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Sack. If you hear that word this weekend and don’t immediately think Balenciaga 1957, you must be, for lack of a better word, normal. Because chances are you’re reveling in the glorious fact that for the first time in years, the New York collections will not steamroll through the Super Bowl. When at 6:25 on Sunday evening the intentionally imperfect Indianapolis Colts square off against America’s (new) Team, the New Orleans Saints, fashion’s passionate football-loving minority can do what the laws of nature and of nature’s god expect of decent Americans on this particular eve: watch the single largest sporting event in the country (arguably the second largest in the world), with loyalties and attention not split between football and fashion.


This story first appeared in the February 5, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Despite the two worlds’ apparent divide, consideration reveals numerous points of fusion, and not only Gisele and Tom Brady. Rather, the two disciplines share an impressive lexicon of terms. The aforementioned sack? In one world, a hit on the quarterback; in the other, a waistless dress. Spiral names the prettiest of passes or a lovely swirled frock. Double coverage can be two defenders on a wide receiver or layered cardigans. Blocking: the job of the endearing giant in “The Blind Side” or how you shape a sweater. Football has its helmets (granted, not an accessory, but an essential in minimizing head injuries), while fashion boasts Pierre Cardin’s Space-Age headgear as well as Lang and Newton, give or take a vowel. As for a redshirt, it’s a term for a college player who sits out one year so he can stay five, or something Dries Van Noten showed in a spicy cinnamon.

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The two worlds share snaps, spikes, clips and chains. Yet not all is S&M; a down is a step in the right direction or a cozy coat; a pocket, the domain of a drop-back passer or, well, a pocket; the pigskin, a ball or a bag. Then there’s the secondary. The Colts have Antoine Bethea, and Donna Karan, DKNY. Tight end? A guy with good hands or a model’s posterior. While in football a team can’t get far without an offensive line, in fashion, too offensive a line spells disaster.


Yet the last word — make that two — in this wondrous fashion-football crossover: shoulder pads. What more need be said? Pick: Colts, 28-24.

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