Analyzing the London 2012 Olympic Uniforms from around the world
The biggest mistake came from Spain, who, though having a thriving fashion and manufacturing industry, decided to export their uniform designs to Russia, who did a god-awful job of it. Russia did a better at their own uniform, which is a simple sporty shell coat featuring a stylized, swirling print. If I saw someone wearing it in the street, I would probably assume they might beat me senseless, but it looks fine on a gang of barely pubescent gymnasts.
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New Zealand also suffered outsourcing issues, though their black and white, early sixties influenced, Rodd and Gunn designed ceremonial uniform is actually really cute. Also really cute is Hong Kong’s ceremonial uniform by Kent and Curwen. The cream blazer, navy single pleat skirt/pant, red crest combination is a little bit anime school yard, and a lot sharp.
On the home front, it’s very, very difficult to make green and gold look any good at all, but Volley have done their best, consulting with Australian athletes and coming up with something that looks exactly like a prime minister (Howard) spending a day on the cricket field, with white trousers, dark green blazers and just a hint of yellow for the ceremonial uniform. Our athletic uniforms, made by Adidas are screamingly bright and, while I follow sports like a baby duckling follows wolves (not at all, I toddle desperately and fearfully away), they look to me to be virtually indistinguishable from the uniforms Australians are always wearing to various events involving competing with their bodies.
England roped in Stella McCartney to do their uniform design, and much like pulling in a big name like Muse for the Olympic theme song, she went grand and made a bit of a hash of it, with the entire UK athletics team looking more like Marvel characters than athletes. Super special kudos to the knee high red socks, which are particularly ridiculous. The only photograph I could find of any sort of French uniform (fencing, to be specific) also featured knee high red socks, and is also by Adidas (so I guess they’re pushing those). Needless to say, they looked like a bunch of musketeers.
Slovakia also went down the ridiculous path, clothing its athletes in red, white and blue uniforms that resemble the outfits of a mid nineties, hip-hop influenced boy band. This makes me pretty happy.
Japan has gone with a curvy, stylised rising sun motif that I would mock ceaselessly if I saw it sauntering down a runway, but in the context of skin tight athletic uniforms it sort of works, especially compared to the peculiar print placements of McCartney’s Union Jacks. The rhythmic gymnasts, who get added glitter to their costumes are amazing.
Potentially in honour of the expression “Canadian tuxedo”, the Canadian uniform actually features a denim jacket covered in patches. This is the garb of a country that is not taking its summer athletics very seriously.
Ralph Lauren’s take on the US uniform is elegant enough though the logos are grandly oversized, while Nike’s track and field gear for America is almost as comic-book as McCartney’s efforts, with the all red-runner in the image they've released bearing a remarkable resemblance to The Flash.
South Korea’s ceremonial uniform is inspired by what they wore in the 1948 games (the first Olympics after the end of the Japanese occupation) and it looks fantastic. Little sailor scarves, cropped trousers, striped ties and double breasted blazers for the ladies, topped by jaunty fedoras, make it just about the only uniform that actually qualifies as cool and fashionable.
Germany’s uniforms feature shiny plastic pink and blue jackets, with double exposed press buttons and printed coloured scarves, which is exactly why people make fun of Germans for the way they dress.
Italy enlisted the help of Armani and Prada, and therefore, you’d think they’d have the best dressed athletes.
Italy does come close, with Prada’s simple athletic designs looking particularly impressive, however the ultimate gold medal in Olympic fashion goes to China, who have presented a range of different uniforms made in conjunction with Nike, all of which make their athletes look strong, speedy and vaguely terrifying. The yellow-fade-to-red sheen on the Chinese badminton uniform is particularly impressive. While China's designs are not nearly as high tech as the US or UK's offerings, their simplicity actually gives them an air of credibility.
As for the peripheral staff, the helpers and hosts around the London Olympic site will be wearing deeply bizarre, Star Trek meets T
The British uniforms are tacky and boring...how appropriate.
Get rid of rhythmic gymnastics. I was doing this freakin' sport when I lived in Russia (I'm a college student in Munchen now). What a waste of time. Totally corrupt, sexist and stupid. A crazy coach of mine used to yell at me and shout: "You're a pig!!!" She beat up other gymnasts, actually. How could they tolerate this kind of crazy behavior? And, you know, there were a lot of unfairness as well. Girls with more wealthier parents won all the championships...
I have an awful lot of gossip on Russian rhythmic gymnastics team. I know some of the poor girls, btw. They're all pretty miserable... Coaches are famous for beating underage girls on a daily basis. Lots of pervs also. They can't even eat after 5pm... The head coach is buying every single girl an apartment, because her husband is #1 in Russian Forbes List. She finds them filthy rich hubbies after their retiring.
Do you have any idea why Russia is so strong in rhythmic gymnastics? It's the most corrupt sport in the world. What's the point in watching it if you already know who will win. Glad I escaped mysogonistic and homophobic Russia.