After a months of Russian doping scandals, stories about dirty water, and inspiring Nike commercials, the Games of the XXXI Olympiad are finally here. And while the athletic competition over the next two weeks will certainly be fierce, the first test of each country’s mettle will happen during the opening ceremony—the battle over who will be the best dressed.
That’s right, it turns out fashion has a fairly big presence at the Rio games. Designers like Stella McCartney and Ralph Lauren are representing for their home countries, not to mention brands like Lacoste and Dsquared2. But the question is, which athletes will look the coolest? From street style vibes to East Coast prep, here are some of the designer looks from the world’s most patriotic fashion show.
For the fifth straight time, Ralph Lauren is outfitting our athletes for the Olympic games. And, as you might expect, the look is heavy on nautical-prep styling. White trousers, solid polo shirts in red, white, and blue, and striped sweaters with navy blazers make up the bulk of the collection. And while it’s generally a pretty classic look from the brand, there has been some criticism of the fact that, when the sweater is worn underneath the blazer, it looks a little like the Russian flag. You can tell it’s American, though, by the absence of cargo pockets full of banned substances.
Easily one of the coolest-looking teams in the Olympics this year is the Canadians. That’s thanks to Dan and Dean Caten, the Toronto-born duo behind Dsquared2, the brand responsible for this year’s unis, Canada is rocking a serious street style vibe, one that would fit in just as well at fashion week as it will at the Maracana Stadium. The silhouettes are very modern, with oversize white sweaters under fitted red three-button blazers, black trousers, and a killer pair of white sneakers. The whole thing has us wishing we were born north of the border.
The Swedish team will be dressed head-to-toe in blue and yellow courtesy of Stockholm-based mega-retailer H&M. Shooting for eco-consciousness and sustainability, H&M’s uniforms—opening ceremony outfits, some competition pieces, and podium outfits—will actually include recycled polyester fiber. And for those interested in a more muted version of the collection, called “For Every Victory,” you can check it out at hm.com now.
Team Great Britain
Stella McCartney and Adidas, who worked together on this year’s UK team uniforms, certainly didn’t skimp on the patriotism. Along with the traditional Union Jack colors of red, white, and navy blue, there are giant “GBs” and a coat of arms plastered across many of the pieces. It’s somehow tasteful yet very loudly British at the same time—sort of like James Bond. Adidas also worked with the athletes themselves to improve performance, developing a fabric that’s 10 percent lighter than the ones from 2012’s London games.
Team South Korea
The South Koreans are going for super East Coast preppy at this year’s summer games with high-hemmed natty white trousers, navy linen jackets with contrast piping, and sky blue button-downs with white cuffs and collars. The design is by South Korean brand Beanpole, and while it appears to be a very “American prep” look, it’s actually, according to the company at least, a traditional Korean style called hanbok. Perhaps the coolest part, though, is that all of the opening ceremonies pieces use mosquito-proof materials to reduce the risk of Zika virus.
If you’re France, it makes sense to outfit your athletes with one of the country’s oldest sports brands. This year, Lacoste is the brand providing the uniforms, and as you might expect, the style is crisp, slim and understated. No Vetements Titanic hoodies here. There are high-hemmed white trousers, white polo shirts, navy hoodies, and a navy trench coat. And there’s also a white, rain-resistant poncho for inclement weather. Plus plenty of existential ennui.
It doesn’t seem possible, but Australia has somehow out-nautical-prepped the U.S. and Ralph Lauren’s kit. Decked out in green-and-white striped seersucker blazers with green contrast taping, white shorts for the guys, skirts for the ladies—all by Australian brandSportscraft-—and white brogues by Tom’s, the team looks more regatta-bound than Olympic-bound. But they do have one very important addition to the uniform, one that, as with South Korea, has been purpose-built for the occasion: Zika-proof condoms.
For”>https://www.instagram.com/p/BIIZrBwAQZq/[/instagra… the Cubans, there’s a distinctly French flavor to the uniforms this year. Christian Louboutin and French clothing brand Sporty Henri have teamed up to outfit the athletes in red or khaki jackets with the Cuban flag on the breast pocket and the flag’s white star (a symbol of good luck)on the back, long black shorts, and, of course, being that it’s Louboutin, killer shoes—a choice between red-and-black high-tops or slip-on canvas sneakers for the men, and a specially designed kitten-heel sandal for the women. We’re definitely going to be coveting those high-tops for the next two weeks.