The Guardian's Mikey Stafford today poses the question 'Is this the worst kit ever?', referring to Parisian rugby club Stade Français' new third kit. Pardon me, Mikey, but you're way off.
This may be the greatest kit ever because it's practically an anti-kit. None of your hoops or quarters or swooshy nonsense. No changing the width of the piping on the sleeves and breathlessly selling it as THE BRAND NEW JERSEY. If you're going to charge €75 for a replica shirt, the very least you can do is subvert the entire concept of sports apparel with a pop-art portrait of a 13th century French queen.
Stade's maverick ways are also in evidence with their home and away jerseys: the former adorned with images of pretty pink flowers of some kind (botany ain't my strong suit), the latter ditching the home shirt's coyness and just letting the pinkness all hang out (that's not a euphemism, by the way). It also has some lightning bolts emanating from the crest which look unfortunately like stink-lines - but such an error of judgement serves only as a contrast, highlighting the brilliance of Stade's attire. It's sometimes hard to believe that rugby union is barely a decade removed from amateurism, with its doggedly functional jerseys, so heavy they were used to weigh down prisoners in parts of the world where police forces couldn't afford handcuffs. Now, it's stepping into the sort of avant-garde territory which even the bravest of soccer kit designers of the early '90s dared not approach.
Also, the idea of a sport wrapped up in a self-image of rampant heterosexuality being confronted with the type of kit which could be specifically designed to annoy the hell out of many of its practitioners is somewhat pleasing.