The most eye-catching uniforms at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony

From Bhutan's boots to bare-chested national dress, Friday's event featured not only top designer labels but also lots of colour and tradition

The Olympic stadiums may be devoid of spectators, but the world's top athletes made sure they turned out in their best at Friday's opening ceremony.

As is now tradition, top global labels including Ralph Lauren (Team USA), Ben Sherman (Team GB), Giorgio Armani (Team Italy) and Les Benjamins (Team Turkey) have designed outfits for their country's Olympic teams. While some, such as American designer Telfar Clemens, whose parents are from Liberia, created outfits for the five-member team representing the West African country.

Scroll through the gallery above for all the eye-catching uniforms at the Tokyo Games opening ceremony.

There were also eye-catching details, such as boots from Bhutan striped with a multicoloured gumdrop design, and lime green embroidery on shirts from Cameroon. Some athletes, such as Tonga flag-bearer Pita Taufatofua and Riilio Rii from the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, decided to turn up bare-chested.

Host country Japan harked back to their uniforms from the opening ceremony of the last Olympics to be held in Tokyo, in 1964. Back then, jackets were red and trousers white, the colours are switched this year.

Team Australia also honoured its Olympic history, with the sand-coloured blazer worn by athletes lined with the names of the country’s 320 Olympic gold medallists.

Meanwhile, some paid tributes to their country's traditions. Mexico, which held a national vote online to choose the opening ceremony looks, had their team lapels designed in traditional Zapotec embroidery. The embroidery was done by Oaxacan artisans, making each lapel among the 150 blazers a different custom design.

There is still more eye-catching fashion to come. Team Canada's "Canadian tuxedo" denim designs – inspired by Japanese street-style graffiti – which are to be worn at the closing ceremony, were the subject of much ridicule when they were revealed last year.

Lucia Kinghorn, vice president of design at Hudson’s Bay, which helped create Canada’s uniforms and other Olympic gear, was aware of the scorn.

“For as many naysayers, we have even more fans,” she told the Associated Press. “We’re proud of the thoughtful design behind Team Canada’s clothing and happy that so many people are talking about it.”

Updated: July 25th 2021, 12:18 PM
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