The opening ceremony of the delayed Tokyo Olympics was a proud showcase of the best performing talent Japan has to offer, delivering moments of upbeat energy alongside solemn reflection of the year that has passed.
The ceremony also did not disappoint when it came to delivering on the sartorial goods. From the fabulously fluffy gown worn by Japanese singer Misia during the Japanese national anthem, to several nods to Japan’s many fashion subcultures, fashion played a major role in ringing the games in after a dark year.
Here are the best fashion moments at the opening ceremony.
One of the standout sartorial moments from the opening ceremony was undoubtedly when Japanese singer Misia sang the Japanese national anthem wearing a voluminous tulle gown by Tomo Koizumi.
The dress featured layers of white tulle scrunched together in Koizumi’s signature style, with puffed-up shoulders and a cinched-in waist. The skirt, meanwhile, billowed out onto the stage in a colourful amalgamation of pink, yellow, purple and red.
Koizumi is renowned in the Japanese fashion scene and beyond, having received support from Katie Grand, Marc Jacobs, and more. His unique and flamboyant designs, which masterfully blend the traditions of Japanese culture with an eccentric contemporary aesthetic, have also been worn by several famous faces, including the singer Anne-Marie and Bella Hadid, who walked in Koizumi’s debut runway show at New York Fashion Week in 2019.
Woodwork in style
Dancers depicting carpenters wore working jackets in blue, white and red, adorned with traditional Japanese motifs. The performers sang a traditional Japanese work song “Komari Uttar”, used by labourers for centuries to synchronise their efforts.
Essential Gen Z headgear
The bucket hat, a staple of Generation Z’s fashion wardrobe, also made several appearances in the opening ceremony.
Several dancers during the creation of the Olympic symbol wore the headgear, as well as the bearer of the country signposts, who donned black-and-white checkers from head to toe, including their bucket hats.
Giorgio Armani tracksuits
The Italian athletes joined the parade decked out in tricolore tracksuits and jerseys designed by none other than Giorgio Armani.
The design features a circular version of the Italian tricolore flag with the word “Italia” emblazoned in “Japanese-style” font. The Italian national anthem is also printed on the inside of the jackets and sweatshirts, as well as on the inside collar of the polo shirts.
Eagle-eyed social media users noticed that several performers in the opening ceremony were dressed as fashionable goths, one of Tokyo’s many style subcultures.
One Twitter user wrote: “Vogueing goths! Best opening ceremony ever.”
Another added: “Goth kids in the Olympic opening ceremony. My heart twinged.”
All oiled up
Who knew that an oleaginous torso would become a fashion statement in its own right? It transpires that Tonga's flag bearer, Pita Taufatofua, is trying to make it one, as he was seen posing in the opening ceremony in a straw skirt with his torso bared - and significantly oiled-up.
One Twitter user teased: “Ain’t no baby oil left in Tokyo lmfao [sic]” in response to the image.
Bermuda shorts for Bermuda
What better way to introduce your country’s team than by wearing shorts of the same name? Of course, Bermuda arrived wearing a pair of their native shorts, but in a playful twist, they chose bubblegum pink pairs that added a dose of joy to their otherwise fairly preppy ensembles, which comprised a button up navy collegiate blazer, a white collared shirt, navy tie, and navy knee-high socks.
If you were waiting for some intergalactic sartorial action, you need not wait anymore as Latvia has provided it in droves. The team arrived wearing space-like outfits, with the women clad in foil-esque silver mini dresses underneath sheer bomber jackets while the men wore grey trousers and white jackets that were just as suitable for jetting off into the galaxy.
Who doesn’t love a patterned shirt? The Brazilian team arrived in their finest patterned garb, with the men wearing buttoned up shirts covered in green, blue, yellow, and red leaves, while the women wore dresses made from the same print.
A masterclass in festival fashion.
Anyone for ice cream?
In a retro twist, the Paraguay team arrived in striped red, white and blue shirts that looked like a cross between those worn by ice cream vendors in the 1960s and ones worn by bowling teams in the 1990s. Veronica Cepede Royg and Fabrizio Zanotti were pictured at the front carrying the country’s flag.
The women paired their shirts with white shorts, while the men wore full-length trousers. Both wore straw boater hats with a blue ribbon wrapped around them.
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