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Brand World

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02/02/2015 - par Mark Tungate

Le journaliste anglais Mark Tungate a vu le film Foxcatcher. Le pitch? En 1986, John E. du Pont, sponsor de l'équipe de lutte libre Foxcatcher, assassine l'un de ses membres, le champion olympique Dave Schultz. Il n'en a pas fallu davantage à notre chroniqueur du lundi pour se plonger dans l'ADN de la marque DuPont. Et dans les délices du Lycra.

The movie Foxcatcher may be one of the slowest crime dramas you’ll see this year, but it does feature an intriguing brand name: DuPont. The movie is named after «Foxcatcher Farm», a sprawling estate owned by the real-life multimillionaire and wrestling sponsor John du Pont. His relationship with his wrestling team was, to say the least, strained. No spoilers, but let’s put it this way: du Pont died in prison in 2010.


DuPont is a giant chemical company – the world’s fourth largest – which developed, among other things, Teflon and Lycra. In the film, John du Pont’s wrestlers inevitably wear Lycra. Unfortunately, he does not appear to be made of Teflon – when he commits a crime, the guilt sticks. As the movie plodded coldly towards murder, I began to think about Lycra and what it meant to me. I’ve never worn it; I don’t have the build of a wrestler. But is there any substance more emblematic of 1980s fashion?


At the top end of the market, Lycra was made famous by the designer Azzedine Alaïa, who almost singlehandedly launched the decade’s «body-conscious» trend. His skin tight outfits were adopted by iconic femmes fatales like Grace Jones and the sexy red-lipped band in Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love video. Soon, fashion dictated a form-hugging look. At one point it seemed that every girl I dated wore what was known as «a body»: a Lycra one piece, rather like a swimsuit, that fastened with metal press studs (boutons pression) between the thighs. Breaking into one of those things was like opening a sardine can (hey, let’s not forget that I was in my 20s in the 80s).


Perhaps it’s inevitable that there was a connection between DuPont and fashion. The company may be American, but it was founded in 1802 by a French immigrant, Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. She made gunpowder for the Civil War, which may explain why girls in Lycra looked like dynamite. On the other hand, judging by Foxcatcher, the suppressed violence in the brand’s DNA may have exploded in a later generation.

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