Ice Network

Donovan: Rostelecom Cup costume awards

Lipnitskaya, Fernández receive high marks for wardrobe selections
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Spaniard Javier Fernández earned his third straight Rostelecom Cup gold medal with yet another outstanding performance in Moscow. -Getty Images

Sam Donovan was a contestant on the Lifetime series Project Runway: Under the Gunn as well as 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 of the biggest reasons he got into fashion.

I'm starting to think it's unfair to have the likes of Adam Rippon and Ashley Wagner open up any season of figure skating from a style perspective because both fields of skaters at Skate Canada and Rostelecom Cup have truly struggled on the fashion front. However, where there are Russian figure skaters, there will always be something dramatic to discuss.


GOLD - Julia Lipnitskaya (FS) 

The heartache is real here. Performance aside, this is truly a sensational costume, and Lipnitskaya is the kind of skater who can really make it work. The angular fluidity of her skating and choreography works well against the rebellious looking Kill Bill inspired outfit. Had Lipnitskaya been able to finish her routine, this costume would have been legendary atop the podium. In a sport that tends toward hyper feminization -- Lipnitskaya looks like a superhero.

SILVER - Li Zijun (SP) 

With a sleek, lovely dress with hints of dark romanticism, Zijun essentially makes it to second place due to a very weak field of basic and cheap-looking dresses.

BRONZE - Julia Lipnitskaya (SP) 

A lovely, simple dress that complements a soft, subtle program. Lipnitskaya truly ruled the style front in Moscow, from music choice to costume. In this instance, the deep, rich brown of her velvet dress helped evoke the lounge-like feeling of her soundtrack, and the organic beading pattern resembled bubbles in champagne. Here's to hoping she doesn't need to sit out the rest of the season. 

WEIR AWARD - Anna Pogorilaya (FS)

I'm allowed to say this because she won, but her long program dress looks like a wet prom dress she bought at Claire's in 2005 and then attacked with a bedazzler. Even the great bedazzle herself, Oksana Baiul, would turn up her nose at this.


GOLD - Oleksii Bychenko (SP)

This is just plain cute. In a sport where men tend to either go full Liberace or abandon all sense and style to look like a Riverdance wannabe, it's nice to know that some skaters are willing to break the mold and dress like Billie Joel Armstrong from his "American Idiot" phase. The exposed tattoos really make the look.

SILVER - Javier Fernández (SP)

It's also comforting to know that Javier Fernández is still just willing to look absolutely amazing during this difficult time. Do you see how slim pickings were this time around that I had to basically give Fernández a podium spot for not messing up his entire appearance?

BRONZE - Chafik Besseghier

This is well done, despite a serious budget. I do tend to appreciate costuming that goes along with the music, and this manages that nicely, if somewhat too much. He and Bychenko are going to start a pop-punk band after this.

WEIR AWARD - Gordei Gorshkov

It takes a special kind of soul to forgive wearing a toddler's Pink Floyd pajamas for your Grand Prix long program. I am not that soul.


GOLD - Natalja Zabijako / Alexander Enbert (FS)

That was a gorgeous dress! I don't care that he's dressed like her handler, because the feathers of Natalja's gray gown are stunningly gorgeous. Dressing Alexander like he was merely there to hold her up like the man-podium he is likely was the right thing to do here. Not only that, but the cut of her skirt is gorgeous and a deviation from the typically underdeveloped cuts we generally see in skating.

It's a shame they didn't add some sparkle to it, but it's hard to complain when that dress could show up at the Golden Globes and make every best-dressed list.

SILVER - Natalja Zabijako / Alexander Enbert (SP)

This is one seriously stylish couple. Interestingly, Alexander seems more center stage for this routine, at least in terms of costuming, because he looks like a prince against her decidedly modest attire. My only complaint is that there is something of a disconnect in their costumes. I can see the inspiration very well, but her execution isn't up to par with his.

BRONZE - Aliona Savchenko / Bruno Massot (FS)

Something a bit more conventional for the third-place duo on my pairs podium, and not just because I'm currently living in Germany. While Bruno fell into the men's cliché of wearing the dirty track suit version of your female partner's couture ensemble, Aliona's earth tone ombré does its fair share of heavy lifting to land the gold medal on my fashion podium.


GOLD - Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje (SP)

This is what fashion looks like. I don't know that I've ever seen an all black tuxedo mini dress look this good anywhere. Somehow the plunging neckline and super short skirt never manage to cross into burlesque territory, although even if they did, it wouldn't have been awful. Andrew manages to keep up, even if he rightfully plays second string. A solid gold performance in all black.

SILVER - Madison Chock / Evan Bates (FD)

What I love about these two is that you really have to see them in motion so that the sinewy design can unleash its full effect. There's something deeply sensual about the way the fabric laps at their bodies like waves or tentacles, and the glint of sparkle hidden asymmetrically in both designs is a delight to discover when these two spin about the ice.

BRONZE - Tiffany Zahorski / Jonathan Guerreiro (SP)

He looks about as basic as one can get, but I really appreciate how bold Zahorski's costume is in this number. Sure, there's plenty of skin in figure skating, but there's something erotic about how straight forward this costume is, especially when pairing the rich blue of the slip with the shocking red of Zahorski's hair. A daring choice, but definitely one that deserves some praise.