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Mendrisio: Fashion Thread!

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[Update] I never win friends with these fashion posts. For the record, I respect other people's tastes, or at least their right to their own taste, even when it differs from mine. Nevertheless, I am right, and if I have to suffer your dissent, I do so on behalf of Fashion. I regret nothing!

National team fashions are one of the great creative spaces in the cycling world. For one, they aren't beholden to sponsor art. For two, the national teams have very little to do most of the year, even in an Olympic year. So there is no excuse for designing a crappy kit. Who made the best use of their time? Some ratings, in no particular order...

Switzerland

Starting here out of deference to the hosts. Alas... black shorts? Did anyone stop to think about the size of Cancellara's haunches? Because the black is about all we saw. Also, nobody's kit looks more like off-the-rack crapola from Performance or Bike Nashbar. Not a great effort from a country owning one of the world's more recognizable, sublime flag logos.

Rating: using the dead goat head 1-5 scale... Headrating_medium

More on the Flip...

Italia

Not an inspiring effort from the sometimes-world fashion capital, I must say. More like genericitalia than, say, the very clever kit used in the Olympics. Still looks good, of course, and I'll give back a severed becco head for the use of trade kit color accents in the shorts. Also, I refuse to rate the Russian kit since they basically stole the Italian one (possibly literally).

Rating: Headrating_mediumHeadrating_medium

Netherlands

Love it. The balance of orange to blue (maybe 2-1) is bright and flashy, in classic cycling style, without being a big blob of orange, like the recent Rabobank kits. Even the red-white-blue flag striping is awesome.

Rating: Headrating_mediumHeadrating_mediumHeadrating_mediumHeadrating_mediumHeadrating_medium !

Britain

The world's top five flags, in order:

  1. United Kingdom -- Iconic, great colors, great concept, it even has a cool name. Just try not to think about colonial history and you can't not love it.
  2. Cambodia -- One for the little guys.
  3. Canada -- Go there and see. It totally works, especially against the greens and blues of BC.
  4. Argentina -- Toss-up with Brazil, but Brazil gets all the love for everything, so I'll go with the Argies. If nothing else, to piss off English soccer fans.
  5. Texas -- Clean, symbolic, nice colors. The envy of 49 states.

Notable omissions: US, Brazil, all the tricolores, anything with an animal on it. Hey, five is a small number. As for the US, we could learn from Texas. Too busy. Anyway, this wasn't my favorite British Cycling design effort, as they've gotten a little too far from the Union Jack shape with the swirly lines, but good enough. When not stopping.

Rating: Headrating_mediumHeadrating_mediumHeadrating_mediumHeadrating_medium

Canada

What's with the black stripes everywhere? Bad color balance, way too busy... fashion disaster. Indistinguishable from Austria. This is not a compliment. Hopefully the hockey team comes up with something far better in February. Extra penalty for having a great flag to work with.

Rating: Headrating_medium

Deutschland

Kudos to whoever decided it was time to get back to traditional white. Nobody has put out more confusing stuff in the past: brownish-blue, blood red, etc. When Germany ditches the white, it's all bad. So back to the iconic white with bits of black, red and yellow. Very nicely balanced. Even the Adidas stripes have been suppressed. Speaking of balance, is any sibling rivalry as horribly unbalanced as the Dasslers'? Even I beat Mr Van P in basketball on occasion, once I started hitting from outside and forced him to bite on the upfake.

Rating: Headrating_mediumHeadrating_mediumHeadrating_medium

Australia

Usually nothing to see here, but this year's is a big upgrade, for one simple reason: the wide stripe on the shorts. Aussie nats and champs kits have fallen back on black shorts far too often. You can't be taken seriously as a fashion nation when you have nothing but black shorts and rubber slippers to your name. But in the right proportions the green and gold looks good with some black. This time, they nailed it.

Rating: Headrating_mediumHeadrating_mediumHeadrating_medium

Sweden

Properly savaged in the comment threads for using the Anglicized "Sweden." I just can't imagine any reason for doing this. They can't even use the excuse of a non-Romanized writing system. Otherwise nice kit from a country with no excuse for anything less, but tough shit.

Rating: Headrating_medium

United States

Like I said above, the flag itself is a bit much from a fashion standpoint (historical value aside), so consequently past national team kits have ranged from miserable to horrible. [Except for one, I think from the late 90s, that was very simple and cool.] This one is hardly the worst, but the lettering is cartoonish. And despite my love of cartoons, this isn't good. You could talk me into an extra half a head for the little stripes fade under the armpit though -- nice little detail.

Rating: Headrating_mediumHeadrating_medium

France

Way too much striping. The pictures of Jeannie Longo from yesterday look like a bad 1960s TV reception. Of course, in Jeannie's case, the images could be from 1960s TV reception. Saved by a few nice accents (shoes, the Look pattern) and the usual tasteful color choice. By which I don't mean "red and blue" but the particular shades thereof.

Rating: Headrating_mediumHeadrating_medium

Denmark

Sort of a placeholder for the small countries, for whom I am still looking for more images. But I like the yellow crests on the shoulders. Strong effort, rather than yet another Scandinavian cross design.

Rating: Headrating_mediumHeadrating_mediumHeadrating_mediumHeadrating_medium

Missing: Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway. Awaiting more pictures... For the former, I fear the worst. The latter two, am more positively anticipating.