NEW YORK (AP) Let the fashion police begin.
The Tokyo Olympics will open on July 23, when world athletes parade behind their flag bearers. And when they do, the peanut gallery on what they’re wearing will also be open.
Olympic gear is a living food source for social media, starting with the hour-long Parade of Nations. The one-year wait due to the pandemic has given enthusiasts more time to think about what they like or hate.
There is theCzech Republicand its traditional indigo block design with matching fans, already the butt of some jokes. He follows the noisy umbrellas of the country andWellington neon blueboots from 2012 in London, as well as his Beetlejuice stripes in Rio in 2016.
Israeli athletes havetransparent nylon jacketswith huge pockets, while Emporio Armani looksThe Italy team in tracksuitswith a reinterpretation of the rising sun of Japan in the colors of the Italian flag: red, green and white. Liberia receivedthe gift of designer Telfar Clemens,the buzzy Liberian American who made wanted bags and created their kits for the first time.
Things were much simpler for the athletes, from a fashion point of view. At first, there was no parade, nor an opening ceremony for that matter. Athletes wore whatever they wanted, often walking with their sport’s gear.
At first, that was okay, said David Wallechinsky, board member and former president of the International Society of Olympic Historians. People were just coming. If a team wanted to dress the same, they did.
Wallechinksy unearthed an image in an archival film showing the British curlers from 1924walk in the Winter Games paradein Chamonix, France, their brooms held high.
At first, clothing was completely optional, at least during the competition, according to the researchers. Athletes often performed naked in ancient Greece. In more modern times, parade uniforms often pay homage to a host country, in addition to traditions, sporting achievements and patriotic flourishes.
This year, the pandemic brought another element: masks.
Australia offers athletes alined sand-colored blazerwith the names of the country’s 320 Olympic gold medalists. For the closing ceremony, Canada’s Olympic organizersteamed up with Lévisto produce a Japanese urban style graffiti full of Canadian denim tuxedo jacket to wear with white denim pants.
It’s the gang that comes after you if you say you tried to watch Schitts Creek but couldn’t get in, New York Times cultural writer Dave Itzkoff tweeted of the look in April, several months after the jacket was unveiled along with other Team Canada gear.
Alison Brown, host of the Olympic fan podcast Keep the Flame Alive, said outfitting Olympic teams, including those competing in the Paralympics, is not easy.
They have to adapt to all kinds of body types. Think tiny gymnasts, muscular weightlifters, and gangly basketball players. They need to convey something about the nation, honor the host, be serious enough for the solemnity of the occasion but practical enough to be comfortable for hours in the heat, she said.
Count Brown among the fans of Czech uniforms, made by Zuzana Osako in Prague. They include the mainstay of the team, a gymnast, built into the design. Men will wear blue vests with white pants and women will wear blue blouses and white skirts.
They managed to blend elements of Czech folk tradition, traditional Japanese indigo dyeing techniques, and an appeal to the great Czech gymnast Vera Caslavska, while keeping the outfit wearable and comfortable for the heat, Brown said.
About denim jackets from Canada, she said: I think I wore something similar in 1987. I wonder if anyone over 12 really wants to wear it.
Lucia Kinghorn, vice president of fashion at Hudson’s Bay, who helped create Canada’s uniforms and other Olympic gear, is aware of the contempt.
For so many opponents, we have even more fans, she said. We were proud of the thoughtful design of Team Canada apparel and happy that so many people were talking about it.
Brown was also not impressed with the appearance of Team USA. They include blue denim pants for the opening parade and white denim pants for the closing ceremony.
The United States stuck with the same designer, Ralph Lauren, as they have for years, leading to a different look of yachting. Yawn, she said. In addition, it should be very hot in Tokyo. Jeans, a mesh top, a scarf and a blazer? Who wants to wear denim in this kind of heat and humidity?
Denim is lightweight in a stretch fabric.
Japaneseuniforms are coming backto those wornby the Japanese team at the opening ceremony of the last Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964. At the time, the jackets were red and the pants white. The colors are reversed this year.
Her favorite runway look so far is Mexicos. The Mexico City Olympic Committee held a nationwide online vote to choose the opening ceremony looks from among three designs created by High Life. theaward-winning design honors Oaxacain a unique brightly colored lapel.
The blazer features a floral lapel in traditional Zapotec embroidery. So beautiful without being in costume, Brown said.
The embroidery was done by Oaxacan artisans, making each lapel among the 150 blazers a different custom design, said Jeannette Haber, Marketing Director of High Life. The artisans, she said, were happy to be a part of the project and that their designs and work could have this global exposure.
Entire collections for sale to consumers are built around what Olympic athletes wear at opening ceremonies.
It’s a great time for these brands to show off their team spirit and innovation in new technology, said Ted Stafford, fashion director for Mens Health magazine and market director for Esquire.
This includes a Ralph Lauren cooling unit built into a white denim jacket for the American team flag bearer.
It’s the world stage and it sets the tone, Stafford said. It’s more than just a fashion show.
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