Tag Archives: Us Olympic Team uniforms

Ralph Lauren Olympic Uniform Controversy: Polo Pony Logo the Issue (Size Does Matter.)

Hello sports and fashion fans, tis’ The Princess once again on this beautiful Tuesday. Actually, it is that oh-so-silly Princess, for having thought we would be able to spend most of this post reveling in celebratory and fun things, like the sweet joy of these boys’ accomplishments…

Team USA Gold Medalists, from left Jason Lezak, Mark Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones

Team USA Gold Medalists, from left Jason Lezak, Mark Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones

…as they they managed to upset France in the 4x100m freestyle relay, setting a new world record in the process. And perhaps the sweetest part of the victory for some was not just that we won, but who we beat along the way, for it is Alain Bernard, of the French team who is said to have made some statements that were well, they weren’t very sporting.

“The Americans? We’re going to smash them. That’s what we came here for.”

Well. When it didn’t work out that way with the French Team ending up as Silver Medalists (certainly nothing to sneeze at, it *is* an Olympic medal, oui?) but behind Team USA who took the Gold, with Jason Lezak going head to head with Bernard on the last leg of the race. 32-year-old Jason Lezak, the ‘old man’ of Team USA swimmers, who trains himself.

Let the record show that while Mr. Bernard’s own teammates appeared too stunned to do much of anything in the immediate aftermath of the race, it was Michael Phelps who took the time to both congratulate and console the Frenchman. It should also be noted that it was Mr. Phelps who made the initial gesture of congratulation to each of the four French team members after the Medal ceremony concluded.

Michael Phelps, Team USA (L). Alain Bernard, France (R)

Michael Phelps, Team USA (L), Alain Bernard, France (R)

There was quite the little gathering of celebrities on hand at the Water Cube to watch the race, most from the world of business and politics. Bill Gates was in the stands, as was former Olympic Grand Pooh-Bah (Salt Lake City) / former Mass. Governor & Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. The First Family, including the Fan-in-Chief were on hand to cheer for Team USA Swimming:

The First Family Cheers on Team USA at the Water Cube 8.10.08

The First Family Cheers on Team USA at the Water Cube 8.10.08

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Okay, enough of the one thing everyone hypothetically came to Beijing to accomplish, the athletic competition. We’ll move on to something that is rapidly progressing beyond the hackneyed “tempest in Great Grandmother’s Teapot,” to the issue of the Ralph Lauren Polo pony logo on the official Team USA Opening Ceremony Parade uniforms.

To refresh or enlighten anyone’s knowledge of the increasingly sensitive issue, here is a shot of Charlotte Craig, Team USA Taekwondo in her Opening Ceremony Parade uniform. (If you need more photos of the Ralph Lauren designed uniforms, here is another post on them, or here is additional info in yet another post on the topic, which yes, we have covered to death.) The photo below effectively shows the pony under discussion.

Charlotte Craig, Team USA Taekwondo

Charlotte Craig, Team USA Taekwondo

As does this photo of Jason Kidd in the Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations, with a little tighter shot that allows for a better comparison between its size and that of the USA/Olympic Rings logo topped by the USOC Wreaths.

Jason Kidd, Team USA Basketball

Jason Kidd, Team USA Basketball

At the least it helps provide put the two logos in context as compared to each other, the Polo pony in relationship to the Olympic Rings. Below, we see Brianna Glenn in a close shot of the Closing Ceremony Parade Uniform with the more robust emblematic Seal logo. (For lack of a name or description.)

Brianna Glenn (L)

Brianna Glenn (L)

In this photo (courtesy Polo Ralph Lauren) on the right on the two-shot montage we see the four athletes Deontay Wilder – Boxing, Brianna Glenn (did not qualify for Olympics, Track & Field), Joy Fahrenkrog – Archery, Giuseppe Lanzone – Rowing. As indicated these are the more casual Closing Ceremony uniforms. In fact, you can now purchase most, if not all, pieces the Team will be wearing, at the Polo Ralph Lauren site or through the USOC site.

https://thepreppyprincess.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/us-team-basketball_1.jpg

Evidently size matters. A great deal. To some people. Not all. To others it is clearly not even a topic of conversation. ‘What’s the problem?”

