Girls Best Friend: Russia's Ksenia Makarova in bubblegum pink "Marilyn Monroe" costume, Skate America 2011 Ladies Free SkateThe ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America begun on Oct 21st at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario California. Skate America is the first of six events of the 2011/2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.
Top Three: Silver Medalist Italy's Carolina Kostner, Gold Medalist USA's Alyssa Czisny, and Bronze Medalist Sweden's Viktoria Helgesson, Skate America 2011The skaters compete for a global prize money of $180,000 per individual event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and the top six of each discipline go on to the Finals. First up: the Ladies. They skated their Short Programs as well as the Free Skate. I love Figure Skating and Figure Skating Costumes so much that I actually drove all the way to Ontario (only an hour drive from LA "proper") to see the Pairs Final Competition as well as the Ladies Free Skate at Skate America 2011 in the Citizens Business Bank Arena--along with the man who got me into all this figure skatin' stuff--my trusty NIKOLAKI partner, David Paul. Yes, kids, it was a day filled with Figure Skating and bedazzled madness!! That's how I like to spend my Sunday... So, now let's get to my "Nick Skating Costumes Two Cents" for the Ladies: Carolina Kostner: I always look forward to what Italy's Carolina Kostner wears. She became a "Skating Fashionista" ever since she enlisted the design expertise of Italian Designer Roberto Cavalli, several Winter Olympics ago. Not sure if the "House of Cavalli" is still designing her costumes but they are still great! For her Short Program, Carolina wore a brightly colored sherbert-y costume featuring a side-gathered "wrap" silhouette and a beaded side panel and sleeve. Carolina Kostner Ladies Free Skate ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Skate America 2011 For her Free Skate, she skated to Mozart's Concerto No. 77 and I loved this costume much more than her first. It was actually one of my favorites of the competition. It was dramatic, very "Dancing With The Stars" cheeky yet still very beautifully made (especially seeing it up close from my seats at the Arena!). The bodice and torso with its navy-to-light-blue sequin work was incredible, as you can see from the above photos. In terms of her skating, she actually WON the Free Skate but she ended up in second place overall, and got the Silver. She gets the Gold for Costumes from me. Ksenia Makarova: My next favorite (secretly my MOST!), was the costume worn by Russia's Ksenia Makarova (I just love saying her name OVER and OVER again!) in her Free Skate. When she first stepped on the ice, I said "She is so 'Madonna Material Girl'!" And yes, I was partially correct: she actually skated to a "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" medley. It was a "Mini Me" version of the iconic William Travilla-designed bubblegum pink gown that Marilyn Monroe wore in the film "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes". It was "strapless" (well, of course, with an attached skin-colored illusion netting), had a HUGE statement-making "diamond" necklace as well as bracelets. Toddlers, Tiaras, and Bows: No detail was left on the sewing and cutting room: not only did the costume feature the side draping of the original gown, but the accompanying pink gloves Ksenia wore also had little bows at the elbows. Was it a little TLC's "Toddlers & Tiaras"? Yes! But did I LOVE it? TOTALLY! Viktoria Helgesson: Sweden's Figure Skating "Barbie Doll", the gorgeous Viktoria, also skated to the music from "Sunset Blvd: the Musical" which, of course, is based on the legendary Hollywood Movie. I assume she was trying to vibe the "Norma Desmond" character in this black crystal beaded costume with white fur cuffs. Her hair was done up very "50's Hollywood Glamour" but I'm not sure if it worked entirely. Look, I think Viktoria looks gorgeous in anything she puts on, but I actually thought she looked more like a "Sexy Christmas Santa Helper" than Gloria Swanson. Here's a thought for her next Skating Competition Theme: Pan Am. She needs to do 60's Pan Am Airline Stewardess. Like TOMORROW! Alyssa Czisny: Finally, we have the Gold Medalist USA's Alyssa Czisny. She was certainly the Star of the Weekend, leading the Ladies Short and then taking the BIG prize at the end. I liked her Short Program costume better than her Free Skate. For her short, she wore a beautifully elegant light pink bateau-necked costume that was modern, sleek and oh-so-not Figure Skating tacky-licious. Loved the bodice/torso completely covered in Swarovski crystals and the simple thin belt, and it also featured a gorgeous beaded see-through back. A WINNER for sure! On the other hand, I was a bit underwhelmed by what she wore for the Free Skate. She skated to Valse Triste ("Sad Waltz") from Jean Sibelius. And the costume seemed a little sad (maybe that was the point!). The aubergine color didn't really "pop" on the ice and, dare I say it, it might have benefited from some extra "sparkle". Yes, MORE BEDAZZLING! Well, maybe just a couple more. It didn't look "International Competition Costume" ready enough for me. But it was impeccably made and when you see it up close the delicately draped bodice and beading is stunning. But oh well, what do I know--the beautiful Alyssa won the entire thing; she brought the entire Ontario California audience (me included!) to our feet, bland costume and all. Congrats Alyssa and keep the costumes FAB!! Remember, I'm watching :) * Up Next: The Men...at Skate America!!!