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The 10 brands that have defined the Olympic aesthetics

From EA7 to Louboutin, up to the rework of traditions by KITH

The 10 brands that have defined the Olympic aesthetics From EA7 to Louboutin, up to the rework of traditions by KITH

The Olympics are made up of victories, medals, tears, great stories, but also moments of fashion branding that exploits to make use of the global visibility that only the Olympic Games can generate - in the last four summer editions, the total average television audience is close to four billion viewers. The opening ceremony is in some ways the biggest fashion show of the year, with the delight of 14,000 athletes parading through the stadium that hosts the opening night. In those long evenings the different aesthetics of the Olympics have been defined over the years, with the formal partners who are called to define the style of an entire country. There are those who dare, those who choose tradition and those who rely on great designers to make a good impression on the most important sports stage in the world. The Tokyo Olympic Stadium ceremony (Friday at 13.00 Italian time) will be the first behind closed doors - with 68,000 seats that will remain almost completely empty - but it remains one of the most anticipated moments of this controversial Olympics. There are many brands that have contributed to making the Olympic aesthetic unique, but some have stood out more than others. 


EA7 x Italy

For more than fifteen years, the Italian style at the Olympics bears the signature of EA7 - the sports division of the Giorgio Armani brand. The theme of designers who focus on the Games have always focused on elegance and symbolism, on dark blue and on tones that recall the tricolor. From Federica Pellegrini to Valentina Vezzali, up to Antonio Rossi: all with the usual Made in Italy elegance, with some eccentric notes - just think of the red and white shoes that the Italian Olympians wore.


Louboutin x Cuba

Among the brands that participated in the inaugural ceremony, somewhat surprisingly, there is Christian Louboutin who in 2016 collaborated with Henri Tai of Sporty Henri to design the uniforms of Team Cuba. A collaboration that has redefined the Cuban aesthetic, always very tied to pop influences but who in 2016 chose to parade with cream and red jackets with the flag on one of the four pockets. A stylistic change that has blown everyone away for elegance and charm, rarely two elements that have been associated with Cuban aesthetics.


Ralph Lauren x USA

Among the great classics, Team USA and Ralph Lauren are two undisputed protagonists of the Olympic stage. The New York brand has been accompanying the US Olympians since 2008, dressing them with charm and presenting them to the world with a style that does not always suit personalities like those of LeBron James - portrayed in a memorable photo in which he fixes the tie knot in Kobe Bryant - by Michael Phelps or Simone Biles. The double blue and white beret worn in the London 2012 and Athens 2008 parades remains unforgettable, combined with a style that always mixes the colors of the USA flag. Much less sober the parade of 2014 at the Sochi Winter Olympics, with a star cardigan complete with Olympic circles that has entered the history of the Olympic style. 


Greg Speirs ft. Issey Miyake x Team Lithuania 

Lithuania is the underdog of this particular ranking. Even if the medals are not as full as those of the USA and China, Lithuania, especially at the basketball level, has often placed well. Aesthetically, however, the highest point arrives in Barcelona, ​​when in 1992 two different moments put it in the stylistic Olympus of the Games. The first comes with the inaugural ceremony, with the most innovative designs curated by Issey Miyake - one of the most important stylists ever. At the same time, the story that accompanies the basketball team and the pre-match kits is unbelievable. The Grateful Dead got in touch with Sarunas Marciulionis and Donnie Nelson (two NBA team members at the time) in a San Francisco parking lot, with the band's car broken down. During this chance meeting, Marciulionis explains to the group that he invested a large portion of his salary to help his country finance the 1992 Olympic participation. Inspired by the patriotic act of the former Warriors, the Grateful Dead instantly wrested a check for $ 5,000 and allowed the national team to sell the band's official merchandise. The fact that Jonah Hill also wears it today speaks volumes about how much it has become a must for Olympic fans.


Lacoste x France

France was another magnificent example of the alternation between minimalism and aesthetic extravagance. In the last four editions - also considering the winter versions of the Olympic Games - Team France has managed to show both an essential, clean and elegant line and an eclectic tricolor variation of the Lacoste crocodile. The jackets and fabric made for the French Olympians in Rio de Janeiro are contrasted with down jackets with side zips and beanies that recall the colors of the French flag.


Levi's x Team USA

Winter detour, to go to Lake Placid, New York, where in 1980 the host country paraded and wore uniforms designed and produced by Levis Struass. Anachronistic is the choice to have the white cowboy hat, an American symbol but above all of Texas - never known for its cold temperatures. In addition to the headgear, Levi's has taken care of the layered shearling jackets, the striped turtleneck and above all the lined gloves that guarantee protection from a cold that even reaches fifteen degrees below zero. All the madness and extravagance of stars and stripes even 40 years later. 


Telfar x Liberia

It will be one of the new entries of 2021, but it is already ready to make Olympic history. The sponsorship of Telfar for Team Liberia foresees a total involvement of the Telfar Clemens brand: from the formal suit for the opening and closing of the Tokyo Games to the uniforms for the athletes. According to the New York Times, the unusual collaboration was born when Emmanuel Matadi, an Olympic athlete who represented Liberia in the 2016 Olympics, heard his partner talking about the Telfar bags. Knowing Clemens' liberal origins, Matadi proposed the idea to former Olympic athlete Kouty Mawenh who is already a fan of the designer's work. "They told me be crazy, and that's what I did," said Clemens, who had never worked on performance wear despite being part of his projects for some time.


Stella McCarty x GB

From the inaugural show to competitions, with a guest of honor who is not always tied to sport. Stella McCartney will no longer be part of the British Olympic expedition, replaced by Ben Sherman, but in the last two editions Team GB has never disfigured on the runway of the Games. The highlight of the collaboration between the athletes and the English designer who collaborated for 17 with Kering is represented by the "home" uniforms worn in London in 2012. The different forms of athleisure were all branded with the Union Jack in blue, the same motif used in 2016 collaborating with adidas but making more use of the symbol of the lions united with the Olympic torch.


Team Japan

While we're not talking about a specific brand, the Japanese expedition to Sydney 2000 was one of the most incredible - not so much for the medals (there will be only 18 at the end of the Games) but for the style. Twenty years in advance, the rainbow trend that today has taken on a fighting connotation for the rights of LGBTQI + communities is on the capes of Japanese athletes, headed by the flag-bearer and sumo legend Kōsei Inoue. Beyond the brand that produced these incredible and colorful items, they seem to have anticipated by a few decades the battle that most of the athletes present in Tokyo 2020 have undertaken.


Bonus Track - KITH x USA

Third appearance on the list for Team USA which is preparing to be the coolest nation of the Olympics. The bonus track is dedicated to KITH who reworked items from the 80s and 90s, renewing them with the usual unmistakable touch of Ronnie Fieg. The simplicity of an era that does not seem so distant on an aesthetic level brought back on the crest of the wave, enhancing the design. stars and stripes that characterizes a team that in the last four editions has brought home the beauty of 439 medals.