It may or may not be common knowledge that the Fiorucci that sponsored Inter Milan in the early 90’s was in fact a dairy and meat company formally knows as Cesare Fiorucci and not the fashion label known for its jeans. Easy mistake to make especially when you read ID’s ‘beginner guide to Fiorucci’, written in 2017. The magazine even asked whether there was anything Elio Fiorucci didn’t pioneer and crowned him for having invented the collectible football kit that must be snapped up by those who ‘are in the know’.
Inter have boasted some beautiful shirts over the years. The kits from 97-97 and during their treble winning season immediately spring to mind. The simplicity and consistency of blue and black have made their shirts among the most easily identifiable. It would therefore have been the ultimate dream come true for the football hipsters of this world when Fiorucci sponsored the clubs shirts. Classic Football Shirts UK have a couple in stock listed for prices well above £200, evidence perhaps that the name on the front regardless of its true origins is enough to enter it into the all time shirts list. Forking out the 200 for the Fiorucci name becomes much less of a romantic notion when you remember that it belongs to a company famed for its salami and not its form flattering clothes.
With the confusion cleared up, it would be rude not to highlight Fiorucci’s role in Italian football in the early nineties. Led by Brehmer, Matthäus and Ramon Diaz Inter won the 1989 Serie A title; the last for a while despite adding the quality of Klinsmann to the squad. Fiorucci partnered up with Inter at a time when trophies were far and few between for the Italian giant. The stylish kits and a love affair with the UEFA Cup provided some consolation at a time when a team with names such as Zenga, Bergomi, Summer and Bergkamp should have arguably been setting their sights much higher.
Football 30 years ago was a very different proposition to the sport it is now. Tournaments were of course structure differently and in some cases invitationals were played during a regular season as was the case with the Fiorucci Trophy. Inter’s sponsors also had the pleasure of organising a triangular tournament, with the trophy fought over by Inter, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur. Many raised their eyebrows when the two European giants took a break from crucial points in their respective seasons to play at White Hart Lane. 45 minute games were played with Inter fielding strong teams at the behest of their sponsor. A risk not worth taking considering they were 4 points behind their city rivals in the 1992-93 season. Whether or not the teams took part willingly was beside the point, Fiorucci were about to break into the UK market with a new range of cheeses and it was vital they attracted eyeballs.
Fiorucci and Inter’s relationship ended in 1995 when the club pivoted to Pirelli, forming an iconic partnership that would stand the test of time. However their legacy continues to have an impact today, hiking up shirt prices and producing funny conversations when one is reminded of the less stylish origins of Inter’s shirt sponsor.