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Figure Skating Friday: The Best Costumes Part 1

After last week’s tribute to the 1961 World Team, I wanted to do something a bit more cheerful for Figure Skating Friday this week.

Skating is know for its often elegant and sometimes outrageous costumes, which have the power to add — or detract — from a skater’s performance.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite skating costumes.  (Least favorite coming up next week!)

elenabestcostumeElena Ilynik and Nikita Katsalapov, Ice Dance, Russia, Swan Lake, 2014

This dress just SCREAMS Black Swan.  However, it is just a little bit modern and creative while still definitely paying homage to the ballet.  This dress, and the program that went with it, hit every high note with the Russian crowd at the Sochi Olympics, bringing home a medal and bringing down the house, despite a one point deduction when a feather from Elena’s dress fell on the ice.

sasha best costume

Sasha Cohen, Ladies, United States, Romeo and Juliet, 2006

Designing a dress that reminds the audience of a historic time period while still being suitable for skating (in other words, short enough to jump in) is quite the challenge.  Sasha’s favorite dressmaker and designer, Jan Longmire, struck gold with this one (and its gold-colored twin, which Sasha wore earlier that season).  The embroidery and beading definitely has an old fashioned look to it, not out of place for the time of Shakespeare, if not directly historically accurate.  Even the shape of the skirt looks elegant, like a formal gown, just shorter.  The effect is beautiful and definitely something Sasha could skate in. Truly lovely!

chenbestNathan Chen, Men, United States, Prince Igor, 2017

Young Nathan Chen completed five quads in one program to win the US title this year — and he looked great doing it.  While his program used music from an opera that isn’t well known in the skating world, his costume does an excellent job of placing the audience in the 12th century Russian world of the opera’s main character.  Nathan’s costume is embroidered and fancy and befitting a prince — it is also masculine and powerful looking.

Also — I’m starting to realize that I really like red and gold. 😉

gandgbestcostumeEkaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, Pairs, Russia, Moonlight Sonata, 1994

It’s hard to discuss the best of anything in figure skating without mentioning the incomparable G&G, and costumes are no exception.

In the ’90s when everyone else was overdosing on sequins and lace, Gordeeva and Grinkov kept it simple.  In this case, with such a strong, elegant program, having costumes that don’t distract the view was crucial to their success.  This was a pair known for their gorgeous line and stunning positions, and the simplicity of their costumes left the attention right where it belonged — on the masterpiece of their skating, showcasing their mature partnership and talent.