Friday, December 20, 2013

ICE STYLE.....Best Costumes of the ISU of Figure Skating Grand Prix Season 2013-2014 Part II: The Men and Ice Dance

Classic Figure Skating Couture: Ice Dance Team of Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the USA...

Winged Fab: Ice Dance Team of Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia, and...

Firebird Perfect: Tatsuki Machida of Japan

FIGURE SKATING FANS: I discussed my favorite costumes from this season's ISU Grand Prix Figure Skating Costumes from the LADIES and PAIRS HERE's time to talk about my Top Picks for "Best Costumes" of the MEN and ICE DANCE...

Let's start with my favorites of the Men:

Sergei Voronov of Russia, Short Program: Voronov skated his Short Program to "Two Guitars".
I thought this was a good look for Sergei; clean, vibrant with the
black and white and I really appreciated the designs/print in the
jacket--are those peacocks? fish? abstract paisleys? Whatever it is, it
is kind of a cool jacket--something I would see at Men's Paris Fashion

Taksuki Machida of Japan, Free Skate: Machida skated his Free Program to Music from The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky.
He wore this FABULOUS costume that was all things GREAT at Hilton HHonors Skate America 2013. I loved all
the color, detail, sequin work, multidimensional feathers. All in all,
it was pretty outstanding and perfect for the music and skate. You knew
IMMEDIATELY that he was skating to The Firebird the minute he
stepped onto the ice. If you think you have seen this before on
Machida, you were right: last season (2012-2013), he also skated his
Free program to this music and wore THE SAME COSTUME. And for some reason, he changed this costume when he skated later on in the season at the 2013 Rostelecom Cup/Cup of Russia to a variation of it which I didn't like as much. You can see that one HERE.

Alexander Majorov of Sweden, Short Program: Majorov skated his SP to Khorobushka by Bond.
I liked the intricacy of his jacket and all the detail. He looked like a
Toreador combined with a Russian soldier. It was an impressive powerful costume.

Max Aaron of the US, Free Skate: First of all, I LOVE his haircut! So
80s and so NOW! And perfect for his beautiful curls. OK, enough gushing
on about his hair--now back to the costume. 2013 US Champion Max Aaron
skated his Free Skate to Music from Carmen performed by Rodion Shchedrin and the Boston Pops Orchestra...and
what a surprise and shocker: NO Toreador Costume! No red! No bejeweled
bolero in sight! Kudos to Max and his costume designer for coming up
with such a directional and modern look for his been there-done that
music. If you don't know by now, I really liked this: I liked how
perfectly it fit him and I loved the juxtaposition of the semi-nude
stretch chiffon with the solid stretch velvet. Good job!

Joshua Farris of the US, Free Skate: Farris skated his Free Skate to Music from Schindler's List by John Williams in this Pat Pearsall-designed costume. I loved the drape of the top, the asymmetrical hemline and cowl neckline. I also appreciated the feminine vs. masculine lines of the fluid top and fitted pants.

Daisuke Takahashi Japan, Free Skate: For his Free Skate to Medley of Music by The Beatles,
he wore this draped jersey cowl-neck top with black stretch velvet
pants, similar in silhouette and style to Joshua Farris' costume. It's nice to see male figure skaters take on a more "softer"/feminine approach to their costumes. If this is a Male Figure Skating Costume Trend, I'm all for it!

 Ice Dance:

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia, Short Dance:
Bobrova and Soloviev wore some of my favorite Ice Dance costumes so far
this season for both their Short and Free Dance. For their SD to "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" by Jule Styne, "I Will Wait For You" by Michel Legrand and "Swing, Swing, Swing My Baby",
they stuck to the theme of the music--she was very Marilyn Monroe and
he looked like a 50s Hollywood actor. I loved the bright strawberry red
color of her dress and its feathered and sequin detail.

Free Dance:  For their FD to Music from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi and "Lacrimosa" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,
they wore these spectacular bird-like costumes. If you can't tell by
now, I LOVED THEM! They looked like Paris Runway Ravens ready to take
off into an amazing ornithological pas des deux. They thought
about everything--from her chic runway-like hairstyle to the unusual
"feathered wings" that were attached through her arms and back (and how
it continued onto his costume). These were simply outstanding! Unfortunately, they changed these costumes later in the season to something that was less spectacular.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the US, Short Dance: US dance team of Chock and Bates skated their Short Dance this season to "Hollywood" by Puppini Sisters, "There's No Business Like Show Business" by Irving Berlin. The beautiful Madison wore
long white gloves with her shimmering and fringed costume. Fantastic!

