The 2019-20 figure skating season has been a whirlwind of surprises, excitement, and drama. The cancellation of Worlds made the year feel a bit incomplete to me, and I’m not sure how long it will be until the skating world as we know it is back in full swing. However, this season gave us many great moments, and I want to focus on the good parts. For me, one of the highlights of figure skating competitions is the variety of costumes. Skating is one of the few sports that allows for artistic expression in this way (you don’t see Olympic downhill skiers wearing rhinestones and feathers as they’re clearing the slalom), and I want to give a round of applause to all the costume designers who created some true masterpieces this season. In no particular order, here are my favorite costumes from the 2019-20 season.
Wenjing Sui/Cong Han, “Rain in Your Black Eyes”.
Look…I know that these costumes Do. Not. Match. I still imagine they had a fight about what color to wear and Coach Hongbo Zhao said “fine, go out in whatever you want!” But separately, the costumes are gorgeous. Wenjing’s dress looks fit for the Oscars – I would love to see it turned into a glorious full-length evening gown. The deep green is mystical and looks great with the jeweled accents. Cong’s costume is simple but doesn’t just look like the dreaded plain black shirt of most pair guys.
Evgenia Medvedeva, “Exogenesis Symphony 3”.
This costume is such a unique, artistic masterpiece. It’s always a bit tricky to design a unitard that’s not too flashy but doesn’t look like a boring black training outfit, and this one checks off both boxes. The black background provides a solid base that’s not too distracting from her skating while the blue decorations add eye-catching focal points. The sleeves look like wings, so now I really want her to skate to “Arrival of the Birds” by Coldplay. It reminds me a lot of Yuzuru Hanyu’s costumes. I would remove the flaps of fabric on her legs, but overall it made a memorable impression and worked well for the program.
Jason Brown, “I Can’t Go On Without You”.
It’s hard to make a black costume for men that doesn’t put the audience to sleep, but Jason Brown absolutely killed it with this outfit. From a distance, it just looks like a regular t-shirt and pants, but it’s the little details that completely transform it into a stylish ensemble. The faux leather and silver zipper add a sleek, modern vibe, and the slim fit of the shirt accentuates his strong lines and excellent posture. It’s cool, it’s sexy, and it doesn’t get in the way of his skating. He really looks like a rock star out there, and I hope other male skaters take tips from him about making black costumes that work.
Kaori Sakamoto, “The Matrix”.
As a big Matrix fangirl, I was very excited to see Kaori’s costume for this program. I was expecting a unitard because that’s what Trinity wears in the movie, but I think the dress was the right choice for her. It’s not easy to design a costume that would fit into a computerized dystopia full of martial arts and gunfights and can also survive a four-minute performance on skates. Instead of copying the costumes straight from the movie, the designers incorporated the theme into the final product in a way that suits Kaori. The leathery material and slits in the skirt are a nod to the Matrix’s trench coats, and I’m in love with the green sparkles, which imitate the computer codes in the movie. I think this costume captures the essence of Trinity while playing to Kaori’s strengths.
When working with faux leather, it’s easy for the dress to turn out looking a bit cheap, but this one is cool, striking, and edgy. Overall, it gives her a very strong presence on the ice.
Alina Zagitova, “Me Voy”:
When I first saw this dress at the summer ice shows, I gasped out loud. Alina generally has good taste in costumes, but this one is by far my favorite. It’s such an elegant, classy silhouette and the black lace looks vintage and expensive. This program was more mature and emotional than Alina’s previous programs, and the dress rose to the occasion. I would love to wear this to a cocktail party – it’s subtle, yet it accentuates her natural beauty. The red accents give it a touch of color on the ice, and while I’m not usually a fan of skaters wearing gloves, these ones look nice. Can do you tell I’m a sucker for black lace dresses?
Yuzuru Hanyu, “Origin”:
I already gushed over this costume in my Grand Prix Final review, but I want to talk about it again here because it’s so stunning. To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of beads or frills on skating costumes, but I had to make a big exception for this one. The deep purple gives it a quiet, almost understated luxury, providing a background for the gorgeous details. The gloves accentuate his gracefulness and the top blends perfectly into the black pants. It gives off a vibe of dark magic – I’d love to see him use this costume for a program to Dracula. (Did anyone else notice that it’s the same shade as Alena Kostornaia’s dress from her Twilight program?). It’s truly fit for a king.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, “Oblivion”:
As a proud Slytherin, I fully approve of this dress’s stunning color. I think green is a criminally underrepresented color in the skating world, and it looks incredible against Liza’s hair and skin tone. It’s simple, sheer, and sexy, like a luxurious negligee. The sparkling decorations around the neckline and side are beautiful but unobtrusive. I can’t say I love the gloves with this particular dress, but overall, this dress was a job well done!
Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro, “Love on the Brain”:
Every time I see this dress, I want to burst out singing “Dancing Queen”. She looks like a retro disco goddess. This jeweltone shade of blue is simply flawless. The rhinestones along the neckline create such a flattering silhouette, and everything about this costume totally exudes Kirsten Moore-Towers magic. Mike’s shirt is basic but I like how the cutouts mimic the beading on Kirsten’s dress.
