Barcelona might have looked a little threadbare in the world’s fashion capital this week, but Paul Galvin is rewinding to happier days to celebrate the club’s enduring sense of style
’MISTER’, Galvin’s new menswear collection, is inspired by former Barcelona managers Pep Guardiola and Patrick O’Connell. Guardiola’s dapper style and phenomenal success is familiar, but Galvin has been personally struck by the story of Dubliner O’Connell, who had a controversial spell at Manchester United before winning La Liga with Real Betis and Barcelona. Sadly, he later died in poverty in London.
“Patrick’s story is so rich in many ways,” Galvin says. “Even the fact that an Irishman had won La Liga with a club like Betis, or was managing Barcelona. If that happened today he would be on a multimillion euro contract. That he died in the way he did was such a huge contrast. From a visual aspect [O’Connell] looked very distinctive, he had quite a distinct style, and he was an interesting looking guy.”
Galvin said that he was also motivated by a passage in Andres Iniesta’s autobiography, where the current Barcelona captain recalls visiting the office of his former coach Pep Guardiola.
“He talks of going into Pep’s office early in his reign and he used that word ‘mister’,” he says. “I loved this idea of ‘mister’ and Spanish players referring to their manager that way, not as boss or gaffer or whatever.”
The MISTER marketing material from Dunnes Stores includes a well-known black and white photograph of a middle-aged O’Connell wearing a dark three-piece suit and his trademark bowler hat, while also name-checking “modern-day super-managers” Guardiola, Diego Simeone, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti.
“There are two aspects to the collection,” Galvin explains. “There is the storytelling aspect, which is Patrick’s story. And the style aspect is more about Guardiola or Mourinho in terms of the look. It is probably more modern than what Patrick would have worn. So you have the modern day manager’s wardrobe, but Patrick’s story.”
Barcelona’s famous ‘blaugrana’ [blue and dark red] colours feature heavily in the collection. “To develop a colour story, I took Barca’s colours, the blaugrana and some of the away jerseys they have had, an aquamarine and a light grey,” Galvin explains. “The jersey is based on the jersey which Barca wore on tour to Mexico in 1936. It was a white shirt with a blaugrana stripe down the side. Later in the collection there will be green and white stripes for Betis. I have all the looks and the colours and fabrics and the style all in my head. And then it is a case of naming the collection and telling the story.”
Galvin said that dressing like a top manager can help younger men to project an image of confidence and success.
“In the workplace, depending on where you work, there is an emphasis on what you wear,” he says. “With the idea of the modern day manager, I feel myself there is a correlation between looking the part on the sideline [and success]. I think it has an effect on the audience, on your players, if you are well presented and looking like you are the boss.”
Galvin’s previous collections have been based on different themes including 1912 Olympic Games cyclist Michael Walker and Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot.
“It’s all myself, I don’t work with anybody, they are all my own ideas, 100%,” he says when asked where he gets his inspiration from.
“I get it from reading, and studying the culture. I don’t regard this as being about fashion as such. These are like stories, cultural storytelling is what I call it. The last one was when I had read a quote somewhere, which turned out to be from Waiting for Godot, that ‘we are all born mad, some remain so’. These are cultural stories, that reflect sport, politics, oppression, rebellion, literature.”
During his time with Kerry, Galvin worked as a secondary school teacher at St Brendan’s College, Killarney, but he has now thrown himself completely into his new career. “I’m involved in everything, I have to sign off on it all,” he says. “The ideas are very clearly mine, the direction is all mine. But I can’t do it then without the Dunnes buyers who have the experience of sourcing the fabrics, the factories [in Turkey], quantities and volume and things like that. We are over and back in terms of what we can do with fabrics. I’d be fairly clear on the design aspect, other aspects would be collaborative.”
Given how the clothes industry works, Galvin said he has already finished work on his next collection for Dunnes, inspired by a story on web-based TV service Netflix. “The next one is done,” he says. “I moved away from what I’ve done before and the next one is more contemporary. It is based on a Netflix story. I felt like I was going back and back into history, and I thought it was time to move things forward a little bit. That is done, it’s for autumn, I have started now on next spring 2018, which I will be presenting in the next week or two.”
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