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier Canada, Free Dance: For their Free Dance to Music from the Hitchcock soundtrack by Danny Elfman and "The Rainstorm" by Bernard Hermann,
they wore these costumes. First of all: I really liked this Free Dance:
it was original, creative and taking Ice Dance to a more adventuresome
and directional level, I was intrigued and wanted to see what more they could do. In terms of their costumes: I liked! They were dark yet glitzy;
interesting and went with the Hitchcock music.

Elena KIlinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia, Free Dance: Well I wonder what these two very good-looking Ice Dancers from Russia skated to for their Free Dance? If you answered "Swan Lake",
yep, you are correct! (it's not so difficult). I thought these costumes
were marvelous! She was "Classic Swan Lake" and he was "Punk Roller
Disco Swan Lake". And they went together beautifully: modern, retro,
classic, a little Fashion Runway. Oh and yes, it does kind of help that
both of them are GORGEOUS!

Meryl Davis and Charlie White USA, Short Dance: Meryl and Charlie skated their 2013-2014 Season Short Dance to My Fair Lady by
Frederic Loewe
. I thought these costumes were beautiful, elegant and
just right for the music. Charlie looked dapper and very old-school luxe
in his tails, vest and cravat. I would have liked his floppy surfer-boy
hair to be (at the very least) slicked back, but I know I am barking up the
wrong tree trying to get Charlie to put any product in that hair of his!
Meryl's pink dress was so pretty. I loved the simplicity of it but it
still packed a strong elegant punch with  those correctly placed silver
stones in the neckline and waist.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the US, Free Dance: For the Free Dance to "Scheherazade" by Nikoli Rimsky-Korsakov, Davis and White wore these costumes above. We all know the story of Scheherazade of course and besides the fact that their FD illustrated it
masterfully, their costumes were also complimentary to it. I admired Meryl's teal
costume which featured a draped front section, halter wrap top and
bejeweled waist; she looked very Near East Princess.

Finally, my other Top Favorite Ice Dance Costumes were worn by the US brother-and-sister team of...

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the US, Free Dance: For their Free Dance to a Michael Jackson medley, the
Shibutani's wore these costumes above. Love. love, and Love! It would
have been so predictable for their costume designer to go for the
typical Michael Jackson look, whether it be a red leather motorcycle
jacket or a Billie Jean suspenders, hi-water pants and penny loafers
look, but these were anything but. I liked the modernity of Maia's sleek
dress featuring black illusion and solid fabric with crystals
throughout. And Alex's jacket was cool and very complimentary with
Maia's dress and a fun little pop of color when he opens it up to reveal a bit of red!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ICE STYLE.....Best Costumes of the ISU of Figure Skating Grand Prix Season 2013-2014: Ladies and Pairs!

USA vs Japan: Who Has the Best Costume Gracie Gold of the US, Short Program Costume (left); Japan's Mao Asada Skate America 2013 Free Skate Costume (right)

This past ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Season 2013-2014 has certainly been an exciting one--and especially for the costumes! We've seen lots of pretty, exciting as well as innovative costumes. I have been impressed for sure...

Here on my NICKVERREOS.COM blog, I have tried to cover most of the costumes seen at the Hilton HHonors Skate America 2013, Skate Canada 2013, 2013 Lexus Cup of China, 2013 NHK Trophy, Trophée Eric Bompard 2013 and the Rostelecom Cup/Cup of Russia 2013. So let's discuss my FAVORITE COSTUMES of this year's Grand Prix of Figure Skating Season, beginning with the Ladies and Pairs...

The Ladies:


Mao Asada of Japan, Short Program Costume: Mao skated her Short Program to "Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 9, No. 2" by Frederic Chopin (for most of the season before changing it for the Grand Prix Finals).

This is what I said about this costume: "Her costume was EXQUISITE. I loved the lilac color and ombre effect as
well as all the delicate gathering at the upper torso. The four-layer
skirt was perfect to highlight her turns and movements and her
Triple Axle! And my favorite part was that back, I'm not sure if this
was an overt homage to Paris (where the composer lived the last 19 years
of his life, and died) but it sure did look like the Eiffel Tower. C'est Fantastique."

Mao Asada, Free Skate (Skate America 2013): Mao wore this costume above for her Free Skate to "Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor" by Sergei Rachmaninoff to 2013 Hilton HHonors Skate America (she changed her Free Skate costume for her next competition).