For those to whom this is an issue, the words being used to describe the Polo Pony logo include: “Ginormous,” “Supersized,” and “Huge.” Here is a sampling of a couple of online headlines on the topic, the first from the Huffington Post, the second from Gawker:

Ralph Lauren’s Olympics Uniforms: A Firestorm Of Controversy Ensues

~ Did Ralph Lauren Embarrass America? ~

The story from Gawker.com, ran yesterday:

“For starters, the damned Ralph Lauren Polo logo totally upstages the Olympic rings logo. It’s huge!”

Also, as shown in a picture after the jump, the uniforms look pretty cheap up close, probably because they were made as part of a rush job sent to Chinese “tailors” at the last minute.

Of course, if there were any embarrassment, technically Mr. Lauren didn’t ’cause it,’ the USOC created it by approving the logo itself, it’s placement and its size on every item of clothing or accessory to be worn by anyone in the US Delegation attending the Games in an official capacity.

Ralph Lauren Team USA Official Parade Uniform

Ralph Lauren Team USA Official Parade Uniform

The story then goes on to quote material on the same topic from the increasingly popular Project Rungay (that is not a typo) blog, so we’ll just quote directly from Project Rungay’s story:

“We’re not sure why so many people have been slamming these. They look fine to us, for what they are. A little cheap-looking, sure, but appropriate enough.

We’re not all that crazy about the caps (we honestly think baseball caps would have worked better) and it would have been nice to differentiate a little bit between the men and the women, but for the most part, it’s classic American sportswear, which makes it perfect for the venue – and, unlike a LOT of the looks we saw parading around the other night, it’s tasteful.”

As the NY Times noted in their fabulous Olympic blog ‘Rings‘:

“PARADE OF SLOVENLINESS If you thought Americans were talking a lot about the size of the Ralph Lauren logo on the U.S. Olympians’ outfits as they entered the Bird’s Nest during the opening ceremony in Beijing on Friday, it’s nothing compared with what people in other countries are saying about their respective teams’ clothes, demeanor and general appearance.”

Then we have Racked LA asking a question in addition to making a statement:

“Did logo inflation perturb your opening ceremony viewing experience?”

“Lest we forget that Ralph Lauren has created an entire Big Pony collection for men and women, in which the logo is absolutely ginormous! Over-sized at breast or back jean pocket, a logo festival! Which is to say it could’ve been worse in terms of brand promotion overwhelming team spirit.”

The folks over at American Politics Journal are not feeling a lot of love for the Lauren look. You may have discerned this from looking at their version of the logo on the blazers as seen below, perhaps more appropriately called the Pony logo on steroids after a some Photoshop work or another image editing program. Their headline to the story by Jeff Koopersmith is:

Ralph Lauren Humiliates America

American Politics Journal Image

“August 9, 2008 – Geneva (apj.us) – Ralph Lauren, the emperor of hushed prep chic, shocked countless millions last night as the world watched the never-ending parade of athletes during the opening ceremonies of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium.

Lauren – and most likely his son David – celebrated not the spirit of athletic competition but themselves and their brand, morphing our athletes into unpaid billboards for the “Polo™” pony and rider that has helped bring the Laurens great – and well deserved – riches.

What I find amazing is that Polo Ralph Lauren has already known for more than two years that upscale consumers are shying away from too-obviously logoed products…. So why did Polo Ralph Lauren go and embarrass us all by not just putting their logo on the clothes but putting in on SO BIG? The white Polo logo against the dark blue navy color of the jackets, because of its tactlessness seemed to a foot high and 6 inches wide on the breast pockets.”

To be fair to all involved Mr. Koopersmith makes several positive points about Ralph Lauren, his philanthropic efforts, etc., but the remainder of the article is fairly pointed. To read it in its entirety, just click here.

