“SPORT HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD, IT CAN GIVE HOPE WERE THERE ONCE WAS DESPAIR.”
Hello and a Happy Saturday to everyone! We hope your day is splashed with the lush sunshine and gentle winds we’re enjoying, a graceful transition after all the excitement of the Opening Ceremonies yesterday. Did you enjoy watching last evening, or did things reach a point where they went on … and on… and on…? Perhaps it is just us and advancing years wishing things moved a little more quickly. Wait. Isn’t that a trait of the younger generation? Now our feeble minds are completely confused. We’ll just move on. (Or did you do what we did earlier in the day and find a feed online and watch it in real time and then again on ‘regular television’?)
Team USA enters the stadium for the Opening Ceremony, 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics
In this post we’ll focus primarily on the “fashion” aspects of last night’s Opening Ceremony. Of course we have a few tidbits to share about the Ralph Lauren Olympic Games Parade Uniforms, along with critiques of those Team USA uniforms, and a few others! (Oh dear… here she goes.)
Before we do anything else, let’s start with some wonderful photos of Team USA, looking *very* snappy IOHP in their official Polo Ralph Lauren Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Parade Uniforms. Our thanks to the good folks over at Polo Ralph Lauren for the photos. The first is our favorite, a glimpse inside an extraordinary moment shared by Lebron James and Kobe Bryant as he adjusts Mr. Bryant’s tie before the athletes enter the stadium.
- Team USA Kobe Bryant and Lebron James
Don’t try telling the Princess that the athletes weren’t excited by the evening’s events; some were clearly overwhelmed to the point of tears. And who wouldn’t be? Many have worked their entire lives simply for the opportunity to put on the uniforms we have chattered on about endlessly of late, and walk into the stadium in Beijing (to what turned out to be thunderous cheers from the 91,000 assembled there!).
As indicated in yesterday’s column, The Princess thought our delegation looked very good, and we’re thrilled to see an upgrade from the much-too-casual attire of the last Olympics, with everyone in shorts and the like. It’s just not done.
The blazers over the cream trousers were outstanding, although it appeared a few of the women had their scarves improperly tied or misplaced; the beastly heat may have contributed to this, for if one felt warm and sticky about the neck the scarves were no doubt pushed around a bit. Overall this was a far more appropriate look, with an understated elegance that sent a subtle message of quiet confidence and determination. But in all of the commentary from writers, Team USA isn’t the group referred to as “preppy.” Read on to see who was crowned with that appellation. BTW, if you were hoping for one of that select group of 200 Ralph Lauren Olympic Parade Collection Blazers that went on sale immediately online and at a few stores after the Opening Ceremony, sadly, we must disappoint you, as they are all gone. We’re imagining they went rather quickly.
- U.S. Team Enters Stadium 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics
For those who haven’t heard the tale, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw helped broker the uniform deal, an agreement that was not put to bed until *very late* in the game for a such a massive job. The uniforms were being sewn (in China) until the last moment, almost every one tailored specifically for each individual athlete.
Alex Badia, DNR Magazine Fashion Director, is happy to see the return to a more polished look, as he told USA Today:
“I know that it’s a sporting event,” but for the opening ceremony — “probably one of the best fashion runways ever” — the teammates should be more dressed up, he says. “Nylon has never been a friend for parades.”
- Lopez Lomong leads Team USA in the Olympic Summer Games Opening Ceremony
Team USA at Opening Ceremony 2008 Beijing Olympics
We are privy to at least one athlete’s thoughts on the uniforms thanks to USAToday, in this story from journalist Olivia Barker.
First-time Olympian Andrew Campbell, 24, a sailor from San Diego, is “thankful” Lauren and the USOC decided to hark back to “a really clean-cut, classic American look” devoid of any “silly cowboy hats or berets.” Having spent his private high school days in ties and slacks, Campbell is accustomed to such polish. “With that USA team patch on your chest with those white rings underneath, it’s a pretty powerful symbol,” he says, referring to the blazer.
Below, more photos, including Jason Kidd and the Men’s Basketball Team.
- Team USA Men’s Basketball Team
TP is surprise by some of the negative comments on the Lauren-designed uniforms. In a multimedia fashion commentary the NY Times Eric Wilson criticizes the uniforms, saying they “…looked rather poorly made.” (Click here for Times Olympic Coverage, scroll down for multimedia presentations on lower left to locate Wilson presentation.)
Additionally, Booth Moore, Fashion Critic for the Los Angeles Times has this to say:
“Ralph Lauren was a good choice for the American team, though the Polo ponies embroidered on the lapels of the athletes’ blue blazers were almost as large as the Olympic rings (Lauren has never been known for his subtlety).”
Ralph Lauren Olympic Parade Uniform Blazer
Lopez Family Opening Ceremony Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
“White pants are among the most difficult things in all of fashiondom to pull off, and true to form, these didn’t flatter. A few pleats would have helped. The white newsboy caps were a nice touch, broadcasting a can-do spirit, especially on basketball player Kobe Bryant, who cocked his to the side.”
