Thursday, February 7, 2013

One Year Encounting

The 2014 Winter Olympics, taking place in Sochi, Russia, are finally less than a year away.  It is now acceptable for me to start a daily countdown.  In honor of that, and my excitement, I've pulled together some of my favorite figure skating costumes, because figure skating is the best sport ever, and while the outfits can go kindof overboard, they can also be perfectly fitted, flattering, stand out against the ice in just the right way, and compliment the music and choreography.  As Vera Wang (yes, the famous wedding dress designer Vera Wang), who used to be a figure skater herself puts it, "the outfit has to sparkle like eveningwear but function like workout must be show-stopping from every angle, unlike a Hollywood starlet gown that is usually photographed straight from the front or back," (

This structual number Michelle Kwan wore for the 2004 Nationals is a Vera Wang piece.  That dreamsicle orange makes her skin look radiant and the back criss-crosses of rolled up material adds some detail.

At the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, silver-medalist Sasha Cohen wore this Spanish gypsy-inspired costume for her short program.  The purple and blue compliment each other with hints of yellow ruffles that come to life during spins.  The shiny gold bangles and flowers covering the skirt make it a little more costume-y, but in high taste.  A lot of times, designers who want to represent a certain culture or time of history cross the stereotype line into offensive and distasteful.

And this is Shizuka Arakawa at the 2006 Torino Olympics at the completion of her award-winning long program.  It was breathtaking to watch; serenity, grace, discipline, and beauty, all the things figure skaters strive for, were beautifully displayed by the Japanese skater.  Her color-blocked dress made her even more mesmerizing on the ice with the sparkling belt pulling both sides together.  The high, square neckline is my favorite detail.

And probably the most athletic figure-skater in Olympic history, France's Syria Bonaly was an excitement to watch.  She had energy, enthusiasm, and a level of fun other skaters often lacked, which was often reflected in her costume choices, like this turquoise, orange, and black dress with fringed skirt and matching arm cuffs.  She was the first female to land a quadruple jump but was never credited in competition due to not quite making the final rotation in the air.  At the 1998 Nagano Olympics, she performed an illegal backflip, which she landed on one blade none-the-less, as a statement to the judges.  She is the only skater in history to be able to accomplish this.

(photos collected from pinoyexchange, moves-in-the-field, chicskate, rgj, and nytimes)

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