Op-Ed

Rei Kawakubo’s Olympic Gold

Speedo LZR RACER Team USA

Speedo LZR RACER Team USA

NEW YORK, Aug 13, 2008 / FW/ — Every time Michael Phelps steps on the podium in Beijing to receive his gold medal, Rei Kawakubo is there with him. The founder of Comme des Garçons designed the red, white and blue swimsuits for Team USA.

Sponsored by Speedo, Team USA’s uniform is based on the company’s LZR RACER suit, its original gray and black silhouette designed by the legendary Comme des Garcons. For the Beijing Olympics, Rei Kawakubo incorporated the patriotic stars and stripes of the U.S. flag and joined it with the distinctive metallic calligraphy that already appears in the suit. The calligraphy, which was painted by celebrated artist Inoue Yu-ichi, means ‘kokoro’ represent the heart, spirit and mind.

With 33 of the 36 swimming medals won by an athlete wearing Speedo’s LZR RACER so far, the suit is fast becoming a symbol of synergy between pure design (fashion), technology (NASA) and commerce (Speedo).

An iconic brand for swimsuits, Speedo, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, harnessed the expertise of NASA and a number of international research institutes to create the LZR Pulse, the material used for the LZR Racer.

Using the LZR Pulse™, an ultra lightweight, low drag, water repellent and fast drying fabric unique to Speedo, the LZR Racer suit is the world’s first fully bonded competition swimsuit. With Rei Kawakubo’s distinctive silhouette, American athletes are wearing one of the most sought after designers in fashion.

[MARI DAVIS]