The Olympics are probably the most globally watched televised event. For two weeks, everyone all over the world shows their patriotic side by rooting for their country’s athletes. From the Opening Ceremony on July 27th to the Closing Ceremony (whaddup Spice Girls!) last night, all eyes were on London. As much as everyone loves a spectacle, the truly important part of the Games is, well, the games. The athletes need to perform at their best during the Olympics, and in order to do so they need to be dressed in clothing that will help them do just that.
In 2010, Stella McCartney announced that she would be designing the apparel for Team GB and this March the collection was finally released. Team USA had the classic American designer Ralph Lauren create their uniforms. There were several international fashion designers who decided to support their home countries by attiring their Olympians for the most celebrated and recognized culmination of athleticism in history. Miuccia Prada, for example, designed the outfits for the Italian sailing team. Just the sailing team. Maybe she likes boats? Fellow couturier Giorgio Armani handled the rest of Italy’s garments. Staying true to the brand’s aristocratic and affluent roots, the timeless French brand Hermès designed the uniforms for France’s equestrian team. Salvatore Ferragamo was in charge of the outfits for the team representing the Republic of San Marino. Possibly one of my favorite group of athletes if only because their nation’s name is so much fun to say: the Azerbaijani Olympic team’s kits were designed by Ermanno Scervino.
The Olympics, as we all know, are a competition. Which country will dominate? Which athletes will win medals and bring pride and honor to their nation and themselves? That’s what everyone else is wondering. We Chictopians…we’re a little different. We’re those people who instead of watching how beautifully Gabby Douglas stuck that landing, are admiring her leotard. We watch the obscure events like dressage (which I can’t bring myself to accept as an Olympic sport…it’s horse ballet, and Stephen Colbert heartily agrees) just to look at what the riders are wearing. Oops. For us, the real competition is of the Derek Blasberg variety: who wore it best? Which team had the most impressive all-around Olympic kit? The only ones who can answer these questions are us. The people. I’m just here to lightly influence your decision.
Stella McCartney did a wonderful job of keeping all of her uniforms consistent across the various events. From cycling to swimming to track and field, the British flag’s color and/or motif was somehow represented on the athletes’ apparel. Snaps for Stella, because constancy is difficult to achieve. However, all this regularity causes a bit of a bore. That’ll be ten points deducted from Team GB. Ralph Lauren’s creations, on the other hand, were not much different. The emphasis was more on the navy-white palette than much else. Hey, Ralphie, we’re not the only country whose colors are red, white, and blue. I found the outfits a little too American; I know that military inspiration is a trend for this fall, but the hats and the blazers (as modeled by swimmer Ryan Lochte) seemed a bit much in my opinion. I didn’t see much of the Italian team’s uniforms in action, but I liked what I saw from Miuccia Prada’s sketches. Not really sure where the blue comes in, but I’ll roll with it. As much as I love a good watercolor picture, the illustrations presented by Hermès for Team France didn’t impress me. In the brand’s defense, there are only so many things you can wear while riding a horse. I don’t know what it is about the outfits, but I’m highly intrigued by Team Azerbaijan’s apparel. I’m not even a particular fan of teal or anything, but the model just looks mega-chic…yet totally unprepared to do anything except stand there. That’s the biggest flaw I see with the ensemble pictured above.
Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Opinions? Dressage? Is it real? Is it a dream? Should the phrase have been: “When horses dance?” Tellmetellmetellmetellme! The comments section is conveniently located approximately an inch below this text and Twitter (@everybodyisugly) is only a few clicks away.
By Odelia Kaly
Photos via Vogue.co.uk.