2018 Winter Games–Costumes & Revelry
We’re in the throes of Olympics fever with ever-present goosebumps as we watch the events unfold each day. The athletes’ backstories, the extravagant costumes, the audience reactions, the celebrations–it’s awe-inspiring. The hope, pride, joy (and sometimes disappointment) are palpable.Valentina Marchei & Ondrej Hotarek of Italy
I can’t decide which sport I love the best. I’m even a fan of curling, now that I understand it a bit better. What makes the Winter Games more intriguing than the summer games, for me, is that everything is so death defying in the winter! Sure, anyone could injure themselves doing any sport, at any time of year. But cracking your skull on the ice or banging your hip against the edge of the halfpipe seems more serious than falling into the sand while playing volleyball…just sayin. I’m not implying the athletes are any more athletic or special or talented in the winter. I’m just saying I’m a bit more on the edge of my seat fearing for their safety than I am during the Summer Games.
I’ve always loved the figure skaters. For one, they are dancing ON ICE. Two, they wear beautiful costumes. Three, they are technical yet expressive, when most of the other athletes competing in different sports don’t even have to smile.
I remember Katarina Witt skating to Michael Jackson’s Bad wearing a studded leather jacket at the 1988 Games in Calgary. She wasn’t competing for the USA, but she won the hearts of many American kids who loved the music of MJ and that costume was killer!
I recall the Nancy Kerrigan drama very well. I was glued to my TV when she skated in Lillehammer. Back then I had no idea that her costumes were designed by Vera Wang. That explains her subtle sophistication. Plus, Vera Wang skated when she was young, so she had inside knowledge about the needs of skaters.
I think Wang did an excellent job conveying Kerrigan’s personality and complemented her music with her costumes. I’ve read some interviews with Wang, who claims she never wanted to take that job. She told People magazine, “If one strap were to break, or if the beading on the sleeve gets caught when they turn, their whole Olympics is over. That is how serious it is.” Despite those feelings, she’s been outfitting ice skaters for the past 20 years.
Other high-fashion designers, like Christian Lacroix, have designed for skaters in past Olympics. Here’s Surya Bonaly, wearing his design in the 1992 Games.
Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert of Olympic Athletes of Russia wear seemingly simple costumes, with the lavender shades and subtle sparkle peeking through.
Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim of the United States look like a coordinated couple though she is decidedly more formal than he is.
This look is more playful, with her ode to Valentine’s Day emblazoned on her skate and his matching red bowtie.
Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China look like they’re skating in separate events. I didn’t think their look was cohesive enough.
Same goes for Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France. She was a stunner in blue while he was a shadow in the background.
Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise of Italy win the award for Most Coordinated Costumes. But, I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Too much can just be…too much.
It’s no secret that sewing these costumes is a huge undertaking. The sequins, the mesh, the stretchy, slippery fabrics…not to mention the stress of the garment withstanding for the entire performance. I dare say it’s more stressful than sewing for a bride. Huge props and applause to all of you out there sewing for gymnasts, swim meets and ice skating competitions! You have excellent confidence and skill and we celebrate you!