Last summer I was writing about tennis and about one of the greatest, and most stylish, players of all time, Björn Borg, while making a plea for outdoor sports. Sport and style are not exactly natural bedfellows, but there are exceptions to the rule, and they are worth talking about, too, so I would like to take on the challenge of A Sporting Life more often – for the love of sport and style.
Nacho Figueras is one of the world’s best (and the most elegant) polo players, a Ralph Lauren model and ambassador for more than fifteen years (he was “discovered” by Bruce Weber), husband (to photographer and model Delfina Blaquier) and father of four. He is described as someone who takes his work, as well as his Ralph Lauren role, seriously, but who doesn’t take himself too seriously, and these are some of the words I live by.
The Argentinian has fought to raise awareness of the sport and for erasing its image as a rich man’s game (wasn’t tennis once considered an elitist sport, too?). He is passionate about his sport and his country, and took his Ralph Lauren role as an opportunity to call attention to the sport, even if that rose some eyebrows. He also breeds ponies at his farm near Buenos Aires (the place where he sees himself growing old, as I heard him say in a tv interview), where he himself learned to ride and play polo as a child.
Now, I don’t know much about the game of polo, but on top of being an equestrian sport, which, by definition, imposes elegance, posture and respect, the impression it leaves me is that it is highly competitive and fair play, and that counts for a lot in my book. But it is, first of all, a great outdoor sport, one you can engage your entire family in. “Polo is a great thing to do with your kids and your family – it is a great day out. And to me, horses are amazing creatures that give you this cable to Earth and put you in contact with nature,” Figueras was telling Interview magazine some years back.
Given the beginnings of Ralph Lauren and his iconic logo, choosing the Argentine polo champion as spokesperson for the brand makes perfect sense – Nacho Figueras embodies the character and personality of his sport on the field, as well as in his private life. It is not, however, the polo t-shirt look that I chose for this blog post, and for your, as well as my own, inspiration (although the man knows how to wear one, and with a smart tweed jacket, no less). It’s a much more approachable equestrian look – because as much as I love the style, there are only that many ways to include it into your daily wear. But having a polo player wearing riding boots with a plain t-shirt and jeans has the benefit of making it very purposeful and practical and natural, a perfectly acceptable off-duty look. I will take on this challenge, too.
photos: 1-Gaby Messina for The Telegraph / 2-Ralph Lauren