Tuesday, October 30, 2012

April Yang !!!

April Yang, Winner of "Project Style 2012"

Last week, we crowned our National Project Style 2012 Winner! She is April Yang! April is 19 years old and hails from Murrieta CA. She attends Palomar College where she studies Fashion Design and Visual Merchandising. April also has a fun Fashion & DIY YouTube Channel  that has recently hit over 31,000 subscribers and over 4 million views (!).

Style Trois: Nick Verreos, April Yang and "Project Style 2011 Promendae Temecula" winner Lexi Laura

"Project Style" is a national contest organized by Forest City Centers to find the Next Top Trendsetter of the Country. Selected Forrest City Centers/Malls across the Country held local competitions looking for the next great Stylista--someone who could style a fab outfit using shopping gift cards. They also had to put videos of their outfits up for people to vote.

 Nick Verreos, Project Style 2012

The top vote-getters then got  the chance for a "Live Style Off" at their local malls--some of which I had the pleasure of hosting! The winner of each "Live Style Off" received a Shopping Gift Card worth $1,000 and a chance for the National Prize--

A trip to NYC, attend a NY Fashion Week fashion show, a SoHo shopping trip (both with me!) and lots more!

 Nick Verreos Hosting "Project Style 2012" Promenade Temecula

Now, back to our winner: April Yang happens to be the Winner of Promenade Temecula's "Project Style" which I had the honor of hosting as well as judging not too long ago. At the time, she showed all of us (myself and the other judges) her individual style, great eye for color and professionalism. She also brought a HUGE crowd of family and friends to support her at the time--with big ol' posters and photos.

April Yang, Winner of Promenade Temecula's Project Style 2012 "Live Style Off" and National Winner

Subsequently, she was crowned "Project Style 2012 Temecula Mall" Winner, which put her in the running for the overall National Finals. She then competed against 14 other "Project Style 2012" regional winners for the Grand Prize. They all had to submit videos, photos and explanations on their outfits.

Jeannie Mai and Nick Verreos--Project Style 2012

I've been part of "Project Style" for several years now and this year, I was made their Official Co-Spokesperson--along with the gorgeous and fabulous--Jeannie Mai of Style Network. Jeannie and I were two of the three Final National Judges. The other esteemed judge was:

Jane Lisy, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Forest City, recognized by the industry for her award-winning retail leadership and technology experience with shopping centers

Each of the 15 finalists received a $200 mall gift card and were challenged to create the ultimate outfit/ensemble that best represented their sense of style. We judged on Concept, Creativity, Sense of Style, Presentation and Fashion Knowledge, giving the stylistas scores for each of the five criteria. It was a really difficult decision to pick a Winner and trust me, we deliberated for a very long time. The scores were very, very close. But finally, we all agreed on April as our Project Style 2012 National Top Trendsetter.

Here are Photos of April's Winning Look:
 




April Yang, Project Style 2012

Here are excerpts of what she said about her Project Style 2012 Winning Outfit:
"The juxtaposition of contrasting textures is a classic design aesthetic for beautiful architecture. My outfit is inspired by the soft curves, hard lines, and ornate details of the buildings at Balboa Park in San Diego. I layered a denim button up underneath a black body-con dress to create a mix of textures between the leather and the denim...The body-con dress is feminine because of its fitted style but I loved how the leather cut-outs on top give it an edge. This created a very structured look which is why I decided to choose jewelry with soft lines. I kept my shoes a neutral color to draw the attention first on my outfit and then down to my shoes. The contrasting textures of my clutch sums up my theme and brings harmony to the overall look"
She went to Forever 21, Reflection, Macy's, Charming Charlie and H & M for her outfit.

Congratulations to April and to all the other finalists in "Project Style 2012"! April: see you in NYC next year! Can't wait--we'll have SOOOO much fun!

Click Below to watch April's Winning Video:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Unitard KRAZEEE, and Carmen SUBLIME...and much more: Pairs and Ice Dance Costumes!

Top Three Pairs: (left to right) Silver medalist from Canada Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford, Gold medalist from Germany Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, Bronze medalist from Italy Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek, 2012 Skate Canada International, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating at WFCU Centre Windsor, Canada

Alright kids, we're now wrapping up my Skate Canada 2012 Costume Reviews--you can read about the LADIES here and the MEN here , in case you missed it--so now it is time for the PAIRS and Ice Dance. And buckle your Costume Seat Belts...it's going to be a bumpy prints-and-sequins ride.

