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Sochi 2014 | Let the Games Begin

Sochi 2014 | Let the Games Begin

Sochi 2014

Next month the world’s eyes will be glued to televisions, laptops and cell-phone screens as Sochi, Russia, will become, for 16 days, the stage for the much-anticipated 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The Russian government has spent billions over the past few years to create what they promise will  be the greatest Olympics Games in history.

Russia is taking full advantage of the worldwide exposure of the Olympic Games to showcase their vast and rich cultural history which will be referenced in everything from the pageantry to the official costumes. For the fashionistas taking cues from this historical event the Byzantine influence may read “quirky”, but the Romance of 19th century Romanov excess makes for good fashion spins. Remember Anna Karenina?

Still of Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina | Sochi 2014 | Let the Games Begin

Still of Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina

The various uniform styles for the Russian delegation | Sochi 2014 | Let the Games Begin

The various uniform styles for the Russian delegation.

This year, expect the Russian athletes to embrace their flag colors as well as their fur heritage. The official uniforms for the opening ceremony, in fact, feature white fur trims to accent the colorful national colors.

Sochi 2014 | Let the Games Begin

During the Olympics games opening ceremony, the female team members will wear down-filled coats trimmed in white fur.

In past winter Olympics fur has been used to celebrate national identities as well as for its performance and warmth characteristics. At the opening ceremonies for Lake Placid in 1980 the USA team wore fur-lined shearling coats celebrating  America’s Western heritage (think Marlboro Man meets Tom Selleck 80s swagger) whereas Russia’s team donned the stereotypical de rigueur Cold War look of fur hats, large collars and  full fur coats.

Olympics Lake Placid 1980 | USSR and USA love their fur swagger | Sochi 2014 | Let the Games Begin

Olympics Lake Placid 1980 | USSR and USA love their fur swagger.

Popular culture Icon: The Marlboro Man | Sochi 2014 | Let the Games Begin

Popular culture Icon: The Marlboro Man

1976, at the XII Winter Olympics Games in Innsbruck, Austria, the Soviet Olympic team marched into the Bergisel Stadium donning some pretty impressive fur hats.

1976, at the XII Winter Olympics Games in Innsbruck, Austria, the Soviet Olympic team marched into the Bergisel Stadium donning some pretty impressive fur hats.

Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev (1906 - 1982) and fellow Politburo members, and others watching the Bolshevik anniversary parade in Red Square, Moscow, as the snow falls on Lenin's tomb. (Photo by Keystone:Getty Images)

Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev (1906 – 1982) and fellow Politburo members, and others watching the Bolshevik anniversary parade in Red Square, Moscow, as the snow falls on Lenin’s tomb. (Photo by Keystone:Getty Images)

While current fashion trends do play a role in the design of team costumes, when these trends  clash with sport and national identity, the result can be, well, overwrought. We’ll leave our figure skaters alone – their costumes seem to generate plenty of interesting discussions. But when it comes to competing in the cold of winter athletes do seem to favor a little fur glam both on and off the court.

Members of the British Alpine ski team in fashionable furs at the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid (this particular look is back today).

Members of the British Alpine ski team in fashionable furs at the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid (this particular look is back today).

Sochi 2014 | Let the Games Begin

Models present the uniform collection for the Russian Olympic team in Moscow, January 15, 2002 | The collection was designed for the coming winter Olympics. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin REUTERS

Unusual fashion flair: the Canadian Alpine-Ski Team sport furry footwear at the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.

Unusual fashion flair: the Canadian Alpine-Ski Team sport furry footwear at the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.

Miss Ann Heggtveit shows her skiing gold medal in slalom won in Squaw Valley , 1960.

Miss Ann Heggtveit shows her skiing gold medal in slalom won in Squaw Valley , 1960.

Sochi 2014 | Let the Games Begin

Off the court: Two-time Olympic Figure Skater Johnny Weir

Sochi 2014 | Let the Games Begin

American World Cup alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn wears her new Russian trapper fur hat.

While the world watches the sporting competitions we will have a special eye on the Sochi Olympic fashions!

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