Footballers' lives: Player lives in designer store

Fri Jun 5, 2009 11:41am EDT
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Soccer players may be known for their extravagant homes, but Italian footballer Andrea Vasa has trumped his peers by living in a somewhat unusual location -- a designer store.

Since late February, 30-year-old Vasa, a defender for Milan's Brera team, has slept, washed, dressed and chilled out at the flagship store of Belgian menswear designer Dirk Bikkembergs in the city's exclusive Golden Quad area.

His surroundings include a ground-floor leather sofa and TV area, a bedroom, gym and large bathroom plastered with pages of Italy's "Gazzetta dello Sport" paper -- all spread out in the store and easily seen by shoppers. A small kitchen is there too.

Huge windows look out onto the busy square outside, and a soccer shoe-shaped entry phone adds the "home" touch. Personal pictures and some books adorn the shelves where clothes from the Bikkembergs main line are exposed.

"Clients go in as if it were my own wardrobe," Vasa, originally from Sardinia, said while walking around the store.

"Before I used to live in a one-room apartment -- there is just no comparison. It was 40 square meters (431 sq ft), here the bathroom is that size." Bikkembergs has said the store was designed for and inspired by the lifestyle of "passionate sportsmen."

The shop, spread over three floors, sells the Bikkembergs menswear collections as well as travel bags, sunglasses and sport shoes. The top two floors double up as Vasa's home with a spot for his car, a white Porsche.

Shoppers walk around as Vasa sits on the sofa watching TV or playing video games and on some occasions, they have walked in the bedroom while he was still in bed.   Continued...