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Athletes won’t be the only ones outfitted by a designer during the Beijing Olympic Games next month.
This story first appeared in the July 25, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Ports 1961 has struck a deal with NBC Universal to dress four female commentators for NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and USA Network during the Games, which take place Aug. 8 to 24.
“I wanted to do something in cooperation with the Olympics,” said Tia Cibani, creative director of Ports 1961, the New York-based brand owned by Ports International, which has a strong presence in China.
It’s an astute move. While athletes hog much of the spotlight during the Games, they aren’t the only ones with heightened visibility for the three-week period. The programming on NBC, which owns the U.S. media rights to the Olympics through 2012, reaches a wide audience. For instance, 203 million viewers tuned into NBC Universal channels for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
For the upcoming Olympics, Cibani created the outfits for NBC late night show host and Olympic correspondent Mary Carillo, MSNBC coverage host Melissa Stark, USA Network and CNBC coverage host Alex Flanagan and Oxygen coverage host and sports desk reporter Lindsay Czarniak.
Cibani met with each correspondent, as well as their stylists, and created three looks a day for morning, noon and evening occasions.
“It’s not about putting them into sporty comfortable gear, but about having them to look great for reporting, on location, in the studio and even going out for dinners,” Cibani said. “It’s been fun. Each one is very different and I had to marry the Ports aesthetic with each girl’s personality, likes and dislikes.”
And Cibani, who lived in Xiamen, China, for most of the Nineties and still spends much time in that part of the world, took another thing into consideration while designing. “It is super hot in August in Beijing, which is one thing I am very familiar with,” she said.