Move over, medal counts, world records and reigning champions. Style has surged into the spotlight at the London Olympics.
By now, nearly everyone has heard about the controversy surrounding Ralph Lauren, which had the opening-ceremony uniforms for Team USA made in China.
But America isn’t the only country in a tizzy over its team’s togs. Brits are underwhelmed by the athletic wear created for Team UK by designer Stella McCartney, daughter of former Beatle Paul McCartney. Some say her attempt at a fresh take on the Union Jack flag by incorporating turquoise and reserving red for accents on sleeves, collars and shoes was a flop. Too blue and a tight fit were among the most common laments circulating in cyberspace.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Olympic Committee has been battling rumors that it contacted American Apparel to outfit its athletes for the 2014 Olympics.
France is among the nations that aren’t frowning about the fashions they’ll be donning at the Olympics. The French equestrian team is dressed in form-fitting riding attire by fashion house Hermes.
You don’t have to be London-bound to take part in the fashion festivities. Shopping websites such as www.teamusashop.com and shop.olympic.org are devoted to Olympic garb ranging from jewelry and umbrellas to totes and tees. Department stores and boutiques across the U.S. have beefed up inventories of red, white and blue clothes, accessories and beauty products.
Some stores and designers have launched special collections in honor of the global event. Karl Lagerfeld of Fendi and Chanel fame is debuting at the British retail chain Selfridges & Co. a Team Karl limited-edition capsule collection in honor of the Games of the XXX Olympiad. Old Navy and the Gap have introduced lines featuring graphic T-shirts inspired by motifs from past Olympics.
Ralph Lauren’s navy-red-and-white-topped-with-a-beret Team USA uniforms and apparel collection is available at select fine department and Ralph Lauren stores, teamusashop.com and www.ralphlauren.com, along with Olympic bags and more by the designer.