Monday, November 10, 2014
2014 Lexus Cup of China--the third of six 2014-2015 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating competitions-- occurred this past weekend at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai China.

Men Down: Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu (left) and China's Yan Han after headbutting, and colliding on the ice during the warm-up--2014 Lexus Cup of China

There was one big newsworthy item that happened during the Men's Competition, when two male skaters--Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, the Gold medalist from the 2014 Socchi Olympics, and China's Yan Han collided while doing their pre-skating warm up. It was quite a scene...but I'll get to that in the end of this post...

For now, time to discuss the LADIES Costumes and yes, then I'll get to the Men--and the Collide.

Note: I've already discussed some of these skaters who skated at the Cup of China in previous Grand Prix posts for this season (for 2014 Skate America and 2014 Skate Canada) so if you want to see what I thought of Elizaveta Tuktamysheva's costume, go to "Ice Style" tags on the right on this blog.

Gold and Bronze Ladies: Gold medalist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia (Left) and Bronze medalist Kanako Murakami of Japan (Right)--2014 Lexus Cup of China

Anne Line Gjersem of Norway Short Program: Anne Line skated her Short program to "Fly" by Celine Dion in this very pretty light blue costume featuring delicate crystals around the neckline and sleeves. It also had a nice open back which you can't see here. I thought it was almost a Retro throw-back figure skating costumes to the days of simpler and more elegant costumes.

Ashley Cain of the USA Short Program: American Ashley Cain skated to "Mission Impossible" by The Piano Guys featuring Lindsey Stirlingand she wore this black sequined jumpsuit. Yes, kids, a jumpsuit. The costume featured a cascade of heavy-to-light crystals in the torso area that trickled down the legs. I was surprised by this "unusual" look; I more expect this from a Mae-Berenice Meite of France. With that said, I do think it worked with the music and theme of her program.

Free Skate to "Evita" by Andrew Lloyd Webber: For her Free Skate, she went a more "classical" costume route (good choice after wearing a sequined black jumpsuit for her Short Program) with a perfectly white costume with stunningly sequined bodice and crystal "necklace". Naturally, she was trying to portray Evita Peron. I thought it looked elegant and pretty. I also loved that Ashley's hairstyle was also Evita-severe.  

Gabrielle Daleman of Canada Short Program: Gabrielle skated to "Winter" from Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons", "Art of Ice" by Edvin Marton, and "Allegro Lento". The two-time Canadian silver medalist wore this very light lilac/pale blue costume that made her look--appropriately enough--like a Snowflake. The jagged details of the skirt and bodice section re-emphasized the "Winter" aspect of the program. I also like the mini-crown holding her bun atop her head.

Hae Jin Kim of South Korea Short Program: She skated to "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin in this royal blue costume. The semi-one shoulder costume also had ombre-like sections of black (with the royal blue) and silver crystals throughout. I thought it was a "jazzy" costume with lots of flash.
Kanako Murakami of Japan Short Program: Kanako skated her Short Program to "Think of Me" from "The Phantom of the Opera" by Andrew Lloyd Webber. For some reason there's A LOT of "Phantom" this season, and especially from the Japanese skaters (Yuzuru Hanyu and Takahito Mura also skate to "The Phantom of the Opera"). I'm assuming that the musical must have been touring recently in Japan and maybe that's why the skaters were "bitten" by the "Phantom" bug. Anyhow, I thought this costume was a bit too "Toddlers and Tiaras" for my taste; it seemed a bit "Happy Hands at Home" and lacked sophistication and quality from what should be an A-list costume. All those cheap-looking appliques really throw me off.

Free Skate: For her Free Skate to "Masquerade" and "The Mirror" from (wait for it!)..."The Phantom of the Opera". Yes, I'm not kidding. Seriously, that musical MUST HAVE been touring Japan earlier this year! I liked this costume better than the short. It was a bit more creative, and actually had some sense of style--from the half jacket to the "Phantom" mask on the torso to the sleeve wrist details. While it is more sophisticated than her short program, it still has an amateur quality to it. I'm hoping she has a few changes in store for us this season.

Polina Edmunds of the USA Short Program: Polina skated her Short Program to "Flamenco Medley" of "Buleria" and "Tango Serenata" from the Flamenco Fantasy. Last season, I really liked her costumes so I was looking forward to what she would wear this season. I liked this electric blue costume. It was designed by Lilya Dukler and had the look of a very feminine "Flamenco Princess" with its fluttery sleeve details, grid-and-flower torso and of course, the flower on her chignon. I especially liked the back and all those criss-cross ties. I think it was a good choice to not make this in red because A) it would have been to clique and B) it would have looked as if she was skating to Bizet's "Carmen". So, overall: good choice Polina!


