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Donovan: Team Challenge Cup fashion podiums

'Project Runway' contestant picks his favorite looks from competition
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Ashley Wagner and Adam Rippon had two of Sam Donovan's favorite outfits at the 2016 Team Challenge Cup. -Getty Images/Zach Dilgard/Getty Images

Sam Donovan was a contestant on the Lifetime series Project Runway: Under the Gunn and is currently a contestant on Project Runway All Stars. He is a lifelong figure skating fan and says that Tara Lipinski's little blue dress at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, was one the biggest reasons he got into fashion.

The inaugural Team Challenge Cup last week saw North America take the gold over Europe and Asia. But for me, it provided one last chance to get a glimpse of the looks the skaters wore on the ice this season.

Here, now, are my fashion podiums for the Team Challenge Cup.


Gold: Ashley Wagner (Free skate)

The U.S. may have scored big at the TCC, but the real winner of the night was the beautiful rendition of Nicole Kidman's wedding dress (and glorious necklace) from Moulin Rouge! that Wagner wore as she skated to the film's soundtrack for her free skate. I love the spunk of her short program outfit, but this really captures the whimsy we expect from the sport.

Silver: Gracie Gold (Free skate)

I wasn't wowed by Gracie's free skate dress at worlds, but what her performance in Spokane showed was how a stellar skate can really show off a dress for its best. This was the sparkling outing her glittering red dress was intended for, and Gracie looked stunning (and confident) skating her Firebird routine.

Bronze: Evengia Medvedeva (Short program/free skate)

It's hard to pick between the world record-setter's two looks because they're just so similar -- and not exactly groundbreaking. Still, appropriate, pretty and modern, Evengia looked fantastic during both of her routines. She reminded me of a modern day Tara Lipinski, with just a touch of Sasha Cohen spunk.


Gold: Adam Rippon (Free skate)

This gave me so much Janet Jackson "Rhythm Nation" fabulousness that I refuse to be mad at it. Adam has always been one of the biggest attention-grabbers in men's figure skating, and this just proves his worth.

Silver: Mikhail Kolyada (Free skate)

Love this one full stop. Dramatic, kind of sexy, total Phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes kind of look. Plus, I love the way it plays with the music (The Nightmare Before Christmas?! GENIUS!) and the choreography in his routine: dark and quirky and lovely. Also, shout-out for serving Jem and the Holograms back-up dancer REALNESS in his short program.

Bronze: Rippon (Short program)

Since the men decided they were going to serve up some CRAZY this go-round, I figured Rippon deserved two medals; this bedazzled black ode to male cleavage is in every way fierce and glorious, and totally the Flock of Seagulls-esque '80s popstar that Adam is clearly trying to be.


Gold: Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov

Sure, the grays aren't exactly the most sophisticated (Fedor is basically wearing what amounts to fancy pajamas), but there's something so fashion about Ksenia's look that it completely overrides the negatives here. Neither the pairs nor the dance sides brought their A-game on the costume front, but there was a low-level chic-ness to these two that was different for a figure skating competition.

Silver: Sumire Suto and Francis Boudreau-Audet

Yet another pairing where the lady is doing all the work. Sumire won the prize for sparkliest ensemble, but her partner's costume, which made him look like an extra from Les Misérables, lagged far behind.

Bronze: Nicole della Monica and Matteo Guarise

I have to give these two props for GOING there, even if "there" is a figure skating parody spin-off of Zoolander. I love it when boys wear the sparklier versions of their female partner's ensembles.


Gold: Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu

There's something so gorgeous about these two -- they look like a prince and princess straight out of a Disney movie. I love the tribute to Chinese culture, and I love their coordinated blues and bedazzling. Regal and subtle and there anything more you could ask from two gorgeous ice dancers?

Silver: Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje

Kaitlyn could be wearing Marchesa, her white-to-gray ombré dress is so elegant and intricate. And for once, I don't mind that Andrew is wearing the department store version of his lady counterpart's couture creation. Very All Saints, very chic. Really, had there been more in the way of costumes on the dance side, I could have justified awarding a tie for gold (that happens a lot, right?), but unfortunately for Weaver and Poje, they basically lost the coin flip.

Bronze: Rebeka Kim and Kirill Minov

Given that the dancers only did one program, the pickings were relatively slim in this category. Again, the woman stood out as the star of the pairing: Rebeka's gorgeous sea-green dress was one of the loveliest costumes of the competition.