2017-18 figure skating costume review: pairs

Usually, my blog posts are pretty much “strictly skating”, but since I have nothing better to do until Worlds, I thought it’d be fun to do a fashion review. I’m ranking the costumes with the good old GOE system because why not?

Disclaimer: Just because I don’t like your costume doesn’t mean I don’t like you!!! This is strictly my personal opinion on fashion and not to be taken too seriously.

CHENG PENG/YANG JIN:
Short Program: “Assassin’s Tango” from “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”
GOE: +2

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I admit, I have a soft spot for anyone who skates to Mr. and Mrs. Smith. While Peng/Jin’s costumes don’t resemble the ones in the movie, they did a good job. Yang’s costume is just a basic white shirt and black pants, but I like the look of a strong man in black and white when it comes to tango. Cheng’s dress is exquisite; I love the shoulder decorations! When you’re making a dress for such a delicate, tiny girl, you have to watch your proportions, but I totally love the look.

Free Skate: Butterfly Lovers
GOE: +2

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When I think of “Butterfly Lovers”, I imagine bold butterfly prints, but once again, I think subtle was the right way to go. The pink ruffles under Cheng’s dress add the perfect touch, and once again Yang looks stoic and strong in black. Also, the detail on the bodice of this dress is perfect!

KRISTINA ASTAKHOVA/ALEXEI ROGONOV
Short Program: “Adagio for Strings” and “Carmina Burana”
GOE: 0

imageThese costumes aren’t bad, but they just seem very standard to me. There’s some cool blue stuff going on but not enough to earn the positive GOE out of me.

Free Skate: “La La Land” soundtrack
GOE: -2

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9 times out of 10, I don’t like yellow dresses on the ice. I understand that this is La La Land, but the free, flowing style of the original movie costume got lost in translation when they tried to make this dress. And WHY did they give Alexei that silly yellow tie and cheap trim on the shirt when the real Ryan Gosling had a perfectly normal black tie and white shirt? Russians in yellow costumes are not my friends this season…

LUBOV ILYUSHECHKINA/DYLAN MOSCOVITCH:
Short Program #1: “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins
GOE: +1

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I really like Dylan’s outfit for this program. The studs make it edgy and can I just say he looks darn hot? Okay, now for Lubov’s dress: I like the colors and the concept, but I think the finished product could’ve turned out better. I can’t quite put my finger on what I don’t like.

Short Program #2: Jealousy Tango
GOE: +2

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Later this season, Luba and Dylan brought back both their old short and their old costumes. I really like Lubov’s dress; it’s unique, it’s stylish, and white is a nice new color for tango instead of the red-and-black invasion. Dylan looks fine in black shirt and pants, the standard pair guy uniform. It gives their program a polished, classy look.

Free Skate #1: At This Moment
GOE: +2

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If there’s one thing I can’t resist when I’m shopping, it’s a halter-neck dress. I have about 5 in my closet. So when my girl Luba brought this onto the ice, I was ready to call her and ask if I could buy it from her. Dylan looks fine in black again, but when this dress is concerned, I’m honestly just here for THE QUEEN.

Free Skate #2: At This Moment
GOE: +2


At Nationals, Luba debuted this lovely ash rose dress. While I prefer the red one, I have nothing but good reviews for the pink as well! It’s a beautiful shade, I like the bodice detail a lot, and the split top and skirt makes me think of a prom dress – the kind of gorgeous prom dress I would buy if I was rich. But really, does Dylan ever wear anything but black?

KIRSTEN MOORE-TOWERS/MICHAEL MARINARO:
Short Program: Sweet Dreams
GOE: +2

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HOT DANG KIRSTEN MOORE TOWERS! This costume is sexy, flashy, and perfectly suits the mood of the program. I can’t help thinking she looks like a Bond girl: “Towers. Moore-Towers.” And don’t worry, Michael was not forgotten, with the flashes of red on his shirt.

Free Skate: “Un Ange Passe”
GOE: +3

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There have been some gorgeous costumes in this list already, but this is the first dress that earns a +3 from me. It’s the perfect opposite of her SP dress: classy and elegant, in a stunning shade of purple. She looks like she could be going to tea with Kate Middleton. And the beading is so beautiful that I will even forgive Michael for yet another black and white outfit.

