Milan Fashion Soccer Players Portraits Launch

Two great loves in one city: AC Milan and Dolce & Gabbana collide in Prague

Dolce & Gabbana is synonymous with a feminine style that flaunts a woman's curves, squeezes her into corset-style dresses and shrouds her in animal prints. This is usually how one thinks of the Italian brand, started in 1985 by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. But what many people may be unaware of is the fact that Dolce & Gabbana has had quite a long history outfitting some of the most sought-after athletes in the world -- namely the elusive "footballer".

Photo credits (from left to right): Benjamin Vales; Benjamin Vales; Jiří Herman

The working relationship began in 2004 with the book Calcio, which was a "personal tribute to football players, [who are] considered the new icons of contemporary masculine style." Other books followed, featuring the stars of AC Milan's football team, most of which showed the players in their formal uniforms, training for the World Cup in Germany or South Africa or being photographed in their underwear for advertising campaigns. Never, however, have AC Milan and Dolce & Gabbana worked together to create a book that was so informative about the players. "Fashion today is to be considered the new soccer," write Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in their official statement launching the book. "Dressing the AC Milan players one by one, finding -- with their help -- the right ensemble and combining fashion with personal needs is our way of continuing an experiment: namely expressing the world of today, the changes, the breakdown of boundaries, and strangely enough the importance of the individual."

Photo credits: Benjamin Vales

For the launch of the Milan Fashion Soccer Players Portraits book, held at the Dolce & Gabbana boutique on Pařížská -- the street of haute-couture style -- Kevin Prince Boateng and Luca Antonini were both in attendance and donned crisp black suits for the occasion. As the men moved from room to room, all gazes -- from supermodels to mere mortals -- were fixed on the two men, who are genuinely as handsome in real life as they are in the book. The black-and-white photos taken by Marco Falcetto brilliantly show the players as they are. The proverb "a picture is worth a thousand words" has never rung so true. Throughout Milan Fashion Soccer Players Portraits we see the portraits, the style, and the juxtaposition of celebrity and normal man, which has informed the development of these modern-day Greek gods. The Milan Fashion Soccer Players Portraits project benefits Fondazione Milan, a non-profit organization which was started in 2003 to help people living in the direst circumstances on the fringes of society.

Photo credits: Benjamin Vales

Amid great fanfare, the evening only solidified the belief that fashion is more than just materialism -- more than the "next big thing". Fashion, apparel and accessories help to tell the world a story about your personality and style. The need to express one's style is becoming an ever-growing need, especially as the world becomes more globalized.

I believe Messrs Dolce and Gabbana were correct when they said that fashion "strangely enough [is] the importance of the individual [showing] his or her uniqueness."

Photo credits: Benjamin Vales

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