Ice Style

ICE STYLE.....A Costume Tribute to Mao Asada 2017-2008

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Princess Asada: A Costume Tribute

This past Monday, the figure skating world received the STUNNING news that Olympic silver medalist, three-time world champion, four-time Grand Prix champion and three-time Four Continents winner Mao Asada was retiring! In her blog, the 26 year-old said that after the Japanese nationals, "all the goals that had kept me going disappeared, along with my will to compete". It was a sad day for figure skating and I for one, will miss her--for her outstanding skating and yes, for her COSTUMES!

In honor of her retirement, I wanted to pay tribute to her costumes through the years--from the present through 2008. In terms of her costumes, Mao was not a wallflower when it came to what she wore on the ice. She embraced costumes and fashion with obvious passion. First off, her costumes were bold, detailed and definite extensions of her music choice and programs. She also was A MAJOR Costume Changer!! She wore two and sometimes THREE different costumes for one season's program, changing from one competition to another. There were also some commonalities in regards to her costumes: She loved LILAC, lavender, red-and-black and royal blue. A Lot. 

She also had an odd obsession for having her torso--and top section (I'm trying not to be crude--but you know what I'm talking about), in particular, being "highlighted" (Oversized flowers in that area were OOOPSIE Costume moments back in 2008/2009). And while some of her costumes did verge on being a little on the Tacky-licious side (I blame Tatiana Tarasova for most of those costume missteps), her most recent ones were some of my favorites, beginning with the 2014 Sochi Olympics Free Skate. Lets take a look at Mao Asada's Costumes Through The Years starting  from the most recent 2017-2016 Season to 2008:

2017-2017 Season---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free Skate to En la cueva - La noche, Pantomime, El aparecido (all from "El amor brujo") by M. de Falla--Mao looked like a beautiful Señorita in this red costume featuring sequined applique, nude illusion and a draped chiffon skirt. I also loved the red rose-like accent on her chignon hairstyle. It was daring, sexy and right for the music. I think it is beautiful how the applique was cut to accent the front torso.

Short Program to Danza Ritual del fuego (from "El amor brujo") by M. de Falla--This costume is one of my FAVORITES worn by Asada! It's simply stunning! I love the impacting design which reminds me of a fabulous Rodarte-like gown; it's ethereal, dark, and beautifully detailed. I especially admired the handkerchief-like panels that formed the skirt and created fabulous unique movement.

2015-2016-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free Skate to Madama Butterfly by Giaccomo Puccini--Mao wore this lilac/lavender colored kimono-like costume for her Free Skate to Madama Butterfly. This was also one of my favorite costumes worn by her. I liked the overt homage to the Japanese traditional clothing, yet instead of being cumbersome and heavy (as most Geisha kimonos are), this was light as a feather. I also liked the delicate butterfly sequined applique on the top section and mini Obi. And yes, the slightly belled sleeves was also a nice design touch.

Short Program to Bei Mir Bistu Shein by Sholom Secunda--I liked this fuchsia-colored costume that Mao wore for her SP during the 2015-2016 Season. This reminded me of a "Mini-Me" version of an Haute Couture Elie Saab gown; the batteau neckline, the sequin work--as well as the many godets on the bottom section. It wasn't extraordinary but it was pretty.

2013-2014 Season---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free Skate to Piano Concert No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff--For this 2013-2014 Season, Mao Asada wore two different costumes for her Free Skate. I loved both. The royal blue-and-black one with twisted-like torso sequined detail was modern, runway chic and made quite a statement. During the season, she also wore the one in the photo above, most notably for the 2013 Skate America and 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, of course. This FABULOUS feather-like costume featuring waist sequined embellishment remains one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES worn by Mao. The costume was Skating COUTURE on every level!

Short Program to Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2 in E-flat major by Frederic Chopin--For her Short Program during the 2013-2014 Season, Mao also went back and forth between two different costumes. both were in a similar color palette and silhouette but with slight detail differences. Of the two costumes in the photos above, the lower one with gathered torso was my favorite and the one in the top photo was my least liked of the two. While I liked the ombre shading and unusual petal-like details, the styling focused too much on her "sistahs" and I just didn't understand that. It was as if she had two big ol' seashells up there. She even went as far as wearing this for the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 Team competition but luckily, for the actual Ladies portion of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, she opted for wearing the prettier one of the two. And Thank Goodness. I liked this lilac costume much better. It was less garish, more fashion-friendly, and there wasn't so much emphasis on her you-know-what's. I thought the gathering on the torso and waist were nice and the crystal neckline, beautiful.

2012-2013-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free Skate to Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky--Mao wore this Swan costume for her 2012-2013 Season Free Skate to "Swan Lake". In Mao Asada Costume Tradition, she changed costumes during this season as well--from the one in the upper photo to the lower one. If I have to chose, my favorite was the costume in the first photo. This was chic, fashionable and elegant and so Ballet Fabulous. I especially liked the silver-gray center front torso details. I thought the other one (lower photo above) was a bit "heavy-handed" and featured way too many raw-edged chiffon "feathers", particularly in the torso; it made her look heavy. She looked as if she got in a fight with a swan...and the swan won!