This is what I said about this costume, in my blog here: "Asada wore a multicolored costume in royal, midnight blues, violets
and fuchsia. The design itself was masterful and looked very expensive
(nothing but the best for Mao!). It reminded me of an exotic bird taking
flight. I also appreciated the 3D effect of the costume and how the 'feathers' seem to be separated and jutting out from the illusion base
of the costume. I know it's only the first Grand Prix but for now, it's
one of my favorite costumes of Season 2013-2014"

Gracie Gold of the US, Free Skate: Gracie skated her Free Skate to Music from Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky.
I loved this ombre lilac costume featuring intricate crystal
"necklaces" in a web-like effect throughout the top section. I also
liked the drop-shoulder sleeves. This was definitely one of my favorite Ladies costumes of the season, and I have to give props to the designers: Gale Johnson and Denise Gold.

Ashley Wagner USA, Short Program: Ashely wore this black costume for her Short Program to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd.
The costume featured black stretch chiffon, double-layer "skirt" and
panels with silver crystal trimmed details. I really liked this costume
because it perfectly reflected the theme of her music. She also could have
easily worn this if she was skating to say, Tchaikovsky "Swan Lake"
as well! I especially loved the various sizes of the jeweled crystals
and how the neck detail looked like a built-in diamond necklace (that
was probably the point!).

Akiko Suzuki Japan, Free Skate: I really liked this costume that Akiko wore for her Free Skate to Music from the soundtrack of The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It had an ombre shaded skirt section and beautiful sequined bodice. I also loved the crystal web-like neckline.

Amelie Lacoste of Canada, Short Program:  Amelie skated her Short Program to "The Feeling Begins" by Peter Gabriel from Music for "The Last Temptation of Christ"
and in case you're thinking it was "Groundhog's Day" all over again,
you are right: she wore the same costume and skated to the same music
last season for her Short Program as well...I liked the costume then and
still like it now. It's exotic, sexy and goes perfectly with the
haunting Near East-like music.

Anna Pogorilaya of Russia Free Skate: For her Free Skate to "Mermaids" from the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides soundtrack by Hans Zimmer,
this was THE MOST PERFECT Costume! I loved all the water/oceanic
references--from the various shades of blue to the seashell bust detail;
it was gorgeous and very right for the program

Haruka Imai Japan, For her FS to Piano concerto by Saint-Preux, she wore this
costume above. It was a one-shoulder-like costume consisting of nude
illusion top, sequined applique torso detail and a "petal"-like
multi-layered skirt. The top section was fine (although I'd like the
illusion sleeves to be tighter), but it was the skirt that bothered me
the most. It looked more "Wilma Flintstone" and less Figure Skating

 Kanako Murakami Japan, Short Program: Kanako skated her Short Program to "Catgroove," "Libella Swing" and "Swing Bop" and
I really liked her costume. It was a lilac colored costume with
bubblegum pink front, back and neckline panels, skin-colored illusion
neck and sleeves, crystals throughout (naturally!) and a fringed
"overskirt". I thought it was fun, colorful , yet still very well done.
The fringe, especially, was very effective when it came time for her
turns and jumps.

For her Free Skate to "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" from Yentl by Michel Legrand, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman, Kanako wore a silver gray costume with blue and black sequined detail. The costume had nothing to do with the "Yentl"
film, but really, would you rather have Kanako come out as a
Yeshiva Orthodox Jewish boy??? I didn't think this was good


Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China, Short Program: For their Short Program, Pang and Tong skated to "I Dreamed a Dream" from the Les Misérables soundtrack by Claude-Michel Schönberg,
which was very popular music choice with lots of the skaters this
season (both Pairs and Ice Dance). I wonder if only after the film came
out, did all these skaters become aware of this iconic music? Who knows.
But back to the costumes...I thought hers, especially, was sublime! I
loved the heavily jeweled silver crystal detail of her top section; it
looked very expensive and well made.

Peng Cheng and Hao Zhang Hao China Free Skate: They skated their FS to "Yellow River Concerto".  These costumes
were great. I especially loved Zhang Hao and that AMAZING blue with
green and silver applique sequins on his top. Her costume was beautifully
made, elegant and looked expensive! A perfect combination and
connection between the two looks!

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov Russia, Short Program: Gold Medal winners Volosozhar and Trankov wore these costumes for their Short Program to "Masquerade Waltz" by Aram Khatchaturian.
Now, these costumes are examples of a pair working together and being
harmonious, costume-wise. Maxim is obviously the General with his army
uniform featuring epaulets, gold buttons, red piping. And Tatiana is his
love interest in this waltz, in a beautiful light lilac heavily
embroidered and sequined costume hinting at the bodices of those late
1890s-early 1900s ball gowns. Very well done.

