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ICE STYLE.....Figure Skating Costumes Trend Watch: The Open Back Ladies

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The Open Back Ladies: Figure Skating Ladies Costumes Trend Watch (L to R), Ashley Wagner (FS), Kanako Murakami (FS) and Ashley Wagner (SP)

If you are a figure skating fan, you know that we are in the fifth of six events that comprise the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating competitions for 2016/2017. So far, we've had Skate America, Skate Canada International, Trophee de France, Rostelecom Cup (Russia), and this weekend is the Cup of China. As a fashion designer and commenter--as well as figure skating aficionado--I have noticed a trend in the Ladies Costumes: An Open Back. Normally there are style/fashion trends that one might see every now and then in figure skating costumes, such as the longer skirts, the gloves, the infamous jumpsuits a la Carolina Kostner. When one watches the ladies competitors--especially in the senior level--one does notice a MAJOR bump in terms of design, quality and style, when it comes to their costumes.

 Open Back Haute: (L to R) NIKOLAKI silk organza backless gown; TV host Debbie Matenopoulos in NIKOLAKI open back silk chiffon sequined gown at the Golden Globe Awards 2016 Red Carpet

Model in NIKOLAKI silk zibeline open back ballgown

Recently, especially within the top ladies, there is a sense that either they--or their costume designers--are A) Looking at Fashion Magazines (more than before!) and/or B) Looking to the Red Carpet for inspiration. This is clear with a trend I have noticed on lots of the top ladies in figure skating: There are tons of Open Backs in their costumes. This is very much a clear inspiration derived from the Red Carpet (where so many actresses are wearing open/plunging back designs) as well as what we are seeing on the runway (lots of open back gowns and cocktail dresses). I LOVE doing an open back for my NIKOLAKI gown designs (as you can see from the above photos) and so it's refreshing to see this high-fashion trend reach the figure skating costume world, more noticeably than before. Here are some examples:

Ashley Wagner USA Short Program costume to Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These) by Annie Lennox--I love this costume for being modern, fresh, giving a slight nod to runway Balenciaga and Balmain at the same time and also for the...


Open Back. The one shoulder-like design wraps around the back, exposing the open back. Yes, it's all still covered in nude illusion but...it's still an "open back" and very high-fashion.

For her Free Skate to Exogenesis Symphony Part III by Muse, Ashley wore this ombre lilac bedazzled number that was also...


Open Back! Love this costume and how it almost looks like they cut off a fabulous sequined Couture red carpet-worthy gown and well, then gave it to her! This time, this was truly an open back since there was no nude illusion netting covering it. This, by the way, takes TONS of fittings just to make sure that it holds on to her like a glove sans the illusion.

Gracie Gold USA--Gracie looks every bit an "Ice Queen" on this golden sequined costume that she wears for her Free Skate to Daphnis and Chloe by Maurice Ravel. The gold crystal work is exquisite as is the fit and very Haute style to this costume. And yes, she is part of the Open Back Figure Skating Costume Trend:


Open Back Gracie: As you can see from the photo above, the costume features an open back, very carefully fitted so there is no need for nude illusion netting. It's beautiful and sublime.

Mao Asada Japan: Mao Asada wears this Black Swan-like costume for her Short Program to Danza Ritual del fuego (from "El amor brujo") by M. de Falla. I think it's quite fabulous and I especially love the...

Very Open Back. Her costume features black with silver crystal applique that has been hand-sewn and curves delicately from front to her exposed back. It is covered with nude illusion but, in my eyes, it is still a very open back. Leave it to Mao Asada to be ON TREND!

Kanako Murakami Japan, Free Skate Costume to E lucevan le stelle (from "Turandot") by Giacomo Puccini--I love this costume worn by Japan's Kanako Murakami, it's subtle, elegant, red carpet elegant...all of it. And naturally, it happened to be....


Open Back. The costume design is BEYOND chic. I adore that curved open back, sequined torso and sleeves and ombre shaded bottom skirt. 

Satoko Miyahara Japan Short Program to Musetta's Waltz Song by Giacomo Puccini--This was a very pretty costume for Satoko. The pastel color was delicate and almost Junior-like. And I did like the ombre shading of the skirt section. But I also noticed the...

Open Back. Satoko's costume featured a curved open back which was very much in line with the Ladies Costume Trend of the Season.

Kaetlyn Osmond Canada Short Program to Sous le ciel de Paris and Milord performed by Edith Piaf--Kaetlyn skated her Short Program to this French Icon Diva music of Edith Piaf. Her costume reflected a French fashion icon with the tie-neck detail blouson top effect--and those chic gloves. The back was...

Open! Even Kaetlyn succumbed to the Fashion Forces and opted for an open back when it came to her costume design. On trend and very iconic chic.

Mirai Nagasu USA Free Skate to The Winner Takes It All performed by Sarah Dawn Finer--This is a gorgeous costume for Mirai--very delicate, very "Ice Princess" and very "Haute". While it was giving a Perfect Ice Princess look from the front, the back...
Was all Red Carpet Couture Fab! I love how the back is open--without the need of nude illusion and that the nude illusion sequined yoke curves towards the upper back area, creating the wonderful shape. This was so beautiful!

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