Skate Canada had great skating and not so great costumes in the pairs competition. None of the outfits really stood out to me. Most of them were predictable and mediocre.
The goal of pairs costuming is for both skaters dress as one complete look. They don't have to wear the exact same color and have the same exact embellishments to achieve this but the colors should compliment each other and they should look great together. The problem with many of the looks for this competition was a lack of creativity.
So many of the outfits looked basic with nothing special about them and there were way too many black costumes and white costumes . German competitors Allona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy wore black and white in their short program and long program. I think they could of experimented with more color.
There was one bright spot though. The beige/pink outfits of Russian skaters Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov was a welcomed changed from a sea of black and white fabric. Mukhortova's dress draped beautifully and floated with her movements. The layered skirt with sheer fabric over heavier fabric was the perfect combination and the jewels added the right amount of sparkle. I also loved her pink lipstick and choice of eyeshadow, it truly complimented the dress. Trankov's outfit was nice but not quite as nice as his partner's dress.
They scored a winner with their short program look but weren't as successful with their long program outfit. Skating to "Love Story" Mukhortova wore a pink sleeveless dress with white tights (that's a look you don't see very often. I can't remember the last time I saw a skater compete in white tights) and Trankov sported a grey vest and pants with a matching pink shirt. I give him extra points for the shirt. I think men look great in pink and shouldn't be afraid of looking less manly. As far as I'm concerned real men do wear pink.
Black is the new black when it comes to the Skate America men's competition. Many of the outfits wore by the competitors featured black pants, black shirts, black one piece outfits and black pants with black shirts.
I know it's a strong masculine color but lighten up guys, there's a whole spectrum of colors out there to choose from. US skater Evan Lysacek could be called the man in black. His outfits were designed by Vera Wang, a woman who is known for designing white wedding dresses. For some reason, Wang decided to dress Lysacek completely in black for his long and short program.
The problem with dressing black from head to toe is you tend to look flat and one dimensional on the ice, like a black shadow gliding across the bright, white ice. It's hard to stand out wearing black and when you are competing you want all eyes on you. If you must go to the dark side be more creative about it by wearing black with a lighter or brighter color.
French skater Florent Amodio's short program outfit of black pants paired with a white shirt was a nice balance. The white shirt was embellished with black and silver beading and the same design continued on his black pants tying the whole look together. Canadian Shawn Sayer's outfit to Latin music was basically black with a white shirt but it was the stunning turquoise and white paisley design over the black fabric that made it so eye catching. Brandon Mroz's red-black outfit was a great use of black without dressing monochromatic. The US skater wore deep red shirt with a black collar and cuffs. It was completely studded with black sparkly beads that would catch the light. The shirt complemented the plain black pants nicely.
Another way to avoid the black costume rut is to wear navy instead. Navy is a dark, masculine color that currently isn't overused on the ice.
Let's go back to Lysacek's black ensembles for a moment. Aside from being all black there is something else both of his outfits had in common. Feathers. I'm not a big fan of feathers on figure skating costumes for men or women (I still think Oksana Baiul's pink feather dress is one of the worst outfits ever) but there are exceptions. Every now and then feathers can be appropriate for interpreting the music or character being portrayed on ice. His short program music was "Firebird" so I understand the use of black feathers on the cuffs and shoulders of his top. However, I'm still trying to figure out the curly pipe cleaner like detail to his shoulders though. Once was not enough for Lysacek, his long program outfit also sported a few thin black feathers on the heavily beaded silver and black shoulder pads. Skating to the music "Scheherazade" I'm puzzled as to why he skated in feathers again.
The skater who put his best skate forward this week was picked for his creative use of black in the short and long program. Florent Amodio's long program outfit sparkled like glitter on ice. The burgundy long sleeve top had neon yellow and orange triangles appliques on the sleeves. It was accented with beaded suspenders attached to his black pants. He ended his program drawing attention to the suspenders. It was a very youthful and fun look for this talented teenager. What an unique combination of colors and yet it worked well together--- proving you can look masculine without dressing like Johnny Cash.
I love to talk about skating and fashion here I can blend together the best of both worlds. I watch skating on TV and on the Internet so I hope the colors are true to what I see on the screen. I look forward to sharing my opinions and connecting others who get excited when they see a skater putting their "best skate forward".
