For the ultimate in American sporting events, Sunday evening’s Super Bowl 50 looked awfully… Italian.
Indeed, when it came to on-field style, if it wasn’t Nike, it was a veritable microcosm of Milan Fashion Week — a preview, perhaps, of what we will see when the women’s fashion season gets underway this month.
First up was Lady Gaga, wearing a blinding custom-made red Lurex Gucci trouser suit and red-white-and-blue sparkly platforms to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner,” capping off what has been something of a major few days for the brand, after Beyoncé chose three (count ’em) Gucci looks, including runway styles Nos. 8 and 57 from the last show, for her “Formation” video.
As it happens, Beyoncé also wore Gucci to watch the N.B.A.’s Golden State Warriors play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, creating some expectation for Sunday. But she opted for another Milan Fashion Week brand, DSquared2, in her Super Bowl halftime guest slot, wearing a black leather jacket crisscrossed by gold straps in a nod to Michael Jackson’s performance at the 1993 Super Bowl.
The other halftime star, Bruno Mars (and his backup gang), chose a Versace “leatherlike” pajama outfit (the brand’s words), along with lots of Versace gold chains, for his much-lauded dance-off with Beyoncé.
And though both singers wore different brands, they were coordinated in black and gold, as was Mark Ronson, part of the Mars group, with the net effect that, for once, the clothes did not overwhelm or distract from the performers but rather functioned as they should: as effective supporting acts.
All of which left Chris Martin of Coldplay, the halftime show’s nominal headliner, something of the odd man out in his head-scratching flower-child ensemble of tie-dye jacket and rainbow-colored Air Jordans customized by his son. He looked as if he had taken a wrong turn on his way to Coachella and had wandered onto the field by mistake.
(Of course, judging by the reaction on social media to the show, he was the odd man out in more ways than just clothes.)
In any case, the idea that the Super Bowl could be a major red-carpet-like marketing experience for any brand is not exactly a surprise — and in the past stars have worn Givenchy (Madonna, 2012), Saint Laurent (Bruno Mars, in his 2014 appearance) and Moschino (Katy Perry, 2015) — but it is interesting that it’s the Europeans who have so fully embraced the opportunity.
The United States is generally seen as a growth market for high fashion, so it makes some sense. Though whether the average Super Bowl fan, his or her head in the game, is the target consumer is a different question.
An earlier version of this article misstated the relationship between Only the Brave and DSquared2. Only the Brave licenses the brand. It does not own it.