For their Free Skate, they skated to Music from Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber,
as if you couldn't tell from their costumes. I love how the bright
golden yellow color of his (very tight) pants are brought into the gold
banding and straps of Tatiana's costume. His loose blouse also matches
her costume. It's all a perfect pairing in costumes and just right for the
music. And it begs repeating: Maxim has got to be one of the SEXIEST men
in Figure Skating. JEEEE---SUS is right!

***NEXT UP, Best Costumes of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2013-2014 Season, the Men and Ice Dance!!

SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss International 2013 is Miss Philippines Bea Rose Santiago: Fifth Time for The Philippines!

International Beauties: Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago Miss Philippines (center) with First Runner-up Miss Netherlands Nathalie Den Dekker (left) and the Second Runner-up Miss New Zealand Casey
Radley--Shinagawa Prince Hotel Hall Tokyo Japan

Last night a new Miss International was crowned: Miss Philippines Bea Rose Santiago, beat out 66 other beauties from all over the world for the coveted beauty title. The Miss International pageant is considered one of the top four "Grand Slam" international beauty contests, alongside Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Earth.

 International Queen: Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago from the Philippines--Shinagawa Hotel Hall, Tokyo Japan

The new Miss International is 5' 9" (1.75 m) tall 23 year-old Bea Rose Santiago. She was born in Cataingan, Masbate, where she was raised by
her grandparents. She is the eldest of the three children. At 15, she
and her family moved to Canada. Santiago later became a fashion model
and was signed up as the only Filipino for the Elite Model Management. In 2012, Santiago represented the
Philippines in the Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International and
placed in the Top 10.

 Bea Rose Santiago Miss International Philippines and new Miss International 2013

This was the fifth time that the Philippines won the Miss
International beauty pageant since its inception in 1960. It was also
the third time in a row this year that a Filipina captured an
international title in a beauty contest. Earlier, Mutya Datul won the Miss Supranational in Belarus while Megan Lynne Young was crowned Miss World in Bali, Indonesia.

The First Runner-up was Miss Netherlands Nathalie Den Dekker (left, above) and the Second runner-up was Miss New Zealand Casey
(right, above). Colombia and Hungary completed the Top 5. Contestants from Brazil, Ecuador,
Gibraltar, Iceland, Lithuania, Russia, Puerto Rico, Spain, Thailand and
USA were part of the Top 15 semi-finalists. New Zealand won Miss Friendship, Macau
was awarded Miss Internet, Lithuania was elected Miss Photogenic and
Aruba walked away with the award for Best National Costume.

 Miss International 2013 Contestants--Shinagawa Hotel hall Tokyo Japan

This year's 52nd Annual "Miss International" occurred at the Shinagawa Hotel Hall in Tokyo Japan and was marred with controversy: last year’s Miss International, Ikumi
Yoshimatsu of Japan
, was not allowed to attend the finals due to her
involvement in a media scandal which includes harassment accusations to
powerful people in the business. She was not able to crown her successor.

 This year's winner was crowned by Miss International 2008
Alejandra Andreu of Spain

Miss International 2013 National Costume Highlights:

Miss Indonesia Marisa Sarteki Maladewi

 Miss Netherlands Nathalie den Dekker

 Miss Singapore Jia Min Chew

 Miss USA Andrea Neu

 Miss Philippines Bea Rose Santiago

 Miss Venezuela Elian Herrera

  National Costume Winner: Miss Aruba Erialda Croes

Miss International 2013 Evening Gown Highlights:

Miss Puerto Rico Ashley Beth Perez (left) wore a coral colored fit-to-flare sheer gown with silver stud-and-sequin detail. Very pretty and good fit.

Miss Spain Araceli Carrilero Martinez (right) wore an ivory gown with solid satin sides and front lace panel detail with a high front neckline. This was a tad "Wedding Gown"-like but a nice gown showing for Miss Spain.

First Runner-up Miss Netherlands Nathalie den Dekker: Nathalie wore a multicolored sequin gown that was quite "Carnival"-meets-Cirque du Soleil-ish

Second Runner-up Miss New Zealand Casey Radley: Casey wore a black one shoulder gown with silver scroll-like details and high side front slit. It was very "Pageant typical" and her side swept hair didn't help.

The Winner Miss Philippines Bea Rose Santiago: Bea Rose wore a one shoulder red stretch sequined with nude illusion side panel and crystal accents radiating from heavy to light at the sides. The gown was quite sexy, had lots of stage presence and fit her perfectly. The elegant slicked back chignon, delicate makeup and drop earrings finished the look off very well. It reminded me a little of the beautiful one shoulder gown that...

Miriam Quiambao, Miss Philippines 1999, wore at the Miss Universe 1999 pageant when she got First Runner-up

Congratulations to Bea Rose Santiago, the newly-crowned Miss International 2013!