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Figure Skating Friday: Worst Costumes Part 1

Last week, I covered some of my favorite skating costumes.  Today, I am going in the opposite direction — which might end up being even more fun, and will certainly be more funny.

I feel the need to say that these opinions are my own, and that I don’t wish to offend anyone.  I will also be sticking to covering only elite international competitors — I don’t intend to make fun of recreational skaters with limited budgets or anything like that.  In fact, these costumes are generally custom-made — just in a rather displeasing mold.  😉

Welcome to the outrageous, funny, and over-the-top world of figure skating.

firebirdworstJana Khokhlova & Sergei Novitskionto, Ice Dance, Russia, Firebird, 2010

Firebird is one of my favorite pieces of music for skating and is a joy to behold.  This dress isn’t.

That is, if it can even be called a dress — though they didn’t get a costume deduction, and Ice Dance requires that the lady wear a dress “suitable for athletic competition.”  I would argue that her costume fails on both counts, but perhaps I’m just a meanie.


Truthfully, there were some good ideas here.  I like the idea of the flame wings and, yes, even the tail.  But the huge mass of illusion fabric that doesn’t exactly match Yana’s skintone ruins it completely.  If the “dress” featured more of the red and less of the skin tone, the pops of blue would actually look really cool, and the eye would have somewhere to rest.  As it is, there is just too much to take in, and the whole effect is exactly that — too much.

Generally I only include one photo, but in this case, you really need to get a good look at Jana’s tail, so I am including both the front and the back.  You’re welcome.

Alexei Yagudin, Men, Russia, One Banana, 1997

I couldn’t find any good (perhaps good is the wrong word here, but alas) pictures of this exhibition.  So, here’s a video.

Now that you’ve let that sink in a bit…

It’s hard to believe that this is the same Alexei Yagudin who, just five years later, would win the Olympics with some of the best programs ever in Men’s skating.  He is still my favorite Men’s singles skater, but even a fan like me can make fun of One Banana every now and then.  This program — and the costume that goes along with it — makes me very thankful that Alexei switched coaches to the legendary Tatiana Tarasova, who shaped him into the skater we know and love.


Natalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat, Ice Dance, France, The Little Prince and his Rose, 2014

I’ll admit it — green is far from my favorite color.  However, in this case, it is made worse by the fact that it makes their skin look a little, well, un-well.  There is also just too much going on with these costumes, and it’s hard to know where to look.  In addition, the only thing tying his costume to hers is the repeated green of her tights, which just look like sickly skin at first glance.

ilia giraffe

Ilia Kulik, Mens, Russia, Rhapsody in Blue, 1998

Usually, skating to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue comes with a boring costume in, you guessed it, blue.

Ilia Kulik didn’t want to be confined to such norms, and so he decided to skin a giraffe.

There isn’t really much more I can say about that.

caroworstbestCarolina Kostner, Ladies, Italy, Tango Lorca, 2009

This dress has a lot going on — and a lot of things that look like they are growing from it.  It’s a bit too 3-D for my taste, and the skirt is shredded in such a way that it looks like limp, wet algae strands hanging there.

Like many of these costumes, this is yet another example of too much going on and not really having a good focal point. Carolina usually has a decent look going, even if it isn’t always my favorite look, and it suits her.

This dress, however, really missed the mark.