Monday, November 16, 2009

"Men in Black" at Skate America

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.

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