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London 2012 Olympics: The best designer and Olympic apparel collaborations

Leda & St. Jacques Author: Elle Canada Credits: Leda & St. Jacques

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London 2012 Olympics: The best designer and Olympic apparel collaborations

What do Stella McCartney, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren all have in common? Other than being fashion heavyweights, all three designers will be outfitting athletes from their home country as they compete at the London 2012 Olympics. They’re not the only fashion labels whose designs will be seen at this summer’s Olympics. Prada, Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo and even Karl Lagerfeld will also be key players. (Team Canada will be outfitted by a dedicated design team at The Bay.) To celebrate these Olympic fashion partnerships, we’ve rounded up the best designer and Olympic apparel collaborations.

TEAM GREAT BRITAIN
DESIGNER: Stella McCartney for Adidas
GAMES: 1 - The London 2012 Olympics.

This may be the most well-known designer and Olympic apparel collaboration. For the London 2012 Olympics Stella McCartney will outfit British Olympic and Paralympic athletes under her namesake label for Adidas. The collection was unveiled for the press earlier this year and heavily features a blue and white Union Jack motif with highlights of red. The designs were met with a bit of controversy because critics felt that the Union Jack flag was unrecognizable. Of course, this isn’t Stella’s first foray into sportswear; she has maintained a highly successful women’s sportswear line with Adidas since 2007.

TEAM ITALY
DESIGNER: Giorgio Armani
GAMES: 1 – The London 2012 Olympics.

Although this may be his first time outfitting the Italian Olympic Team, Giorgio Armani certainly isn’t a fashion rookie. For The London 2012 Olympics, the Italian clothier designed the uniforms for Team Italy under his Emporio Armani EA7 sportswear label. The Armani aesthetic shines throughout the collection and instead of using the colours of the Italian flag (red, white and green), Armani chose to outfit the athletes in navy blue and white. We wonder if it’s a coincidence that navy blue was also one of the main colours used in Armani’s Spring/Summer and Haute Couture collections.

TEAM ITALY
DESIGNER: Prada
GAMES: 1 – The London 2012 Olympics.

Team Italy is getting a double dose of high fashion. Earlier this year, it was announced that Prada would sponsor and supply the uniforms for the Italian National Sailing Team at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Technical staff members of the sailing team will also be wearing garments by the luxury label and reportedly, the Prada logo will appear on the team’s hulls and sails.

TEAM USA
DESIGNER: Ralph Lauren
GAMES: 3 – 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.

Since the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Polo Ralph Lauren has proudly been the Official Outfitter of the U.S. Olympic Team. The uniforms have always been identifiably Ralph Lauren with tailored sportswear and a touch of Americana. When the uniforms for the London 2012 Olympics were unveiled in early July, they stirred up some controversy. Critics found it problematic that the uniforms were manufactured in China and not in the U.S. during a time of economic uncertainty. Ralph Lauren has responded by pledging to have the uniforms for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics made on American soil.

What will Canadians be wearing for the Olympics? Find out here.

Read about the fashionable Olympic apparel for three other nations on the next page... 2-Best-Olympic-Fashion-Collabora.jpg TEAM JAMAICA
DESIGNER: Cedella Marley for PUMA
GAMES: 1 – The London 2012 Olympics.

PUMA has outfitted Team Jamaica for the Olympic games since 2002. For this year’s Olympics, they enlisted designer Cedella Marley as creative director. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt proudly modeled the eye-catching green, black and gold designs when they were revealed in London earlier this year. What makes this collaboration special? Jamaican music legend Bob Marley is Cedella's father.

TEAM REPUBLIC OF SAN MARINO
DESIGNER: Salvatore Ferragamo
GAMES: 1 – The London 2012 Olympics.

Athletes from the Republic of San Marino, a tiny microstate that is by surrounded Italy, will also have the chance to don designer garments as they go for gold this summer. Reportedly Italian luxury label Salvatore Ferragamo will dress San Marino athletes in tailored trenchcoats, blazers, trousers, and silk crepe dresses. Footwear won’t be neglected either; men will wear blue loafers and women will wear squared toes heels decorated with Ferragamo’s signature Grosgrain bow.

TEAM FRANCE
DESIGNER
: Hermès
GAMES: 1 – The London 2012 Olympics.

In 1837 Theirry Hermès founded the label Hermès and manufactured horse harnesses for Europe’s elite. It makes perfect sense then that the luxury label would go back to its roots and dress the French equestrian team at the London Olympics. Members of the show jumping and eventing team will wear fitted Hermès riding jackets that are royal blue with touches of red and white.

TEAM KARL
DESIGNER: Who else? Karl Lagerfeld
GAMES: The Fashion Olympics?

In honour of the London 2012 Olympics, fashion designer extraordinaire Karl Lagerfeld decided to design a capsule collection inspired by the Games named “Team Karl.” The collection (along with two other collections under the Karl Lagerfeld brand) was unveiled at a swanky affair just days before the London Games at the high end department store Selfridges. Ironically enough, Lagerfeld has reportedly admitted that he doesn’t plan on even watching the real Olympic games.

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London 2012 Olympics: The best designer and Olympic apparel collaborations