Blog: Leonie BarrieSporting spirit?

Leonie Barrie | 16 February 2006

The competition at this year’s Winter Olympic Games seems to be hotting-up, both on and off the slopes – and the winners are something of a surprise too. Let me explain. Kazakhstan might have had few realistic hopes of winning a medal but has just scooped one of the highest accolades in Italy by being voted the most stylish team to parade at the Olympic opening ceremony. The judges, top Italian fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana, told La Stampa newspaper that Kazakhstan’s athletes radiated style “in their black coats and Borsalino hats.”

However, other counties weren’t so lucky, and few feelings were spared as the acerbic-tongued duo got into their stride. The French athletes were just too “fancy,” the Chinese looked like “sandwiches,” and the Americans appeared to have underpants on their heads they said.

The point of all this, of course, was to try to identify hidden clues about a country’s “fashion identity” as conveyed by the team uniforms. I don’t know where this leaves the poor Germans though. A slip-up by adidas meant that about 30 German skiers were kitted out with caps in Belgium’s black-gold-red colour scheme. What this says about them might be a mystery – but I think it’s just as well that what they have to say about the incident is kept quiet too!

Italian designers tear a strip off Olympic fashions


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