Celebrity Fashion Model

That time when Japanese former professional footballer Hidetoshi Nakata was a Model

A renowned football player in the mid 90s until the 00s and no stranger with fashion who frequently showing up on fashion week.

A renowned football player in the mid 90s until the 00s and no stranger with fashion who frequently showing up on fashion week. Hunks Over 40 presents that time When Japanese former professional footballer Hidetoshi Nakata was a Model.

He is a Japanese former professional footballer who played as a midfielder most famously for Parma. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest Japanese players of all time.

Nakata announced his retirement at age 29 on 3 July 2006, after a ten-year career that included seven seasons in the Italian Serie A and a season in the English Premier League.

In March 2004, Pelé named Nakata in his FIFA 100, a list of the top living footballers at the time. Nakata was the only Japanese, and one of only two Asian footballers to be named on the list.

In 2018, Nakata was added as an icon to the Ultimate Team on the FIFA video game FIFA 19.

Nakata has also been involved in fashion, regularly attending runway shows and wearing designer clothing

Now with 44 years old. He’s a minimal fashion trendsetter, according to Esquire in a digital article, The retired midfielder – often considered Japan’s resident GOAT – has enjoyed something of a quiet style trajectory, though not one which has gone unnoticed.

Italian photographer Andrea Tenerani told the International Herald Tribune in 2004 that Nakata was “perfect… like a model, and totally obsessed with fashion.” Calvin Klein’s then menswear creative director Italo Zucchelli said Nakata “plays with fashion… but in a cooler, more sophisticated way than many others,” in a 2006 piece for The New York Times.

And lest we forget the Roma alum’s long-standing relationship with Louis Vuitton. Season after season, he’s there, on the front row, looking more stylish with every passing collection. Autumn/winter ’19 was no exception.

Where his contemporaries go for big statement dressing, Nakata has stuck to one single thread: the structured tailored minimalism of a Danish architect, with the odd pop of colour that’s a far cry from La Liga retina scorchers. 

At Giambattisa Valli’s autumn/winter ’17 show, Nakata could’ve well been confused for a senior buyer or editor, dressed in quietly sharp, all-navy tailoring. That’s a good thing. So too was his most recent appearance in Paris, shoulder-robing a razor-sharp overcoat over some impeccable, fluid tailoring at Louis Vuitton.

It’s consistent. Even way back in 2006, a Chanel invitation saw Nakata stick to monochrome and a classic leather trucker jacket. Sure, it’s slightly of its time. But compare that to what his contemporaries were wearing (Alice bands, perms and denim blazers – the general kit of a Mahiki-based nightmare), and there’s a clear winner as to which has aged gracefully. 

Nakata initially became a fashion model before deciding to travel the world for three years.

“All my life, I played just football. I didn’t know what the world was like outside of football,” Nakata explains. “I wanted to know what’s happening now in the world, and what I could do for the world.” He sounds like a gap year student off to India to “discover himself”.

Nakata
Hidetoshi Nakata by Satoshi Saikusa for L’Uomo Vogue Summer Sport Issue (2003)

Fame and wealth can be dangerous drugs. As the most gifted Asian footballer of his generation, Nakata was never likely to escape the trappings of celebrity lifestyle. He is a Japanese inspiration and institution, bestowed with adoration beyond any normal comprehension. Yet he managed to avoid the typical fall that follows pride, albeit in his own unorthodox way. Furthermore, a decade after his retirement he remains staunchly committed to his own principles.

“Money doesn’t need to come first – your idea and passions should come first,” Nakata says. “This is the philosophy I have been following my whole life. I played football not because of the money or to become famous, but because I loved football. I just do whatever I love. It doesn’t matter what people say, whether it’s difficult or whatever. I don’t care. Because this is my life.”

Don’t denounce it as boring, either. You don’t build lasting relationships with designer brands by sticking to homogenous safety-first battle armour. Instead, Nakata has found his signature: crisp, enduring and a testament to the the art of darkness. That’s real style. That’s what the Premier League sinners should follow.

It’s impossible to argue with that sentiment. Hide Nakata may not be in Serie A’s top ten best players of the last 20 years, but in terms of cultural significance and impact, he might well be in the top one.

Follow on IG: Hidetoshi Nakata @hidetoshi_nakata_

Chris McCracken is a photoblogger who positively describes every photo session, male models and fashion around the world. Check out the blog Fashionably Male since 2010 has been exhibited the best features and collaborations.

3 comments on “That time when Japanese former professional footballer Hidetoshi Nakata was a Model

  1. Great article. He truly has an amazing musculature and has really diversified his brand. Truly inspirational.

    Like

  2. Totally legend.

    Like

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