Newsflash: It’s 100 degrees in China, with humidity to match.
Ralph Lauren, arbiter of classic American couture for everyman, did not exactly knock it out of the park with this assignment. I feel like the U.S. Olympic Committee would have been better served kicking this design challenge to Project Runway! Even with a $50 budget and a bag of buttons I think one of them could have done better. PR judges Nina Garcia would have sternly scolded Ralph for using so much “fahhbric” (with her delightful little lilt) and Michael Kors would have just spontaneously combusted.
Note: Photo is from Ralph Lauren’s web site, so one would think that would mean the Lauren folks deemed this a good one. Is it just me or do the folks in the photo look rather ticked?
“They displayed noticeably less of the American exuberance at past Olympic opening ceremonies but there were plenty of happy waves from the team as they marched round the arena.”(Sports Illustrated)
Noticeably less exuberant? Probably because they were sweating their ever-lovin’ behinds off! Why the ties? The stifling women’s neckerchiefs? The dark jackets made from a very “sturdy” wool-blend looking (re: sweaty) fabric? The ill-fitting trousers?
Then I saw this picture of Kobe Bryant and realized there were *long sleeves* lurking under those warm blazers! No wonder he looks so annoyed!
In today’s New York Times Eric Wilson says the clothes looked “rather poorly made” as they were coming down the runway, er, track, and I have to agree. The look could have been crisp, traditional and tailored, but -- not to sound like a broken record -- with the heat being such a major factor I can’t imagine why Lauren went for so much clothing (I also noticed that the ushers at the Methodist church near my house have the *exact* same outfits! Only the ushers’ were tailored and well-fitting. I wish I had my camera with me so you could see.).
Thoughts for improvement? I have to admit I had visions of very traditional seersucker dancing through my head, and I saw in today’s Times’ feature that the French team wore seersucker (or something similar to). Tres bien! I would have loved to seen Ralph Lauren use this classic – and BREATHABLE – fabric as his canvas.
For the men, I say keep the look relaxed and sans tie (who wants to wear a tie in that heat?) with a polo shirt (Ralph Lauren…Polo…Get it Ralph?). The uniform would be clean looking even when the sports coat was removed (which you know our men were probably dying to do), and I’d probably opt for a crisp white polo. Something similar to this one from Haspel, but probably with the more classic navy and white striped pattern:
For the women I think a dress would be more flattering to their toned and athletic builds, and I like the J. Peterman halter pictured above. And in true Peterman fashion, the product description makes it sound perfectly suitable for a jaunt through the outerbanks or a saunter towards Olympic Gold:
“Sleeveless Seersucker Sundress (No. 2207) in wonderful diagonally puckered cotton, as seen from Campobello to Ocracoke in the 1940s. Halter-back top with shawl collar and princess seams. Wide self ties to tie back or front. Twelve real pearl-shell buttons from bodice down to full sweep. Sweet red locker loop.”
And maybe we could add pockets (for digital cameras and lip gloss) like his one from Thread:
Heidi Klum, if you’re reading this there’s still time to get the 2010 Winter Games Challenge in place. Just make sure this time the designers actually *know* what the Olympics' opening ceremony is. Last week's challenge to design for the summer ceremony yielded a couple of doozies...like the one Kors proclaimed was perfect, "if her sport was cocktail waitressing." Yowza.