Ice Style

ICE STYLE....2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships COSTUMES RECAP: LADIES

Mirai's Moment: Mirai Nagasu during her Free Skate at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, SAP Center San Jose
Photo by David Paul

The 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships began December 29, 2017 and ended last night at the SAP Center in San Jose California. The much-anticipated 2018 U.S. Nationals was especially important because this is an Olympic year so, as expected there were lots of exciting skates, performances and naturally, LOTS OF DRAMA. As you may know--if you are an avid reader of my "Ice Style" Figure Skating Costumes Blog here--I'm a fan of the sport and as a designer, I particularly love commenting on the costumes.

 Figure Skating Boys: (L to R) Johnny Nicoloro, Nick Verreos and David Paul--at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, SAP Center San Jose

I was especially excited this year because I was able to attend the Senior Finals for the Ladies, Men's, Pairs and Ice Dance which began last week. I flew to San Jose with my partner David Paul, who knows MUCH MORE about Figure Skating than I do, and we met up with our friend Johnny Nicoloro who also flew up from L.A. So...we all got a chance to enjoy this very special U.S. Figure Skating Championships. I'll have a separate BLOG here about all the fun we had attending this year's Nationals so stay tuned! While I was up in San Jose, there were so many people that came up to me at the Championships, telling me how much they LOVE my Blog and how they were going to be eagerly awaiting my Recap that it's over, it is time to discuss THE COSTUMES and PS: Some of the fabulous photos were taken by David so Thank Goodness he brought his nice camera!
Anyhow...Let's start with THE LADIES and the Gold medalist:

Bradie Tennell Short Program to Taeguki by Lee Dong-Jun--Bradie won  the Gold medal at the 2018 U.S. Nationals and skated her Short Program to Taeguki by Lee Dong-Jun. The music comes from  the movie of the same name, which is about two brothers who are forcibly drafted into the South Korean army at the outbreak of the Korean War. Her costume has hints of the Korean Hanbok with the delicate crystal embellishment and folded overbust/neckline detail. I thought this was quite pretty and I especially liked the nude illusion back with the gorgeous sequined applique. The costume is simple, elegant, not "figure skating costume earth-shattering" but appropriate for her style and skate.

Free Skate to Cinderella Medley by Patrick Doyle--For her Free Skate, Bradie wore this very pretty aqua blue costume worthy of an Ice Queen Cinderella. The costume tried to give the look of a strapless ball gown with the sequined applique that stopped right at the overbust, but then had nude illusion covering the shoulders and upper torso with snap openings at the shoulders. I liked the delicate sprinkling of rhinestones on her arms especially the jewels on the top of her hands. But my favorite part was the almost-miss-it-if-you-blink crown. 

Mirai Nagasu Short Program to Nocturne No. 20 in C Sharp Minor by Frederic Chopin--This fairly new (she debuted it at NHK Trophy) Cabernet-red colored design is what Mirai wore to skate to the same music as last season's Short Program. The costume featured a stretch lace bodice/sleeves/skirt with silver rhinestone studded front bodice. It was OK but it looked a bit too "Cheap Prom Dress" and frankly, I liked what she wore at last year's 2017 U.S. Nationals for the same music:

Last year's Short Program Costume: Better, more refined and more ICE STYLE FABULOUS.

Free Skate to Miss Saigon by Claude-Michel Schönberg: The minute I saw this red costume, I just knew it was "Miss Saigon". The red cheongsam silhouette, the Mandarin collar, the intricate silver and gold crystals...all added up to a very pretty costume perfect for this music. I especially liked how the sequins were put on to highlight her upper torso as well as almost "draw" a sweetheart neckline bustier and the Asian-inspired crystal details. In the arena the dress lit up the ice and was quite spectacular.

Karen Chen Short Program to On Golden Pond (soundtrack) by Dave Grusin-- Karen wore this costume for her Short Program, which in fact was the same costume she had worn last season. Back then when I first saw Karen in this, I thought that she was skating to "Swan Lake", "Black Swan" or "Nutcracker", but no, she skated to "On Golden Pond"--in this! And I LOVED it. It was pretty, well made and exquisitely sequined, down to her fingertips. Notice the blue detail on the thumb/forefinger of her gloves: I just LOVE these tiny details! 

Free Skate to Jalousie "Tango Tzigane" by Jacob Gade--This costume is another been there/done that costume for Karen in that she wore this last season. I loved it then and it still holds up now. The silver and red crystals were beautiful and the scroll-like torso detail was very pretty. The entire costume package was up to international competition levels so I guess there was no need to change it. But...I just wished she would have NEW costumes; I don't mind the same old/same old programs, I just want to see some semblance of NEW! Now that she has made the Olympic Team, will we get NEW costumes?! I hope so!

Ashley Wagner Short Program to Hip Hip Chin Chin performed by Club des Belugas--For Ashley's Short Program, she wore this gorgeous costume designed by Lisa McKinnon, which she debuted recently for this been there/done that program. I loved the red/purple/gold colors, the asymmetrical hemline and especially the unique gold sequins throughout. It was chic, stage-impacting and wise to highlight Ashley's AMAZING shoulders and arms with the halter neckline. I also liked her "Sporty" pony-tail hairstyle.

