Ball

by Y-3

by Penny Martin .

Only a force as pervasive as fashion could divorce something as utilitarian as a ball from its ostensible function, transmogrifying it into an elegant, up-beat, style statement.

Whereas the acquisition of sportswear generally implies participation in heart-racing activities, the Y-3 volleyball demands sweet nothing of its owner. A million calf-strained miles from the sweat-stained lycra and bouncing breasts of the gym and a long - pilates - stretch from the sanctimoniousness of the terminally-Yogic, this glorious exercise in intelligent fashion branding enjoys a sporting life all of its own.

Hailing from the Spring/Summer collection of the progressive collaboration between fashion brand Yohji Yamamoto and the classic sportswear manufacturer Adidas - Y-3 - the piece is a virtuoso encapsulation of the brand values of each stakeholder. The icon of international sport, the ball, is invested with a single element that articulately expresses the spirit of the entire fashion range this season: in this case, a simple, shiny, colour coating.

The hue, a slightly feminine, 'shocking' Schiaparelli pink, hints at - but importantly avoids- the cheap functional fluoro associated with masculine sports and road-workers alike. This is not a football, remember. In a classic seasonal fashion statement, the graphics boldly proclaim 'Y-3 SPRING SUMMER 2004' in large, plain, sans serif capitals. On the opposite side, a discrete Yohji Yamamoto signature and Adidas logo invert the commercial stereotype and raise the ball above contemporary sports branding into the realm of purist fashion aesthetics.

Only a force as pervasive as fashion could divorce something as utilitarian as a ball from its ostensible function, transmogrifying it into an elegant, up-beat, style statement. In this sense, the Y-3 volleyball is the most thoroughly contemporary of fashion accessories.

Volleyball by Y-3 at Selfridges 0800 123 400