The gods of Olympus must be crazy
The gods of Olympus must be crazy

If this was a film, we could improvise the script: Zeus & Company came down to earth and, alternating with taking a swim at Ipanema beach, they watched the wonderful Gisele Bündchen shine on the biggest catwalk of her life, the one she trod at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in that marvellous city. And they were even more amazed by the outfits worn by the Olympic entourages. It was then that they had a revelation…

"Why not take the amazing designers responsible for the uniforms of the national teams competing at the Olympic Games back to Olympus with us?” they thought. Let me tell you right now, dear gods, that if this is not an impossible mission (no offence to your superpowers, of course!), it is certainly a herculean task. We’ll give you a hand, but of course we won’t take any responsibility for abetting in the kidnapping! After all, we want the gods to be impeccably dressed.

Let’s start with Cuba. The formal suits worn by the athletes from the land of Fidel Castro were designed by Christian Louboutin. Yes, he’s the one. The designer that created the famous red-soled shoes, the ones any woman would gladly give her right arm for. The designer teamed up with former handball player Henri Tai’s Sporty.Henri.com and the partnership resulted in a collection that was "elegant and fluid in its movements”.

Crossing the Atlantic, we come to the land of Her Majesty, the most recent hostess of the Olympic Games. For their appearance in Rio, the entourage turned to designer Stella McCartney, who teamed up with Adidas to design outfits evoking the grandeur of the United Kingdom. For the designer, one key item stands out: the iconic "new coat of arms”, which combines British heraldry (roses and Olympic torches were added to the lions) with the perseverance of the designer herself, who recently admitted to the British Vogue that the process for receiving authorisation for this design from government bodies was lengthy. A veritable conquest coming before the medals that they won.

Across the English Channel, we come to the home of the meilleur ennemi de l’Angleterre. Although there aren’t any crocodiles in France, it was left to the Lacoste label (under the creative management of Portuguese designer Filipe Oliveira Baptista) to outfit the French athletes. Considering the sporting elegance characteristic of the label, there was an innovative touch which stood out between the sobriety of the white and navy blue: the Lacoste symbol – the crocodile – in three colours, like the French flag. To a lesser degree, the use of red, which is also a legitimate representative of the colours of France, adding a certain je ne sais quoi to the already unique outfits.

Heading north, in Scandinavia, the Swedish team incorporated H&M’s sustainable philosophy into their outfits. The label has also built a solid reputation on the international panorama of the fashion industry, competing for pole position directly with another giant of fast fashion, the Inditex group. It should also be noted that this was not the first time the Swedish Olympic committee teamed up with one of the most famous Swedish brands in the world: at the Winter Olympics 2014, which was held in Sochi, H&M outfitted the country’s entourage for the first time.

Travelling through other continents

Are you still listening, gods? Because the way things are going, you still have thousands of miles to go. Let’s go back to the Americas, this time heading for the northern lights. In Canada, twins Dean and Dan Caten, the faces behind Dsquared2, designed the outfits for the Olympic group. The unmistakable streetwear look of the label, allied to the highlight given to the country’s national symbol – the red maple leaf (strictly speaking, the botanical term is the Acer leaf) – resulted in unpretentious, yet distinctive uniforms: the much acclaimed casual chic style.

Packing your bags and heading east, we advise you to take a look at the South Korean wardrobe. Not so much for the design – without taking from the merit of this, of course – but due to the associated innovative factor. Always in the forefront of technology, South Korea designed the outfits with fabric that incorporates a chemical that acts as a repellent to the Zika virus. Just to be on the safe side!

Finally, we get to Oceania, more precisely Australia. The Aussie delegation went for futuristic uniforms designed by Sportscraft. But the outfits still paid homage to their glorious predecessors from what is one of the founding member states of the Commonwealth. In fact, this tribute could be seen on the lining of the jackets worn at the opening ceremony of the Games.

Portuguese team wears denim by Salsa

As we don’t want to be accused of favouring ourselves, we’ll mention the Portuguese delegation so that the gods will listen to us. They could well have gone into Maracanã Stadium dancing the Salsa, as that was the national label responsible for the outfit our Olympic athletes wore at the opening and closing ceremonies, made entirely from denim. According to the Público’s Lifestyle, "the clothing was inspired by the patch trend, with denim patches on the trousers. They all had ‘official decorative images, such as the Viana filigree heart, the Portuguese flag, excerpts from the national anthem and the cross of the Order of Christ’”. Veritable inspiration for a nation with the soul of a winner.

End of the Olympic plot

With so many beautiful examples of creativity and looking at the keen aesthetics of the designers, we believe that even the gods would have trouble choosing the most fashionable Olympic nations. But the question remains, will the chariot be able to make it back to Olympus weighed down with so much genius? We certainly won’t be making that choice, render unto Zeus what that which is of Zeus. One thing is for certain, the white robes of ancient Greece have their days numbered. Otherwise, the gods wouldn’t have come down to Rio de Janeiro.

And because history doesn’t tell of the weak, here are some other teams that were once seen at their best at the Olympic Games. Their uniforms of course.

Source: Forbes.com 

Photo credits: Offical Rio 2016 website, Olympic Committees of the illustrated nations and Salsa.pt