The Diadora x Roma era was a lot of fun. In what was arguably the brand’s greatest ever run of designs, we saw an immense range of creative ideas which mixed the best ideas of the 90s with original ideas that have stood the test of time.
Many people remember the superb work of designer David Hicks, who created the popular 98/99 and 99/00 ranges, but today I want to highlight one of the shirts from the year prior. The 1997 Roma away shirt is one of the strangest, quirkiest shirts you’ll ever see, and its charm hasn’t waned almost 25 years on.
It all starts with the wild design that flanks the chest of the shirt. Two orange sections swoop in, with a legendary ‘Lupetto’ crest on each side facing into the middle of the shirt. The aesthetic is loosely reminiscent of the look of Roman armour, a theme which makes sense given the other details on the shirt.
Behind the sponsor is a subliminal tonal graphic of the famous Colosseum (a theme that ties together the Roma home, away and third shirts of 1997/98), but flip the shirt over and you’ll see another subliminal graphic, this time of the main crest. That makes 4 large crests on the shirt in total, for those counting at home.
On top of these details we have a range of late 90s features, including a contrast collar in the style of many a Nike shirt of the time, and orange piping which was typical of the time.
If you look up close, you’ll also see a variety of textures and material types, with everything from a grid like material for the sleeves to a more typical ribbed material on the collar and a mesh look for various orange portions of the shirt. It’s quite busy, but it speaks to the story of a shirt which stands out amongst Roma’s colourful shirt history.