What looks fab on a petite Olympic gymnast and a basketball player?
Almost nothing, and they look really good in almost nothing but when they have to dress as a team for the parade of nations at the opening ceremonies esomeone is given the task of dressing both groups and everyone in between in a uniform.
It is an impossible styling gig.
The eventual fashion choice seems to come from two camps, the let's dress like we're going to the bank to get a mortgage and the let's dress like its the Miss World pageant and we have to have a national costume.
The Miss World tack works best, even on the wrestlers and basketball players because caftans, robes and long tunics are more figure flattering to the majority of body types. These coices proved to be the most interesting and most flattering.
However last night there was an Olympic first, one team did not dress as a unit, the entire contingent was dressed in their country's traditional textile arts. Mexico made a renegade stab and sent a flood of fabric arts on to the track and they looked wonderful, the effect was spectacular - embroideries, sequined appliques, and woven ribbon ponchos. Each outfit was unique, the Mexico team was an Etsy parade of craft abuse.
The white athletic jackets with gold lame accents worn by Team GB were very fun, fit and fancy. Good for designer Stella McCartney who's father Sir Paul was also part of the show. These should take some of the heat from her competitive outfits for Team GB which have recieved many slams.
The U.S. team was one of the groups going to the bank in their Chinese-made navy blazers and white pants or knee-length white skirts and berets, although their uniforms probably won't score a mortgage unless their credit scores are exemplary. They look a little too flash and logo emblazoned. It is one of Lauren's least successful design outtings for the American team.
The Italians team can definitely qualify for a budget busting mortgage in outfits designed by Giorgio Armani. The midnight blue gear was very low key, and subsequently severely boring as parade gear. Blazers of any color paired with khaki pants are the attire of office drones, it does not look festive and celebratory.
The all white suits by Belarus were the best of the suit contingent. Pakistan did a multi-culti combo of both camps paring a suit vest with a long white tunic and white pants. That worked.
From the native costume class, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi and Cameroon whose women's soccer team is known as the Indomitable Lionesses were some of the early teams to show their national spirit and their national dress. All were worthy of note, unfortunatley the photographers did not think so and few photographs of them exist. Neither are there any shots of Liberia's caftans with huge stars and stripes. They were not slimming they made the athletes look as wide as 18 wheelers or maybe that's where that look originated.
There were some hisses from the British when the Czech team came out wearing wellies and holding umbrellas. Considering the miserable weather Britain has been experiencing who could blame them? The British apparently.