From Coutortoure,

“The Ralph Lauren uniforms for the American Olympic team are stirring up controversy because they look waspy and the logo is a little too big. If product placement and unabashed self-interest disguised as team spirit aren’t American, we don’t know what is.”

For another perspective, you may want to read WASP Nation: The U. S. Olympic Team Uniform, a fascinating post on the Style Snatcher blog. We excerpt a sample below.

“The other troubling point was the overt branding seen in the Lauren logo, which shared prominence with the Olympic rings and laurel. Was this a celebration of an athletic event or yet another chance at extended marketing? Who allows these things to occur? This transcended product placement and smacked of rah-rah commercialism.”

Regular blog readers know The Princess has a rare and progressive disease: logophobia. And they have exhibited rare patience and grace in tolerating such foaming at the mouth off-the-wall rants in never-ending post after post about the presence of logos, their size, their design, etc, etc., etc. And our thoughts on this particular issue? Two words. Too big. The Polo pony is simply too big. Frequent readers are also aware that we have 16+ years in television, in addition to expertise in marketing and branding. We get it. This could have been done in a smaller, more discreet way. If the size of the pony was a deal-breaker, than do the far more elegant tone-on-tone embroidery, if the idea truly was to celebrate an old school American look.

Because we can assure you, no ‘old money’ person would be caught dead in a golf shirt, polo shirt or any other piece of apparel with that symbol on it, let alone in that size at places like the Saddle and Cycle Club, or Burning Tree, or the Metropolitan Club, Winged Foot, River Oaks CC, or the Everglades Club. Wouldn’t happen. It’s a gross violation about everything that is old money, including the #1 Commandment: For God’s sake, don’t let anyone know you have it! Nope. This crowd would be at J.Press or Brooks or Murray’s, Patrick James, J. McLaughlin, Van Boven’s… you know the drill.

An embarrassment to America? We think not. An international  incident? Ah, no. A poor decision by the USOC in allowing ther logo to be that large? In our humble opinion, yes. Without question. But this is really not worth getting all lathered up about, folks, there are better ways to expend that energy than on this issue. 

BTW, if you are hopeful of a respite from the Polo pony logo on the Closing Ceremony uniforms, we are sorry to disappoint you, for it is equally large. The shirt below is from the Closing Ceremony group the Team USA members will be wearing.

Giuseppe Lanzone, Team USA Rowing
Giuseppe Lanzone, Team USA Rowing

Below we see Team USA Soccer players July 22nd preparing to leave for Beijing at the super-secret San Jose State University location selected by official. Christie Rampone, (l)eft, and Carli Lloyd are in the as yet to be publicly seen Official Ralph Lauren knit vests. According to a story in the San Jose Mercury News.

“The Olympic athletes are here, being “processed” for China, picking up their visas, posing for team photos and, perhaps most vital of all, being fitted by a battery of local tailors for the Ralph Lauren uniforms they will wear during the Games’ opening ceremonies Aug. 8.”

Team USA Soccer Christie Rampone, (L) & Carli Lloyd (R)

Team USA Soccer Christie Rampone, (L) & Carli Lloyd (R)

Here are the Ralph Lauren sketches for the Closing Ceremony Parade Uniforms.

Below we see Kate Markgraf of Team USA Soccer in the official Nike warm-up outfits that seem to be flying under the radar, don’t they?

Kate Markgraf Team USA Soccer

Kate Markgraf Team USA Soccer

Kate Markgraf Team USA Soccer

Kate Markgraf Team USA Soccer

Here is a closer look at the Nike Beijing Village Jacket & pants also provided to the team, complete with the swoosh on the left chest. Proportionately, is it pretty close in size to the Polo pony?

Oddly, we haven’t heard much about this one yet, although part of the issue for some is that the Opening Ceremony is to be respected as a more solemn, formal occasion. Hhhhmm, perhaps more to follow.

Well TP has had enough of this dreary discussion haven’t you? The next post will be much more fun and frivolous.

