Monday, December 31, 2012

Toreador Fab, Plunging Chic, Kimono Gorgeous...and the Kookiest Figure Skating Costumes of 2012


Best Pairs Costumes:

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov: Russia--This powerful--and very HOT--Pairs couple from Russia had TWO winning costumes worthy enough of making it on to my Best Of List 2012. Both their Short Program and Free Skate ensembles were superb, and for different reasons. For their Short Program, they skated to "Love Theme from The Godfather" (above), they looked modern, clean and current. In this program, Tatiana was the (costume) star: I adored her multi-layered "necklace" in her fishtail hem dress. I also thought it was so modern to have such a sexy plunging back and not use the illusion to pretend that it was "nude".

For their Season 2012-2013 Free Skate, they skated to  "Violin Muse, Partita for Violin No. 2 and Chaconne". Here, the costumes were ethereal and had more classic costume elements (than their Short Program ones) but still remained fresh and exploratory. I thought that for the Free Skate, Maxim was the star, costume-wise. His floating chiffon top with tie-dye ombre coloring and color blocking was especially interesting. It was also ultra feminine; only Maxim could make wearing ombre-dyed chiffon look SO BUTCH.
Qing Pang and Jian Tong: China--Pang and Tong of China performed their Short Program to "Scott and Fran's Paso Doble" in some of the most intricately divine costumes of the season--and yes, good enough to make my list here. The costumes were as intense and fiery as the music. His Toreador costume is sexy, strong, expensive-looking and perfectly theatrical. It was also very traditional in its styling which contrasted her costume. While he went traditional, her Señorita was more abstract, directional with its asymmetrical detailing and mix of fabrications and sequin applique. 
Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov: Russia--For their Free Skate to "February", Kavaguti and Smirnov went a bit "old school" with their Pairs Costumes--his stretch body suit and her bedazzled look both seem to vibe costumes I would have seen many Winter Olympics years ago. Yet somehow they still made them look modern. This is why they are on this "Best" list. I especially liked her costume. The high neck combined with the open back and long sleeves was elegant and chic.

Best Ice Dance Costumes:

Madison Chock and Evan Bates: USA-- For their "Polka/Waltz" Short Dance during this 2012 Grand Prix Season, these two cuties from the US skated to Selections from Quidam by Cirque du Soleil. Madison designed the costumes and I liked them--especially hers. Here, she was the Costume Star. The colors in her dress were impacting, vibrant and perfect for the dance and if anyone couldn't get the "Cirque" reference, they were probably asleep! One of my faves of 2012 for Ice Dance.

Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri: Italy--For their Season 2012-2013 Free Dance to "Summer" and "Winter" from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, Guignard and Fabbri went the semi-contemporary route with their costumes and hers, especially, was one of my Top Picks of the year. I like the sequined multicolored butterfly motif in her dress. It looks like a pretty DVF dress but still seems costume-y enough for a dance like this.

Alex and Maia Shibutani USA--This brother-and-sister Ice Dance Team skated their Free Dance to John Williams' "Memoirs of a Geisha" for this year's Grand Prix season. I thought the costumes were perfect. Alex looked sublimely chic in his grey side draped waist-coat/vest, black pants and white dress shirt. Maia was a vision of pretty in her rose-pink and steel-gray Kimono-and-Obi costume.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir: Canada--One word: WOW. They skated their Long Program to "Carmen" by Rodion Shchedrin and their performances were FLAWLESS. Every time I saw it, I had the urge to give them a standing ovation...from my sofa! Their costumes were also FLAWLESS; chic, directional, modern and Fashion Week-fab. I. LOVED. THEM. These modern styled costumes enhanced their fiery and intense performance, especially her plunging neck, backless multi-layered dress. Tessa could have gone all red rose-behind-her-ear and red-and-black Spanish Mantilla costume, but she didn't. And yet, it still had the same fiery passionate effect. I really think that this is the future of Ice Dance costumes. Bravo Virtue and Moir.

And finally, it would not be a Figure Skating Costume List without adding some of  my Favorite "Most 'Kooky' Costumes of 2012":

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ggM4pgk-tgU/ULpVjpZfNSI/AAAAAAAAiqk/VOJv3zZHtRU/s1600/Orford_Williams_SD+(2).jpg
Nicole Orford and Thomas Williams: Canada--For their Short Dance to "Sold" by John Michael Montgomery and "Tennessee Waltz" by Anne Murray during this Grand Prix season, this Canadian Ice Dance pair wore these fabulously kooky costumes.  One look at them and I wanted to jump onto the ice and do the two-step and eat some hot & spicy chicken wings...at the same time! I mean, seriously, look at those red "Cowboy Boot" skate covers! Quirky, fun, and very costume entertaining.

Cathy Reed and Chris Reed: Japan--Michigan, US-born half-Japanese brother-and-sister Ice Dance team of Reed and Reed skated their Short Dance to "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" wearing these costumes above. The bright pink and shiny fabric of her dress was a bit much. Both look like performers at Disneyland putting on a show for ten year olds. Kooky enough to make it on this list, for sure.

