Best in show
jackets for the French equestrian team, while Salvatore Ferragamo is the brand behind the uniforms worn by athletes from San Marino.
But where fashion is involved, so, too, is drama.
Poor Spain: it got its uniforms for free from the Russian sportswear brand Bosco Sport — you know, the country being near bankrupt and all — and boy, can you tell. Red, yellow and gold may feature prominently on the country’s flag, but who thought a long, shapeless skirt or gold curlicues was a good idea? (Luckily, the Spanish athletes’ dark, tanned bods provide a welcome distraction from the horrific uniforms.)
Meanwhile, Germany has yet to win a medal — but what’s more tragic is its athletes’ unfortunate pink and blue uniforms.
The home team hasn’t been safe from criticism, either.
Back in March, when Britain’s uniforms were first revealed, public outrage plagued designer Stella McCartney, chiding her for “forgetting” the red parts of the Union Jack, which is made up of three separate flags superimposed over one another (the red bits are the St. George’s Cross, which represents England, and the St. Patrick’s Cross, for Ireland).
Not surprisingly, McCartney defended her designs, stating — via Twitter, no less — that in fact, the uniforms include more red than any other team uniform since 1984.
“For me, it’s one of the most beautiful flags in the world,” she said, “and it was important for me to stay true to that iconic design, but also to modernize it and present it in a contemporary way.”
The outfits that are being worn by nearly 500 Olympic and 350 Paralympic athletes are exactly as McCartney intended — modern, sporty designs clearly inspired by the geometric, diagonal lines of the nation’s flag.
And despite those early complaints, it is selling fast. Visitors and Brits alike are snapping up the official replica apparel at London 2012 pop-up shops across the city, as well as at the 37 locations of John Lewis, the official department store provider to London 2012, and online at shop.london2012.com (shipping to Canada costs $31 and takes up to 10 business days).
Those seeking other countries’ apparel, however, have to dig a little deeper.
Team Canada’s merchandise is being sold at a Hudson Bay pop-up shop at Canada Olympic House at Trafalgar Square, though you’re better off stocking up before boarding your flight, as there’s nothing in London that you can’t get back home.
Fans of Team USA’s outfits can find select items on ralphlauren.com, but if you are looking for the best of other teams’ uniforms, well, just like at Vancouver 2010, that has been an elusive quest . . . and we’re betting you’re not after the Spanish team’s apparel.