Sporting Kansas City’s beloved All-Star/Best XI centerback Aurelien Collin developed a love for fashion growing in Paris.
On Tuesday, though, it was Kansas City’s Power & Light District where Collin debuted his labor of love — AC78, a line of custom-made suits — during a fashion show before the Silversun Pickups and Radkey played a free concert as part of the AT&T MLS All-Star Game weekend festivities.
Judging by the crowd’s raucous reaction and Collin’s jovial mood after watching his teammates and a few friends strut down a makeshift runway wearing his creations, the fashion show was a smashing success.
“It’s a small dream, but a dream come true,” Collin said. “I never imagined one day I’d have a fashion show, but now I have to keep working hard and hopefully the next one will be bigger and bigger and bigger.”
Several teammates — Matt Besler, Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara, Eric Kronberg, Lawrence Olum, Ike Opara, C.J. Sapong and Graham Zusi — served as models for the half-hour exhibition.
“It’s another level,” said Sapong, who modeled a striking blue tuxedo. “At the beginning, we didn’t all realize the passion and commitment that he had to this. Today, it really sunk in for everybody. Backstage we were getting hyped up as if it was a soccer game and obviously with the fans who turned out, it was just a beautiful experience.”
Tom Paolini, who partnered with Collin to bring AC78 to life, was equally thrilled with the show’s reception.
“It was a blast and I’m proud for Aurelien,” Paolini said. “I’m happy to be part of it.”
Paolini co-designed and tailored suits Sporting KC’s players, coaches and owners wear when traveling to away matches.
“I like to joke that Aurelien’s fitting took a little bit longer than the rest of the guys,” Paolini said. “I knew there he had an interest in fashion and then I saw that he was taking remote courses from Paris to design, so I approached him with the idea of a charity event. I donated the suit, he designed it and that was the beginning of it all.”
The AC78 fashion show is a significant milestone for Collin and Paolini, but it’s far from the end.
“When you see the amount of passion that he puts into this — I don’t know how it compares to soccer, because I don’t see behind the scenes at all — but he’s serious,” Paolini said. “He’s focused, he sketches, he sews, he’s not like these guys who put their name on something and call it theirs. He did it all.”
T-shirts promoting his line will soon be available at aureliencollin78.com.
“When it comes to some of the looks that walked today — like C.J.’s (awesome) blue tuxedo, which was amazing — that would be a custom garment,” Paolini said. “That’s something that, if people reach out to me at paolinigarment.com, they can find out how to get that.”
Custom-designed suits, of course, are pricey, but Collin and Paolini are working on a ready-to-wear, made-to-measure line.
“I’m very happy that people loved it,” Collin said. “There were a lot of people and honestly I was not expecting that many people. It’s great; I’m very happy. And now I’m focused on (the AT&T MLS All-Star Game) tomorrow night.”