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ICE STYLE.....2021 U.S. Figure Skating Championships COSTUMES RECAP: The LADIES!


 LADIES COUTURE--(L to R) Mariah Bell, Bradie Tennell, Gracie Gold, and Alyssa Liu--2021 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Las Vegas Nevada

This past week was the 2021 U.S. Figure Skating Championships--the ever-so-important U.S. Nationals for THE BEST OF THE BEST from the U.S.A. in figure skating. The event occurred with all the COVID protocols including no audience, cardboard cut-outs of fans/attendees, correctly worn face masks on everyone (Take NOTE Russian Figure Skating!). It all took place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas Nevada. It was nice to see the skaters competing at this year's U.S. Nationals and for me, of course, even better to check out their costumes...

Let's take a closer ICE STYLE look:Bradie Tennell Short Program to Moderation by Florence and the Machine-- Bradie skated her Florence and the Machine Short Program wearing this black jumpsuit costume. The design featured a boat-neck neckline, sheer plunging v-neck, nude illusion "cut-outs" at the midriff with Art Deco-like geo patterns. It was a sleek and modern look for Bradie, more known for "pretty" and "feminine" vs. "sleek" and "sexy". While I think this was a nice change for Bradie, it was a bit of a misstep with her hairstyle choice; the hair was more "Glamour Photo from the Mall", while the costume was more...NOT THAT!

SCORE (for Costume, not the Hair): 9.00

Bradie Tennell Free Skate to Sarajevo by Max Richter and Dawn of Faith by Eternal Eclipse--I liked this costume worn by Bradie for her Free Skate. It was chic, fashionable, and (again) quite a departure from what we are used to seeing from Bradie. The design featured an ivory base with ombre-like black shading, black bands, and quite fabulous crystal details with varying gradations of sequin sizes. The design reminded me of the typical understructure one may have seen in vintage Christian Dior Couture 50's ballgowns; it definitely had Couture-adjacent inspirations.
SCORE: 9.85

Karen Chen Short Program to Rise by Katy Perry--Karen looked pretty in this lilac-hued costume for "Rise" by Katy Perry Short Program. While there were many things about this costume that were typical Figure Skating Costume riffs--the nude sleeves, the pointy handkerchief was still fine, especially for Karen. I especially liked the sequin work on the torso with all the varying hues of lilac, purple, deep violets.
SCORE: 8.40

Karen Chen Free Skate to Butterfly Lover Concerto by Takako Nishizaki--For her Free Skate to "Butterfly Lover Concerto", Karen went with another lilac-hued costume, but this time, more on the pink tone. The costume featured elaborate sequin flower applique work in the front torso that reminds me of the exquisite camelia sequin applique seen in Chanel Couture dresses and suits. The applique here is placed lengthwise and then toward the side, at the low waist, giving the illusion of a longer torso. The combination of the color plus the applique gave me a slight "Madam Butterfly" moment (minus the kimono sleeves) as well.
SCORE: 9.00

Alysa Liu Short Program to La Strada by Nino Rota--Alysa's costume for her "La Strada" Short Program pays homage to the Chaplinesque "Gelsomina" character in the Fellini film. As the design shows, it is circus-inspired (in following with the circus subtheme of the film), featuring a sleeveless notched-collar double-breasted jacket-vest design in a bold red color with colorful sequin applique work. The design, if you notice, looks unfinished at the bottom, as if it was second-hand, or worn, with "ripped" pieces of fabric that have the red color "bleeding" on it. While on face value, the costume may look a bit "childlike" but in actuality, it's quite detailed and labor-intensive. I also liked the accessories including the gloves, striped tank underneath, and her teardrop makeup that finished it all off; she told the story of the film's one costume.
It was designed/created by Lisa McKinnon:
SCORE: 9.50

Alysa Liu Free Skate to The Storm by Balzas Havasi--This was quite a beautiful costume on Alysa for her Free Skate to "The Storm". The design looked elegant, expensive, and delicately pretty. Alyssa reminded me of a fashion-forward nymph in a fantasy forest in this purple and silver-hued look. I especially liked the wrap-around ties in the torso, as well as in the one-sleeve. Very nice costume.
SCORE: 9.70 

