Olympic style has been an integral part of the London Games. The fashion chatter began long before the competition and has remained a buzzed about topic throughout. From Opening Ceremony looks to team uniforms, the London Games have put national refinery on full display as the world’s top athletes showcased their skills in a wide range of styles. At the same time, top designers vied for gold medal status in the sartorial Olympics, a competition marked by elegant ensembles, fashion disasters and couture-related controversies for countries across the globe.
Prior to the Games, Team Italy’s uniform designer, Giorgio Armani, predicted that London would be “the most fashionable Olympic Games ever.” As with past Olympics, London produced several fashion hits and misses. This year’s Olympians also created new, patriotic trends. A Glam Slam broke down the top style statements from the London Games:
Women’s Gymnastics: Time moves forward but trends stand still when it comes to women’s gymnastics style. The sport never fails to produce gymnasts from across the globe who compete with a full face of colorful, 80′s-inspired makeup. Hair is decorated with glitter, pulled tight, and secured with scrunchies and an overabundance of clips.
Team USA treated fans to a runway show of adidas leotards, with costume changes to mark each leg of the competition. Bold red leotards for the team event and patriotic red, white and blue gear for Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber’s individual efforts were decorated with Swarovski crystals. The fashions also took inspiration from iconic New York City landmarks like the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building. Pink and purple designs rounded out the leotard rotation. For a closer look at gymnastics style rankings among the competing nations, read on here.
Kinesio Tape: One of the most popular Olympic accessories in London provided athletes with both performance benefits and an aesthetic update to uniforms. Athletes across a range of Olympic sports were seen covering their skin with colorful Kinesio Tape. The tape was meant to improve balance and help to avoid injury, but fans were especially drawn in to the patterned placement on the backs, legs, stomachs and arms of athletes.
Queen Elizabeth’s Opening Ceremony Pink Dress, Plume And Pout: The Queen Elizabeth and James Bond spoof stole the show during the Olympics Opening Ceremony, especially when it concluded with a faux Queen jumping out of a helicopter. The Queen’s sparkly, bubblegum pink dress, matching pink plume and unforgettable pout made the situation even more outlandish and enjoyable.
Olympic ink: Becoming an Olympian is a difficult feat and many athletes chose honor their time at the Games with tattoos. Competitors from various countries and disciplines showed off their Olympic ink, in the form of the iconic five-ringed logo.
Team GB Uniforms: Fashion critics and Olympic style-watchers have been split when it comes to Team GB’s Olympic uniforms. The gear, a collaborative range designed by Stella McCartney and adidas, caused controversy soon after its release. McCartney’s modern take on the British flag was initially met with criticism due to its departure from the country’s imagery and national colors.
After the host nation’s poor sartorial showing during the Opening Ceremony (they wore these white and gold tracksuits from Next) they redeemed themselves with McCartney’s competitive creations. Team GB was styled in apparel that merged athletics with fashion-forward design. A winning look, right down to Andy Murray’s wristbands.
Neon Nikes: Whether on the track or on the podium, it was rare to see athletes without their neon nike kicks. The brand integrated themselves into the games with the brightly colored, can’t-miss footwear fashions.
Russian Synchronized Swimmers’ Michael Jackson Suits: London’s synchronized swimming events produced eclectic swimwear fashions, but Russia won the creativity award with these Michael Jackson-inspired suits. Natalie Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina delighted spectators with a peformance to “They Don’t Care About Us,” wearing metallic silver suits with the singer’s profile to match.
Olympic-Themed Nail Art: There was no bigger trend in London than Olympic-inspired nail art. Fans and athletes painted their fingernails, long and short, with intricate designs including country colors, country flags and Olympic rings.
Beach Volleyball Attire: With new bikini rules created for beach volleyball players, fans were prepared to see some different ensembles from female competitors. But the usual bikini outfits were replaced by an unexpected fashion trend. Several women opted for the “bra over bodysuit” look which resulted in some unique styles in the sand.
On the men’s side, Team USA duo Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser sported flashy red, white and blue designs from Loudmouth Golf. Loudmouth was also the company behind the Norwegian curling team’s patterned pants, a memorable style statement from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Team Russia Warm-Ups: Team Russia’s warm-ups from Bosco Sport caused major fashion buzz among Olympic spectators. Many fans were unsure whether to love them or hate them. Regardless, the bold red and white design, reminsicent of Zubaz pants, was impossible to miss.
Olympic Fashionisto Ryan Lochte: Throughout the competition, athletes are identifiable by their country colors leaving little room to express their individuality. Ryan Lochte managed to break the mold. Though wearing a grill is nothing new for Locte, the diamond-encrusted, American Flag mouthpiece caused some controversy this time around. Olympics officials told Lochte that he wouldn’t receive his gold medal if he didn’t remove the grill on the podium.
The grill was deemed a fashion violation but when his competition was complete, Lochte wasted no time showcasing his personal sense of style. He hopes to begin a career in clothing design and shared his love of fashion multiple times throughout the Games. An interview with John McEnroe even took fans inside the swimmer’s closet and showcased his massive shoe collection. While out in London for his birthday, he sported a navy and black tuxedo-style jacket. He was also seen out in a more casual ensemble, a gray David Bowie tee and bright green pants.
Flags As A Fashion Statement: Following a medal win, athletes draped themselves in the best accessory of all: their country flags.