The Hudson's Bay Company had a runaway success with their red mittens at Vancouver 2010, and Canada’s oldest company has once again taken on official design duties. Past Olympic uniforms provided inspiration for this year’s lineup. Graphic red and white colour-blocking, seen on nifty zip-up hoodies, was borrowed from Montreal 1976, while the maple leaf logo emblazoned on tees and sweatshirts stretches back to Stockholm 1912. True to the brand's outdoorsy heritage are a collection of patches featuring stags, beavers and canoe paddles, most prominently shown on a faded denim jacket—a.k.a. the Canadian tuxedo.
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Top designer Stella McCartney has been drawing headlines for her design efforts for Team GB's kit. McCartney, alongside sportswear brand Adidas, designed some 590 items featuring a stylized version of the Union Jack, including competition gear and Villagewear, for relaxing post-match.
For the rest of their Games-time look, including the top secret Opening Ceremony outfits, British athletes will be sporting designs from fast fashion chain Next. For formal occasions there's slim cut navy suiting with subtle Union Jack branding—the flag is laser cut into the women's dress and woven right into the fabric of the men's dress shirt.
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Expect a lot of popped collars from the Americans with Ralph Lauren, reigning king of preppy fashion, as the team's official outfitter. Red, white and blue is prominent across the collection of polo tees and dresses, crisp shorts and tennis sweaters. The brand’s classic navy blazer, with signature Polo pony prominently placed, tops crisp white trousers and swingy skirts for the Opening Ceremony ensembles. Finishing touches of a beret and a red, white and blue scarf give the athletes the look of naval recruits.
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While most nations offer different uniform pieces for their male and female athletes, Germany has taken a curiously colour-coded approach. The team uniforms, by sportswear brand Bogner, are centred around zippered nylon windbreakers—candy pink for the women, sky blue for the men, with kicky scarves to match. Colours aside, the jackets feature a neat trick: They reverse from bright and sporty toppers to navy blazers (really), for a quick change between the podium and official events.
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The tiny republic of San Marino may only be sending four athletes, but they will surely be some of the most well-turned-out. Italian luxury label Salvatore Ferragamo has created a fine kit: The women’s wardrobe includes a linen blazer, bow-tie blouse, silk crepe dress and classic trench coat. The men’s looks include a navy suit with a faint pinstripe for official ceremonies, as well as a knit bomber jacket, cashmere turtleneck and crisp chinos. True to the company’s roots in leather goods, nappa leather shoes and calfskin bags are among the sumptuous accoutrements.
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When Usain Bolt blazes down the track at Olympic Stadium, he'll be wearing a uniform designed by Cedella Marley, in collaboration with Puma. The fashion designer daughter of reggae icon Bob Marley also created the Jamaican team's opening ceremony looks, which feature the green, gold and black of the Jamaican flag. The men can top their short-sleeve green button-downs with a sweater or a military jacket. Pants are either plain black or bright yellow with a tuxedo stripe down the leg. The women will sport black bottoms with a yellow print and a black high-neck jacket with green accents. The pieces carry names like "Satisfy My Soul" and "Buffalo Solider"—both Bob Marley classics—so athletes will also carry with them the spirit of their country's most legendary musician.
Australia's Opening Ceremony uniforms were a joint effort between clothing brand Sportscraft and athletic shoemakers Volley. The outfit is centred around a soft green sport jacket with a vintage wash and hits of gold, while Volley's contribution is a white "sand shoe" with green leather accents and gold-tipped laces. The athletes' looks will be less subtle in competition, with Adidas-designed high tech, kangaroo-emblazoned gear in bright green and yellow.
The New Zealand team's official blazers hark back to uniforms worn by the seven Kiwi athletes who attended the 1948 Games in London. (This time the country is sending close to 200.) The cozy jersey jackets, designed by Irena Prikryl of fashion brand Rodd & Gunn, feature thick white piping and linings printed with the Olympic Rings and the team's fern logo. The same motifs are also printed on the '40-style flared dress worn by the female athletes. Sportwear company Peak designed the rest of NZ kit, which includes jandals, the Kiwi version of flip-flops.
Team Azerbaijan was last seen in garish paisley ski pants at Vancouver 2010. Perhaps seeking to avoid another contentious ensemble, the country’s National Olympic Committee brought in Italian label Ermanno Scervino to create the uniforms. The athletes will wear basic navy blazers and white bottoms, which provide a tasteful backdrop for wildly printed red, green and blue ties, scarves and pocket squares. The jackets feature the eight-point star from the country's flag. A colour-blocked zip jacket and aqua track pants with sporty red piping are included in the lineup of casual gear.
Bean Pole is another brand who looked to Olympics past for inspiration. The label, whose past collaborations have included (coincidentally) uber-hip U.S. retailer Opening Ceremony, was inspired by South Korea's uniforms at London 1948. The team's ceremonial ensembles include sharp a black blazer with touches of red and white, topped by fetching fedoras. (Headwear is a theme—the team's Fila kit includes a camp hat.) The women will sport sailor tees and scarves for the women, while the men will don striped ties. Both sexes will look breezy in ankle-baring white pants—all the better to show off the guys' colour-coordinated socks.
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