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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Fashion on ice

Piper Guilles, Kamila Valieva, Katharina Muller and Tim Dieck, Donovan Carrillo, Madison Chock and Evan Bates

By Iris Edén Santiago

Special to The Star

Guilty as charged. I am not a sports enthusiast. Not outdoorsy at all.

But wait. Now, there is a sport worth hours of my time. … Just as some people tolerate the Super Bowl to watch the advertising gems, a significant number of us love the Winter Games for one sport only: competitive figure skating.

All that spinning, the jumping techniques, backflips and triple axels. I mean, wow! And besides all those daring choreographies, fashionistas know it all comes down to one thing, mesmerizing eye-catching costumes.

Ah, the Olympic ice. Where glamor meets athleisure. This is the stage for ice queens, feisty ballerinas and angelic Giselles. This is the sports event fashion lovers adore. And what is not to like? Global icons skating to the sound of the beat in chiffon, sequins, beads, glitter, tiaras and scrunchies. Hello Beijing!

Worn by male and female skaters, the bedazzling costumes are regulated by the Ice Skating Union. The ISU dictates that skaters have to cover hips, midriffs and behinds. And with rules and all, some very clever and tasteful costumes have stolen the show more times than I can remember. Think Katarina Witt, Kristi Yamaguchi, Adam Rippon, Nancy Kerrigan, Michelle Kwan, Sasha Cohen, Johnny Weir and Shizuka Arakawa, just to name a few.

Built to enhance performance, the skaters’ outfits are tested many times to guarantee they ensure flexibility and movement throughout the routine. They must be elegant, functional and light.

Mini skirts or jumpsuits, this outfit is their one chance to impress before the music starts. Team USA’s Karen Chen revealed this week that her mother had designed and embroidered her look for the Olympics. Other skaters don’t shy away from the fashion industry’s top designers. American fashion artist Vera Wang was tapped this year by U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen to design his looks for Beijing. In the past, Wang has been contacted by medal-winners Kwan, Cohen, Kerrigan, Arakawa and Evan Lysacek. Designer Christian Lacroix was hired by world silver medalist Surya Bonaly of France for her global competitions.

This year, figure skaters have again proved sports and fashion go hand in hand. Mexican champion Donovan Carrillo has conquered the internet with Latin vibes, exquisite routines and statement costumes. He began his performance to the rhythm of Carlos Santana’s “Black Magic Woman.” The 22-year-old shone in a black costume embroidered with gold studs and black beads designed by Mexican designer Edgar Lozzano.

Other figure skaters rocking the ice runway at the Capitol Indoor Stadium in Beijing include Kamila Valieva, Piper Guilles and Paul Poirier, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, Tim Koleto and Misato Komatsubara, and Katharina Muller and Tim Dieck.

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