The opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games was amazing. The very first part, where they took us through a mini history lesson and created the rings, gave me goosebumps. My eyes were glued to the TV for nearly 5 hours checking out the athletes parade. It was definitely reminiscent of a fashion show, with some of fashion’s biggest names — Armani, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney — designing the team uniforms.
The Dutch team was dressed like very stylish flight attendants for the London games’ opening ceremonies. The uniforms, designed by Suitsupply, “feature tributes to quintessential English sports, with trimming in the hues of the Dutch flag. The ensembles include a dose of healthy English humor, an over-sized silk tulip was added to emphasize the Dutch-ness,” according to the brand’s Web site.
This is designer Jeff Banks’ outfits for Team Belize. Banks said, “I used the Great Gatsby as my inspiration with a modern touch reflecting the Belize Caribbean spirit.” The blazers, scarves, and Panama hats and cloches have been festively constructed in Belize’s national colors. Fun!
Photo credit: http://jeffbanks-news.blogspot.com
Team USA walked in the opening ceremony in über-preppy outfits designed by Ralph Lauren: clean-cut navy blazers, crisp white trousers, skirts, and shoes, accessorized with navy berets and blue, red and white striped scarves. David Lauren, executive VP for Ralph Lauren says, “In red, white, and navy, the collection gives [the uniforms] a patriotic nod.” Unfortunately, every item was made in China, not here in the US, causing some lawmakers to call for the clothes to be tossed out and remade in America. Whoops! PR nightmare! Well, at least you can get a chuckle after you see Lebon James in a beret!
The Italians must be some of the best-dressed athletes, scoring points with an understated monochrome kit in navy and white by Giorgio Armani, as well as waterproof blue designs for their sailing team by Prada.
Team New Zealand’s outfits from Kiwi menswear brand Rodd & Gunn do look a little flight-attendant-y, but they’re also pretty cute. What can we say, we’re suckers for piped blazers. Unfortunately for NZ, though, the uniforms have proved controversial because they were designed by a Czech designer (who works for Rodd & Gunn) and produced outside of New Zealand.
While Stella McCartney for Adidas is responsible for the performance uniforms for Team Great Britain, UK-based Next was contracted to design the opening ceremony uniforms.
The Jamaican team is in the spotlight because of sprinter Usain Bolt, so it’s fitting that it also got a boost in the fashion stakes this year. Its kit, which features the national colors as well as lightning-like prints, was designed by Cedella Marley, daughter of legendary singer Bob Marley, for Puma. In fact, many of the pieces are named after Marley’s songs. We absolutely love the bold color palette, taken from the Jamaican flag, and the stylish contemporary look to the clothes.
The German team was notable for not using its national colors at all. Instead, the kit was all hot pink for the women’s jackets and cornflower blue for the men made by Adidas. Both were paired with white trousers.
Other designers behind the Olympics this year include luxury label Hermes, which designed riding jackets for the French equestrian team, and Salvatore Ferragamo, which designed the official uniform for the tiny European republic of San Marino.
Some designers didn’t get involved in the official Olympics gear but used the games as an opportunity to cash in and promote their brands anyway.
Karl Lagerfeld, for example, launched an Olympic-themed women’s wear collection called Team Karl at the London department store Selfridge’s — though he reportedly said he wouldn’t tune in to watch the games.
Meanwhile, high-street chain store H&M said it was launching two pop-up stores dedicated to selling sportswear in London.