Torino may just be a short train ride from Milan, but the fashion on display at the Olympics is a completely different world. Figure skating costumes often look like hand-me-downs from the showgirls of seedy Las Vegas hotels. But in the womenâ€™s long program, there were some costumes that deserved the gold and silver (and happened to be on the women who earned them)â€¦
The gold medalist was Shizuka Arakawa, and her costume was dazzling. Representing Japan on the ice, she chose a costume grounded in Japanese performing arts: the kimono, with alterations that reduced its fundamental components to make it suitable for figure skating: the sleeves were slightly flared, the shortened skirt twirled, and an obi-like waistband to give the outfit form. Most importantly, from the competition perspective, the costume enhanced her form during jumps and spins.
Sasha Cohenâ€™s outfit also defied the figure skating curse. The plush red velvet with gold embroidery was baroque in style but also showed crucial restraint. The costume was tasteful and looked gorgeous on her.
Others were less glamorous:
Irina Slutskayaâ€™s costume illustrates the more common figure skating costume: flashy and unflattering, even distracting. I cheered for Irina anyway, because she has such a fabulous story.
Emily Hughesâ€™ outfit just seemed so â€œthe little sisterâ€ to me, just a leotard with some sequined trim, and tights that were about three shades too dark for her legs, making her look unbalanced.
Couples skating is unequivocally the ninth circle of fashion hell.