When the Olympics kick off in Vancouver next week, you'll see not only the world's greatest athletes but also the world's healthiest fashion models. The Opening Ceremony won't feature just a patriotic parade - but the longest, most-watched runway show ever.
That's because the Olympics is increasingly becoming a venue for fashion brands to strut their stuff. Nike offers Medal Stand outfits to be worn by U.S. athletes receiving their gold, silver or bronze. Oakley has worked with athletes to create apparel and goggles. Bern Unlimited will protect the noggins of many a U.S. snowboarder with its lightweight Carbon Watts helmets.
Then there's Polo Ralph Lauren, which dressed U.S. athletes for the 2008 Beijing games and continues as official outfitter of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams this year, on through London's games in 2012.
Polo's Vancouver collection - which includes looks for the opening and closing ceremonies, plus jaunts in the Olympic Village - was inspired by the 1932 Olympic Games in Lake Placid. The closing ceremony outfits, for instance, include shawl-collar sweaters with antique buttons and newsboy caps.
"We took a lot of inspiration from the 1930s Games, reaching into the heyday of the Olympics and bringing to it a more modern sensibility," said David Lauren, the company's senior vice president of advertising, marketing and communications.
Making athletes look good is swell. Making us look like athletes? Even better. So rest assured - much of what you'll see on our skiers, skaters, bobsledders and more is available at a mall near you.
What U.S. snowboarders are wearing
Coolest dudes and chicks on the slopes? Members of the U.S. snowboarding team, whose iconoclastic, indie style is remarkably captured in their official team uniforms, designed by Burton. The look: rad plaid atop what appears to be distressed denim - it's actually high-performance Gore-Tex. Alas, it's not for sale.- Joseph V. Amodio