JULIANNE SEGUIN/CHARLIE BILODEAU:
Short Program: “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Lorde
GOE: 0

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Julianne and Charlie had a good concept here. Stormy gray, silver, and black are the right colors for this cool, foreboding program. But I don’t think the actual styles of the costumes really go with the program. The song is basically about the apocalypse, but Charlie is wearing a shirt that belongs in a Chopin program. I dream of Ksenia Stolbova’s gray dress and Eric Radford’s chic outfit below.

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Free Skate: “Where’s My Love”
GOE: +1

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These costumes fit the program well. Julianne’s dress is a cherry shade of red and Charlie looks fine in the classic dark pair guy outfit. I like the gathered detail on Julianne’s dress; it’s subtle but pretty. Overall, I see nothing wrong with these costumes, but they’re a little ordinary for such cool skaters. Sorry, guys, but fashion is a tough field!

ALEXA SCIMECA KNIERIM/CHRIS KNIERIM:
Short Program Version #1: “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge!
GOE: +1

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These costumes are a year old, but I still really like them. As much as I love the classic red dress from the movie, I’m glad they didn’t go for the standard Moulin Rouge costumes and just decided to tell their own story with the song. Alexa’s dress has nice bodice details and violet looks great on her! I also like that Chris got a matching mesh shirt and not just a standard button-down.

Short Program Version 2: “Come What May”
GOE: 0

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I have to say I preferred the first set. The cream shade doesn’t quite suit Alexa’s lovely skin tone IMO, and Chris downgraded from the mesh to the basic shirt. On a good note, I can tell these costumes are well-made and the rhinestones on Alexa’s dress are gorgeous!!! So they get credit for a good effort.

Free Skate: “Ghost” soundtrack
GOE: -1

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I was reluctant to give this set of costumes a negative GOE, but something just feels off about this set. Alexa’s dress is a classy shade of lilac (purple is the new black!) with a high neck and an open back. It’s a very good style for her, but I think it could use more sparkle! A diamond like her deserves a dress to match! As for Chris, the pattern around the neck of his shirt just doesn’t work for me. I just wish they had kept the ones they wore at Four Continents and Worlds last year (below).

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NICOLE DELLA MONICA/MATTEO GUARISE:
Short Program: Magnificat
GOE: +1

First off, let me compliment them for picking costumes that match the Olympic boards. Second, I love the detail on the bodice of her dress and the chest of his shirt. I don’t quite know what’s missing for me with these costumes. They’re not bad, but they don’t scream for my attention.

Free Skate: The Tree of Life
GOE: +2

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These costumes caught my eye right away when I saw them at Lombardia Trophy. I’ve never seen anything like this before! The green and blue is really brilliant against the ice, and it’s perfect for the theme of the program. The pattern totally shows off their incredibly toned muscles, which serves two purposes: 1. No one can look at them and say “figure skating isn’t an athletic sport and 2. I get to appreciate Matteo’s amazing physique (Nicole looks great too, but I’m a little distracted…) And to top it off, Adam Rippon (who I count as a style icon) had the same idea!

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NATALIA ZABIIAKO/ALEXANDER ENBERT:
Short Program: Summer of ’42
GOE: +1

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For such a dreamy, light program, I appreciate the pastel palette of these costumes. Natalia’s dress is such a lovely style on her. But the fabric itself, particularly Alexander’s shirt, looks quite cheap to me.

Free Skate: The Sleeping Beauty
GOE: -2

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Look, I have nothing against trying to be creative. I love costumes that are a bit avant-garde. But this just didn’t translate correctly. At first, they’re wearing these boring, sterile white costumes. Then they flip down some ruffles in the middle of the ice…which makes it worse. Her dress looks okay with the ruffles down, but his shirt becomes a Johnny Weir original (and I’m a firm believer that the only person who can dress like Johnny Weir and get away with it is Johnny Weir). I’m not sure whose idea it was to do The Laurine Trick, but I don’t like it.

VALENTINA MARCHEI/ONDREJ HOTAREK:
Short Program: Tu vuo fa l’Americano
GOE: +1

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Evgenia Tarasova, take notes, because this is how you wear polka dots. Valentina’s dress is absolutely adorable! It’s charming, it’s well-styled, and it reminds me just a little of Minnie Mouse. The matching flash of red on Ondrej is just enough to keep him out of the “guys in boring black and white” category.

