Friday, 14 February 2014

Sochi 2014 • Team Ladies Short Figure Skating

I'm not usually one for sports, but when it comes to "pretty"/"feminine" sports - I'm all for it! Now I love Ballet, I really do (I'm completely obsessed with Lauren Cuthbertson who starred in The Royal Ballet's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) so when I realised the Winter Olympics were coming up, I started getting super excited for my favourite event - the figure skating! (I guess because it's pretty similar to Ballet). I digress. Anyway, I thought for today's post, I'd keep in the spirit of Sochi 2014, and have a look at a few of my favourite costumes the figure skaters are wearing this year - while letting you in on some costumes secrets (facts courtesy of Cosmopolitan - check them out, and also remember to click photos if you want to be taken to their site) now let's get to it!

Yulia Lipnitskaya - Yulia is by far my favourite figure skater this year, she may be only 15 years old (and the youngest in the competition), but she's absolutely brilliant, and her routine was completely captivating. Her  royal blue costume is elegant, appropriate and the looked amazing! (Perfect for her enchanting performance too)

1) Dresses can have up to 100,000 crystals each, and each crystal has to be applied by hand. Dresses can take around 2-4 hours to make, but the crystals themselves can take anywhere from 4-40 hours to apply.

Carolina Kostner - I absolutely love this fresh white costume, although the neckline appears to have a pretty deep scoop, I think Carolina looks fabulous in it, and really stood out in this crisp white costume.

2) Skaters can only buy 1 or 2 costumes a season. Skaters don't make a lot of money - and these costumes are expensive! So they tend to wear the same ones all season. They can cost anywhere around $1500-$3000 (and maybe more!)

Mao Asada - I love Mao's costume this year! It's so feminine and delicate and reminds me of rose petals (or The Little Mermaid!) I haven't seen a figure skating costume designed this way before, and for this reason (and it's absolutely stunning of course) Mao's costume is definitely one of my favourites this year. 

3) The style trend in figure skating costumes right now leans towards sleeker, more minimal designs. Michelle Kwan was the first figure skater to popularise the more naked, evening gown, swimsuit-style costume. Before Michelle, everyone tended to have their arms completely covered.

Kexin Zhang - Our "lady in red" this year is Kexin Zhang - and doesn't she pull it off! Red is a strong and stunning colour against the white of the ice, so to have both a powerful performance and a powerful costume is a big thumbs up!

4) Women can now wear unitards - but this wasn't always the case. After Debi Thomas wore a unitard in 1988, they made a rule that women had to wear skirts. That same year, East German skater Katarina Witt created an even bigger controversy by wearing her own blue unitard with feathers instead of a skirt (that little rebel!) After that season, the rules were changed so that tights and a skirt were required for every female skater (in addition to unitards and pants being banned). The rules were re-adapted in 2004, and now allow women to wear "skirts, trousers, and tights" (this includes unitards!)

Ashley Wagner - How elegant is this design? A classic, flowing black dress with a flourish of diamonds make this costume stand out above many others this year - because who needs bright colours when you have diamonds, eh?

5) Costumes that break any rules can cost the skaters points. There is a 1-point deduction (that's the same as a fall!) for skaters whose costumes are deemed inappropriate, or do not comply with the rules. (However, these rules are pretty vague). The "biggie" is that clothing must be "modest, dignified, and appropriate for competition. Not garnish, or theatrical in design. Clothing may, however, reflect the character of the music." (This ruined the credibility of the movie "Blades of Glory" for me!) Each of the the 9 judges and a referee have a button they can press if they feel the costume is out of line, but 6 out of the 10 have to have pressed the button in order for the deduction to occur. Better to play it safe I say!

Natalia Popova -  I am loving Natalia's unique choice of costume this year! Reminiscent of Zebra pattern, this costume pulls together an appropriate selection with a classic design (I mean, just look at those sparkles!)

6) The front of the dress cannot be more than 50% nude fabric. Apparently the official rule is a little more vague though; "Clothing must not give the effect of excessive nudity inappropriate for an athletic sport."

Nathalie Weinzierl - How amazing is this 20's inspired costume worn by Nathalie this year? The up-do, the strappy dress, the classic black, the sparkles... And not to mention the gloves! Very Gatsby indeed!

7) Accessories are not allowed, but this rule seems to rarely be enforced. Many skaters seem to ignore this rule, with many wearing earrings, hair accessories or necklaces as a part of their costumes. As pretty as they are - surely this rule has something to do with health and safety? Gracie Gold wore all 3 of these things during this year's National Championships without receiving a penalty, and Michelle Kwan almost always wore a small gold necklace while she performed.

Mae Berenice Meite - Our first bright pink dress, and Mae isn't afraid to show it off. My favourite part about this particular costume has to be the diamonds around the neckline - absolutely stunning
8) Props are also banned in this competition, but are often used during special exhibition performances.

Jenna McCorkell - Another royal blue number, almost as if it's progression of Yulia's dress! I'm in love with the should detailing and the texture of the skirt and chest piece - so pretty.

It seems like there are more rules and regulations to figure skating than you could've imagined (and that's without going into remembering complicated routines - now that's a lot to remember!) Speaking for my inner 13-year-old, I'd love to be a figure skater, but with costumes at that price, all those rules, and being actually *cough* able to figure skate, I think I might have to look elsewhere. If you're interested in checking out my favourite figure skater, Yulia Lipnitskaya's enchanting performance at Sochi 2014 this year have a nose over here! In light of Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, I hope you've enjoyed getting to know a little more about figure skating... And until next time!

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