The last couple of years have been quite eventful for Jack Grealish. His floppy hair and the chiseled body made him a heartthrob of the nation, he was also rumoured to be dating a Love Island contestant, then he completed a £100m move from Aston Villa to Manchester City, and won the championship with them in his first season. Everything’s quite normal up until this point—a young and dashing footballer leading quite a glamorous life. The world, however, was certainly not ready for him being announced as the face of the venerated fashion house, Gucci.
For someone keeping up with the recent years of Gucci, especially their era under the stewardship of Alessandro Michele, this signing would have been anything but surprising. Michele has been very bold with his experiments, and he has gone after stars who are not shy of flaunting designs that transcend the traditional notion of masculinity. Be it Harry Styles or Jared Leto, their latest ensemble of stars is quite revealing of Michelle’s eccentric choice. Their latest acquisition, Grealish, offers everything that Michele wants from his brand icon.
Grealish has a distinctive style, and is easily identifiable even in the overcrowded arena by his gravity-defying hairstyle, sometimes parted from the middle, which is strikingly similar to David Beckham.
Even on the field, among nine other men swarming around him in a similar kit, Grealish is instantly recongnisable. His socks are always pulled down, perhaps to provide some breathing space for his shin guard. Moving upwards, his shorts, ending way above his knees, always seems to be under the intense duress of his thigh muscles. Expect this to become a new trend, just like Beckham’s bleached hair and long sleeves inspired legions of imitators across the globe.
He has a strong physique and can outdo most of his teammates and opposition in strength exercises. Yet he gets dragged down on the field with alarming regularity. However, these rash tackles don’t bother him. One of these statistics aggregators should design a new algorithm to trace the number of minutes a player spends in a supine state per 90 minutes. Or maybe they don’t need to, as everyone already knows Jack Grealish will be the first name on the list.
This is not a bug in the system, but a feature that accentuates his dazzling persona: look at this guy who is not afraid of hurting himself for a bigger cause. Expect this to become a new trend too—just like Beckham’s laid-back game punctuated by swirling free kicks became a massive hit in the early noughties.
The on-field similarity between David Beckham and Jack Grealish ends here.
Off the field, David Beckham gave us some of the most iconic fashion moments. Be it turning up for a match in a Samurai haircut, meeting Prince Charles in Durag (there’s a case for cultural appropriation here), or stepping out in a sarong—Beckham was bold, unapologetic, and way ahead of time. Football and fashion never had a great history. Tennis was the primary choice for fashion houses, as the absence of a uniform code allowed them to showcase their new style on the court. Beckham’s career, however, was the inflection point, andhis popularity paved the way for the next generation of superstars.
Grealish, meanwhile, is not far behind. While he isn’t big on experimenting with hair, his dressing sense is quite refreshing, and he broadcasts his great sense of aesthetics to almost 5m followers on Instagram. Soon after he was snapped by Man City, Grealish was seen enjoying himself with his friends at Leeds festival, in a Balenciaga tee and £600 Gucci shorts. The floral print on his bucket hat completed his relaxed look.
Talking about the fashion sense among young footballers, Hector Bellerin once quipped: “This new generation have grown up fully in social media where aesthetic is important, so for them dressing cool and expressing themselves in that way is important.”
The brands like Gucci have stopped chasing really big superstars. They understand the significance of having Gen-Z catnip like Grealish as their face. He is the most popular footballer in England right now, and many believe this to be a primary reason why Manchester City splashed £100m on him. Even though City have enjoyed unprecedented success on the field, they are always perceived with a sense of resentment among British fans.
“So much of the ‘buzz’ around the team is entirely about the manager, Pep Guardiola, and the football he plays, so a lot of people in football think this is about signing ‘stars’ to make City more interesting after Guardiola goes,” wrote Miguel Delaney.
Grealish’s silky style of play has already been mentioned in a hit song from the British rapper Stormzy, who goes, “Slide in the middle like Grealish” in one of his songs. Beckham took an active interest in the local music scene, and even married pop star Victoria Adams. Perhaps marrying a pop star is the next logical step for Jack Grealish in his quest to become Beckham 2.0.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/ @Jack Grealish