Aside from the actual competition, it’s the opening ceremony and the team uniforms which always captivate fans.
Although Summer uniforms maybe aren’t as “avante garde” as Winter Olympic uniforms, what I love about many of this year’s designs is that they were inspired by either the 1920’s or the 1948 Games held in London. The majority of the looks incorporate a blazer with either pants or a skirt, yet many of them have their own individual look. Great Britain’s uniforms won’t be revealed until right before the Games, so keep checking back! For now, here’s what we have:
Czech This Out!
The blog Modni peklo says that the 2012 uniforms were inspired by two of Frantisek Kupka’s paintings. Why do the uniforms make me think of Spirograph–especially some of the performance wear? I’m not sure about the promotional photos above. Judging from the footwear, I’d say they’re preparing for a wet and rainy London.
And After Czech….Slovakia
I’m not going to be disrespectful and mock the obvious traditional influence on these uniforms. I did this with Hungary and perhaps I was too insensitive. One can see there’s a modern twist on traditional Slovakian costuming. Uniform kit is from clothing company Alpine Pro, but it seems only the active wear is for sale online.
The country extended fan voting on its team uniform design, which was awarded to Leigh Schubert. I can’t say I like it. Yeah, I’m not wanting to blow my vuvuzela for this one.
Chile Isn’t Chilly – It’s on Fire!
Chile selected Brooks Brothers to dress its athletes for the 2012 London Games. The wrinkle-free shirts are white for the men and light blue for women, with beige gabardine pants. Men will wear a red striped tie embroidered with the Olympic rings. Watch out, Ralph Lauren! The Chilean delegation is going to be looking “GQ Smoothe” as it enters Olympic Stadium.
That’s the name of the Atletica collection for the 2012 Mexican Olympic Team. I think this is possibly the women’s uniform for the opening ceremony, but I’m not 100% positive. She looks more like a park attendant than an athlete. Is that a fanny pack she’s wearing?
Much like Israel, it’s a very literal translation of flag colors. But it’s a pretty blue, and I like the women’s dress!
Ah, you gotta love the Swiss. They always manage to be bring a bit of European preppyness with a certain panach that just makes you want to smile. I can’t be neutral on this one. I like it!
Jamaica Be Jammin’
Bob Marley’s daughter Cedella Marley designed the 2012 ensemble for Jamaica, as well as all of the competitive gear for Puma, the company of choice for the island nation. My hat is off to Miss Marley for being innovative and designing opening ceremony attire that isn’t so predictable, and represents the country’s colors well. Her dad would no doubt be proud. The bright hues are appropriate for a fast athlete named Bolt to wear.
Spain Stays Mainly in the Plain
Poor Spain. A country known for its vibrant culture and history is sending its athletes to London wearing drab, dowdy uniforms. Due to the economic crises, the gear was designed for free by a Russian company, so it seems that Spain sacrificed style for affordability. Was there not a young, up and coming Spanish designer that could have donated their talents? Why not hold a design competition? The red and yellow ensemble looks like it’s straight out of a 1970’s airline uniform catalog. Was the design so bad that it couldn’t even get real people to model the clothes?
Crikey, That’s Boring!
Australia’s athletes will be donning an incredibly boring green blazer over a white Oxford shirt. This ensemble will be paired with white pants or a skirt. The uniform was designed by SportsCraft, a popular Australian fashion label, with the shoes provided by Volley. Seriously, why does Australia always use green and yellow for its sporting colors? Well, I did some research and found out. The colors of green and yellow formally adopted in 1984. These colors were chosen because they’re the primary colors in Australia’s national floral emblem, (the Golden Wattle). I still wish they’d use red, white, and blue.
Old & New Zealand
Love, love, this look! Yeah, it lacks some color, but I love how New Zealand is paying homage to its current athletes’ predecessors. Now that is just plain classy, and my hat is off to Rodd & Gunn for this delightful collection.
Italy will greet the world on July in very dreary attire. A country known to be so passionate about fashion makes this choice of design an epic fail. It’s hard to believe it was designed by Georgio Armani! Armani seems to have put quite a bit of thought into the design, including the Italian national anthem’s lyrics on the inside of the jackets. I’m giving the boot to this one.
Die Barbie und Der Ken
Just when it’s getting too boring, we must remember that there will always be Germany. Bright colors a la Ken and Barbie. The pink and blue are two colors in the official 2012 Olympic logo. Is Germany’s choice an attempt to salute London, or is it bad taste? As one writer commented, the winter-ish jackets look like the athletes came straight to the 2012 Olympics from the 2010 Games in Vancouver. The plaid shirts underneath almost suggest an Olympic hoe down. Oh, Germany! I don’t know if you’re like that family member whose fashion is always standing out at weddings, or if we just don’t always grasp your innovation. I will hand it to the Germans, though, that at least they’re thinking outside the box and making a lasting impression. It will be one of the few uniforms I remember, so maybe they deserve more kudos than I originally thought. The look is a collaborative effort between Sioux, and Bogner.
