Christian Louboutin, luxury accessories designer world renowned for his signature red soles, teams up with the French E-concept store SportyHenri.com to support the Cuban National delegation participating in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as Official Supplier of the Celebratory Outfit. Providing the elegant non-performance outfit to be worn by the athletes at formal occasions, in particular the Closing Ceremony, the designs not only takes visual cues from Cuban heritage but from the athletes themselves. Being a strong source of inspiration and guidance, the Cuban athletes as well as several former athletes had an active part in shaping and choosing the collection.
Joining forces with SportyHenri.com, the recently launched E-concept store for men devoted to sport and style, Louboutin dresses the delegation of over 100 Cuban elite athletes. Henri Tai, founder of Sporty Henri, lent expertise from his former life as a professional athlete whilst the shoe designer has drawn inspiration from sports for decades: "It´s that elegance and fluidity of movement of someone who is so in control of their body that fascinates me. At the Olympics, it feels like these athletes put on performance gear and simultaneously turn into these superheroes that defy gravity, that defy time, that defy all rules of physics. We designed the celebratory outfit for the moment they turn back into humans, still in that glory moment, still in their light but heading back to the real world. We really want them to continue feeling amazing in their skin while looking astonishing."
Through custom fittings with the Olympic athletes, and consultation with former Olympians, a look was created which expresses unique Cuban chic and sense of style on an athletic silhouette while not compromising the ease, comfort and fit they seek as the eyes of the world rest upon them. Henri Tai, former French handball player explains, "The clothes need to fit spectacular athlete bodies – they are definitely not sample size or average, neither in length of limbs, nor in proportions. It was our mission to make them look tailor-fitted and great."
The outfits the athletes sport include the high-top trainer and the loafer style Naza Star for men, both snug fits in calf leather making for the light tread of gymnast Manrique Larduet Bicet as well as adding elegance to the remarkable size 51.5 foot of wrestler Mijaín López Núñez. The kitten heel sandal for female athletes, Naza Sandal adds a touch of glamour and a spring to their steps while not forgetting that these ladies' stage is the track, the pitch, the ring.
The elegant clothing concept was brought to life within a Parisian atelier creating sharply tailored jackets, in red for men and beige for women, which are equally suited to adorning the shoulders of delicate judoka Dayaris Mestre Alvarezor and the biceps of Judo star Alex Garcia Mendoza. The athletes' jackets contrast with interchangeable trouser and shorts with a skirt option for women and proudly carry the nation's flag on the wearer's breast pocket, whilst the five- pointed star is used as emblem of luck displayed upon the back of each athlete's jacket.