Short Program to I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin--Love. Love. And Love. The coral color was vibrant, impacting and very effective. It was also unexpected for Asada. I also loved the criss-cross gathering/draping and sequin work in the torso. I only wished she would have really finished it off with something more fabulous than a coral-colored pony-tail rubber-band as a hair accessory. But I will overlook that since I really liked this bold, runway-ready 2012-2013 Short Program costume to "I Got Rhythm".

2011-2012-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free Skate to Liebestraume by Franz Liszt--For her Free Skate, Asada wore this lilac (of course!)-colored costume with beautiful sequined applique on the top and chiffon skirt. I really liked this costume--especially since I had seen it before in a previous season; this costume was a "Costume Throwback" to what she had worn the previous season for her Free Program of the same music (keep reading below). Even though I did like this, I was wishin' and prayin' that maybe, just maybe, she might change her costume just to add some "newness" to her skate. And eventually she did...

For the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships--This lilac design was modern, chic and soooo Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. I loved the gathered/draped top and the heavily crystal'ed midriff was Chanel-like GORGEOUS!

Short Program Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov--OK, I have to admit that when I first saw Mao Asada in this "I Dream Of Jeannie" look, I liked it. I would have NEVER guessed Asada would wear a bloomer-like jumpsuit straight out of a "Disney On Ice" skating number. But then, I came to my senses and thought that it was actually, slightly over-the-top and tacky. While I liked the top section and that sequin detail, the pants were too distracting. This was a Scheherazade Don't. Luckily...

She changed to this above. This was an improvement (at least she didn't look like a cast member from a Disney theme Park!), and while it was slightly "Michelle Kwan"-like, it was still Too Mucheey. And what the heck is up with the bust embellishments??? This was slightly better than her "I Dream of Jeannie" look but still had some design issues that I wasn't a fan of.

2010/2011-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Trophee Eric Bompard 2010

                                            Japan Figure Skating Championships 2010
2011 World Figure Skating Championships

Short Program Tango (from Agony) by Alfred Schnittke--A girl likes options...and it is her prerogative to change her costumes...and Mao Asada did: Asada wore THREE different costumes for her "Tango" Short Program during the 2010-2011 Season. All three featured the Tango-esque red-and-black colors and in terms of design, she varied from Sweet-and-Sassy to Sexy-licious (lower costume). Of the three, I was very perplexed by the one in the middle featuring the red flower-like busts. This was just tacky, garish and questionable on several taste levels. If I had to pick, the other two were my favorites with probably the lower one as the one I liked the best. This one was more "fashionable", less garish and the most figure skating costume directional.

Free Skate to Liebestraume by Franz Liszt--This was the first time we got to see this lilac sequined costume which she ended up bringing back the following season (since she used the same music and program). As I already said, I really liked this costume for its simplicity, beauty and lack of distracting details.

2009-2010-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free Skate to Prelude in C-sharp minor "Bells of Moscow" by Sergei Rachmaninov--The 2009-2010 Season for Asada--in terms of costumes--was probably one of her low points. While there was consistency in terms of colors, the looks were a little overdone, there was overuse of trims and frankly, they needed editing. This costume above which she wore for her Free Skate had a fire-like red and silver-gray embellishment in the torso, as well as ruched neckline details and layers forming a messy skirt. It was Too-Mucheey.

Short Program to Waltz from Masquerade Suite by Aram Khachaturian--For her Short program, Mao wore THREE different costumes throughout the season, all with similar details, in varying shades of red and pink. They were all pretty much a mess. the two lower ones featured pretty sequin details around the shoulders and midriff but then...WHAT THE HECK is happening at the bust/neckline?? Why those BIG OBNOXIOUS flowers?? And WHY THERE?? And then, the costume in the first photo at the top: She looked like an extra in a Spaghetti Western. I get the theme was a Waltz and a Masquerade Ball, but I am sure there had to be better depictions of what a lovely woman would wear to one of these situations. Frankly, they were slightly too "Junior Skater" for Mao. She deserved more refined Skating Couture! Johnny Weir was quoted as saying "She looked like a gilded mirror in Tatiana Tarasova's apartment!"

Finally...
2008-2009 Season---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Short Program to Claire De Lune by Claude Debussy--For her Short Program during the 2008-2009 Season, Mao wore these two costumes. Both were in the lilac and royal blue colors she loves so much. I liked BOTH! These were pretty, elegant and looked expensive. I also liked that they were void of all that tackety-tacky trim she unfortunately got into in later seasons. They were also beautiful costume reflections of the music.

Free Skate to Waltz from Masquerade Suite by Aram Kachaturian--Mao wore this black costume to the same music she would later use the following season for her Short Program. This design was sexy, chic and fashion-forward and definitely MUCH BETTER than the costumes she wore for the same music the following season. I loved the neckline sequined "straps" and midriff scroll-like applique detail.

Thank You Mao Asada for being an ICON of Ladies Figure Skating and for always making me look forward to not just your performances and skates but of course, to your costumes! You will be missed! 

1 Response to "ICE STYLE.....A Costume Tribute to Mao Asada 2017-2008"

Jessica Dann said...

I love her 😍 Figure skating can’t live without her ... she is legend ❤️🏅