Let's being with the Unitard Costumed "Elephant in the Room"--yes, the German Gold Medal-winning Pairs team of Savchenko and Szolkowy: These two UBER fit Figure Skating Pairs couple are famous (or is it infamous?) for their "Pink Panther" get-ups of two years ago, which they wore for their 2010-2011 Season Long Program to, (you guessed it), "The Pink Panther":

 No one thought they could top these costumes above. Well, kiddies. They did this year. Read on...

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany: For their Short Dance to "Kismet" by Bond (the Australian/British string quartet specializing in classical/pop crossover music), they went very Cirque du Soleil splatter-paint/tie-dye with crystals--for their costumes. When they appeared on the ice at Skate Canada, I admit I GASPED. It was one of those "What the HE** ???". She wore a predominantly red multicolored unitard with a swirly illusion torso and choker/mock-neck detail. He wore a darker unitard with the Gay Rainbow Flag splattered on half his torso and legs. It made NO SENSE. And I swear that in the close-up images you could see PUFFY PAINT! Yes, PUFFY PAINT. But, surprise: I still liked it. Only because it was so wack-a-do. But (yeah there's a "but"), I know this was not music from "Kismet" the Musical or Film...and yet, part of me wishes that they would have dressed closer to this:

And if you think what they wore for their Short Program was Koo-Koo, this is what they wore for their Long Program--Koo-Koo Part Zwei:

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy debuted these costumes for their Long Program to "Flamenco Bolero". Robin wore another unitard so it's a good guess that he probably LOVES untitards--or showing off his perfect physique via a unitard. These costumes were like a Costume Tribute to Spanish Catalan artist Joan Miró-meets-Cirque du Soleil (once again!).  

The Miró part took care of the Spanish part in "Flamenco Bolero", but the unitard-splattered-paint costume madness...well, I'm still confused. With that being said, I am a big fan of being surprised, shocked and thrown off my couch when it comes to Figure Skating Costumes. And these two did that. As Koo-Koo as they were, they get my "Nick Costume Vote" for MAJORLY stepping outside the costume box. Although I must say it does become quite distracting...at least to me as a designer. The whole time I'm watching thinking "What is going on here?!?" and not really concentrating on the skating.


Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada--They got the Silver for Pairs during this past weekend's 2012 Skate Canada International so Congrats to them. They skated to "La Bohème" for their Short Program. So, therefore, their costumes were supposed to reflect 1840's Paris bohemians. Well...not so mucheey. Between the two, they looked like a Sequined Pageant Girl Collides with a Gay Boy Scout.  I like his ascot. That's about it. By the way: was that ascot supposed to qualify as the "Paris" part of "Parisian Bohemians"? Just wondering...

For their Free Skate to "Soundtrack of the 2007 British Film 'Angel' ", he wore an outfit that made him look like a waiter at a local Olive Garden or the Head Concierge at the Four Seasons: a pin-stripe vest, gray shirt, black pants and tie. On a good note, if this was inspired by the music of a 2007 film, his outfit WAS VERY 2007. Her costume was "just there". She could have ordered it from a catalog. Nothing costume fashion-savvy earth shaking.

Stefania Berton and Ondřej Hotárek of Italy--As is obvious from their Free Skate, these two skate to "Flamenco". They got the Bronze at Skate Canada 2012. She looks like a Spanish Flamenco dancer and he looks like a cute Czech boy (he is!) in a red and black sequined trim vest and black pants outfit. Positives: I like the asymmetry of her costume and the embroidered-and-sequined lace detail (which was carried onto to his look). Negatives: Oh gee, it's a red-and-black costume couple doing a Spanish Theme. How original. Not.

The Ice Dance Costume Highlights: 

Ice Dance Top Three: (L-R) Silver medalists Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy, Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada and Bronze medalists Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko of Russia, 2012 Skate Canada International, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating at WFCU Centre Windsor, Canada

Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill of Canada--For her "Yankee Polka" (that's the Dance Theme of this season) Short Dance to "My Fair Lady", these two donned colorful orange and peach-colored costumes that worked well for their number. As you know, I am not a fan of the whole men's vest/dress shirt/pants look but on Asher, it worked. These two always step outside the box with their costumes and this year they do it again. I can't say it is the height of sophistication, but it does get everyone to take notice.


Julia Zlobina and Alexei Sitnikov of Azerbaijan--For their "Waltz/Polka" Short Dance, these two went very colorful--using flame-like apple green and blue designs, against a black backdrop. I think it worked. He is very matchy-matchy to her costume and it's OK. Maybe I am just excited he wasn't wearing a vest that looked as if it came from "Ross Dress For Less" (like some of the other skaters).

Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko of Russia--For their Free Dance to "The Godfather", they decided to go "Jersey Wedding Guests" in terms of their costumes. Ekaterina wore an ivory knee-length dress with godets to add movement--and Ilia wore a suit that was straight out of 1982. Do you guys think this worked? I'm leaving it up to you to decide.


The only thing that I noticed is that you have to be very careful in wearing light colors and especially ivory--because the heavy makeup can get  on your dress (as seen above). And yes, the knee bandage is VERY CHIC!

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada--They skated their Long Program to "Carmen" by Rodion Shchedrin. Their costumes were FLAWLESS; chic, directional, modern and Fashion Week-fab. I. LOVED. THEM. Not only was I moved by their exciting and fiery program--the modern costumes enhanced it --and really said to a fashion-savvy audience (me!) that we are THE FUTURE of Ice Dancing. And kids, I was listening!

I loved everything about these looks. Tessa's plunging neckline and open-back dress looked like a Balenciaga Paris cocktail dress one could find at Barney's. And I loved that she looked like Kristen Stewart with her darker hair and ponytail extensions. I also liked Scott's solid and sheer top. This was  Figure Skating Male Costume Fashion Chic at its best. But my favorite part was that they made the choice--and risk--to skate to "Carmen" and NOT wear RED! Modern and Chic! They really moved me...with their Free Dance Program and these very 2012 costumes. GO CANADA. And GO Virtue and Moir.


Charlie Chaplin, A Torredor, A Sorcerer, Blouson Shirts and Many Vests...Yes, it's THE MEN:

Costumed Boys: (left to right) Silver medalist Patrick Chan from Canada, Gold medalist Javier Fernandez from Spain and Bronze medalist Nobunari Oda from Japan stand on the podium after the 2012 Skate Canada International Men's Competition, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating at WFCU Centre Windsor, Canada.

In my last post, I discussed the LADIES and the costumes they "unveiled" at the 2012 Skate Canada International ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating competition, which occurred this past weekend in Windsor Ontario Canada. So, now, it's time to talk about the MEN! Since this is the second of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2012 series, this is also the first time a lot of these skaters are debuting their programs for this new season--as well as their costumes.


Let's begin with Canada's Patrick Chan:

Patrick Chan came in as the Defending World Champion and Gold Medalist from Skate Canada 2011. Above is what he wore for his Short Program to Rachmaninoff's "Elegie in E Flat Minor". It was deep blue-colored lightly beaded blouson long sleeve top with a plunging neckline (Oh Patrick!) with attached convertible collar and cascade ruffles.

The top is very similar to what he wore last season at Skate Canada for his Long Program to "Concierto de Aranjuez" (Michelle Kwan's song thank you VERY MUCH!). It seems that Patrick loves a good blouson. Getting back to the current new-and-improved Short Program blouse costume: Since his music was Classical, I think he was trying to vibe a classic and romantic look and he even had a lace back detail which is A LOT of look for Patrick. I did LOVE the pants. They fit him PERFECTLY and I liked how they had the beaded tuxedo stripe down the side, bringing in the lightly beaded detail from the top.

This is what he wore at last year's Skate Canada 2011 and for his Short Program to "Take Five":

Oh yes, Patrick also LOVES a good vest...so much so that for this year's Long Program, he couldn't stay away from another vest:

Chan skated his Long Program to Puccini's "La Bohème". The story of this very famous opera, involves young bohemians living in Paris in the 1840s. It was nice that he went "Period Costume"-friendly with this and I could just hear him telling his costume designer to "PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE ME A VEST...'cause I REALLY REALLY like them!". I like the colors and style of his curved neckline waistcoat (very 1840s), but the white blouse with lacing is what throws me off.  He looks more "Pirates of Penzance" as opposed to Paris 1840s Boho.

