This weekend saw the release of Puma’s new Marseille shirts for the 2020-21 season – with both designs heeding advice to stay at home.
Architecture is a regular influence on fashion, which in turn translates to the designs worn by footballers.
Continuing the theme we saw with last season’s Marseille change kits, Puma’s home and away shirts for 2020-21 pay homage to the Mediterranean city’s neighbourhoods and architecture.
When brands are tasked with bringing their top table of clients a brand new, bespoke kit, one of the ways they do this is by centring the design on the city the club calls home.
The subtle pattern on L’OM’s home shirt is based upon Marseille’s modernist Unité d’Habitation housing development by Swiss architect Le Corbusier.
The 12-storey concrete structure was completed in 1952 as a response to the needs of the city to replace homes lost during WW2.
The block became highly influential as the brutalist movement brought streets in the sky to everywhere from Berlin to the Barbican, Sheffield’s Park Hill flats, and right across Europe.
If the home shirt’s pattern remains fairly nuanced, Puma’s 2020-21 away shirt for Marseille is quite the opposite.
Representing a view of the coastal city by night, the design features little lights in the windows of the twisting streets of houses drawn across this navy blue shirt.
The printed pattern is apparently slightly different on each shirt and includes the famous Notre Dame de la Garde basilica, a symbol for sailors and fishermen returning home to Marseille.
Style points can be removed for not placing Uber Eats’ logo in light blue, and for the design ending at the shoulders rather than continuing to the back; but this is one of our favourite 2020-21 releases so far, and really whets the appetite for more from Puma.
Nowadays, football shirts are years in the design and planning process and Puma and Marseille couldn’t have known we’d all be spending so much more of our time at home when these kits were scheduled for release.
Brands like Puma forecast trends in colour and fashion 18-months ahead of the launch of a new kit, and representing a confident step away from the retro-infused shirts of the past couple of years; manufacturers are weaving increasingly intricate patterns into the fabric of their football kits.
Firms wouldn’t bother to produce kits as good as these if fans were not calling for, and of course buying, shirts as wonderfully bold and bespoke as this Marseille away shirt.
Olympique de Marseille’s colours have brought us some of the most memorable European club shirts of the past 30 years.
An ambitious pair of shirts and very much for their time, depending on how Dimitri Payet & Co perform on the pitch, we may go on to remember this year’s vintage up there with les Olympiens’ very best.