The first sighting of Stella McCartney was of her hobbling over the cobbles at the Tower of London, clutching her PR’s arm. She was wearing those navy paisley pyjamas from her spring summer 12 collection, and possibly the most lethal heels she’s ever made.
We were then shown into a large black tent, with the words ‘GREAT BRITAIN TAKE THE STAGE’ writ loud. Inside, a stylish film played on the white Olympiad stage set, a film that had McCartney’s hand all over it, showing adidas-decked athletes of the past from Daley Thompson to Seb Coe and with thumping music, the type McCartney might play on her Paris catwalk, the lyrics ‘heart beating like a drum in your chest’.
Then came the athletes, 30 in all, including heptathlete Jessica Ennis, swimmer James Goddard, gymnast Becky Downie and triple jumper Phillips Idowu. The kits, creatively directed by McCartney for Adidas, are the most comprehensive range that has ever been supplied to a national team, that is 590 individual articles of kit which equates to 175,000 items, combining the best in performance technologies and – for the first time – great British style.
They were of course red, white and blue – McCartney’s starting point the Union Jack. ‘For me it’s the most beautiful flag in the world and it was important for me to stay true to that iconic design but also to modernise it and present it in a contemporary way. Ultimately we wanted the athletes to feel like a team and be proud with the identity we created.’
British triple jumper Philips Idowu said: ‘With a global audience watching London 2012 every little detail matters. I love what Stella has done with the design. Looking good is psychologically important but my sprint suit is also technically advanced, so not only do I look good but I also have confidence in the technology of the kit.’
The kits use TECHFIT PowerWEB which features compression fabric and Thermopastic Polyurethane and is designed to mirror the muscles to generate ‘maximum explosive power’. Also, ClimaCool, a moisture management fabric has been used to draw heat away from the body.
So how did the kit rate in terms of style? This was gold medal winning stuff, from the navy sparkling gymnast leotard to the really rather cool red white and blue super-lightweight wind cheaters (a sure-fire iconic item that will hopefully be part of the replica fan kit) that came belted at the waist and the second skin tops and bottoms that came moulded to the muscle-bound bodied athletes. Not only did every athlete look strikingly comfortable in their designer Team GB kit but very proud too.
This summer there will be 900 athletes competing in 46 disciplines (26 Olympics, 20 Paralympics).
Thank you Stella for making our British team look fabulous.
Watch the video here