March 18, 2007 02:00 PM

Giorgio Armani has designed all of Russell Crowe’s important looks — from his wedding suit to his Oscar tux. So when the actor — and part owner of the rugby team the South Sydney Rabbitohs — asked his designer pal to help out with the team uniforms, he happily obliged, creating an off-field look for the athletes. “You are probably asking yourself why an Italian fashion designer should get involved with an Australian rugby league team?” Armani said in a statement. The answer is simple. “My friend Russell Crowe does not call often and when he does, it is usually about something very important.” Besides, says the designer. “I love sport of all kinds. [Athletes are] modern day gladiators.” Besides, as Crowe points out, the reach isn’t as far as you think. “Australians have a lot in common with Italians,” he explains. “We are both proud of our culture and fanatical about sport.” The Rabbitoh’s will debut their snappy new look in a match against the Eastern Suburbs Roosters on March 19.

Photo: MARC LARKIN/lfi; Denis Guignebourg/jpi

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