Free skate: Amarcord
GOE: -2

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Unfortunately, the free skate costumes were no masterpiece. I understand it’s a comical program, but I was constantly distracted by these odd clothes, so it’s going to be negative GOE for these. Also, Dylan Moscovitch already tried this look a few years ago.

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XIAOYU YU/HAO ZHANG:
Short program: Swan Lake
GOE: +3

The Chinese chose lovely costumes that really work well for them. Hao’s costume is fairly simple and doesn’t really catch my eye, but Xiaoyu’s dress TOTALLY earns my approval. She is such a pretty, delicate young woman, and dresses like this are simply stunning on her. She is the epitome of a beautiful white swan. It reminds me of both a vintage wedding dress and the famous white dress from “Moulin Rouge!”

Free skate: Star Wars
GOE: 0

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These costumes were not bad, but like their program itself, I’ve seen better. I like the shade of grayish blue on Xiaoyu, but I want to remove the strip across the top. It reminds me of Madison Hubbell’s lovely FD dress from last year:

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As for Hao’s shirt, the geometric patterns have to go IMO.

KSENIA STOLBOVA/FEDOR KLIMOV:
Short program version #1: Besame Mucho
GOE: +2

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These were by far the best Russian pairs’ costumes this year. Ksenia knows how to wear a little black dress like nobody’s business; I love the jeweled neckband. Fedor’s white shirt is pretty standard, but there’s something about Mr. Klimov in a white shirt that makes me smile. Overall, the costumes look expensive and chic. But one question: who skates a passionate tango in such a conservative dress?

Short program version #2: Besame Mucho
GOE: +2

imageAt Nationals, Fedor debuted the new jacket. I’ve been begging him to wear a suit on the ice for years, and he finally listened to my prayers! Dang, he looks good. But I think the white shirt was more suitable for tango.

Short program version #3: Besame Mucho
GOE: +2

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And because that wasn’t enough, they did ANOTHER costume change! Fedor went back to the white shirt and Ksenia got a new dress. At first glance, this dress looks very plain. But look closer: the very deep plum shade is a good color for her, and there are tiny sequins on the bodice. And I think it’s a little sexier than the first, which is essential for tango.

Free skate version #1: Carmen
GOE: -1

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I feel so ashamed to give Queen Ksenia a negative GOE after all she’s been through lately. I like the concept of these costumes a lot, but the execution fell a little short. I really like Fedor’s costume; the lace catches my eye without being distracting. But Ksenia’s dress fell short for me. It looks like they were trying to imitate a sexy negligee (Carmen is, of course, the legendary flirt), but the cutout across her chest looks awkward to me.

Free skate version #2: Carmen
GOE: 0

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Apparently the costume designer agreed the lace bodice was not working, because Ksenia showed up to Europeans wearing this version of the Carmen costume. I like it better than the first; the silhouette is better and it has a beautiful back. But something about how the lace was applied still doesn’t look right to me. Oh well, the dress never made it to the Olympics, so it doesn’t really matter.

VANESSA JAMES/MORGAN CIPRES:
Short program: “Make it Rain” by Ed Sheeran
GOE: +3 for Vanessa and -3 for Morgan, I can explain…

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I’ll start by saying how much I love Vanessa’s dress. Electric blue looks amazing against her beautiful skin and the crisscross design is stylish and hot. It looks like a real dress you could wear on a date, not just a skating costume. But Morgan’s costume just looks like a mess. Why couldn’t they just put him in boring black like every other pair guy? What is this weird blue stripe? What did they do with all this mesh? I really don’t know what to say about this. I imagine Vanessa picked this stunning dress, Morgan was not present for the fitting, and the costume designer decided, “Let’s just put this strip on so he looks like he’s her partner.” Come on, Morgan, you can do better than this!

Free skate version #1: “Say Something”
GOE: +3 for Vanessa, -1 for Morgan

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Again, I love Vanessa’s costume but have a problem with Morgan’s. Looking at Vanessa in this unitard, I immediately start singing “shine bright like a diamond”. She looks gorgeous!!! But once again…Morgan, sweetheart, just because Adam Rippon wears mesh doesn’t mean that everyone should. It just washes him out.