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Summer Olympics Fashion Focus, Ralph Lauren Team USA Opening Ceremony Uniforms Reactions, and Who Was “Preppy” Dressed Team?

“SPORT HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD, IT CAN GIVE HOPE WERE THERE ONCE WAS DESPAIR.”

Nelson Mandela

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

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
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
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
Lopez Lomong leads Team USA in the Olympic Summer Games Opening Ceremony
Team USA at Opening Ceremony 2008 Beijing Olympics

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's Jason Kidd Opening Ceremony
USA 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

Ralph Lauren Olympic Parade Uniform Blazer

Lopez Family Opening Ceremony Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

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
France Opening Ceremony
French Olympic Uniforms Revealed
French Olympic Uniforms Revealed
Unknown French Delegate 2008 Opening Ceremony Olympic Games
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

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 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

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

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

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
Yao Ming Chinese Flag Bearer
Chinese Olympic Team Members Opening Ceremonies

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
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
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
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!

 

 

 

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**SPOILER ALERT** Olympics Opening Ceremony Coverage Special Edition

IT IS ONE BIG “WOW”

SPOILER ALERT

***Today’s post features photos and editorial copy of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies***

Hello, Happy Friday and welcome to a special edition of the Preppy Princess!

This will surprise no one that is a regular reader: The Princess Consort found multiple live feeds of the events going on over on the other side of the world. He also also took the “Sharing is Caring” sentiment to heart. Concentration is impossible. Therefore this post will be short and hopefully a bit better than bittersweet after yesterday‘s tirade measured comments about the air quality in Beijing. It will however, be about the Opening Ceremonies, so if that is something you don’t even want to hear about, you should skedaddle away until they have aired this evening.

First off, a few shots of the Ralph Lauren Olympic Summer Games Parade Uniform as worn today by our athletes in Beijing at the Opening Ceremonies.

Tyson Gay

Tyson Gay

Shortly after this international Parade of Athletes aired on the Consort’s computer in real time, we received email correspondence from Polo Ralph Lauren “Presenting the Official Parade Uniform of the 2008 US Olympic Team.” If interested in purchasing pieces from this Collection, you can head to the Polo site through the links in the previous sentence or use the USOC’s site for most of the Opening Ceremony items.

The Princess learned several lessons today whilst working:

1) Silly girl! Trying to sit and write a blog and conduct other business with the Opening Ceremonies going on one desk over is futile. Utterly pointless. Cease. The Preppy Princess will survive while for an hour until this ends, so stop. Now. Give it up and go watch. (Take Kleenex.)

2) As discussed on other blogs last night, for reasons unknown to us, human spectacles like the Opening Ceremonies provoke an emotional response. (Yes, I know, how very dreary.)

3) The US Team looks very sharp in their uniforms. As anticipated, the Ralph Lauren designs are stellar and the Chinese execution of them also outstanding. The caps, or berets, are a nice touch and not at all foppish as some feared.

Looking at each nation’s uniforms is a blood sport for some, but not TP. That however, does not prevent a running commentary on the looks worn by other countries, enhanced only by the fact these are being viewed on a 24″ inch iMac monitor, not a large television. Thoughts? Japanese-snappy. Argentina-casual. Great Britain-this one is a TBD, requiring further attention. Bolivia-elegant. France-disheveled. Canada-slightly wacky motif that needed better definition

Parade of Athletes - Japan

Parade of Athletes - Japan

Parade of Athletes - Argentina

Parade of Athletes - Argentina

Parade of Athletes - The UK

Parade of Athletes - Bolivia

Parade of Athletes - Bolivia

Parade of Athletes - France

Parade of Athletes - France

Parade of Athletes - Canada

Parade of Athletes - Canada

The NY Times Olympic Blog had some fabulous fashion commentary. We don’t have pix to pick up on their critiques of certain looks, so you will simply have to watch the television tonight or go hunting on the internet if you want photographic references to their commentary.

The Lithuanian team, led by flagbearer Sarunas Jasikevicius of the basketball team, is clad in shockingly lime-green polo shirts.

