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Olympic Good & Bad Costume and Uniform Design

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 @ 09:07 AM

How did you all enjoy the Opening Ceremonies for the London Olympics?

Olympic Games 2I admit to being hestitant, as remembrances of past Opening Ceremonies seemed to drag on forever, showcasing thousands (it seemed!) of dancers undulating around the stadium.


But this year, with my ability to digitally record the entire evening, and then watch it at my leisure, I found myself only fast-forwarding through the commercials, not any part of the festivities. And I truly enjoyed the entire program! Maybe the fact that the parade of countries was the fastest in history, thanks in part to the drumline keeping the beat, keeping people moving quickly, rather than just sauntering along.


I felt that the pageantry was theatrical, dramatic, sometimes humorous, and very enjoyable.
As a costume designer, of course I always enjoy the costumes. London did NOT disappoint. The costumes for the show were beautifully designed and executed. I am assuming that they were designed AND MADE by all the talented costume manufactures that create the West End (their ‘Broadway’) theatrical costumes….NOT made in China (or other off-shore manufacturers – unlike our Ralph Lauren’s US Olympic team’s togs).

The quality of design and construction of these costumes was impeccable, unlike what we usually witness, at our national half-time entertainment, such as our Super Bowls, where extravagant numbers of dancers are generally outfitted (because of cost) in cheap, mass-produced costumes.


describe the imageAnd then of course the national costumes were fun to see, except when boring blazers and warm-ups were worn. There were fabulously designed costumes, and some not so fabulous – but still great fun to see! It’s too bad that many national outfits are designed by non-designers, or maybe just bad designers. Of course there could be a third option here – outfits designed by committee – those almost always turn out lackluster. Maybe that’s how the NBA, NFL and NHL team uniforms are designed?

But, enough about my pet peeves on bad uniform design! So let’s enjoy the Olympics!

Tags: Costume Critiques

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