Free skate version #2: The Sound of Silence
GOE: +2

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Finally, Morgan is nicely dressed! Black shirt and dark pants, I approve. But once again, the highlight is Vanessa. This unitard is chic, modern, and hot, and nobody is queen of the unitard like Vanessa James. I also like that these costumes are black and don’t get in the way of the skating.

EVGENIA TARASOVA/VLADIMIR MOROZOV:
Short program: Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2
GOE: -2

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Poor Evgenia and Vladimir haven’t been blessed with the most beautiful costumes in the past, and sadly the trend continues. These outfits just remind me of kids who got tangled up in Christmas ribbons. Where is the costume budget going? (I guess Zabiiako and Enbert made off with all the money for those ruffles!)

Free skate: Candyman
GOE: -3

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I can’t say it got any better in the free skate. I mean, it’s an old-time boogie woogie program, so I guess polka dots were necessary. I can picture the costume designer now: “Let’s make a memorable dress for the Olympic season. Why don’t we wrap her in this bright yellow fabric so she stands out? Hey, you know, I have this black polka dot ribbon trim that would match! Oh, but now Vladimir will feel gypped if we send him out in basic black. Let’s give him a matching tie!” My heart goes out to them; why dress them in Cinderella’s rags when you can have a beautiful ball gown?

MEAGAN DUHAMEL/ERIC RADFORD:
Short program version #1: “With or Without You”
GOE: +1

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I really like how these costumes combine athletic wear and skating costumes. The dark grayish color is uncommon and refreshing, and they fit the soulful theme of the program. My only complaint? The mesh piece around Meagan’s waist is a little too high. I know the plan was to show off her abs and this does the trick, but when you are petite, you have to be careful with the length of your bodice pieces.

Short program version #2: “With or Without You”
GOE: +2

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I think the second set of costumes turned out better. I love this little lacy dress for Meagan – it’s strong, it flatters her great athletic physique, and it suits the tone of the program. Eric’s costume is rather basic, just a dark shirt and pants, but he’d look handsome in a house-elf’s uniform…
Meagan’s dress, though, brings to mind a dress from last year worn by skating’s newest fashion icon, Wenjing Sui.

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Free skate version #1: Muse Medley
GOE: +1

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Unfortunately I don’t have very good photos of these costumes, since they were worn only at a small senior B competition in Canada. (Thank you Morgan Cipres for posting the shot from the podium!) Meagan’s dress imitates her black Muse dress from two years before, which I loved. But I think the waist detail looks a bit off up-close, unlike the original black one. Eric, as always, looks great in basic black.

Free skate version #2: Muse Medley
GOE: +2

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I loved these costumes the first time I saw them. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…at 2015 Skate Canada! Okay, Eric got a new shirt, but that’s Meagan’s dress from their 2015-16 SP “Your Song”. I don’t have a problem with recycling costumes as long as they suit the music, and these two did just fine. Meagan’s dress is glitzy, but it doesn’t scream “prissy ice princess”; it says “Make way for a superstar.” And once again…we present Handsome Man in Standard Black.

Free skate version #3: Muse Medley
GOE: +2

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We all need a friend like Marissa Castelli in our lives, a friend who loans out her dresses when you need them the most. Meagan took this gold dress to the Grand Prix Final, while Eric packed his usual black outfit. It’s a very pretty dress; the lace cuts are stylish and flattering and the mesh doesn’t look cheap. But it seems a little too dainty for this program, compared to version #2. And as for the debate about “to wear gold or not to wear gold”, I honestly don’t care!

Free skate version #4: “Hometown Glory”
GOE: +3

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By Nationals, Meagan and Eric decided that changing costumes every competition wasn’t exciting enough, so they went back to their Hometown Glory free skate…AND #THEORIGINALHOMETOWNGLORY COSTUMES! My nostalgic little self started screaming with joy, not just because they bring back all the feels, but because they’re actually great costumes. I’m a sucker for a jeweled halter neck, the shade of blue is divine, and HALLELUJAH, Eric is wearing a gorgeous asymmetrical shirt that is NOT black!

