Ice Skating is as much about the moves, turns and pirouettes as it is about the costumes. Gorgeous, custom-made dresses in various styles that are tailored to fit the skaters to provide maximum comfort and define body shape add color and sparkle to the sport. Accessories include hair scrunchies and belts in matching colors or in contrasting blends to add originality and a touch of the elaborate. While regular figure skating costumes for women are much shorter in length and skintight to allow leeway for jumps, loops and twirls, the costumes that are designed for women in ice skating have more layers and flounces. Men’s costumes are generally formal and most costumes are tuxes or almost tux-like.
Ice dancers claim they have more fun wearing the elaborate and showy costumes as there is far more room for style and variety; in most ice dance competitions there is one or more costume change depending on the tone and norm of the competition. Often they are custom-made to suit individual dancer’s body shape but there are plenty of options available to pick and choose from readymade ice dancing costumes.
Custom-made costumes require accurate body measurements of the dancers such as torso, sleeve length, biceps, waist, bust, hips, skirt length etc. These form the first layer of the costume; additional layers can be added if it is an elaborate ensemble.
Among the many costume types that won attention at world championships are the elegant and striking ones that are toned and muted. However, contestants have been known to go for the bizarre, often choosing themes ranging from superheroes costumes to ‘stroll in the park’ simplicity. Medieval royalty, circus theme, cartoon and fictional characters are some of the other popular costume themes that have been used in the past.
Ice skating and figure skating costumes also need the touch of creativity and aesthetic appeal despite the eccentricity that most costumes may slant to. Former Olympic figure skating medalist Frances Defoe earned a substantial name and reputation after her skating days were over by turning to creating figure skating costumes. Her creations ranged from outrageous flame-colored outfits to soft, feminine chiffons in pink and grey. In spite of being a traditionalist at heart, she chose to follow her dreams and aspirations by becoming a figure skater and then indulging her creative passions.
Sadly, Defoe passed away in Toronto recently. So also Jef Billings another renowned long-term figure skating costume designer whose reputation and greatness is evident by the multiple Emmy Awards that he won. The curtains are down on two of the most talented and famous skating costume designers.