For two weeks every four years I get my dearest wish and pop culture is dominated by figure skating! In addition to the return of the ultimate male diva Evgeni Plushenko, we now have Ashley Wagner’s kiss-and-cry face as the latest and greatest Internet meme, and we get to talk about jumps and sequins seriously because people somehow forget for the next four years that it’s an athletic competition. Plus, we get some amazing costumes to remember, like Ilia Kulik’s giraffe from the 1998 Nagano games, Oksana Baiul at Lillehammer, and Johnny Weir at…well, everywhere.
Let’s start with the pairs…
Aljona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy, Germany (Bronze Medalists)
This badass mädchen and her partner brought back their world record-setting Pink Panther program and absolutely own it.
Mad props to her for pulling off a freaking PINK PANTHER CATSUIT. This is not something you can wear with even the slightest smidgen of body fat. I’m convinced that Aljona hasn’t had a good helping of wienerschnitzel in a few years.
Somewhere, Emma Peel is really, really jealous.
Meghan Duhamel & Eric Radford, Canada (7th)
The number is Alice in Wonderland, but all I see is Prince. If he tailored his pants a bit more to make them skinny and stretchy, I’d totally buy them, and it would be worn by Justin on the next episode of Girls.
Meghan’s dress ran away from Candy Crush.
Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov, Russia (6th)
They’re dancing to a number from the Russian opera Prince Igor, and went for a full-on national costume that looks vaguely…Georgian? Azerbaijani? Armenian? (To any readers from those countries, I apologize for not being able to more constructively tell you more about this look.)
Since it’s a traditional outfit, I can’t really hate on it, although it looks more like she’s doing Scheherazade as interpreted by Xena. I must say though that I absolutely love Vera’s headdress, and lament the fact that there is a distinct lack of tiaras in figure skating these days (except maybe on Johnny Weir).
Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov, Russia (Silver Medalists)
Ba-da-da-dum, snap snap! Our next competitors are Morticia and Gomez Addams!
Well not really, but they skated a great energetic number to the theme. While I appreciate they didn’t make her go full-on Morticia with long tendril sleeves (it would have ended up like Ursula in The Little Mermaid), I’m not sure if she was supposed to be Angelica Huston. And he’s either Robin Thicke at the VMAs, or Beetlejuice on a hot date. Or maybe he’s more like Gomez’s cool hipster Portland cousin?
Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov, Russia (Olympic Champions)
They were skating to Jesus Christ Superstar and somehow I don’t think God said “on the eighth day, banana pants shalt be the new black.” I think Maxim may be evoking the dessert desert (mmmm, banana pants split). Maxim’s pants, by the way, have their own Twitter account.
As for Tatiana, she looks perfectly beautiful by artfully forging a bundle of sample venetian blinds into a single garment and matching it with the trousers. Overall, I approve because they wore their golden ambitions in their outfits. (BTW Tanya had her own catsuit moment in 2010.)
As for men’s figure skating…I love it. It’s the one place on God’s green earth where both gay (but not in Russia) and straight men throw down barbs and bitchface with complete abandon. And where else can you see heterosexual men wear sequins on purpose?
Evgeni Plushenko, Russia
The Russian legend, sadly, had to pull out of the men’s event after a blazing valedictory performance in the team event. Although I must say, his outfits are starting to look alike, much like his programs in years past. Every year he’s in something black with a vaguely shiny finish and sequins, matching gloves, and a hint of silver and/or red.
That being said, Zhenya is a true artist and a consummate entertainer, always great for a sound bite and the equivalent of the Countess Dowager. Also, I respect that he’s one of the few high-profile Russian celebrities (he’s akin to royalty there) who actually spoke out against Putin’s anti-LGBT laws. Plus, have you met his awesome wife? (Seriously. Read that profile. I promise it’ll make your week.) I’ll miss you Zhenya, большое спасибо for the memories.
Misha Ge, Uzbekistan (17th)
Uzbek by birth but he grew up in China and now trains in Hollywood, so he’s fluent in Russian, Mandarin and English. His style can be best described as Plushenko v. 2.0 in the making, or hopefully he will be by 2018. Therefore, he’s got no time to attend to his outfit.
The man is dressed as a giant traffic cone. But I enjoy that he had his hair dyed to match this pylon.
Michael Christian Martinez, Philippines (19th)
This guy trains in a mall skating rink, one of only three in the country (and it’s crowded, I’ve actually been there) with part-time coaches that his family pays for by mortgaging their house. And he still came in the top 20. That is totally badass.
I really wish him all the best and I’m convinced if we pair him up with a great coach he could be the first skating champion from a tropical country with no history of figure skating. So I’ll give a pass to the very literal Romeo & Juliet costume and instead FedEx him a glitter gun.
Tomas Verner, Czech Republic (11th)
The former European champion has stated that this season will be his last. That probably means he decided not to bother with a costume and instead bought something on sale at TopShop.
I have the same outfit, Tommy. It looks great for Sunday brunch, but this is figure skating. Please give us something shiny.
Tatsuki Machida, Japan (5th)
There are four pieces of music that someone in the skating world does every season, to the point of overexposure: Swan Lake, Scheherazade, Carmen and Stravinsky’s Firebird. Tatsuki chose the latter:
The problem with these outfits is that they paint you in a corner so that you MUST wear only what the music tells you. So now that Tatsuki’s got one out of the way — it’s literal and that’s all I have to say on this. We can look forward to dancing swans, Arabian nights and flamenco dancers next week in ice dance and ladies’ singles.
Jason Brown, USA (9th)
I love, you love, the Internet all loves Jason Brown’s Riverdance free skate. But you know what’s even better? His short program to Prince’s “The Question of U” in which he wears A GIANT PRINCE SYMBOL:
This. On international television. At the Olympics. I CAN’T EVEN RIGHT NOW.
(While I’m recovering, please read our New Girl recap on Prince’s guest appearance here.)
Patrick Chan, Canada (Silver Medalist)
If this looks familiar, it’s because this scoop-necked number is like vintage Versace circa 1995 (forever Gianni!). Patrick’s known for eschewing sequins, glitter and chenille when it comes to his outfits, and it does show off his clean, elegant lines without distraction.
Also, I swear that at least two of my gay friends have this same top (for the record, Patrick is heterosexual).
Johnny Weir Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan (Olympic Champion)
Did you miss Johnny now that he’s no longer competing? Have no fear because he now designs skating costumes. I repeat: Johnny Weir designs figure skating costumes. This will entertain us for years to come. Here’s his first true masterwork, which is pretty much the same thing as his 2006 swan costume. (Thanks for The Skating Lesson for the side-by-side comparison.)
It just proves that no matter who won, nobody can be better-dressed than Johnny Weir.