Wednesday, January 27, 2016
 Costumed Men: Collage of Men's Costumes from the 2016 U.S. Prudential Figure Skating Championships, Xcel Energy Center Saint Paul Minnesota
All Photos from David Paul

In my last post HERE on the COSTUMES of the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, I discussed the LADIES, so now it's time for the MEN! Now, I have to say that the LADIES costumes were just a teeny weeny bit more exciting (visually) than the MEN and yes, that's normally the case--except when I'm talking about the JAPANESE male skaters; they always BRING IT when it comes to costumes (Thank goodness!). So, without further ado, here's my Costumes Recap of the MEN...
Let's begin with Gold medal winner Adam Rippon:

Adam Rippon: Adam skated his Short Program to "Who Wants to Live Forever" by Queen wearing this great ensemble above. The black and silver sequined costume was chic and SLEEK! Adam--and his costume designer--know how to best highlight his super slim (my goodness he is thin!!) body and at the same time give enough costume support to his skate and music.

Plunging: I loved the plunging neckline (I'm a sucker for a deep-V neckline on men) and the diagonal sequin detail added enough "pizzazz". I also give Adam props for a nice clean-waisted pant. No tacky "Ross Dress For Less" belt, thank you!

And that back see-through and silver crystal sequin detail is Costume AMAZING! A definite TEN in Male Costume Design.

Free Skate: Adam skated his winning Free Skate to a Beatles Medley including "St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in another fabulous costume. This costume consisted of a purple colored see-through (of course!) long sleeve shirt featuring epaulets and sequined front details, finished off with super tight black pants. The whole look was perfect for Adam and perfect for his music. Another TEN!

Max Aaron: Max skated his Short Program to Nessun dorma by Giacomo Puccini. Max is not known for being "Costume effusive" in terms of what he wears, and frankly, it can be a little (sometimes a lot!) disappointing in my fashion designer eyes. At least for his Short Program costume, there is some detail and by "some" I am giving a lot of credit. He wore a white long sleeve shirt with pintuck detail, a matching cummerbund and black pants. I can see where he is going: evoking a "tuxedo lite" look. I guess this works for Max but still, I'd love a little something more, like maybe five sequins on the shirt, at least!

Free Skate: Max Aaron skated his Free Skate to Black Swan by Clint Mansell and if this looks boring, it's because it is. I understand the sleek, aerodynamic look but I think there is a way to achieve this look with a little more style. Heck, he is skating to BLACK SWAN! Being in the arena and viewing it up close, it doesn't look like a costume of a champion, plain and simple. As much as it should be about the skate, THE COSTUME IS PART OF THE ENTIRE PACKAGE, and he didn't look like a champion. When he first came out, all I could think was "I could get that top at Zara". Now, I did notice that obviously it wasn't and it had an under lining that didn't expose his .00003% fat-free body, therefore someone actually made him this as a costume (yikes!). On the plus side, I do like the wide boatneck of the top and the flared hem. But that's about it kids.

Nathan Chen: Nathan skated his Free Skate to Symphony No. 3 in C Minor by Camille Saint-Saens in the costume above which consisted of a royal blue draped sequined top and black pants. I liked this! At least Nathan (as opposed to you-know-who) gave me something--costume-wise. The top had gathered draping, a mini sheer panel and interesting vertical folds. I also liked the asymmetrical hem and those ribbed knit sleeve bands reminiscent of sweatshirts. Thank you Nathan for this costume...and of course, for all those AMAZING quads!

Grant Hochstein: Grant skated his Short Program to Due Tramonti by Ludovico Einaudi in the costume above. Here's another look I liked. I'm a designer who appreciates a nice drape, and especially on a male figure skater. Normally, when one thinks of draping (in relation to fashion), your mind goes to Grecian Goddess Draped Gowns for women. But here's a note to figure skating costume designers: they can be useful on men as well. And I'm glad some of the men (and their costume designers) are taking that cue--besides the Japanese skaters! I liked the asymmetrical drape on the front and ombre-like effect of the gray/lilac and black colors. The lightly sprinkled sequins added some interest (note to Max Aaron, again).

