Thursday, August 21, 2014
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Mirror, Mirror: Going for the cool: Olympic fashion hits

Gallery: Mirror, Mirror: Going for the cool: Olympic fashion hits

What a hot, er, haute, 2012 Summer Olympics.

From the moment Ralph Lauren debuted its controversial made-in-China opening-ceremony ensembles for the U.S. team, Olympic style has been the center of chic chat.

Lauren wasn't the Games' only fashion heavy hitter: Stella McCartney worked with German sportswear label Adidas to design Britain's warm-up suits, and Giorgio Armani and Prada are some of the labels nestled in the Italians' sportswear.

But in addition to lauding looks provided by the runway's top guns, I like it when we get a dose of the athletes' - and the onlookers' - individual style. The Olympics have been in trendy High Street's backyard for five days now, and the fashion hits just keep on coming.

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     Champion swimmer and Lil Wayne fan Ryan Lochte bared a jeweled, red-white-and-blue smile Saturday after earning a gold medal for the 400-meter individual medley. Lochte is not new to the splashy retainer made popular by rap artists; he has been sporting grills on podiums since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

     The frumpy cotton-candy-pink dress Queen Elizabeth wore to the opening ceremonies definitely earned her a thumbs down - even the fawning ladies of The View agree. But we give Her Majesty credit for consistency; no one does monochromatic better than the 86-year-old monarch. Speaking of powerful women, Michelle Obama's pleated white J. Mendel skirt was exquisite, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was stunning as usual in an ice-blue suit by Christopher Kane.

     A number of athletes have had the Olympic rings tattooed on muscled shoulders and on bulging thighs. Hot. And the athletes aren't just branded with the blue, yellow, black, green, and red circles. American gymnast Jonathan Horton added USA on his back, and archer Brady Ellison has Proverbs 21:31 (The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord) etched onto his right hand.

     Swimmers and gymnasts have decorated their nails with striking opaques and glitter. Dana Vollmer held the gold medal she earned for the 100-meter butterfly - she's now the fastest butterfly swimmer in the world - with hard-to-miss black-and-white nails. Designs rule, even in the pool.

     It looks as if tennis master Venus Williams will compete for her fourth gold medal with red, white, and blue strands woven into her super-long, two-strand twists. Adding more patriotic splash, she is wearing heavy blue eye shadow and bright red lips, no quiet fashion statement.

    A chilly British morning called for more demure uniforms for the American and Australian female beach volleyball players Monday. Usually they pound the sand in skimpy bathing suits, but the cold weather forced American women to wear long-sleeved compression T's, and the Australians rocked full bodysuits under their skivvies.

    USA basketball star LeBron James tweeted a picture of himself and teammate Kobe Bryant dressed in the nauseatingly preppy, uber-ponied Ralph Lauren opening-ceremony uniforms. Can we grin and bear it? We bet Bryant wishes this were the only pic of him from London, as word on the street is his wife, Vanessa, made a beeline to London after seeing one too many photographs of her hubby with Olympic beauties.

    Really, most everyone's opening-ceremony ensembles were boring: While Ralph's evoked a 1-percenter vibe, Germany's ice pink and blue fitted blazers and Canada's red zip-up sports jackets and khakis were all yawners. There was one standout: Brazil nailed the spring trends with fitted blue blazers paired with lemon yellow and grass green skinny jeans. The white sneaks popped, reminding me of Philly fave Air Force Ones.

    Mohawks must have aerodynamic qualities because some of the fastest and most agile players, including Jamaican runner Usain Bolt and Brazilian soccer player Neymar da Silva Santos Jr., are wearing the edgy cuts with ease.

    Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first American to wear full Muslim garb when competing in the Olympics - which speaks volumes about where we've come as a diverse nation. I just wonder if she can skip the usual black and silver shades for a bolder hue - I'm a fan of hijabs with punch.

     


    Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704 or ewellington@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @ewellingtonphl.

    Elizabeth Wellington Fashion Columnist
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