I prefer watching skating competitions instead of ice shows because I love the suspense, drama and excitement of the top skaters in the world all competing for a chance to be the best. A skater has to have to right skills, artistic talent, the perfect music and what he or she wears ties the whole look together. Watching the NHK Trophy, part of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, several competitors achieved that goal but a few fell short.
The ladies competition was a total "bling fest". Most of the outfits were adorned with beads, crystals and anything that sparks fire on ice. I'm a total "blinger", things that sparkle and catch the light attracts me like a moth to a colorful neon sign.
The heavily beaded neckline on Japanese skater Shoko Ishikawa's black long program dress was stunning. What a wise move to confine the sparkle to the neckline only. It made for a very sophisticated look. Canadian Cynthia Phaneuf's short program outfit was refreshingly different. You don't see very many paisley patterns on skaters and paisley is a popular look in the non-skating fashion world. I applaud skaters willing to try something a little different. The green color was very flattering to her skin. However, I wish she smoothed her hair down so it wouldn't look out of control and messy.
It was also great that not all of the sparkle was confined just to the outfits. Several skaters coordinated their hairstyles too. American Ashley Wagner's purple long program dress had matching jewels wrapped around her head like a bejeweled halo. Miki Ando's gold "hair bling" encircling her bun helped to create the "Cleopatra" image of the Japanese skater's winning long program.
As I mentioned before, I like seeing skaters break out of the routine and take some fashion risks. Kudos to Japanese skater Yukari Nakano who created added drama by having scarves attached to the cuffs of her Phantom of the Opera dress. That look was not quite as effective on Russian Alena Leonova's blue, white and red short program dress.
Speaking of Russian skaters, at one time they were the only ones sporting gloves in competition, now we're seeing skaters from other countries covering their hands. I'm not sure what that means, dramatic emphasis/drawing more attention to hand movements, cold hands or no time for a manicure.
Trends I feel that have run it's course are the backless dresses, it was amusing at first but now, many of the dresses just look unfinished, as if the costume designer suddenly ran out of material.
I also think "illusion fabric", the skin colored fabric that makes a skater look like she's wearing less clothes than she really is, is way overused. First of all, skaters aren't fooling anyone into thinking they are dressed that skimpy (there are rules about that you know) and second, are they trying to be a "sex symbol" or a winning figure skater? People who dress too sexy aren't always taken seriously. While I love the asymmetrical draping of the skirt on Miki Ando's Cleopatra dress, the bodice has way too much illusion fabric, making her look practically topless. Cleopatra herself would of blushed dressed like this. Ashley Wagner's purple dress has an exotic look to go with the Stranger in Paradise music but the cutout in the front with illusion fabric is totally necessary and distracting.
I'm glad none of the competitors adorned their outfits with feathers. There were enough of them flying around the skaters in the "kiss and cry" area. What's up with that? That must be the strangest "kiss and cry" ever. Leave it to the Japanese to break with tradition. The background changed colors too. I'm still wondering how on earth did they get those large fluffy feathers to float up as well as down?
The ladies competitor that put her "best skate forward" at NHK is Canadian Cynthia Phaneuf. Her short program teal paisley dress was a wonderful but it was her long program dress that was off the chart stunning. The peacock blue, black and gold Art Deco inspired sleeveless dress was totally gorgeous. The drop earrings, gold barrettes surrounding her hair neatly tucked in a bun gave her a very polished and regal look.
You've seen TV shows where people comment about the outfits celebrities wear on the red carpet, this blog offeers fun comments about the costumes figure skating celebrities wear on the ice and who is putting their best foot forward...or should I say "best skate forward". If you are an "ice fashionista" check out the "Best Skate Forward" blog.
I've always loved fashion, even when I was young. I don't remember much about my elementary teachers or classmates but I do remember the outfits I wore to school especially the hot pink Coco Chanel style jacket and skirt with the pink fur collar and cuffs. When I started figure skating, it was no surprise that I plunged into the world of stretch fabrics and anything that would sparkle. I soon learned how to make and bead my own costumes. Even today when I watch skating on TV I find myself commenting on what the skaters are wearing as well as how they are performing.