Free Skate: For his Free Skate to Les Miserables: "Bring Him Home" & "One Day More", Grant went with an all-black look consisting of a loose blouse and tight-fitting pants. I liked the light sequin details on the band collar and sleeve bands but overall, I wished this look had a shot of color or somehow related better to the Musical.

 Scott Dyer: Scott skated his Short Program to Adios Nonino by Astor Piazzolla & La Cumparsita (version by Contursi, Maroni, Rodriguez). Scott has pizazz. He is stylish and the complete package. No surprise he is coached by the elegant Frank Carroll (Love Him!). I am a fan of this Tango Hot look on Scott. He's another skater who is .00003% fat-free and it's nice that his costume designer knows to make his ensemble as close to his body as possible. The look consisted of a black and sequined shirt, black pants, cummerbund and my favorite detail: the braces--or suspenders, as they say here in the USA

Free Skate: Scott skated his Free Skate to Cinema Paradiso by Ennio Morricone, Siberia (opera) by Umberto Gordano and he wore this costume above. Now, naturally, the minute I saw the gathered draped front: I LIKEY! Overall this was a nice costume with the ombre shading and crystals that gave a little bit of sparkle to his look. It reminded me of a Mediterranean evening star-lit sky while watching a movie outdoors in Sardinia!

 Timothy Dolensky: Timothy skated his short program to Cinema Paradiso sung by Josh Grobin. Timothy never met a PLUNGING NECKLINE he didn't like. And this costume is a perfect example of this. The ensemble consisted of a second-skin tight royal blue top with blouson sleeves and that aforementioned deep-plunging neckline; black pants and a fabulously sequined cummerbund. I liked this costume on Timothy for the color, the sequins and that neckline, of course.

Free Skate: Timothy skated his Free Skate to Variations on Themes of Chopin /Anze Rozman wearing this all black blouson sleeve shirt, cummerbund  and pant look that was basically the same items as what he wore for his Short Program. There were some changes (other than the shirt's color), in terms of details: the shirt featured a collar and vertical sequin embellishment down the front of the shirt plus the fact that there were no sequins on the cummerbund. But notice something that definitely remained: The plunging neckline. I told you. he loves a good deep V.

Daniel Kulenkamp: Daniel  performed his Free Skate to a Frank Sinatra Medley in this very Sinatra-esque ensemble which featured a white shiny dress shirt, black pants and sequined tie. I think this was appropriate for the program but as you know, I am just not a fan of the "Ross Dress For Less" belt. Not sure what else he could have done. Maybe secretly, I also wished he would have skated with a Dirty Martini and a cigarette a la Sinatra!

Emmanuel Savary: Emmanuel skated his Free Program to Reveil by Cirque du Soleil. Of course, Emmanuel got my fashion attention with this multi colored costume which was right for the Cirque du Soleil music. I liked this and also appreciated that he even wore black gloves to finish it all off.

Alexander Johnson: Alexander skated his Free Skate to "Eleanor Rigby" by Paul McCartney performed by violinist Joshua Bell wearing this costume above. He wore a watercolor/tie-dye-esque stretch Lycra mock neck turtleneck long sleeve top and black pants. He also had that dreaded cheesy "Ross Dress For Less"-like belt. I liked the top and how snug and perfectly fitted it was on him but after that, I was bored.

Vincent Zhou: Vincent performed his Short Program to Crystallize by Lindsey Stirling in this very Crystallized costume above. I loved this look on little Vincent. He's so small that he needs something to make him stand out. But at the same time, one has to be careful that the costume isn't overwhelming. This was just right. I loved the white and silver sequined detail on the top portion of the costume especially.

Free Skate: Vincent performed his Free Skate to The Godfather Trilogy: New Recordings from the Classic Scores performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra in this very "out-there" look. And I LOVED it! This is costume design fab. Just take in the red and black printed vest--with crystals highlighting the princess seams and faux welt pockets (Love!). And then, all that is attached to black chevron printed Lycra pants. But my favorite part was: the red Ascot with a sequin "pin". Two words: Atta Boy.

Congrats to the Top Four Men in last weekend's 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships!!! 
All Photos by David Paul

**UP NEXT: The PAIRS and ICE DANCE COSTUMES RECAPS of the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships!!


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