Above is what men wore in 1840s Paris and a male lead in the opera "La Bohème". 

All in all, I feel that he could have been more creative and unique with his Free Skate costume. I will never, ever be a fan of a costume that looks like you could buy it at the corner drug store. For me, he should have continued on the style of his short program costume, something not as reverential and with a bit more style.

Javier Fernández of Spain: The Gold Medal winner from 2012 Skate Canada International skated his Short Program to "The Mask of Zorro" and of course, it was a red-and-black --very Latino! But it wasn't "Period" Mask of Zorro but rather a modern interpretation-costume wise. I really like this look. It is exactly what I was talking about above and what Patrick Chan failed to do. You understand the relation to his music but it isn't so obvious.

For his Long Program to "Charlie Chaplin Medley", he wore this costume above featuring that DREADED vest (dreaded to me, because it's SO expected) those male figure skaters LOVE; wing-tip collar shirt, tie and pleated pants.

But in this case, it would be hard not to take such a direct interpretation of Charlie Chaplin. I liked the combination of baggy pants and tight waistcoat. I think he looks good. Slim and modern. It would have nice to see a very shrunken jacket to finish the entire outfit off but I get that it might have been restricting when it came time to accomplish his fab jumps! Japanese skater Nobunari Oda did a "Charlie Chaplin" look for his 2009-2010 Season Long Program, using that "shrunken jacket" suggestion of mine, and I think this worked well:

Now, speaking of Nobunari...

Nobunari Oda of Japan: Nobunari skated his Short Program "The New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms" wearing this costume. It's a GOOD mess, rather campy and so "Blades of Glory". I love that a male figure skater can sometimes just go "old school" and dress like this. It is a BIG trend among the male Japanese figure skaters and I love it!

For his Long Program to Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and "Daphne et Chloe", Oda wore this embroidered cropped lapel'ed "robe" cinched at the waist with red sequin fabric. I really liked this too.

There were kimono-like elements to the wrapping of the top and I enjoyed the pop of color (maybe an homage to Mickey and his red robe above?) and overall, it had that "Sorcerer's" whimsy to it. Good job Nobunari!


Takahito Mura of Japan: Takahito skated his Short Program to "Shogun" so naturally there were elements of  the movie's costumes as well as references to Samurai warriors. Notice the striped motif in the front part, the stiffened shoulders, and oversized sleeves. But of course, there had to be some diamante trim for a little "figure skating" bling-bling.

Takahito skated his Long Program to "Malagueña" and he went all out Spanish Bullfighter Fabulous. I LOVE the very large jeweled multicolored stones on the jacket and then at the side of his pants. The red cummerbund is the right width and the very fitted shape of the top finishes off that overall "Sleek Toreador" look. The only (semi) negative is the shirt.

I don't know why, but there is something about that shirt that looks odd--with the rest of this very luxe looking costume. The shirt says "I just bought it at the Macy's INC section" but the rest of it says "This cost me $5,000 to custom-make!". Other than that: Muy Bueno Takahito!

***Next up: More 2012 Skate Canada International Figure Skating Costume "Two Cents"--The PAIRS and Ice Dance!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ladies Costume Review:

Silver, Gold and Bronze: The winners of the 2012 Skate Canada International Ladies competition--(left to right) Silver medalist Akiko Suzuki from Japan, Gold medalist Kaetlyn Osmond from Canada and Bronze medalist Kanako Murakami from Japan--2012 Skate Canada International, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating at WFCU Centre Windsor, Canada

If you're a Figure Skating Watcher--and fan--you know that Figure Skating is BACK--and that we are now in the midst of the ISU Grand Prix Series of International Figure Skating Competitions. Last weekend was the first installment--Skate America 2012 and you can read/see my Costume Reviews of the Ladies, Men's & Pairs and Ice Dancers. And now, we've traveled a little bit up North and we are onto Skate Canada International 2012.

