LONDON — For some, it was like a runway show, only it took place inside a massive arena, with more than one billion people around the world watching. A clutch of London-based designers had their moment in the spotlight on Friday evening during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, designing costumes for dancers, flag bearers and the singer Emeli Sande.
Christopher Shannon, Michael Van Der Ham and Nasir Mazhar — who are all based in London’s East End, not far from the Olympic stadium — dressed 350 of the 1,200 dancers who took to the stage during a segment that focused on late 20th and 21st century British music. Their costumes were meant to represent the influence of British creativity on youth culture.
“London is known worldwide for its incredible talent in fashion design,” said Suttirat Larlab, creative director of the opening ceremony, who worked with Danny Boyle, the event’s artistic director. “We wanted to choose young designers who work and live in the East End for the opening ceremony and who create innovative and cutting edge new ideas.
“It has been an incredible experience working with this fresh new talent, all of whom have dedicated themselves heart and soul to this project. The opening ceremony is an incredible platform to showcase the very best of creative talent in the U.K., and we are thrilled that fashion is such an important part of this,” he said.
Jonathan Saunders dressed Sande, who sang the hymn “Abide With Me” during the evening, while Richard James created the outfit for the Olympic flag bearer Haile Gebrselassie. “To have a great Savile Row tailored suit at the heart of the opening ceremony is truly inspiring. I am delighted to have been asked to contribute,” said James. Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding, who design under the label Palmer/Harding and who are known for their white shirts, dressed the other flag bearers.