Aye, it's happened again, the collision of athletics and fashion with predictable casualties. This time, it's the Scots, who should never be trusted with sheep or color, but in a moment of weakness, both were abused. As a result, lads and lassies representing Scotland at the upcoming Commonwealth Games, which are like the Olympics for the British empire in terms of sports contested and four-year cycle, will sashay out in the opening ceremonies in this...
The kneesocks-jerk reaction has been critical. Why, I don't know — it's a simple matter of unity of statement. A dude wearing tartaned-up knee socks and a kilt will naturally want to complete the look with a Little House On The Peat Bog small floral print blouse. In the design world, it's called not mixing metaphors, and is very highly regarded.
Glasgow's own designer, Jilli Blackwood, seen there in the center in the traditional dress of the theatrically employed, has come in for harsh words from the Lycra-clad masses, unfairly. A little education about Blackwood's directive from Team Scotland and her vision will go a long way toward changing those screams of "Horrific" to "Hell yes!"
The Commonwealth Games are held this year, starting on July 23 in Scotland, so as hosts the Scots were under considerable pressure. Blackwood reports her instructions from Team Scotland were "to come up with a parade uniform that was high on impact and made a real statement, but also had a contemporary feel." For a country that has chosen to gird their collective ample loins in swaying horizon-wide kilometers of brightly hued plaid set off with patches of pelt at groin level, this directive is an invitation to Gaga's Closet.
Closer analysis reveals that Blackwood has thoughtfully and brilliantly answered that charge. First, the color palette: Skye (ha) blue for the unreasonably simple Scottish flag (see below), amped up to speak to the country's devotees of psychedelic drugs; oatmeal nods to oatmeal; and fuschia hearkens to the color of competitors' faces after tossing the kaber. Or in this case, the javelin. The women's wraparound dress skims over figure flaws, visually narrows shotputter's shoulders and is the teeny-tiniest bit coquettish, ala The Queen Mum. The women's stone-colored bag brings to mind stones. Around women's necks. The men's traditional leather sporran is a bag worn over the crotch giving them somewhere to put their hands. Subtlety among the Scots is not valued. So you can see that Blackwood's design has integrity, continuity and meaning. It's not humiliating — it's Scottish!
Singling out this collection is fun, yes, but irresponsible. Olympic ceremonies are a unique and irresistible occasion to dress up divinely built people in obsolete and culturally offensive Bo Peep-but-brighter costumes with a TV audience of billions instead of the usual drag crowd. Let's review the literature:
Equally at home in Sochi or while scrapbooking, Ralph Lauren's ensemble really captures the American spirit of conspicuous consumption — price tags integral to the design!
Not to be outdone, the Norwegian curling team can repurpose their gear when they form a kids' birthday party quartet.
The 1992 Australian delegation may in fact have some worries.
Crimes of the Russian state, 1992.
Germany, starting it all over again.
Blood-of-the-people red comes in all sizes.
The design world has clearly been inspired by the agony, and Ecstasy.