Reed and Reed AGAIN--These two get the prize for "Two-for-Two Kooky Costumes" since they also made this list here for what they wore for their Free Dance. They skated to Selections from "The Beatles", and they went pop-art 60's Mod (well, she did!). I liked these looks for use of bold color and can't-take-my-eyes-off-of-them costume bravura. Yet...they are just a little on the side of tacky-licious. And also, it seems that because of Cathy's outlandish dress, Chris got the short end of the (costume) stick, and just got a white dress shirt, black pants and a tie. She's a Kooky TEN, him...a 5.5. 

Ekaterina Pushkash and Jonathan Guerreiro: Russia:  These two Ice Dance pair skated their Short Dance to Cirque du Soleil's Quidam "Marelle" and "Zydeko" (naturally!) and they wore some of the quirkiest and colorful get-ups of the year. They were TOTALLY reminiscent of the...

 Gloriously bedazzled swimsuits worn by the Gold Medal-winning Russian Synchronized Swimming Duet of Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina (above photo)

Maé Bérénice Méité: France--Maé Bérénice skated her Short Program in 2012 to "1001 Nights" and yes kids, this gold Cleopatra-inspired costume above is what she wore. The entire time I kept thinking she should have skated to Whitney Houston's "Queen of the Night" from "the Bodyguard" instead.
 
Julia Lipnitskaia Russia--Oh little Julia! This fourteen year old is a whippersnapper on the ice--she's like a Russian Tara Lipinski! Lipnitskaia wore the costume above for her Short Program to "Sabre Dance" (modern arrangement) by Khachaturian during this year's Grand Prix. The music evokes a whirling war dance in an Armenian dance where the dancers display their skills with sabres. Her costume evokes feelings of "Oh Dear!". I'm not a fan of the unitard for figure skating and this one looks like a bad Josephine Baker Halloween costume. It's just too kooky, for Julia and the music she skated to.

Joshi Helgesson Sweden--Take a guess what music this lovely lady from Sweden skated to. If you guessed Cirque du Soleil, you were right (there's NO WAY this was from "Swan Lake"! LOL!). Yes, the beautiful Helgesson skated to "Mystere" and "Taiko" from Cirque du Soleil and the costume perfectly reflected this, working seamlessly with the music. But, yes, it was AL THINGS Kooky. And I kinda liked it! I loved the bright colors, the multi-colored shredded "skirt" section, and how she carried the look even to her eye makeup. Now, some may argue that it's too much--even for a Cirque du Soleil-themed skate--and to that I would answer "Ya Think???"

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy: Germany--These two take the Prize for Kookiest of All Kookiest Pairs Costumes for 2012, for BOTH their Short Program and Free Skate. For their Short Dance to "Kismet" by Bond. 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. It was so wack-a-do out there, I kinda liked it!

And for their Season 2012-2013 Long Program to "Flamenco Bolero" they also went Figure Skating Wack-a-do as you can see from the two photos above. 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. I guess the color-splattered print in their costumes was very Miró for sure and that's about as "Spanish"--or Catalan--as it got! I give them points for MAJORLY stepping outside the costume box but...after a while all that kookiness becomes quite distracting to their performance and skate.


***Next Up: The Best Pageant Gowns of 2012!! Oh yes kids, get your Tiaras and Sashes ready!
Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best of the Bedazzled Figure Skating Couture

Continuing with my end-of-the-year "Best Of" Lists, now it's time for one of my favorites subjects here on my blog: Figure Skating Costumes! As you know, I enjoy blogging about Figure Skating Costumes and I have a feeling you guys like it too! This past year/season was a very colorful, bedazzled, feathered-filled one. Here are my Top Picks for favorites of the Year...

Best Men's Costumes:


Tatsuki Machida: Japan--He skated to "The Firebird" for his Free Dance and his costume was FABULOUS! The neckline and upper torso red and yellow sequin detail was marvelous and went perfectly with the black illusion top. This is a PERFECT Men's Costume for that particular music. Not every male can get away with this look (at this point we know we'll never see Jeremy Abbott or Patrick Chan sporting this style), but if you can carry it off--and Tatsuki can--then Go For It!

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Brian Joubert: France--2007 World Champion Brian Joubert performed his Short Program to "Genesis" by Justice and "Aerodynamic" by Daft Punk. His soundtrack was very electronica/French House and so it was appropriate for his costume to be less "Costume Period" and more contemporary. The top section featured black illusion and faux leather trimmed in gold. I call his look "Manly Flashy". And I like it! So much so, his costume was one of my favorites for 2012.

Yuzuru Hanyu: Japan--For his Long Program during Season 2012-2013, Hanyu skated to "Notre-Dame de Paris". I really liked this costume. It was soooo Johnny Weir in its no-holds-barred design philosophy and embrace of feminine-like details. The big cross, the ombre dyed ivory and red shirt, the one sleeve ruffle and one black glove; lots of details and he was not afraid to "Go For It"!

