By: Kimberly Lyn
The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games has become one of the most highly anticipated fashion moments in the athletic world. The Olympic Committees of many countries pull out all the stops to secure big-name designers, such as Giorgio Armani and Stella McCartney, to outfit their teams and impress the world with clothing that reflects national pride and style prowess.
In a blaze of red glory, the Canadian Olympic Team entered the stadium with more than 200 athletes and best-dressed athletes, putting their most fashionable feet forward in uniforms designed by Hudson’s Bay.
The inspiration behind this eye-catching ensemble was taken from Hudson’s Bay’s classic scarlet blanket, accented with a black stripe around the hip. Made from wool, the coat features the Hudson’s Bay and Canadian Olympic Team crests on top of a black mock turtleneck; the colour block design of the duffle coat blends the company’s heritage with bold maple red. The iconic red mittens and pom-pom toques add a playful finishing touch. If you’re dying to get the coat and red mittens, as well as show your Canadian pride, click over to thebay.com before they’re all gone.
Designed by: Hudson’s Bay
Designed by: Karbon
Known for its high tech sports apparel, Karbon created casual and youth-inspired uniforms for the Australian Olympic Team. Timeless winter white ski jackets give the outfit a clean look; green detailing on the front zipper and hand pockets. Bright yellow beanies bring contrast, colour and life to the Australian uniform.
Taking inspiration from Nordic landscape and wildlife, fashion brand Monton dressed Estonia’s Olympic Team in white parkas trimmed with natural fur. Octagon shapes widely found in traditional design adds interesting detail with its contrasting colour applied to the teams’ knitwear, toques, scarves and mittens.
Designed by: Lacoste
Always stylish the French Olympic Team brought in Lacoste, purveyor of lux sportswear, to outfit their nation for the Games in Sochi. Drawing inspiration from the company’s heritage and founder René Lacoste, who was an Olympic medallist in the 1920s, athletes donned tailored heather grey outerwear; men in a quilted three-button blazers and the women in belted jackets. The understated beanies and mock turtleneck sweaters add to the overall elegance and chic design to this nation’s Olympic attire.
Designed by: Willy Bogner for Adidas
German entrepreneur and designer Willy Bogner partnered with Adidas to create the uniform for the German Olympic Team. Bogner designs have been worn by German Olympians consecutively at 17 Olympic Winter Games, since 1936, and in Sochi they donned a rainbow bright uniform that cannot be missed even with your eyes closed. Willy Bogner drew inspiration from his love of skiing, German heritage and sought to honour the host country of the Games. The seaside city of Sochi is represented through palm trees embroidered along the sleeve, and the women’s printed floral ski pants and toques are modelled from a rose pattern seen in traditional Russian costume.
Designed by: Giorgio Armani
Legendary Italian designer Giorgio Armani was, for the second time, tapped to create the Italian National Olympic Team’s uniform for the Games. For the opening ceremony, Italian athletes donned navy ski suits which featured an ergonomic design and heat-sealed seams to ensure warmth and maximum comfort. The Olympic rings and Italian flag are embroidered on the chest and a very special, heart-warming surprise can be found sewn in gold thread on the inside covering, the first verse of the Italian national anthem.
Designed by: Descente
Sportswear company Descente took on the task of dressing the 246 person delegation of the Japanese Olympic Team. For the opening ceremony, athletes and coaches wore crisp, white knee-length jackets, high in functionality, to combat the changing temperatures in Sochi. Cotton pants in navy gave the team uniform a subtle nautical nod this island nation.
Designed by: ASICS
ASICS dressed the Dutch Olympic Team placing this delegation in black puffer jackets overtop light weight, orange wind shells; inspired by the Dutch national colours. Black geometric shapes embroidered into the team’s toques, mittens and scarves added visual interest.
9. New Zealand
Designed by: PEAK
Known for its high quality sports apparel, PEAK designed Team New Zealand’s opening ceremony uniforms. Puffer jackets proved, again, to be a popular outerwear style for Games wear; the Kiwis donned black and white puffer jackets created from high-tech fabrics, keeping athletes suited up and ready to compete on the slopes and track.
Designed by: OTCF (formerly 4F Sport Performance)
Poland’s leading sportswear company OTCF returns as the official outfitter of the Polish Olympic Team. Athletes wore classic red, white and grey ski suits imprinted with winter images, such as snowflakes and ice, found across the arms and chest. Swarovski crystals added to the women’s jackets giving a luxurious and fashionable design element – something every winter jacket should have.
Designed by: BOSCO
For their opening ceremony uniform, the Russian Olympic Team wore designs by BOSCO. Inspiration for their uniform was taken from Russia’s past, with traditional motifs and prints. Female athletes wore traditional-style garb; toques, down coats (in white, red and blue) trimmed with real fur and adorned with symbols from Russian folklore. Male athletes were outfitted in retro looking double-breasted navy coats, trimmed with sheepskin.
Designed by: H&M
When you have world-renowned retailer H&M on your side designing Olympic uniforms for your country’s Olympians it’s a given that your athletes will make the best dressed list. Looking this good in a uniform should be a sin and the Swedish Olympic Team know how to make a smashing entrance. The colour scheme for the collection is inspired by their country’s flag; dark blue is the primary colour for this outfit, while yellow and snakeskin print add interesting graphic details. The contemporary looking collection consists of athletes wearing many layers such as lightweight down jackets, scarves and thermal clothing to keep them warm and, at the same time looking stylish.
Designed by: Ralph Lauren
Since 2008, Ralph Lauren has outfitted the U.S. Olympic Team. The team’s opening ceremony outfit debuted on NBC’s Today Show back in January with U.S. Olympic athletes showing off a very patriotic look. The most eye popping piece was the patchwork cardigans emblazoned with the stars and stripes, over top cream colour turtle neck sweaters. Unfortunately, the design received mostly negative reactions; former fashion critic for the New York Times Cathy Horn said “the cardigan invites comparisons to hideous Christmas sweaters.” Ouch!