Designer Emre Gultekin has form when it comes to producing detailed kit histories of some of the world’s most famous teams - Argentina’s Club Atlético River Plate is certainly deserving of the treatment.
Without question, the Buenos Aires giants bring to mind one look above all: the red diagonal sash - or “band” - on a white shirt base. For sure, there are plenty of examples of this in Emre’s retrospective, albeit there’s much more to Los Millionarios’ aesthetical evolution.
For one thing, the sash didn’t appear regularly on the shirt until River Plate had existed for several years, and was then replaced for two decades as the side flirted with red and white stripes - often trimmed with black - as an enduring first choice look.
This particular style has reappeared with some regularity over the last century or so, tweaked in various ways to satisfy a thirst for variety amongst change outfits.
But it is, of course, the sash which is so celebrated, and has been rendered so similarly from its beginnings through to the present day. With embellishment kept to an absolute minimum, the primary shirts’ structure and adornments may dance around and overlap the central feature, but it stays true to its beginnings.
The change shirts are the place for the shackles to be removed. As well as the aforementioned striped examples - white and red, and white, red and black - there are black and yellow and white and blue versions of a similar motif. Yes, both of rivals Boca Juniors’ famous hues have been seen on River players, as well as the sky blue and white of Argentina.
Beyond this, recent years - the seemingly unending adidas era - have seen the representation of much of the rest of the rainbow on Away and Third kits, along with experimentation with the proportions of the recognisable white, red and black - the lattermost of course providing the fill on the Home shorts. And iconic rarities such as the “Bruised Banana” - in the first of these cases, perhaps the “pummelled pineberry” - and the equally of-its-time Golpe get a CARP twist, with some huge names appearing as sponsorship partners to boot.
But, in the end, it all comes back to the sash. Whether it appears in the usual red on white, or in white on red, or white and black on red, or white and red on black, or indeed black on orange or - genuinely - red on red, even if it’s additionally appearing on the Home socks - as in 2014 - it is the focal point and the thread that runs through nigh-on the full story. La Banda that makes El Equipo de la Banda.