Sunday, November 8, 2009

NHK Trophy--What the Ladies Wore

Welcome to my first blog.

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.

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