The Summer Olympics are now just a memory of superb athletic prowess, larger than life personalities, the photogenic city of London, over the top opening and closing ceremonies and marathon fashion.
From July 27 through August 12, I was transfixed in front of the "telly" rooting for team USA, sometimes until the wee hours of the morning. For some reason I felt my watching would help with the effort as the athletes balanced on the beam, swam a millisecond faster or vaulted the volleyball out of the opponents reach. I got to be on a first name basis with the likes of Michael, Ryan, Gabby, Misty, Keri, Missy and the Royal Spectators: William, Kate and Harry (pre Vegas).
Fashion played an important role in the games since many high profile designers were involved with designing for different countries or just inspired by Olympic spirit. Their involvement was not only patriotic, but a way to expand their brand in an international spotlight.
Stella McCartney, one of the UK’s most prominent designers, collaborated with Adidas, creating swimwear, gymnastics uniforms and other gear for this year’s British teams. Karl Lagerfeld's new label, Karl, was inspired by the 2012 games and was launched at Selfridges this summer. Luxury fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo designed for the Republic of San Marino and Hermes was responsible for the French Equestrian team's apparel. Designer Cedella Marley, daughter of singer Bob Marley, created the Jamaican track team uniforms, including one for the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt. Giorgio Armani, designer for the Italian team, proclaimed that the 2012 Olympics were the most fashionable ever. Fashion icon Ralph Lauren, known for his Americana style, created the opening and closing uniforms for Team USA, but set off a controversy that reached the United States Senate when it was learned that the clothing was produced in China.
The closing ceremony, called The Symphony of British Music, was cleverly staged with the Union Jack as the centerpiece of the stadium track with famous landmarks like Big Ben and the London Eye. Eight mobile billboards circled the track with artworks of models representing the British Fashion Industry. The artworks dropped to reveal Britain's top models wearing a selection of famous UK designers, including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss in Alexander McQueen and Georgia May Jagger (daughter of Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger) in Victoria Beckham.
This portion of the show reminded me of how important London has been in forming pop culture through music and fashion since the 1960s. The flashback to the 80's signaled a revival for a new generation and for 17 days we cheered the athletes, the host city and Olympic fashion.