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The Styled Side: designers go for the Olympic gold

The hottest fashion accessories can be found around people's necks this Friday and in many different shades – ideally gold.

The Olympics begin in Rio, Brazil, and Michelle Dalton Tyree from Fashion Trends Daily says the style there will be leaps and bounds above anything we've seen in the past.

"We're going to have to give the Rio Olympic games a gold medal for most stylish Olympic games ever," she says, "because some of the fashion world's most notable names and brands are designing for it."

Ralph Lauren is stepping up for Team USA, H&M will be backing Swedish competitors, Cuban athletes will be outfitted by Christian Louboutin and more.

"We saw this tipping point in 2012 of designers collaborating with athletic brands and countries for a team's official Olympic kits," says Tyree, "which means everything from outfits at the opening and closing ceremonies, to hanging around the Olympic Village, at the podium and, of course, competing."

But the collaboration between designers and team countries has slowly developed over decades.

In 1932, the concept of an Olympic Village was introduced, and this is where it became fashionable for athletes to wear sportswear that represented their countries even when they were not competing.

Puma outfitted the entire West German team with shoes in 1948. 

That same year Olympic hurdler Ottavio Missoni, with Giorgio Oberweger, designed the knitted wool tracksuit worn by his compatriots on the Italian team.

"This effectively launched the design career for Missoni," says Tyree. His label Missoni became one of the most well-known high-end fashion houses to spring out of Italy.

"But the top honor goes to the L.A. Olympics in 1984," she says, "because it was these games when the International Olympic Committee opened up the games to corporate sponsorship. That meant athletes could now wear gear with official sponsor logos emblazoned on them: Nike, Puma, Adidas and more."

There are some things to consider when tapped to design for Olympians, however, because it's not all laurels and accolades.

"You have to design for a wide variety of people and body styles," Tyree explains. "It is possible to get too fashion-y, too."

British designer Stella McCartney took heat for her 2012 Sochi outfits being too high-concept and not capturing her country's spirit. She designed a deconstructed Union Jack, which was too deconstructed and was missing most of the red of the flag.

But done right, a designer's outfits can made athletes shine above their competitors.