As we celebrate all things youthful in our hot off the press Just Kids Issue, here we take a look at the bright young Brits who had the attention of hundreds of millions during the Olympic extravaganza!
Stepping into the spotlight at what George Michael described as “The Centre of the Universe”, London-based fashion designers Michael van der Ham, Christopher Shannon and milliner Nasir Mazhar created a wardrobe of medal-worthy costumes for performers at The Olympic Opening Ceremony. Collaborating with award-winning Director Danny Boyle and Costume Designer Suttirat Larlarb, the shining lights of British fashion dressed 350 of the ceremony’s participants, a crowd of Shannon-striped, van der Ham embellished and Mazhar-topped hot, young things bounced and shimmied around the Olympic stadium as a reported billion viewers watched online. i-D Online caught-up with the privileged three, to find out more about their Olympic efforts.
“I think we worked on four different looks in a few colourways. After meeting with Danny for the initial briefing, I was really aware that the spectacle was going to be huge and whatever we worked on needed to stand out and be clear. I faffed with a few different things then it became apparent that doing almost a mini archive range was the best idea, we selected pieces that we could re-fabricate and re-colour and also that would work on varying body shapes. I brought back a print from the SS09 collection that was really bold, it works best in a full print look but also with other pieces which really helps when you have to fit about 180 people. Also the section we worked on was about ‘the now’, it had to feel modern but also like the performers in the section would actually wear the pieces. It was amazing to see so many people all in my work, not an opportunity that comes around often, especially when around a billion people are watching.”
Harry wears all clothes Christopher Shannon for Olympic Opening Ceremony. Shoes Christopher Shannon for Kickers. Medal Cadbury.
“I knew that the section I was designing for was going to be about youth culture, London people and clubbing, so with this in mind I wanted to cover as many youth/sub-cultures, religions and styles as possible. There’s people from all walks of life here in London and it is always important for me to represent this in my work. Some of my designs were hijabs, head-wraps or turbans, hairstyles, robo teddies, light up deely boppers, dreadlock hairstyles, bully caps. To be asked to work on the Opening Ceremony was a huge honour, especially as it’s in the neighborhood where I grew up. It’s probably not going to come around again in my lifetime and after seeing the ceremony and how the games has affected the atmosphere in London it’s a really good feeling to think I was involved in London 2012.”
Zahra wears hat Nasir Mazhar for for Olympic Opening Ceremony. Vest Sunspel. Medal Cadbury.
Michael van der Ham
“I loved the way Danny and Suttirat wanted to focus on individuality within the ceremony and therefore the 250 plus costumes are divided up in to so many different designs and fabrications, rather than uniformed dance costumes. I basically collaged together references in each look that had to do with youth culture: striped jersey T-shirts, polo shirts, denim pencil skirts, really, everyday garments. But those are fused and mixed with elements of party dressing (it being a party scene). Those elements include sequinned dresses, ruffled silhouettes, brocades and draped details. All those elements collided into the pieces all being completely different from one another. It was incredible being involved with the Ceremony, it was such a huge project on such a huge scale which I’ve never done before. I was really flattered Suttirat asked us to be involved. It was so full-on how we had to come in all those weekends fitting three-hundred girls, like preparing for a fashion show week after week after week.”
Alicia wears all clothes Michael van der Ham for Olympic Opening Ceremony. Shoes Michael van der Ham. Medal Cadbury.