While some teams look like they have wilted a bit in the heat, the Spanish team, oh so colorful in their yellow and red suits, came in waving their Panama hats to the crowd.

Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol, however, is not waving but chatting on his cell phone.

The women of Hungary’s team are unfortunately dressed in skirts and jackets that appear to have been doused in splotches of red paint.

The Cuban team, always surprisingly large for such a small country, comes in wearing khaki suits, followed shortly by Burkina Faso athletes in pointy straw hats and Burundi women wearing grass headdresses and carrying spears.

It is a small miracle those got through security.

For more commentary, all of which is simply excellent, go to Lynn Zinser’s Olympic blog at the Times online site.

It seems no one can execute ceremonial occasions on a grand scale with the precision the Chinese can, with the possible exception of the Russians. Majestic barely describes some of this, and we only saw about forty-five minutes of the event.

(Yes, that was Kung-Fu in the photo above.) As we mentioned we really only viewed perhaps forty-five minutes or so of online 4″-frame-on-the-screen video and it was dazzling. We have elected not to show you more photos, of which there are hundreds, because they really would be “spoilers” in our humble opinion, detracting from one’s spontaneous reactions to the events as they unfold on NBC’s taped broadcast this evening.

We can tell you some of our favorite tennis players were on hand:

Parade of Athletes - Roger Federer Carries Swiss Flag

Roger Federer carries the Swiss Flag

Parade of Athletes - Rafael Nadal

Parade of Athletes - Rafael Nadal

Mr. Nadal looking slightly more relaxed than he when he was swarmed by media upon arriving at the Beijing airport; such a throng formed that some referred to it a stampede.

Truly one of the most emotional images of the day, and one part of the ceremony you probably want to be sure you’re watching, is the moment when Chinese flag bearer Yao Ming enters the stadium. Because Yao leads the athletes from the host nation, they are the last in the Parade of Athletes to make their entrance.

Parade of Athletes - China

Parade of Athletes - China

It becomes immediately evident he is accompanied by a child; it turns out the child is a nine-year-old boy who saved the lives of two classmates during the killer earthquake that rocked Sichuan province a few months back. When this giant of a man (he is 7′ 6″ tall) reaches down to take the child’s hand your heart may skip a beat in wonder at the sight.

And on that extraordinary image, we will leave you for the time being.

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Saks Sale, More Preppy Olympic Uniforms from Ralph Lauren

This will be almost painless & nothing short of remarkable in its brevity!

Before it ends we want to let you know Saks Fifth Avenue is having its Designer Sale with loads of merchandise 40% off its original price. The sale is online only through today, then moves into stores as well, but it ends on May2, so speed is essential if you want to take advantage of these prices. BTW, if you do any online purchases, you’ll get double SaksFirst points.

Quoteable: Burt Tansky, Neiman Marcus CEO speaking at a NYC conference about the economic situation and its impact on Neiman’s: “”Remember, when our customer tightens their belt, it’s generally ostrich or alligator.”

Finally, here are the other Ralph Lauren designed US Olympic Team Uniforms not in today’s earlier post. In the first, US Olympic track & field team member Brianna Glenn, wearing a Ralph Lauren designed ‘Olympic Village Wear’ uniform, gets a make-up touch-up from Johnny Caruso as U.S. Olympic team rower Giuseppe Lanzone is in the background. All photos are from yesterday’s New York City photo shoot.

USOC Ralph Lauren Uniform Pics #5

Just below is another shot of US Olympic team rower Giuseppe Lanzone getting his own touch-up from Johnny Caruso as he models a Ralph Lauren designed closing ceremonies outfit during a photo session in New York Tuesday April 29, 2008. Polo Ralph Lauren is the official outfitter to the Olympic and Paralympic teams this year. On the bottom are Deontay Lewis (Boxing) and Brianna Glenn once more.

US Olympic Ralph Lauren Uniforms #2

US OLympic Team Ralph Lauren Uniforms

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

PHOTO CREDITS: All US Olympic photos are by Richard Drew/Associated Press

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