With this year's Super Bowl being played near New York City, it will probably be not only the coldest but also the most fashionable.
In honor of Super Bowl 48, the National Football League, in collaboration with Bloomingdale's and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, unveiled Wednesday a line of 48 bespoke helmets designed by some of the biggest names in haute couture. The event featured New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara and New York Jets placekicker Nick Folk, as well as participating designers such as Donna Karan, Kenneth Cole and Cynthia Rowley. The helmets are being auctioned to benefit the NFL Foundation, and are on display in the windows of Bloomingdale's flagship store in midtown Manhattan. The shop also features a line of clothing and merchandise specially designed for the Super Bowl.
The NFL is also opening this weekend a Super Bowl-themed shop at Macy's, the parent company of Bloomingdale's, in its main Herald Square location. It will feature merchandise, memorabilia and appearances by current and former Giants such as Victor Cruz and Super Bowl hero David Tyree. The store falls along Super Bowl Boulevard, the NFL's 14-block celebration along Broadway that will include autograph signings and even toboggan run.
According to the NFL, the big game coming to the big city provided the perfect opportunity for the league to partner with iconic New York fashion institutions such as Bloomingdale's, Macy's and Tiffany & Co., with which it has had a longstanding relationship. In addition to its Super Bowl collection, which includes items like cuff links and a football-shaped paperweight, Tiffany designs the Vince Lombardi Trophy and has made rings for many Super Bowl champions, including the Giants, who won in 2007 and 2011.
Although the league stresses that the merchandise and displays are meant to appeal to all fans, they're also part of a broader push to engage female fans.
"It's just one element," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said of the designer helmet auction in an e-mail. "We have numerous year-round programs and activities. More women watch the Super Bowl than men and women combined watch the Oscar's."
Whether you're female or just fashion-conscious, if you live in the U.S., chances are you watch the Super Bowl. You might as well look good while doing it.
(Kavitha A. Davidson is a Bloomberg View columnist who writes about sports. Follow her on Twitter at @kavithadavidson.)