Let's begin my Costume Recap of the LADIES:

Ksenia Makarova of Russia: For her Free Skate, this Russian beauty skated to "Megapolis". She wore a sea-foam green costume that was modern and very contemporary. The entire costume was solid stretch fabric except for one sleeve that was in an embroidered sequined lace that looked very expensive. Her costume had asymmetrical details and a "cut-out" at the side.

I thought it was unique and definitely stood out among all the other semi-typical figure skating ladies costumes.  I almost wanted the cut out to be wider, and would have liked a teeny bit more fluttering/flare on the "skirt" portion.

The silhouette of Ksenia's costume reminded me A LOT of the bright neon costume Meryl Davis of the US Ice Dance team of David and White wore during the latter part of the last 2011-2012 Season during their Short Dance. Also, in case you forgot...

This above is what Ksenia wore last season to her "Diamond's Are a Girls Best Friend" Medley Free Skate Program. So, her contemporary sea-foam green costume is, indeed, quite a departure.

Akiko Suzuki of Japan: Akiko won the Silver Medal at this weekend's 2012 Skate Canada International. For her Short Program to the "Kill Bill Soundtrack", she wore this black and diamante costume above.

At least she didn't wear Uma Thurman's NY Taxi Cab-yellow jumpsuit!

I thought this was edgy and semi-punk-y for Akiko. I'm usually NOT a fan of those cheap-looking diamantes but in this costume, they kind-of worked (that's a lukewarm endorsement!). I liked the fingerless gloves and open back. It's not every day that you see Akiko looking well, so "out there". Therefore, I give her "Nick Figure Skating Costume Points" for going there!

For her Free Skate, Akiko skated to "O" from Cirque du Soleil. Her costume was pretty fabulous. It had a one-shoulder neckline silhouette, was blue and green and had overt Peacock influences--notice the sequin applique and feathers.I also liked the side draped "skirt" section. This was a very well done costume.

Kanako Murakami of Japan: Murakami wore this ivory and green costume for her Short Program to "Prayer for Taylor". The one-shoulder design was romantic, sweet and expected. She looked like an underwater Nymph rising from the Mediterranean. In other words: I liked. Was it "Fashion-Forward"? or Couture-looking or Directional? Nope, not so mucheey.But, it was very pretty.

For the Free Skate to the Tango-inspired "Oblivion, A Fuego Lento, Adios Nonino", she donned a red-and-black costume with red chiffon cascade ruffles and underskirt. I'm sure she was trying to "vibe" in her Latina side and reflect the Argentinian tango soundtrack of her Free Skate. But maybe, she should have gone to Buenos Aires to actually know what these women wear to dance the Tango. On a good note: the beading looked very intricate and expensive.

Oh Canada:

Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada: Kaetlyn won the Gold at the 2012 Skate Canada International this past weekend. This was a nice achievement, especially since she is considered a "newcomer" and was only assigned one event; therefore not really eligible for the Grand Prix Finals in Russia. But, I can still discuss her costumes of course! For her Short Program, she skated to Perez Prado's "Mambo No. 8" and "Gwendoline".

She was shimming and shaking in her black and crystal-filled costume. I really liked this mock-neck/long sleeve number. The fringed "car-wash" skirt section was a bit too "low-rent" for me...but I get that skaters and their designers want to come up with different ways of expressing movement in the "skirt" sections of the costumes. I liked the light-to-heavy beading in the torso portion of her costume seen above.

For her Free Skate to "Carmen Ballet Suite by Georges Bizet", she chose to wear red and black. Oh what a surprise. It's CARMEN. Hello. I wish once, someone would skate to "Carmen" in NEON GREEN! Seriously. Moving on...

 Her costume was predictable and almost "Pageant Betty" from the front...

But I liked the back--which featured four straps and and was very open (yes, it was covered in illusion of course). As a whole, however, the costume seemed dyslexic; the front didn't match the back and it looked like two costumes combined into one. The front says "I am the Third Runner Up at Miss World"--and the back says "I'm going to VEGAS!". My suggestion is to make the front design a little bit more original and directional. But still, keep within the fact that A) she's SIXTEEN, and B) that she's skating to Carmen. Not an easy task! And again: CONGRATULATIONS for getting the Gold for Canada!!

*** Next Up: The 2012 Skate Canada International Ice Dancers, Men's and Those GERMAN Pairs multi-colored unitards!!!!

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