Are You Hungary for More?
Speaking of hoedowns, let’s talk about Hungary’s uniforms. Now, my Hungarian isn’t good enough to determine which of these two uniforms will be worn. Most countries have an opening ceremony uniform, casual day dress, and then formal evening attire. I can’t imagine that the Hungarian Olympians would want to be caught dead in the western/folk costumes during the day, so I’m thinking they might wear these during opening ceremony. The designers were chosen from several candidates by the Hungarian Olympic Committee, which finally settled on Innoe Design, a company of two up and coming designers.
Stars and Stripes Forever, or 星条旗永不落
Team USA’s opening ceremony uniform has been unveiled, and one again, it’s courtesy of Ralph Lauren. The uniforms feature the typical navy blazer with white pants or skirt, along with an Oxford-style shoe and…a beret! US Congressmen are outraged that the uniforms were made in China. While designers consider him a class American designer, it would be nice to see what other American designers could do. Though a bit weary of Mr. Ralph Lauren’s designs, I have to say that I dig the beret. Had it not been for this added touch, I would definitely be yawning.
No Wooden Clogs and Just Plain Perfect
It took me awhile to find the Dutch team uniforms, but thanks to Google Translator, all things are possible. The Netherlands’ Olympic Committee again chose Adidas, the same company used to outfit its 2010 athletes. What I love about these uniforms is that it incorporates a vintage look while proudly displaying the traditional Dutch Orange. Netherlands is much like Australia in that it uses orange for its sporting events rather than the colors on its flag. Orange is the color of the Dutch Royal Family, or the House of Oranje-Nassau, which traces its roots back to Willem van Oranje (William of Orange). This just makes more sense to me than Australia’s green and yellow. (I know, I’m inconsistent.) According to Dutch websites, the uniforms “are an homage to traditional English sports like cricket and tennis.” SuitSupply is the company designing this bold and distinctive look.
Bee’s Belize Knees!
Belize’s delegation may be small, but their uniform may be one of the most talked about after the opening ceremony. The country chose designer Jeff Banks, who said his inspiration was from “The Great Gatsby.” If I didn’t know better, I’d say I was looking at uniforms from the 1924 Games. A little bright, but I love it! I feel like I’m looking at a still from “Chariots of Fire!”
Ooh La La!
Ah, la France! La capitale de la mode! The French will never truly disappoint when it comes to fashion because first, they have impeccable taste and second, the rest of the world follows its lead. France took the classic blazer and pants (or skirt) and added a bit more of a modern twist, and I love the very subtle homage to London with the women’s pink shoes. C’est parfait! Exquisite!
Romania’s collection features blue and the traditional ochre from its flag. The men’s pants seem a bit ill-fitting, while the dresses are a bit more pleasing. But what’s up with those hideous shoes? They remind me of something I’d see at the Easy Spirit shoe store! I hope they’re comfortable, at least. Romanian press said “the collection is inspired by the attributes of” former Olympian canoer Ivan Patzaichin’s “sport and pleasure, freely overlapping spirit of the Danube Delta.”
El Salvador chose an interesting design that is quite different from many of the other nations. According to designer Sara Hernandez, it’ supposed be sky’s blue-to-white degradation. Some people might think it reminds them of Ty-D Bowl, but I like them. Especially if you look at the details more closely, which can be done here. It’s apparent that Hernandez put a lot of thought into this creation.
To Russia, With and Without Love
I’m on the fence with Russia’s uniform. Part of me loves and hates this take on a safari jacket. I’m much more partial to the women’s look–until we get to the hat. How much sun is there going to be at night that such a huge brim was required? Designer is, not surprisingly, Bosco.
As much as I love Portugal, I’m a bit bored with this look that’s a tad dated. The uniforms were designed/produced by athletic company Modalfa.
I’m still in shock at having just found Team Ukraine’s look for the opening ceremony. I really don’t know what to say. I guess disco is still alive and well in Ukraine. There’s the men’s “Saturday Night Fever” jacket, the giant belt buckle, the women’s flared sleeves, and finally the psychedelic print on both shirts. I think Bosco uses the loud print on its Eastern European uniforms because it’s inspired by folk costumes, but it really comes across as more “Saturday Night at the Disco.” Ukraine definitely gets the gold medal for most groovy. By the way, this look will not be available to purchase online at Bosco’s online store.
Serbia has a really cool look this Olympic year. The designer/manufacturer is Serbian company Zekstra. I couldn’t find an online shop, but the company info is here.
Colombia also has shown us its uniforms, which were designed by Bettina Spitz. Their team’s look can totally be used outside of an Olympic Games. I especially like the men’s look.
For a more uniforms, including Japan, China, Israel, and Monaco, visit the photo gallery:
Faster, Higher, Stronger.