Illusion or No Illusion?
Backless? Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia and their Short Program costumes to "Love Theme from The Godfather"
Illusion vs. No Illusion. That is the Figure Skating Costume Question. First, let's get some "fabric schooling" out of the way for the folks that may not be on the "up-and-up" on fabrics and what illusion is. Illusion is a mesh/netting-like fabrication very popular in figure skating costumes (as well as with Wedding Gowns, Beauty Pageants, competitive Ballroom Dancing...). It can come in stretch (usually the most popular) and non-stretch. The content is usually nylon, elastene, Spandex, polyester and/or maybe some silk in the finer, more expensive versions. It is most often used in nude-or skin-like colors. It is great for mimicking skin when you want coverage but the effect of being bare. Of course, it also comes in other different colors (black being the next most popular color).
Illusion back of a wedding/evening gown
Illusion back of a Marchesa wedding gown design
The reason it's used--especially in the Figure Skating world is threefold: the fact that it can replicate the look of nude skin but still being "covered"; it can re-create certain style elements such as a "Strapless", One Shoulder or "backless" look and still make the wearer able to do strenuous sport activities; and because of certain "Costume Guide-rules" within the various elements of Figure Skating (Ice Dance, Ladies, Pairs) which require only a "certain amount of skin" to be showing.
Speaking of Rules, here they are:
Rule 500 Definition of Skate Blade and Clothing: At ISU Championships, the Olympic Winter Games and International Competitions, the clothing of the Competitors must be modest, dignified and appropriate for athletic competition – not garish or theatrical in design. Clothing may, however, reflect the character of the music chosen.
a) The clothing must not give the effect of excessive nudity for athletic sport. Men must wear trousers; no tights are permitted. Accessories and props are not permitted. The decoration on costumes must be non-detachable.
b) Clothing not meeting the foregoing requirements must be penalized by a deduction of 1.0 point (see Rule 353, paragraph 1.m) ii)).
Now, recently, especially while doing my "Costume Recaps" of this season's ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series, I've noticed a lot of "backless" looks from the skaters (the female, of course) as well as lots of illusion.
Here are some Photo Examples:
No Illusion Semi-Backless--Alena Leonova of Russia: This is her apple green sequined Bollywood-inspired costume to her Short Program to "Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)" by the Pussy Cat Dolls
Illusion Princess: Above is Gracie Gold of the USA and her red glittering costume to "Hernando's Hideaway" as well as her "strapless" blue sequined costume for her Free Program Costume to Life is Beautiful soundtrack by Nicola Piovan. Both were designed by Brad Griffies and both featured nude illusion that is perfectly dyed to match her skin color.
Now, one particular skater--a Pairs skater--might be bucking the "illusion" unspoken figure skating costume rule: Tatiana Volosozhar of Russia:
Let's take a closer look:
Another example of the No Illusion is...
Could Figure Skating Costumes go the route of Dancing With The Stars?
Randall Christensen creates these fabulous KRAZEE and Ballroom Dancing Perfect costumes for the ABC hit show "Dancing With The Stars" where miraculously there is little illusion used and lots of open backs, open sides and just about open-everything else, held together by double-stick tape, some heavy elastic straps and a Costume Prayer (And I'm sure there is much more inside those costumes that make them stay where they should!)
So, I put these question up to you guys--the Figure Skating Costume Fans? Illusion or No Illusion? What do you think? Let me know!!