Hockey and high fashion don’t typically mix. But when your team is owned by a fashion designer, which the Boston Badgers‘ Paul Galette is, such an unusual scenario can become reality.
The Badgers just finished their most successful season ever, posting a .500 record for the first time. It was a feel-good season for the team, and the players expressed a desire to get back together during the offseason. Galette accommodated that desire with an unorthodox offer: he invited his players to spend a day at his fashion house, including an opportunity to design their own outfits.
“It’s definitely not a typical hockey-player activity,” said Galette. “But I knew it would be a fun creative opportunity for them, and something that they don’t get to do every day. So why not?”
Almost all of the Badgers showed up. Some of them came because they wanted another chance to hang out with their teammates. Some were genuinely interested in seeing how fashion houses work. Others… well, in the words of RW Levi Rudyard: “I figured I’d have a chance to meet some models.”
When the players arrived, Galette took them on a brief tour of the house and introduced them to some of his fellow designers. “It was pretty cool to meet them, really,” said LW Pascal Royal. “They are in some ways like us. Everyone thinks we just get to have fun all the time, but there is a lot of work into it. Designing is the same.”
After that, the owner brought the players into a “collaboration space,” a room that allows designers to work together and bounce ideas off of one another. The players gathered around a large table in the center of the room, where they were given paper and a variety of art supplies and invited to design their own outfits.
“I told them they could be as practical or as whimsical as they wanted to be,” Galette said. “Designers can get their inspiration from anywhere: natural scenes, animals, things they see on the street. There are no rules and no bad ideas. Even something completely crazy or unworkable can light a spark that leads to a beautiful design in the end.”
The design session was a bit awkward at first because, as D Matt Cherner noted, “I haven’t done any drawing since I was in grade school.” But eventually they warmed to the task, and they came up with a number of fascinating designs. LW Casey Thurman drew an evening gown inspired by a peacock’s feathers. Cherner designed a suit that resembled the Northern Lights. G Roger Orion sketched out a tuxedo that featured the Badgers’ colors and logo. D Brody “Bruiser” McCallan, meanwhile, designed a truly wild outfit which he described as “the world’s only pimp superhero. Like Superfly, but even flyer.”
Little did the players know it, but Galette had another surprise in store for them. After treating the team to a lavish lunch at a nearby restaurant, Galette announced that he would have their designs made into actual outfits. And a couple weeks later, he invited them back to see those outfits on display, as he held a fashion show that the team streamed on YouTube.
“I knew they’d go gaga to see their designs brought to life,” Galette said. “It’s an awesome feeling for any designer, the first time they see their designs in real life.”
The players reacted with laughter and delight as they saw their designs paraded up and down the runway. And in additional to actual models, several of the players themselves took a turn on the catwalk. Orion modeled his Badgers-colored tuxedo, saying “I wish I’d had this for my wedding, although my wife is probably glad I didn’t.” Thurman modeled Cherner’s Northern Lights suit, and trilled “I Feel Pretty” in falsetto as he walked. McCallan, meanwhile, not only donned his pimp-superhero costume, he also closed out the show by squeezing into Thurman’s peacock-feather dress. As the burly blueliner sashayed along, his teammates laughed and catcalled.
“Yeah, they made fun,” said McCallan, “but only because they didn’t want to admit that I totally rocked the dress.”
All in all, it was a fun team-building event, and the players thoroughly enjoyed themselves. “If you’d told me I was going to love designing fashion outfits, I’d have called you crazy,” said C Alain Beauchesne. “But these were memories I will keep for all my life. Except for the Bruiser in that dress… that I hope to forget.”