Now, we’ll move on to France with some input from Mr. Wilson at the NY Times, who thought that France “…pulled off the formal style very well…” although he didn’t mention the jacket’s fabric, a blue and white seersucker, or perhaps he did. At any rate, anyone in seersucker receives automatic bonus points from The Princess. (But there didn’t seem to be any madras last night, did there? Maybe you should scoot over to The Preppy Princess for a madras fix and grab some of the “Make Mine Madras” placemats!)
Back to Booth (feeling like a ping-pong ball yet? No? Then we’re not doing our job!) at the LA paper, who concurs strongly with Mr. Wilson:
“The French never disappoint. The men’s dove gray jackets were the most sublimely tailored of any team’s. And it was clear the women were representing the capital of fashion with the spring season’s all-important wide belts cinched around their jackets.”
- France Opening Ceremony
- French Olympic Uniforms Revealed
- Unknown French Delegate 2008 Opening Ceremony Olympic Games
In their live coverage during the Opening Ceremonies yesterday morning (well, it was the morning here at the Prepatorium) the NY Times Live Blogging was simply fabulous. They had a few prime comments on the Parade of Nations apparel, which we will attempt to enhance with a photo:
“…the Omani women have won the competition for wearing the most glitter, not to mention high heeled shoes.”
Oman Opening Ceremony 2008 Beijing Olympics
“We now have a leader in the race for worst fashion statement: the Netherlands, hands-down. The Dutch team is wearing gray suits with white piping, white and gray shoes that appear to come from a bowling alley and orange ties. Truly painful.”
The Netherlands Opening Ceremony
The Los Angeles Times is in disagreement with their journalistic comrades to the east: “The Netherlands team looked jaunty, too, in light-colored suits with white piping and cheerful orange neckties.” Hhmmm. Actually, these reminded us of the jackets worn by traders on the floor of the exchange at the CBOT. (Chicago Board of Trade.)
Who does the LA Times really, really love, conferring upon them the ‘preppy’ term as well as the “best dressed” award? (Note: we added the underlining.)
“But the British were the best dressed in an updated preppy look that combined a dark button-down shirt and pants with a white jacket, striped belt and Vans-style slip-on sneakers.”
Great Britain Opening Ceremony 2008 Beijing Games
The Vancouver Sun disagrees:
Best dressed: Now, it could be because Roger Federer was carrying their flag, but my pick is Switzerland. Formal enough, yet still casual — in red capris for the men and red skirts for the women, cream tops and beige jackets — they easily maintained their place amongst the best-dressed nations. They had nice walking sandals and their bags were appropriate for both sexes. Plus, Federer proved he looks as good in short pants as his rival Rafael Nadal.”
Roger Federer Leads Swiss Delegation
TP is simply not in sync with these sentiments. At all. It might start with the ‘capris’ or shorts. Nor does Mr. Booth at the LA newspaper agres:
“Meanwhile, hunky Swiss tennis player Roger Federer was reduced to wearing a cream polo shirt with a graphic that resembled a lower back tattoo.”
That seems a little strong to us. They just seem, well, all over the place and the casual shoes don’t help.
Swiss Delegation Opening Ceremony 2008 Olympic Games
But let’s take things from the Times (the LA version) with a grain of salt, they proved themselves a bit snarky today:
“And carrying China’s flag, Yao Ming, in a red jacket and wide-collared gold shirt, looked as if he should be behind an Avis car-rental counter.”
- Yao Ming Chinese Flag Bearer
Chinese Olympic Team Members Opening Ceremonies
Now, for no other reason than because we promised Heather in response to a comment she left on our previous post, here are two photos of the Irish delegation. Enjoy!
- Irish Delegation Opening Ceremony
Eric Wilson (NYT) awards the Australian delegation his Best Dressed honor “even though they are not formal,” for being “…eye-catching..” among other attributes.
- Australia Opening Ceremony 2008 Olympic Games
Evidently the Aussies’ own countrymen don’t necessarily agree, that’s if you believe an online opinion poll being conducted by the Australian News. As of this writing, the non-scientific poll shows 47% of respondents “Horrified” by the uniforms (on no!), with only only 28% ‘Wowed” and 24% “Indifferent” to the blue ombre creations.
- Australia Opening Ceremony 2008 Olympic Games
But the writing in the newspaper itself isn’t exactly supportive of the look, click here for a background story on the switch from the country’s historically green and gold palette to the blue shades. Here’s a little more:
IT was out with the green and gold and in with the blue for Team Australia last night when it missed a medal in the fashion stakes.
Decked out in blue tracksuit jackets and topped with a white baseball cap, Australia’s prized athletes looked more like prized chumps.
And with that, we’re going to totter off for a bite to eat, perhaps to return later this evening, perhaps not ’til tomorrow. Either way, we hope it is a simply splendid evening!