Mariah Bell Short Program to Glitter in the Air by Pink--If you want to get noticed on the ice...WEAR THIS Ladies! To her Short Program to Pink's "Glitter in the Air", Mariah Bell wore this fabulous multicolored and multi sequined costume that gave me Liza with Z-meets-Showgirl Firebird! The look was very 70's Vegas Razzle Dazzle with its hundreds (if not thousands!) of crystals, multicolored panels, pointed-hem edges, nude illusion, and Bob Mackie-like inspiration. In a downright awful past year, it was nice to smile about something...and this costume did it for me!
SCORE: 9.75

Mariah Bell Free Skate to Dancing Queen by ABBA, The Winner Takes It All by ABBA, Mamma Mia by ABBA, and Thank You for the Music by ABBA--Speaking of the '70s...Mariah skated her Free Skate to a Medley of ABBA hits. She wore this light blue costume that evoked (slightly) a bit of a 70's free spirit/Boho vibe (the flutter sleeves, peek-a-boo nude illusion paneling). While the color shading was nice, and I liked the silver crystal diamond-shaped applique throughout the torso, I would like to have seen a more "High-End Fashion" design sensibility to the overall look.
SCORE: 8.99

Gracie Gold Short Program to Survivor by 2WEI (feat. Edda Hayes)--While the music is from the Lara Croft action-adventure film "Tomb Raider", Gracie is giving me BEYONCE here with this Streetwear-meets-High Fashion-meets-Figure Skating look. That multi-sequined top is EVERYTHING...and could easily be in a Balmain Runway Show! Pairing the "Star" of a top with a simple double-slit skirt was a good idea, making sure to keep the eye on THAT FABULOUS TOP. The overall look was not typical of what one sees in figure skating and I appreciated taking the fashion to a more updated level. Even though this has nothing to do with the fashion, I also liked her hair (I Googled it and I guess "the kids" call this a "Balloon Ponytail" LOL!).
SCORE (for the costume): 9.80

Gracie Gold Free Skate to War In My Mind by Beth Hart--For her Free Skate, Gracie wore this elegant black sequined number. The look was more on the "traditional" end of skating costume designs with its high neck, silver sequins, and absence of "tricky" details; it was almost vintage "Grace Kelly/ Gracie Gold". With that said, it was still a beautiful costume that looked expensively made.
SCORE: 8.99

Amber Glenn Free Skate to Rain in Your Black Eyes by Ezio Bosso, arranged by Misha Ge with Opera Vocals and Orchestra--Amber wore this lavender colored costume for her Free Skate. The sequined design featured long sleeves, a pointed torso/midriff, ombre shading, and a "plunging neckline" (masked by nude illusion). It was more on the "traditional" side of figure skating costumes and to me, a bit uninspired. Also, I understand that the nude illusion panel is necessary (even if I am NOT A FAN), it could have been done better here; I did not like how there was a section of the nude illusion at the shoulder/neck area as well--it should have just gone to nothing at the shoulder.
SCORE: 8.20

Starr Andrews Short Program to It’s A Man’s Man’s World by Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Joke's On You by Charlotte Lawrence (from the "Birds of Prey" soundtrack)--Starr wore this Lisa McKinnon-designed costume for her Short Program. The look was VERY Starr with its fashionable, directional details, such as plunging outer top, the "bra/bustier top" underneath, the back pointed yoke, silver "stud" sequins, was sassy and rock & roll impacting. This was a "Don't Mess With Me" costume!
SCORE: 9.25

Starr Andrews Free Skate to Finally by Fergie--Starr wore another Lisa McKinnon design, this time for her Free Skate. The mauve-colored look had a triple-layered skirt, sweetheart neckline, daring open back, and silver scroll applique. It was a nice contrast to the more "Rock & Roll" Starr from her Short Program. I also commend the designer for using the right shade of nude for Starr! So many other costume designers/costume makers get this wrong.
SCORE: 8.99

Click below to watch Bradie Tennell's SHORT PROGRAM at the 2021 U.S. Figure Skating Championships--wearing her black jumpsuit costume:

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