Daisuke Takahashi: Japan--Takahashi wore this above for his 2012-2013 Season Short Program to "Roll 'n' Roll Medley", "The Stroll", "Rudy's Rock". He went "Tokyo Elvis" with his get-up and I LOVED it: t was exuberant, music-appropriate and a big hit with all his little girl fans and yes, one of my Top Picks of 2012 Figure Skating Costumes.

I also loved the costume he wore for his Long Program to "Pagliacci". It had overt references to the famous operatic clown but yet deconstructed. This was a very thought-out look and costume. Kudos to this modern, yet still Figure Skating theatrical-perfect "Pagliacci" costume. I've said this before, but it bears repeating, I really love how these Japanese MALE figure skaters embrace the whole costume part of their performance and think "outside the box".

Patrick Chan: Canada--Above is what he wore for his 2012-2013 Season 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. 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. I appreciate the risk Patrick took with this costume and definitely thought it was one of the best of 2012.

Best Ladies Costumes:

Ashley Wagner: USA--This, hands down--was one of my favorite Figure Skating Costumes of this past year/season. American figure skater Ashley Wagner, wore this for her Free Skate to "Samson and Delilah". From the moment she stepped on the ice, I thought this was Figure Skating Costume Perfection. The bright sunburst yellow with ombré dyeing; the expertly applied sequins, the torso and neckline detail...It was very "Samson and Delilah" for sure and at the same time suggested the works of some of the better-known Lebanese Couturiers like Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad. Therefore, she was Red Carpet Fab and Figure Skating Perfection!

Agnes Zawadzki: USA--Agnes skated her Free Skate to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" by the Boston Pops Orchestra during the 2012-2013 Season. Her Costume was designed by Pat Pearsall. I thought this was a very well done costume. The crystal effect down the torso, bust and wrist area was excellent. As a whole, the design--and costume--looked very European and chic.

I also liked  her Short Program Costume to "Sex and the City". It was a baby blue costume ensemble which evoked the spirit of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates "Gulf States Princess" of the movie "Sex and the City 2". Definitely one of my Top Picks for 2012.

Akiko Suzuki: Japan--I LOVED this costume above, which she wore for her Free Skate to "O" from Cirque du Soleil. The costume was pretty fabulous. It had a one-shoulder neckline silhouette, was turquoise 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. One of the best of this season for sure.

Mao Asada: Japan-- Mao Asada wore TWO great costumes this 2012-2013. So great, both placed on my "Best of 2012" List. The one above is what she wore to her Short Program to "I Got Rhythm" variations by George Gershwin. It was a coral and silver criss-cross draped and shirred costume that looked chic, sexy and like a Rodarte dress. Loved it!


For her 2012-2013 Season Long Program to Music from Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky, Mao wore this gorgeous ivory, gray and silver costume which I also loved. The details on it were very Haute and I even liked the "shredded" skirt. My favorite part, however, were the wrist details. It was very "Black Swan", the movie. She HAD to be in this Top Costumes of 2012 list.

Alena Leonova: Russia--Bollywood Goes to Russia, through Alena Leonova's costume. She skated her Season 2012-2013 Short Program to "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Indian Hip Hop" (of course!). I absolutely LOVED her apple green costume. It had great sequin detail in the torso. LOVED the asymmetrical bust draping, chiffon "skirt", arm and body straps as well as the India-influenced bindi and center part hair decoration.

Gracie Gold: USA--Gracie skated her 2012-2013 Season Short Program to "Hernando's Hideaway" by various artists. Her costumes for both the Short Program and Free Skate were designed by Brad Griffies. I think this red one above is just great! The juxtaposition of the solid fabric vs. the small-to-large sequin detail is beautiful. The costume fits the requirements (for me) of looking a little bit "Red Carpet Couture" and at the same time, still being classic Figure Skating Costume chic.

Yu-Na Kim in her Short Program to "The Kiss of the Vampire" at the NRW trophy at Eissportzentrum on December 9, 2012 in Dortmund, Germany.

The Return of Yu-Na Kim: Reigning Olympic champion, Yu-Na Kim (or Kim Yu-Na) of South Korea, launched her competitive comeback at the NRW Trophy in Dortmund Germany earlier this month.
For her Short Program, she skated to "The Kiss of the Vampire" and her costume was SPECTACULAR! It was an icy blue color with very expensive-looking crystals in silver, blue and "Vampire Blood" red. It also had a perfectly matching nude illusion shoulder/sleeve section. The neckline had a "necklace" of sorts--highlighting all those colors in very well placed sequins. It was one of my favorite Figure Skating Costumes of 2012--and Yu-Na Kim made it on to my list, just in time!!! Thanks Yu-Na for "bringing it" when it came to your costumes!

***Next Up: Pairs, Ice Dance and the Kookiest Figure Skating Costumes of the Year!

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