In recent Olympiads, The Olympic Games have treated us to Olympic style, both on and off the field; namely the Parade of Nations has turned into something of a runway.
We recently explored the activewear (or athleisure) movement and how it’s so much more than a trend. As expected, Rio 2016 marks the culmination of the athleisure movement, with enough prominent fashion designers and brands on board to rival fashion week. Designer fashion’s tryst with athletic wear comes to a head with big names such as Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney and DSquared2 lending sartorial flair to the competitions and Olympic fanfare.
Curious about the style stakes at the Rio 2016? Here’s the fashion primer on everything you need to know about Rio: The Stylish Olympics.
Team Australia gets our vote for the most polished, with their preppy ensemble of green-and-white pinstriped schoolboy blazers with dark green contrast piping, white shorts for the men and white skirts for the women, finished with gold scarf or tie. While the collegiate air is hard to brush off, we’re able to sympathise with the strict green and gold colour code, which can be difficult to work with. Designed by fashion retailer, Sportscraft, the uniforms also pay homage to past gold medallists with jacket linings that have been inked with the names of all 107 medal winners. Now that’s one robe of honour we’ll like to have in our trophy cabinet.
Team Canada makes sartorial headlines this year for displaying an audacious collection that marries couture with the prevailing athleisure trend. Designed by Dan and Dean Caten of Canadian brand Dsquared2, the Canadian uniform is a fashion-forward evolution of athletic wear, bordering on tailored formal dress. Red, single-breasted nylon blazers with high-low hemlines and vertical zipper breast pockets are matched with slim wool-blend trousers. Rendered in patriotic red and white, the backs of the jackets and sweatshirts are emblazoned with large maple leaf graphic emblems. Ever since Hudson’s Bay took over as the official outfitter of Team Canada in 2013, it has garnered plenty of flak. We have a feeling this one is going to be a win.
A sportswear empire built by tennis great Rene Lacoste, Lacoste is the natural choice outfitter for the French Olympic team. Team France unveiled an ensemble of white hooded ponchos, zip-up polo shirts, navy blue trench coats paired with white ankle-grazing trousers and white tennis shoes — a utilitarian chic look that’s every bit as effortless as the French. The uniform doesn’t veer very far from your conventional street-infused sportswear except for one surprise touch — the signature crocodile logo embroidered in the tricolour stripes of the national flag.
Sweden’s most well-known fashion export gains a second title as the nation’s official Olympic outfitter. The Olympic uniforms designed by H&M are decked in blue and gold, an ode to Sweden’s national flag. The Swedish fast fashion retailer has also factored eco-consciousness and sustainability concerns into the garments’ production — resulting in opening ceremony uniforms, high-performance competition pieces and podium outfits fashioned from recycled polyester. Of course, it wouldn’t be fast fashion without a retail spin-off. Team Sweden supporters and Olympic buffs can get their hands on an Olympic-inspired consumer range which includes leggings, windbreakers and sports bras in a muted palette of blacks, greys and dusty pinks.
Stella McCartney once again partnered with German sportswear retailer Adidas to fashion the look of Team Great Britain’s competitive gear. Forgoing 2012’s minimal approach, Team GB’s 2016 Olympics kit threw the focus instead on bold logos and a custom-designed coat of arms. The motif is an amalgamation of key British iconography: the United Kingdom’s national flowers (the rose, thistle, leek and flax each representing the four home nations) appear alongside three lions bearing Olympic torches, topped with a crown of gold, silver and bronze medals. At the bottom, Latin script reads: “conjoined in one”. The symbolic coat of arms is plastered across cropped tops, cycling jerseys and zip-up sports jackets alike, forming the common thread that binds the aspirations of Team GB.
What Ralph Lauren lacks in terms of innovation, it sure makes up for with consistency. The heritage brand has been the official outfitter for Team USA since 2008. For many years, Ralph Lauren has stood at the podium of American fashion, the proud symbol of the All-American classic. Its 2016 Summer Olympic collection bears many of the same recognisable characteristics. Think crisp white bottoms, button-down polo shirts, striped belts and boat shoes emblazoned with patriotic flourishes such as the large USA print on the back in the requisite red, white and blue. While prepster may not exactly ooze athleticism, we can’t deny that this is America as the world best knows it. It won’t be difficult to spot Team USA at the Games’ Opening Ceremony either: It’s been revealed that the flag bearer will don a jacket fitted with glowing electroluminescent panels.