I may be a bit late with this one but it is something that has been on my mind since the impressive closing ceremony and the final celebrations of London 2012 Olympics had subsided.
The closing ceremony provided a (slightly more) obvious link to British fashion for the regular, non-fashion-obsessed audience, with an impressive roster of models stalking to the centre of the arena and posing in some of Britain’s best fashion design (Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Victoria Beckham, Alexander McQueen, Burberry and Erdem). Although the intention was to showcase the inextricable links between British fashion and music, it seems that this was lost on most viewers.
“The segment seemed to be stuck in a generic timewarped view of fashion that didn’t seem to connect with what’s actually going on in fashion today,” wrote Susie Bubble. “Oh, strutty models. Oh, strike a fierce pose at end of catwalk. Oh, credits read out loud in manner of a catwalk show at The Clothes Show at NEC Birmingham.” However, the BBC lowered the sound when they read out the designers names in accordance with the broadcasting corporation’s zero-branding policy – might this have contributed to the confusion? Furthermore, as Hadley Freeman wrote in The Guardian: “Seeing models strut in six-inch heels looked a little less impressive after a fortnight of watching extraordinary athletic feats, not least because those who performed them had to stand on the sidelines and watch some women walk about in clothes.”
Whilst there has been much criticism of the attempt to incorporate fashion into the closing ceremony, little was made of the costumes created by Michael van der Ham, Christopher Shannon and Nasir Mazhar for the opening ceremony.
Suttirat Larlab, as creative director of the Opening Ceremony explained “We wanted to choose young designers who work and live in the East End for the opening ceremony and who create innovative and cutting edge new ideas. It has been an incredible experience working with this fresh new talent, all of whom have dedicated themselves heart and soul to this project.”
As can be expected, I was super excited to see my favourite designer’s (Michael van der Ham’s) work showcased at such a huge event and such a large audience. Michael spoke to British Vogue: “I felt really honoured that I was asked to design a segment for the Opening Ceremony – it was such a unique experience,” he said. “Fashion is a huge part of British culture and the Opening Ceremony is a celebration of that.”
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