Every four years, athletes the world over assemble for one of the most impressive spectacles in the world. But beyond the mind-boggling physical abilities of these incredible competitors (this coming from someone who considers her morning jog a medal-worthy event), fashion has always found its way into the scene.
Each time this historical occasion rolls around, some of the most renowned designers in the industry are tasked with creating uniforms that are at once functional, comfortable, stylish, and Patriotic. This may sound like mission impossible, but fear not: These equally fierce competitors meet the challenge with creativity and sheer genius.
Here are my medal-winning picks, and those that didn’t quite make the cut:
BRONZE: USA. Designed by the masterful Ralph Lauren, everything about this collection screams Americana paired with unmistakable RL prep. Though the beret, in my opinion, was a mistake (didn’t we learn from our mistakes in 2004?), the rest of the uniform is salvaged by crisp polos, supreme use of color, and a beyond-perfect version for the Closing Ceremony.
SILVER: Jamaica. Designed by none other than Bob Marley’s daughter, Cedella Marley, the creative use of the country’s bold colors and military-inspired lines is such an inventive upgrade to the uniform. Flattering and patriotic gear (almost) doesn’t get better than this.
GOLD: The Netherlands. Designed by Suit Supply, the high-fashion appeal and exquisite use of color make these separates so much more than a uniform. Striking orange (hello, pea coat) offsets cool navy, while surprising integration of the country’s flag adds unexpected flair. I would wear these. All the time.
The Runners Up:
Italy – Okay, when your uniforms look more like runway ensembles than athletic gear, you know you’re dealing with Giorgio Armani. Though the black and white color combo doesn’t scream, “Italia!” the embroidered national anthem on the back definitely does.
Great Britain – Simple and understated, Stella McCartney did a beautiful job incorporating the Union Jack into her designs. Though criticized for replacing the red portions of the flag with blue, these sleek numbers are definitely among my faves.
South Korea – It doesn’t get much cuter than a sailor-themed uniform. Designed by Fila, this look had me by the heart strings with its nautical stripes, fedoras, and argyle socks.
Spain & Russia – Sharing the same designer, BOSCO Sport, it’s no surprise that these were both on my no-thank-you list. The loud (no, screaming) patterns and overuse of color were just too much for me.
Germany – Not only did these uniforms look more fitting for winter, the colors really made me wonder. Adidas dressed the women in pink and the men in blue (with matching shoes) – not a German flag color in sight.
New Zealand – These surprisingly dull numbers may make Don Draper proud, but they’re far too outdated for 2012. Designed by Irene Prikryl, these ensembles seem more likely to appear in an episode of Mad Men.
By Abigail Kuzia, Editor
What do you think of this year’s uniforms? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala.
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