Vera Wang Takes Fashion to the Ice

13 Jan

Image: Los Angeles Times

Olympic Gold for Ice Fashion

For high end wedding dresses, the first name that comes to mind is Vera Wang. Since there’s about as much drama on the ice as there is at a celebrity wedding, Wang is the perfect designer to deliver glittery high fashion to the skating rink.

With her past experience as a competitive figure skater, Vera Wang also brings some history to her skating costumes. Although she didn’t make the US national team in the 1960s, she never left the sport behind by designing Olympic outfits for winning figure skaters like Dorothy Hamill, Nancy Kerrigan, and Sasha Cohen.

Reigning world champion, Evan Lysacek, wore a Vera Wang exclusive while performing his short program to Stravinsky’s “Firebird” last November and at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games. Lysacek was skeptical at first about the feathers Wang hung from the gloves, but later thought of them as a good fit with the Stravinsky piece: “The costume sort of wraps up the whole idea and character of the program into one complete package.”

Wang admits that designing an outfit for a skater involves “more pressure than an Oscar dress.” Compared to sparkly evening wear, a skating outfit has to function like workout gear and stand up to the wind generated by a skater’s speed. Unlike a celebrity gown that’s photographed straight from the front or back, a skating costume has to impress from every angle.

Vancouver 2010 Skating Fashion Update

Vera Wang was the perfect charm for Evan Lysacek in his quest for Olympic gold at Vancouver 2010. For his award-winning free skate, Lysacek wore a Wang costume in black with a sequined snake wrapped around his body. The designer came in days after her show for New York Fashion Week to see him perform.

The fashion face off was in high gear for the event with other skaters like Johnny Weir winning honorable fashion mentions.  After wearing a laced-up pink and black corset style for the short program, Weir had a more subdued white and silver sequined costume with white gloves for the free skate followed by a crown of red roses to watch his numbers come up.

Weir, who designed both of the costumes, is considering a career in fashion: “I want to create things while I have time on earth, and the art of costume and culture has always inspired me. I think being in the public eye can only help  me launch into the world of fashion.” On his website, Weir writes about his love of Lady Gaga. He even brought a photo of the singer to hang in his room while he stayed in Vancouver. Now, it all makes sense.

Wang to create five costumes for the upcoming Vancouver Winter Olympics. Wang is apparently a very hands-on designer, as WWD reports she shared the ice with Lysacek before sketching his costumes. She will also be rinkside in Vancouver, and will hopefully witness him snagging some medals in her own design.

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