Free skate version #5: Hometown Glory
GOE: +3

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I guess Meagan and Eric are like celebrities; they’re never seen in the same outfit twice. So for the Olympics, they got ANOTHER set of costumes. The deep burgundy shade, which was oh-so-popular among the likes of Weaver/Poje, Carolina Kostner, Virtue/Moir, Sui/Han, and Patrick Chan, looks great with the Olympic boards. Meagan’s dress looks a lot like the blue one and I couldn’t be happier with that. Eric’s shirt is subtle, but who doesn’t love a ripped guy in a mesh shirt? At first I missed the original Hometown Glory blue, but now Hometown Glory burgundy is iconic, too.

WENJING SUI/CONG HAN:
Short program: “Hallelujah”
GOE: +3

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I want to find whoever decided to put Wenjing in burgundy and give them a kiss. She looks absolutely gorgeous! Just the right amount of sparkle. The style is so flattering on her; she is tiny, but the long lines of the bodice help make her look taller. Cong’s shirt is memorable without being distracting; the sequins are straight from a rock star’s jacket.
 Wenjing’s dress reminds me of the purple one she wore back in the 2014-15 season for their SP to “Stray Cat Strut” (photo 2). If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!

Free skate: Turandot
GOE: +3

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These costumes look well-made, expensive, and downright gorgeous. Wenjing’s dress is soooooooo stunning, I want to chase her down and steal it from her! She looks like the beautiful queen of some exotic kingdom, which is the perfect look when you’re skating to Turandot. Cong once again is rocking the sparkly shirt; I’m not sure if it looks like the fluffy stuff a prince of that era would wear, but it looks good on him so I won’t complain. I think Prince Calaf is sneaking off to a rock concert after he’s done winning Turandot’s heart!

ALIONA SAVCHENKO/BRUNO MASSOT:
Short program version #1: Flamenco
GOE: +2

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I applaud Aliona for choosing a memorable flamenco dress. The flames make me instantly think of Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire (sorry, I’m such a Hunger Games nerd). On anyone else, this style could make the wearer look wider and heavier, but that’s no problem for Aliona of course. But I don’t like the bands on her wrists or the string around her waist; it reminds me of the elastic bands I put in my hair. Bruno’s costume is a classic example of “man in basic black” (maybe he and Eric can start a club) but I like the styling of the shirt; he looks quite handsome. It’s a shame these costumes were only worn a few times…but they were saving up even best stuff for later.

Short program version #2: “That Man”
GOE: +2

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At the GPF, they switched back to their old SP and old costumes. I really like Aliona’s little peach dress: it’s elegant, it’s sassy, and the color is great on her skin tone. And I think Bruno is the only guy who can wear a pink tie without looking like a dork. Overall the look is classy, cute, and whimsical – well done.

Short program version #3: “That Man”
GOE: +3

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I liked the first set of costumes, I really did. But the second ones blew me away! Aliona looks like a glittering diamond, Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby, and a prom queen all at the same time. The two-piece design is new and refreshing, and her hairstyle matches the program PERFECTLY. Can I admit that I first started liking this pair just for their costumes? Also, Bruno’s new costume has a little more charisma than the first, which is necessary for the program. And wearing silver when you’re chasing gold just seems like such an ironically Aliona thing to do.

Free skate version #1: La terre du ciel
GOE: -1

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Wow, I can’t believe I gave Aliona a negative GOE for a dress! This is a great color, but I don’t like the design of the bodice, it’s too gaudy for my taste. For some reason, it doesn’t work for me. So I was very happy when she got a new dress. But props to Bruno for wearing a shirt that actually matches her costume!

Free skate version #2: La terre du ciel
GOE: +3

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I think this second dress is the most stunning thing I’ve ever seen worn on a human. After Aliona killed us all with her subtle “Impressionist painting” dress from last year’s Lighthouse program, I didn’t think it could get any better, but it did.
The dainty jeweled waistband and the cut down the front make it not just another pretty ombré skating dress. And the ombré is done the way all ombré should be: expertly contoured to create the most flattering effect possible. Bruno wore the same shirt as before, but it matches this dress perfectly too.
Also…how did they know that the boards were going to be the same shade of purple as their costumes? I call it an act of God!

Overall, it was a very good season for costumes. Only a few disasters and enough gorgeous ones to make me happy. And can we just appreciate what a well-dressed Olympic podium we had (Savchenko/Massot, Sui/Han, and Duhamel/Radford)? We were truly blessed.

Well, until next season…happy skating, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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