Lubov Ilyushechkina/Charlie Bilodeau, “Je Voudrais Voir la Mer”:
This is really just a review of Lubov’s costume because Charlie fell prey to the Pair Man’s Plight of basic black shirt and pants. But I’m still going to include these costumes in my review because her dress is so pretty. The pale blue is so serene, classy, and beautiful, like Lubov herself. The long sleeves and high neckline give it a vintage elegance, and the dark blue streaks remind me of the sky just before sunrise. It’s light, dreamy, and lovely. Also, this color always reminds me of Fleur Delacour from Harry Potter.
Evelyn Walsh/Trennt Michaud, “Someone You Loved”:
Evelyn and Trennt caught my eye last year with their good taste in costumes, and they continued to impress this season. Evelyn’s dress looks like a gorgeous flower. I like the subtle ombré around the waist; it’s beautiful without being distracting. Like Wenjing Sui’s costume from earlier in this blog post, I think this dress would make a breathtaking evening gown. Also, can we talk about Evelyn’s flawless makeup? Trennt’s costume is simple and I would’ve liked to see some color on him, but the rhinestones and belt add some little focal points.
Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov, “Te Amo”:
I included this one on the list because of her dress – I absolutely love it! It’s simple, romantic, and suits her perfectly. The halter-neck style is chic and flattering, and the cutout in the front makes it flirty without being tacky. My motto for skating costumes is “black lace makes everything prettier”, and that is especially true here. It’s really amazing how Tarasova/Morozov’s costumes have improved so much in the past few seasons, and I think this is the best dress she’s ever had. I would’ve liked his shirt to be solid burgundy, but it works all right.
Rika Kihira, “International Angel of Peace”:
The first time I saw this dress, I fell in love. The brilliant color reminds me of the ocean, and the gold decorations are extravagant without looking cheap. She looks like the young queen of some wealthy empire. It fits her well and looks vibrant against the ice. I’m so bummed that she didn’t keep it for more competitions – I think it’s more eye-catching than the pale green/gray version she wore later. Rika has quickly become one of the best-dressed ladies in the sport, and I look forward to seeing her costumes next year.
Jessica Calalang/Brian Johnson, “Light of the Seven”:
I’m going to start this with a disclaimer: I’m not sure how her dress has anything to do with Game of Thrones. But it’s so beautiful that I don’t really care. I appreciate the simplicity of the silhouette, and the hazy purple looks perfect against her hair and complexion. I could see this dress in a program to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It’s strong, but not overbearing. Brian’s costume is fairly basic (pair guys continue to be a walking poster for the Men in Black franchise), but I like the placket on the front of his shirt. It hints at the medieval fashions from Game of Thrones without being cumbersome. In general, Calalang/Johnson tend to be a well-dressed pair and I really admire their costume choices!
Cheng Peng/Yang Jin, “Allegria”.
Once again, Cheng Peng came up with a stunning dress for the short program. The pale pink is light and dainty, and it moves beautifully on the ice. I’m usually not a fan of girly colors, but this dress works. The black lace forms a little corset, creating a flirty, vintage dress fit for a queen. I also have to give a round of applause for Yang’s jacket. Although it’s still another case of Pair Men in Black, this outfit is equally worthy of praise as Cheng’s dress. The cut of the collar is bold and striking, and the silver details remind me of Black Panther. These costumes are excellent designs on their own, but together, they form a strong aesthetic on the ice.
Madison Chock/Evan Bates, “Egyptian Snake Dance”.
To be fair, Madison Chock is a queen who could look good even if she was dressed in an old pillowcase like a house-elf from Harry Potter. But she has generally good taste in fashion, and of all the stunning dresses she’s worn, I think this is my favorite. It’s as if she’s draped in a glistening net of jewels and gold. Usually, I don’t like gold dresses because they tend to look flashy and cheap, but this one is a masterpiece. It’s glamorous, sexy, and totally unique – she looks like a true Egyptian goddess. I also want to mention her cool braid; it reminds me of Angelina Jolie’s hairstyle in Tomb Raider. I can’t look at Evan’s shirt without thinking of the U.S. Army, but at least he’s not wearing black, and the green actually compliments her dress nicely.
And the award for Most Fun Costume goes to…
I couldn’t do a blog post without mentioning Papadakis/Cizeron’s wild costumes for their rhythm dance to “Fame”. They tweaked them a few times throughout the season but my favorite is still the bright set from the Grand Prix in France. Guillaume is the only man hot enough to wear that headband and not look like a total dork. It looked like they had walked out of a Jane Fonda workout video. The costumes were low key ridiculous but they suited the program, and Gabriella and Guillaume brought the swagger to pull them off.
This concludes my review of the best costumes from the 2019-20 season. Feel free to comment below with your favorite costumes of the year. Until next time, happy skating, and may the odds be ever in your favor.