Monday, February 22, 2010

Through the Opera Glasses - 48 - Olympic Men's Figure Skating Costumes Invaded by Blades of Glory

As a ballet freak, it's no stretch for me to be enraptured by men's figure skating. It's another great showcase for masculine athleticism and panther-like grace.

But I couldn't get over the costumes.

They seemed lifted en masse from the wardrobe racks on the set of Blades of Glory.

American Johnny Weir's toned-down long program costume seems to pay homage to Jon Heder's costume from the film.

But what the heck is this? Belgium's Kevin van der Perren's homage to Skeletor?

I was shocked to discover that a favorite designer of mine - not that I've ever worn a garment by her, you understand - purely admiration for her design sense - is responsible for gold medal-winner Evan Lysacek's short program costume. His outstanding performance aside, I was a fan of Evan's choice of sleek black one-piece costumes, but not of the bird features, even if he skated to The Firebird, a favorite piece of mine.

Sorry, Vera Wang. This one didn't do it for me.

I liked the snake suit even less. Vera - say it ain't so!

Call me crazy, but a skater like Evan needs gimmicky flair like a hole in the head. Just let us watch his incredible skating. Don't distract me with feathers and reptiles.

As for Canada's Patrick Chan - why did you wear your grandmother's Sears sale rack vest to the Olympics?

Japan's bronze medal-winner Daisuke Takahashi - why did you wrap yourself in the paper that holds my fish and chips order?

Picky, picky. Yes, I know I am. When it comes to costumes, I'm very, very picky. It's probably why I fought with my university so I could take a History of Costume course, even though it was a Fashion course and I was in the Film program. I finally got permission to take it and got a credit for it in fourth year. Yahoo! Loved every moment of it.

So whose costume did I not despise? For some reason, the men's costumes in the Ice Dancing pairs have not had anything like the Blades of Glory vibe going on. But in the men's figure skating competion, there were only a couple of costumes that I liked. Florent Amodio of France had a nicely understated costume with the right amount of flourish. But I would prefer it without the black gloves.

Swiss sweetie Stephane Lambiel had the almost perfect costume, but the lacey epaulettes should not be there. *slapping forehead*

My favorite, nothing-wrong-with-it costume was worn by Russian Super Snob Evgeni Plushenko. I adored his haughty I-knew-I-could-land-that-quad expression during the short program. Too bad he choked during the long program, but Evan Lysacek couldn't be stopped.

C'est la vie, Evgeni. A real man may land quads, but a true champion would accept his silver medal graciously and save his sour griping till he was behind closed doors.

Thomma Lyn Grindstaff says Those costumes are quite gaudy, goofy, and/or weird, and detract from the art of skating.

Janet says You slayed me with the 'fish and chip' comment (and made me hungry).

Debby says What a great post!!! So fun!! Gotta love Johnny Weir!!


Thomma Lyn said...

I agree with you, those costumes are quite gaudy, goofy, and/or weird, and detract from the art of skating. Whatever happened to elegance?

Janet said...

Loved that, Julia! I watched the men's program and shook my head at some of the getups. And you've done a fine job at reiterating my overall question "What were they thinking?". Of course, you slayed me with the 'fish and chip' comment (and made me hungry).

And, because I can't resist, WOO HOO Canada for capturing the gold in Ice Dance (Virtue and Moir)! Elegance, grace, and fab costumes.

Julia - your thoughts on the Russian Ice Dance couple's aboriginal costumes?

Debby said...

What a great post!!! So fun!! A big congrats to my Canadian team for winning gold at the ice dance competiton!!! Yeah!!!!

Gotta love Johnny Weir!!

Julia Smith said...

Thomma Lyn - Elegance. Simple, making it easy to perform jumps and streamlined. That's my vote for men's figure skating costumes.

Janet - Believe it or not, I didn't watch the medal-winning ice dancing because I couldn't possibly miss Spartacus. I figured I'd be able to catch the medal-winning performances later. But I did look up the Russian couple's costume.


And their tango costumes were perfection. Who gave them LSD?

Debby - Scott Moir skates with such a burning intensity. Love him!

Kelly Boyce said...

I literally cheered out loud - at work - when I heard Evgeni Plushenko lost the gold to Evan Lysacek. I cannot stand Plushenko, I don't care how good he is.

As for the costumes - I'm with you. I get there's an artistic element to figure skating, but it's still a sport and you're still men. Quit with the frou frou.

Louise said...

I don't know much about figureskating as such, but it can be fun to watch - and your post about their weird costumes is hilarious. I often find dancing costumes maybe not as weird with birds and snakes and all that, but still somewhat over the top. I guess it goes with the territory...

Akelamalu said...

Men in lycra :0

Karina said...

Oh wow, I didn't watch, but now I'm almost wishing I did! Those are some amazing costumes. LOL

Travis said...

What bugged me the most about the costumes was all the black. I like black, but let's jazz it up a little. Drama can be depicted in many shades.

M. said...

oh thank goodness and julia for this post - i've been tweeting about the 'what the hell?' quality of menswear on ice.

it's like there was a memo to all that read: 'Stubble and gloves! Stubble and gloves!'

there was not a single men's costume I liked. i'm exempting johnny weir (not because i liked his outfits - i really didn't) but because he is clearly in a class by himself, as proven by his crown of roses after the final skate. I don't get his fashion sense, but he sure can skate.

for me, the prize for very worst of all were the russian ice dancers in the folk program. their australian aborigine costumes were in a whole new category of awful. i wonder what aboriginal people thought of them.

happily retired gal said...

Yup ... the costumes were a bit much this year especially. I prefer simpler clothes on skaters but I do love to watch them skate!
Hugs and blessings,

Sildenafil said...

What a perfect article because I performed in a artistic ballet and I got some excellent tips to improve my costumes.