Olympic athletes walked down the world’s greatest runway last night, at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony. The Parade of Nations has competitors marching proudly on behalf of their countries, while facing off on the style front. From high-end fashion houses like Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani to athletic wear brands like adidas and Fila, designers developed looks meant to reflect each nation, and command the attention of viewers at the same time.
The sartorial surprises were endless. Some Opening Ceremony ensembles tastefully showcased patriotic pride, while others exhibited a garish style of dress. Color blocking and neon hues were among the trends, and winter weather accessories were key, when decorating team uniforms. A Glam Slam broke down the best-dressed and worst-dressed delegations during the Sochi Opening Ceremony. Check it out:
Canada: Canada has dominated in the winter wear fashion game at the Olympics. The team’s mittens were a massive hit during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. This year’s red and black toggle jackets, knits caps and mittens, all from Hudson’s Bay, were once again perfectly patriotic, yet fashion-forward.
France: The French athletes looked tres-chic in their apparel from Lacoste. Gray puffy blazers for men and wrap coats for women were each paired with khaki pants. A subtle style nod to country colors came in the form of the Lacoste crocodoile and the team’s accessories.
Netherlands: The orange and black hues made for a striking color scheme. A variation on the base color of the jackets added interest, but still allowed the team to look cohesive.
Norway: In sharp contrast to the Norwegian Curling Team uniforms, the Opening Ceremony attire was understated yet elegant. White jackets and cool blue pants were topped off with silver newsboy caps.
South Korea: South Korea’s style was simple and clean, and the Fila puffer jackets stayed true to the brand’s retro vibe.
Italy: Giorgio Armani did not disappoint with Italy’s apparel. Navy tops and bottoms were decorated with white trim and small country flags.
Sweden: The H&M designs could easily translate into everyday wear, in particular, the electric blue coat worn by the female athletes. The patterned scarves and caps provided a nice finishing touch.
New Zealand: It’s hard to go wrong with a sleek, black and white colorway, as evident with these color block puffer jackets.
Belgium: The vibe was athletic but stylish, featuring a fresh combination of black and gray hues, and a pop of color in the orange trim.
Poland: Poland stood out in their winter whites, with jackets that boasted unique graphics and an ombre effect.
Tonga: The team’s apparel gave a creative nod to the warm weather, though it remained as appropriate winter wear. Take note, Bermuda and Caymen Islands.
Ukraine: Ukraine came out wearing a very vibrant design, but they successfully balanced that fun, printed jacket with solid pants and yellow accessories.
Mexico: A small group, but a strong statement in black and white. With the mariachi-themed ski suit yet to come, this team is surely one to watch on the fashion front.
Lithuainia: The lemon and lime neon hues made Lithuanina one of the must buzzed about nations. It was a love it or hate it look, but many fans seemed to approve. Neons remain on-trend after all.
Russia: The home country’s Bosco designs, complete with fur flaps and fur trim on coats, were a bit too outlandish.
Germany: Props to Germany if the team was indeed making a political statement with their colorful style choices. From a fashion perspective, the floral pants and striped jackets from adidas were an eye-sore.
Taipei: Although it was a nice blue hue, the athletes were drowning in these shapeless, floor lengeth coats.
Caymen Islands: Flip flops? Nope.
Bermuda: It’s easy to understand why the team chose to wear Bermuda shorts, but the choice is still an odd one during the Winter Games. The high socks and dress shoes add another element of awkward.
Ireland: The color scheme and graphics here were just a bit too drab.
Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s attire was a literal interpretation of the country flag and not in the best way.
Slovenia: The highlighter blue and green color scheme, in odd blocks of color, had many fans comparing these uniforms to Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear.
Liechtenstein: The apparel could be a nod to the 80′s or an abstract painting. The answer is unclear.
Togo: The gray and yellow checkerboard design appears as an unusual take on a racing flag.
USA: Team USA’s Ralph Lauren-designed sweaters succeeded in grabbing attention, but they appeared too busy and overly emblazoned with patriotic details. The team should have swapped their Opening and Closing Ceremony styles, wearing the classic, wool navy pea coats instead.
From furry lids to berets, Great Britain, Spain and Czech Republic brought out the evening’s best headwear.