Bob Marley at the 2012 London Olympics? You can bet the late reggae superstar will be there in spirit.
That's the conclusion one might arrive at upon seeing the uniforms the Jamaican Olympic team will wear during the opening and closing ceremonies and on the podium at the upcoming Games. Unveiled this month in London at a ceremony that included three-time Olympic gold medal winner Usain Bolt and fashion designer Cedella Marley — Bob's eldest daughter — the collection riffs on the colors (green, gold and black) and designs of the country's flag, as well as imagery often associated with the legendary singer-songwriter who passed away in 1981.
The Cedella Marley for Puma collection will send the men on Jamaica's Olympic team into the opening ceremony clad in lightweight, short-sleeve button-front shirts in army green with black accents at the shoulder, black skinny ties and embroidered Jamaican flag patches on the right breast. Additionally, the men may opt to wear a military-style jacket or a sweater. The uniform's trousers will be either yellow (with a black tuxedo stripe down the outer leg) or black.
The women have a single option for the opening ceremony outfit, which consists of a knee-length black-and-yellow leaf-print skirt; a black, military-influenced jacket with a green contrast stripe running vertically down the button placket; a green belt at the waist and green accents.
In the run-up to the Olympics, no opening-ceremony uniforms have been the subject of as much criticism as Spain's — even though they have yet to be officially unveiled.
That's partly because the official outfitter of the 2012 Spanish Olympic team is Bosco Sport, in a sponsorship deal that saves Spain nearly $10 million, according to published reports. The Russian company is also slated to outfit the athletes from Russia and Ukraine.
It also has a lot to do with a photograph of three purported outfits from the collection — two men's looks and one women's — that has been circulating on the Internet for several weeks. One of the red and yellow men's uniforms looks like it was borrowed from a marching band and the other looks appropriate for a theater usher. The women's sweater, skirt and scarf ensemble looks like something that could have hopped out of a "Happy Days" sock hop. Public reaction was swift and unequivocally negative.
Spain's opening-ceremony uniforms won't be officially unveiled until Thursday, at a presentation where outfits to be worn by Russian and Ukrainian athletes also will be shown, according to a Bosco Sport representative.
The representative did provide a draft sketch of the opening ceremony garb for Team Spain that showed elements similar to some seen in the clothes in the photo circulating on the Web. The representative cautioned that, as of press time, the final look was still a work in progress.
There's been such a kerfuffle over the design of the Stella McCartney for Adidas performance wear and village wear (online comments have been critical that the blue-and-white designs don't include red — the third color on the country's flag), it's easy to overlook the fact that neither brand is actually responsible for outfitting the host country's athletes as they parade into the Olympic Stadium on July 27.
That honor goes to Next, a Leicester, England, firm designated as the official clothing (and housewares) supplier for the London 2012 games. As such, Next will be dressing Team GB for both the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as providing athletes with a range of formalwear.
The opening ceremony outfits are intended to be "top secret" until the team steps out July 27, according to a company representative.
Some clue to the sartorial DNA of the uniforms may be found in the not-secret formalwear collection the company unveiled in May. These clothes are intended for occasions that require something more upscale than track suits and performance gear (such as greeting members of the royal family, one assumes). Next has issued each athlete some seriously dressy threads in a palette of navy blue with gold accents.
The women's formalwear includes a jacket paired with a sleeveless cowl-neck dress with a Union Jack design laser-cut into the bodice decoration and emblazoned on a clutch purse.
Men's jackets sport narrow peak lapels, the team motto "Better Never Stops" embroidered underneath the jacket collar as well as engraved on the buttons, and mesh and jacquard linings inspired by the Union Jack. The men's look is finished off with either a white or blue dress shirt and accessorized with a navy blue necktie embroidered with the Team GB logo and Olympic rings, and a sharply folded pocket square that would be the envy of Don Draper.
Or Bond, James Bond.
Ralph Lauren, official outfitter of Team USA, took the wraps off some of the 2012 Olympic apparel in April, including the yacht and tennis club-flavored white uniforms with red and navy blue accents athletes will wear at the closing ceremony.
But the label is still playing it close to the polo pony-emblazoned vest when it comes to the look of the opening ceremony outfits, at least for a few more weeks. The big reveal is set for the second week of July, according to a company representative. That's just about when all of the USA comes straggling back to work from the Independence Day holiday to a traditionally slow news week.
Stop the presses, anyone?