Lower Photo by David Paul

Free Skate to La la Land (Soundtrack)--Ashley decided--very late in the "game" to change her Free Skate to "La La Land"--from "Moulin Rouge"--and in addition, she debuted a brand new costume as well at this year's 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships. I thought this was a GORGEOUS costume, designed by Lisa McKinnon, who also made her Short Program costume...

I loved the soft lilac color, the star sequins, crystal-encrusted waist and the beautiful back cowl draped detail. The design was very Skating Haute Couture and certainly something you wouldn't find off-the-rack. After seeing the design, it immediately reminded me of what "La La Land" actress Emma Stone wore at last year's Golden Globes:

Inspiration? Emma Stone in her Custom Valentino gown at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards

Mariah Bell Short Program to Roxie (Chicago soundtrack) performed by Renee Zellweger and All That Jazz (Chicago soundtrack) by John Kander, Fred Ebb--This was the same music and costume Mariah wore for last year/season's Short Program which I LOVED in my Costumes Review of 2016 Skate America HERE, and I still love it. This costume, designed by Ladu Design (who also designed and created Max Aaron and Jason Brown's "Hamilton" costume, as well as Vincent Zhou's new Free Skate one). It was jazzy, excellent for the music and really gives extra vibrancy to her skate. The silver jeweled sequins + the skirt fringe = FABULOUS! Honestly, there are times I wish the skaters would change their costumes (if they are skating to an old program) but here, this one was so good that there was no need. 

Lower Photo by David Paul

Free Skate to West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein: For her Free Skate, she went "Sequined Maria" in her costume, and I loved it! The halter neckline costume featured a red base fabric with lots of multicolored sequins that looked AMAZING especially near her neck. I love the combination of red and purple and Princess Seam'ed bodice. This was a very nice costume and well designed. 

Starr Andrews Short Program to Fever performed by Beyonce--Starr became a STAR at this year's U.S. Nationals. This young skater is the new face of U.S. Figure Skating for sure. Let's just hope she hasn't hit her peak at this early age. Anyhow...time for her costumes. For her Short Program to Beyonce, she wore a red unitard/jumpsuit featuring silver crystals, nude illusion insets and an overall 70's Disco vibe. The costume was created by Lisa McKinnon who also did Ashley Wagner's costumes among others. Starr looked great! I almost thought I was watching one of those old "Soul Train" TV Shows and Starr was one of those FAB dancers!

Free Skate to One Moment In Time performed by Whitney Houston (with Starr Andrews karaoke over Houston's voice)--Starr skate to a Karaoke of Whitney Houston's "One Moment In Time" wearing this gorgeous costume. If you actually watched her Free Skate, I don't have to tell you that SHE STOLE THE SHOW! We were all on our feet giving this gal a STANDING OVATION. And I also give her costume a standing ovation: I thought this ivory with gold and silver sequined design was superb, beautiful and chic.

The costume was created by Lisa McKinnon (naturally!) who also designed and created many of the other top ladies' costumes as you have already seen.

Photos by David Paul

Caroline Zhang Free Skate to The Mission (soundtrack) by Ennio Morricone: Caroline Zhang wore this ombre-shaded blue costume for her Free Skate. I loved the color as well as jagged-hem skirt detail. Overall, this costume reminded me of a bird in the Amazon jungles shown in "the Mission" film. 

Courtney Hicks Short Program to Nocturne (from "La Califfa" soundtrack) by Ennio Morricone, performed by Yo Yo Ma--I always look forward to Courtney Hicks and her costumes because she "brings it"! This costume designed by Ximena B. Davalosfor her Short Program was stunning. I LOVED the feather-like sequin detail in the front and off-center "plunging neckline". The ombre-dye-looking blue coloring was pretty and I also liked the handkerchief-hemmed skirt section. Her braided top-knot was so chic as well.

Photos by David Paul

Free Skate to Amazing Grace performed by The Tenors, ft. Natalie Grant--For her Free Skate, Courtney wore this beautiful costume, also created by Ximena B. Davalos who designed and created her Short program costume. I loved the lilac-to-violet color, the EXQUISITE gold and silver sequins perfectly placed in her upper torso and one shoulder-like detail. The open back was gorgeous, especially with the beautiful crystal back necklace.

CONGRATULATIONS to the WINNING LADIES! (L to R) Silver medalist Mirai Nagasu, Gold medalist Bradie Tennell, Bronze medalist Karen Chen and Pewter medalist Ashley Wagner--2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, SAP Center San Jose California

**UP NEXT: THE MEN'S COSTUMES of the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships!!

And don't forget about my NEW "The Pageant Coloring Book"! Where you can create your very own Evening Gown Competition with 25 of my hand-drawn Pageant Queen illustrations. Click HERE to purchase NOW on

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