Free Skate to "Tinker Bell" from "Peter Pan Soundtrack" by James Newton Howard: Polina wore this ombre shaded pink costume with lots of crystals throughout, multi-layered skirt and ruffle details. It was a very "Tinker Bell"-like costume and frankly, looked maybe too "young" even for the 16-year old American skater. But what I did like was the wing-like back detail (you can partially see some of that in above photo), again giving a hint of the fictional "Tinker Fairy" of "Peter Pan".

And now, time to discuss the MEN:
Maxim Kovtun of Russia Free Skate: Maxim--who eventually won the gold medal at the 2014 Lexus Cup of China--skated to "Exogenesis Symphony" by Muse. This costume was bold and "different". I liked the vividness of the top and the ombre coloring. But (there's a but!)...it reminded me of a costume that maybe could have been better suited to say, skating to the "Robocop" or "Transformers" soundtracks.

Richard Dornbush USA Short Program: Dornbush skated to "The Sons of Italy" by Henry Mancini. His costume had a ruffled shirt with an attached wine-colored velvet vest with gold button and matching color pants that also featured the gold button detail at the outseam near the lower leg area. I thought this costume was perfect for the music and theme and I was a big fan of all the small details--and that hidden invisible zipper in the center front of the shirt! Easy in-and-out--of the costume. Smart designing.

Free Skate to "Yellow" and "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay. I absolutely LOVED this costume on Richard for his Free Skate. I especially liked the draped jersey top with chocolate brown, red and gray colors. I always appreciate a nice feminine-like drape that still looks super masculine. I also loved the super-tight pants with front pintucks. Shelley Dornbush--his mom--designed his costumes. Shelley is a figure skating costume designer and let me just say: how lucky is he!!?? I'm sure you do not need me to tell you this but, I say it anyway: Good job Shelley!

Han Yan of China Short Program: Han Yan skated to "If I Were A Rich Man" by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock from the 1964 musical "Fidler on the Roof". Two things here: First, I thought Han looked super handsome and sexy in this dress shirt  with rolled sleeves and black pants "costume". Second, I just wasn't sure what this had to do with "Fiddler on the Roof". With that said, I'm not sure if I would have like him in full-on "Fidler on the Roof" costume so...I guess, this was a better (costume) choice.

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan Short Program: 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu skated his Short Program to "Ballade No. 1 op. 23 in G minor" by Frederic Chopin. I liked the lilac colored mock-neck blouson with a sequined cummerbund and black pants costume. I give Hanyu props for going there and wearing such a feminine sequined blouse. But, then again, knowing what he's worn in the past, it doesn't surprise me. I think it worked well with the music and program and gave an air of a young (and very bedazzled) Chopin.

Ouch: Before I talk about his Free Skate costume, it's time for the collide--During the pre-Free Skate Warm-up, the male skaters were out on the ice and Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu collided very seriously with China's Han Yan...

Ummm, What Do We Do? Hanyu laid on the ice for a good minute before anyone even came out to see if he was OK. The Cup of China medical team looked like it was their "First Time at the Rodeo". And subsequently--if one watches on YouTube--you can see that when he was finally taken off the ice and escorted backstage--the Chinese Medical Team (if one could call them that) were still scrambling and it was quite noticeable to see the USA medical team coming to his aid--and later the Japanese team. It was quite a mess. Eventually, Hanyu skated his Free Skate. He fell A LOT but after what he'd been through, I give him many bows for even going out there to try and skate...

Free Skate to Music from The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber: A head-bandaged and chin-Band-Aid'ed Yuzuru skated his Free Skate. His costume featured a half-jacket (kind of like Kanako's half jacket design in her costume), very frilly lace and sequined  blouse, black pants and gloves.The jacket was a bit too "Michael Jackson" as opposed to "Phantom of the Opera" (the cheap gold whickety-wack trim didn't help) but the overall "Too Muchey" look of this was still very consistent with Hanyu's penchant for over-the-top costumes. I have to say, that if I had not realized what had occurred and the fact that what he had on his head was a big bandage...just from looking at this photo I would have thought "Oh, is Yuzuru skating to Les Miserables?" 

With all that silly costume stuff out of the way--I still have to say "You Go Yuzuru!!". He skated after such a horrible collision and came in Second. But, it's got to be said, this boy has got some will and strength! I hope he gets better and recovers from the collision and nothing too serious happened to him.

**Up Next: Costume Recap of the PAIRS and ICE DANCE of 2014 Lexus Cup of China

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