By  on June 10, 2008

HONG KONG — Fashion designers might sometimes be accused of being prima donnas, but Lane Crawford has found a dozen who are good sports indeed. The Hong Kong-based retailer invited 12 designers to each create a look reflecting their favorite Olympic sport, with no restrictions.

Participating designers and brands are 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alberta Ferretti, Alexander McQueen, Burberry Prorsum, Martin Margiela, Stella McCartney, Costume National, Givenchy, Neil Barrett, Raf Simons, Yves Saint Laurent and Rick Owens. The resulting one-of-a-kind styles will be displayed in Beijing during the 2008 Summer Games, which begin in August.

The collaboration resulted in some surprising choices: Margiela created a sculptural shuttlecock top inspired by badminton, while McQueen chose fencing as his sport, designing a two-piece ensemble that retains only the silhouette of a traditional fencing costume. "This piece for me has a very poetic nature. The consideration and agility needed when fencing is completely turned on its head by using full mirror embroidery — making what should be a very protective piece strikingly fragile," said McQueen of his design.

Also turning things upside down is Phillip Lim, who took special pride in choosing table tennis.

"My inspiration was simply to recognize and celebrate the often forgotten elegance of the sport of Ping-Pong," said Lim, who wants his dress to encourage creative thinking about sports attire. "[I wanted to] create a concept of dress that will much more inspiring the sport of Ping-Pong can be with such dressing options."

McCartney took the equestrian option. "I wanted to do equestrian because there is always this stereotype of what one wears when one is horse riding," said the designer of her blouson overcoat and jodhpurs. "I thought it was a nice area to have a bit of fun and try to change that perception slightly, but still keep the history of horse riding in that. And obviously, I have grown up on horses my whole life," said McCartney.

Stefano Pilati of Yves Saint Laurent chose running as his sport, but was thinking about all athletes for his Icarus-inspired design. "In this, you find a fantasy inspired by the experience of a true athlete, her heroic journey through space and time...almost in defiance of nature, almost in flight," said Pilati.All 12 designs, called "The Collective: Synergy in Fashion," are to be displayed for two weeks at Beijing's Today Art Museum as part of its "Fashion in Motion" exhibition. Afterward, the clothes will be displayed at Lane Crawford's Beijing flagship throughout July and August. The exhibit will culminate in an auction of the designs with 100 percent of the proceeds going to UNICEF's Special Relief Funds for Children affected by the Sichuan earthquake. Details of the auction are yet to be determined.


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