Arrival Pose: Nick Verreos at the San Jose, CA International AirportAfter blogging about the Figure Skating Fashion for the last 2 seasons here on my blog, I decided it was time to see some of these costumes "Up Close" and since the Nationals were almost in my backyard--well, almost--an hour away by plane in San Jose, CA... I, along with my partner, David Paul (who LOVES himself some figure skating!) decided to make a weekend of it! Yes, we hopped on a Horizon/Alaska Airlines propeller plane at LAX and an hour later, we were in San Jose....to go to the 2012 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Prudential 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, HP Pavilion San Jose CaliforniaThis years Nationals were being held at the HP Pavilion and yes, we bought tickets for all of the weekend high-profile events--including the Ladies Finals, Pairs, Ice Dance and Men's short and Long Programs. This is like the "Miss USA" of figure skating...and very very important!!!
Skating Goddess: 9-time US National Champion, 5-time World Champion, 2-time Olympic Medalist Michelle Kwan, 2012 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships "Hall of Fame" Induction CeremonyI was so excited to attend the Ladies Final Competition--which was held this past Saturday--and as part of the afternoon's event at the HP Pavilion, there was a very special (and a big highlight for me) Induction Presentation of Michelle Kwan into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. She wore a bright silk satin mustard yellow top and black skirt during this ceremony and actually got teary as all the congratulatory video montages played on the HUGE overhead pavilion screens.
Now, let's get to the Ladies Final and The Costumes!!!
The Top Four: Left to Right--Alissa Czisny (Silver) Ashley Wagner (Gold), Agnes Zawadzki (Bronze), Caroline Zhang (Pewter), 2012 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships HP PavilionGold Medalist Ashley Wagner: I LOVED Ashley's Free Skate costume. She skated to "Music from Black Swan" and yes, this is one of my favorite costumes of the entire season. The one-shoulder embroidered lace applique with beaded detail design is both elegant and directional. Ashley Wagner--Short Program: For her Short Program, she skated to "Music from the Pollock Soundtrack" and wore a red halter neckline costume with rhinestones. It's pretty, it "pops" on the ice and appropriate for the music and theme. Agnes Zawadzki--Long Program: Agnes was First Place after her Short Program but received the Bronze Medal after the Free Skate. For her Free Program, she skated to "Rhapsody In Blue" By George Gershwin and wouldn't you know it...she wore a royal/electric blue costume with a one-shoulder/band mock-neck silhouette design with yes, lots of crystals. On the ice, this costume really stood out and look fabulous! Agnes Zawadzki--Short Program Costume: For her Short Program, Agnes skated to "Harlem Nocturne" and "Whatever Lola Wants" wearing a similar one-shoulder/band neckline costume--but in deep violet. I like that she knows how important these strong colors are, especially on "stage". Up close, these costumes do look about five minutes away from looking too "Figure Skating Betty" however, it somehow works on Agnes. The colors work really well against her skin tone and hair color. On that note, I love that she keeps her hairstyle in an elegant side-parted chignon each time. Alissa Czisny--Long Program: OK, I will have to get this one off my chest right now: I wasn't a fan of this costume. There, I said it! Alissa--whom I love--and I was "pulling for her"--got the Silver Medal after her Free Skate to "La Valse Triste" by Jean Sibelius. The costume was a little too lingerie/corsetry-looking for my taste. It was "Trashy Lingerie"-ish. On a good note: it had "hints" of Rodarte--the much-praised High Fashion brand everyone and Anna Wintour just LUVS--however, it fell a bit short for me, in terms of impact. I am not a fan of the long skirts for Ladies Figure Skating and well, the entire look was not impacting enough. Alissa Cizisny--Short Program: For her Short Program, she skated to "La Vie en Rose" from the Sabrina soundtrack and wore this elegant rose-pink boatneck sleeveless costume with all-over crystals. I liked this--it was classic and serene. And the thin belt at the waist is soooo "Red Carpet"-ready! The back is covered in Silver Crystals and is absolutely breathtaking. The photos do not do this costume justice. Mirai Nagasu---Short Program: Mirai skated to "Danzarin" Tango Lorca to her Short Program. This costume looked like something one could buy off the rack--from one of the skating shops in the Arena. And kids, that's not a good thing--especially for the Nationals. She need to "Bring It On" and for me, she didn't. I can design--and sew this costume--in my sleep! Caroline Zhang: Pewter Medalist Caroline Zhang wore on of my TOP costumes of the Ladies Final Championships. It was a black number featuring original beading detail under her bust and framing her torso. She skated her Free Skate to "Allegro Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104-1" in this and it worked seamlessly into the performance. Tres Chic Caroline! Rachael Flatt: One of my favorite figure skaters, Rachael Flatt--skated to the "Firebird Suite" from The Firebird by Stravinsky for her Long Program/Free Skate. She changed her costume and showcase this new design at the US Nationals. Here is the one she wore before. I liked the multicolored beading that (I am assuming) was supposed to mimic feathers of a bird. The colors, design and crystals--they all looked well-made and expensive. But, the best part of her costume came at the end of her performance--during the "Kiss-And-Cry", when she put on a "Stanford University" (the college she attends) cap. Soooo CUTE! Go Miss Rachael!
Click Below for "Figure Skating Chat" with Jimmy Nguyen and Nick Verreos--Previewing the Ladies Final: