For this week’s Flashback Friday, rather than reminiscing about a favorite skating performance, I thought I’d go with my two favorite skating costumes. When I was around 11 or 12 years old, it was my dream to grow up to be a figure skating dress designer. I had taken one after-school sewing class–where I made a blanket and a pair of pajama pants (which ended up being several inches too short because I mismeasured the fabric)–so I thought I was well on the way to my goal. And the two dresses I’m about to write about were definitely the kind of costumes I saw myself creating. Now, be forewarned, because there is a trend here. And it’s a sparkly one. In no particular order, my two favorite skating dresses of all time (so far) are:
Nancy Kerrigan’s long program dress at the 1994 Olympics
And Sarah Hughes’ long program dress at the 2002 Olympics
These two are my favorites in terms of pure beauty and style. They both pop against the white ice–Nancy’s with the nearly 12,000 rhinestones and Sarah’s with the lavender color. Nancy’s dress is (very famously) a Vera Wang creation and Sarah’s was designed by renowned skating dress designer Jef Billings. To me, these dresses are quintessential ‘figure skating.’ Glamorous, beautiful, and they complement the skater’s body movement without being distracting (and you skating fans know how distracting some bad dresses can be). The detail on both of these dresses is also impeccable.
There are other costumes that I love that perfectly fit the character of a program without being the most beautiful dress. Sasha Cohen’s 2006 short program gypsy dress comes to mind. Not only was it a stunning color, but it immediately established the gypsy character of the program, skated to a Russian folk ballad, “Dark Eyes.”
In the case of my two favorites, neither skater was portraying a specific or well-known character, so the dress could be inspired by fashion rather than a character’s dress or costume. Taken on their own, both Nancy’s and Sarah’s dresses are beautiful works of art and don’t need the musical or character explanation that some other skating costumes do.
What are some of your favorite dresses? Or men’s costumes? I’ve got a few favorites on that front too, so stay tuned for that in a later post. Since I never did pick up enough sewing skills to create these beauties, I’ll stick to admiring them from afar.