CFDA Members Design 'Haute Couture' Football Helmets

The initiative came about in conjunction with Bloomingdale’s and the NFL, to honor Super Bowl XLVIII being held in the New York area next month.

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with contributions from Marc Karimzadeh
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Badgley Mischka

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Dennis Basso

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Betsey Johnson

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Donna Karan

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Macy’s will have the official NFL Super Bowl shop — a 36,000-square-foot area at its Herald Square flagship. That’s also the starting point of “Super Bowl Boulevard,” a conglomerate of local music, food and fan events that will run up Broadway to 47th Street for four days prior to the game. “Fashion and football can go together,” Holloway said.

All of the net proceeds from the winning bids on the helmets will benefit the NFL Foundation, which through grant programs supports youth and high school football programs, health and safety efforts, as well as community health initiatives, including NFL Play 60, which advocates for physical activity and nutrition and fights child obesity.

For the Jan. 15 helmet unveiling, Bloomingdale’s will have a tailgating party with a turnout of NFL players and CFDA designers. The windows will have an interactive component, enabling viewers to “virtually” see how they would look wearing some of the helmets. Bloomingdale’s is also staging a sweepstakes for a chance to win apparel and home merchandise and a $1,000 Bloomingdale’s gift card.

While the $248 opening bid price on the designer helmets seems low, Berman said, “We have a lot of experience with auctions. We tend to set the opening price low, and then it escalates. I think the helmets will sell for a lot more than what they open at.”

Each designer received an official white NFL helmet, made by Riddell, a sports equipment firm, and given free rein on what to do with it. Bloomingdale’s is a supporter of the CFDA Foundation and scholarship program.

“We left the parameters really wide open,” Berman said. “I’m blown away by the amount of creativity that went into the helmets. Some of them are incredible pieces of art.”

“The designers really went all out, from vintage-looking helmets to statements with color, flowers, sequins, and Swarovski crystals,” said Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA. “It’s been a fun opportunity to be involved in something that celebrates this huge event in New York, short of being on the 50-yard line and watching the game itself.”

“Most interpreted their signature fashion designs into their helmets, making them identifiable yet creative and one-of-a-kind,” added Holloway.

“The idea of bringing a female touch to something masculine was very interesting to me,” said Miller. Though she doesn’t follow any specific teams, “I always like to see the colors in the uniforms.”

Snyder, who used men’s wear fabrics for his helmet, said, “I love sports and played football all through high school. The fact that the Super Bowl will be in the best city ever this year is cool enough, but then thinking of doing a special helmet seemed even better. This project combines my love of sports and love of tailoring.”

Michael Bastian said, “It was a lot of fun doing this knit Super Bowl helmet with ears — we work with this great hand-knitter in New York, Josh Bennett, and somehow he never even flinches when we throw him crazy projects like this.”

“I had an urban industrial warrior in mind. I wanted the design to be clean and stark,” said Richard Chai.

Others who designed helmets include Diane von Furstenberg, Alexis Bittar, Betsey Johnson, Billy Reid, Blake Mycoskie for Toms, Catherine Malandrino, Cynthia Rowley, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne for Public School, David Neville and Marcus Wainwright for Rag & Bone, George Esquivel, Kenneth Cole, Mark Badgley and James Mischka for Badgley Mischka, Narciso Rodriguez, Mark McNairy, Nicole and Michael Colovos for Helmut Lang, Olivier Theyskens, Vince Camuto and Yigal Azrouël.

Already, Bloomingdale’s is thinking about Super Bowl XLIX. “If the right opportunity presented itself, I could easily see ourselves doing another collaboration,” said Berman. “This year, the stars all seem to be aligned, with the Super Bowl in New Jersey, us being New York-based and the designers being here.”


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