the way as the baseball team with most ties to the fashion industry. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have graced the pages of GQ magazine as models, while DKNY signed a multifaceted deal with the squad this season. The latest man in pinstripes to enter the fashion game is Mariano Rivera. Arguably one of the greatest closers to ever play the game, Rivera modelled for Italian menswear brand Canali for their spring/summer 2010 print advertising campaign.
According to Women’s Wear Daily, Rivera pose for Canali for the fall/winter 2010 advertisements as well. The photographs feature Rivera wearing, of course, trademark Yankee colours, including a navy pinstripe two-button suit, a double-breasted cashmere coat and a gray cashmere-blend jacket. The ensembles are classic, refined and rich – much like the franchise that Rivera has often carried on his forty-year old back. Rivera is the first professional athlete Canali has cast for an advertising campaign. When Canali announced Rivera has a new face of the company in March 2010, they preached a mantra of contemporary elegance on their website and the reasoning behind signing athlete, “he decision to choose a sports star as testimonial for the Spring Summer 2010 campaign accentuates the close ties between Canali and the star system, both in Hollywood and elsewhere, where elegance and excellence, style and performance are shared values.” Apparently the previous campaign was so well received that both parties eagerly agreed to work together for another season.
No word yet how long the deal will continue for, but I’m sure Canali will stay interested as long as Rivera keeps the Yankees in the headlines. The advertisements will run in national as well as regional magazines and newspapers. I have to wonder though, what does Mo wear pre-game, as DKNY is the official outfitter of the Yankees but he poses for Canali. Can one man wear both an American and Italian fashion brand without setting of a style war? It’s hard to know, but it’s safe to say that Mariano’s set up with pinstripes for life, both on and off the field.