The most famous pink bowtie in the world
June 14, 2014
When I was playing for Racing Metro in the late ‘80s we had a big problem. We were losing all our games by 50 points and going home with black eyes. We had to find a solution; so we opted for a lighthearted approach and introduced gimmicks to our uniforms. The first thing we did was play with berets on our heads.
We didn’t realise it at the time, but it was a great way to motivate us. It’s like a lawyer who defends someone wearing a red nose – he has to be really good or he’ll just look ridiculous. We developed a special way of playing, based on what we called French flair, and with that, we stopped the defeats.
Our most famous gimmick was the pink bowtie, which we wore during a French Cup final. Although we lost the match everyone remembers that game because of the ties. Afterwards, we knew that we were on to something and we wanted to take advantage of its success. With my experience as a designer, I came up with the idea to start a clothing line that would focus on the rugby jersey.
On our travels we saw people in Australia and South Africa wearing their jerseys all the time. So we opened a shop in Paris with a collection of 60 jerseys and that is how Eden Park was founded. It was all thanks to the little pink bowtie.
Eden Park man
I would describe the Eden Park man as somebody looking for something a little bit extra. Yes, people want quality, but what they also want is a sense of history and heritage – they want to be part of the story.
The Middle East is an important market for us. It is a region that takes its clothing seriously and has an expat community that is interested in rugby. We already have a store in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but are planning on opening a second one in Dubai and also one in Kuwait. Dubai is the kind of place where you only have to be there for 10 minutes, and you can have one hundred new ideas.
One of my proudest career moments was playing in the first ever World Cup final in New Zealand in 1987. A few years ago, the original goal posts from the famous Eden Park stadium (pictured below) – which had been there since 1961 – were up for auction and my company bought them.
We decided to cut one of them into 300 pieces and give a piece to every player that played in that final. A lot of people were upset about what we did, but I think it was a nice way for the people who took part to keep a momento of history.
[caption id="attachment_3147" align="aligncenter" width="955"] For most people it would seem odd to name a French clothing company after New Zealand’s national rugby stadium, but not so for Franck Mesnel who would adapt the history and the symbolism of the arena into the very essence of his stylish, rugby-inspired clothing company.
World Cup final
The day after New Zealand beat us in the final, their players came to join us at our hotel for lunch with their wives and kids. It was a great gesture of sportsmanship. I think it was only then did it dawn upon us that we were part of something very special.
Details: visit eden-park.com