Ice Network

Donovan: Rostelecom Cup fashion podiums

Nagasu, Radionova earn high praise; Chen lands 'Weir Award'
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Nathan Chen's costume selection at the Rostelecom Cup left Sam Donovan with plenty to analyze. -Getty Images

And so, we are back! As I am sure everyone reading this can relate to, my life has been truly bereft without figure skating, sequins and questionable costume choices on behalf of the Russians. Well, I suppose not totally bereft of all of those.

Now, let's get down to it. Frankly, for an Olympic year, these are some relatively lazy looking costumes, but the show must go on, with Ashley Wagner or without.

LADIES

GOLD -- Maé-Bérénice Méité (SP)

There is a very good chance that my sartorial love for Ms. Méité will never be reflected by a figurative 6.0 in the eyes of the judges, but that's OK. She will forever be the Beyoncé of figure skaters in my heart -- turning it out and looking like some chic royalty while doing it. This is once instance where I would have preferred a skirt; that gold beading and bedazzling up top reflected in a skirt would have been magical.

SILVER -- Elena Radionova (SP)

I'm serious, y'all. This is getting weird. Elena looks stunning in this completely perfect Roaring Twenties number. Plus, you can tell she loves it, as she smiled more in this one number than she did all of last season.

BRONZE -- Mirai Nagasu (FS)

Like I've said in the past, I love a riff on cultural costumes, and this charming qipao-inspired number is absolutely lovely. I adore that all of the details normally found on a qipao (specifically the clasps) are done in a rhinestone trompe l'oeil.

MEN'S

GOLD -- Dmitri Aliev (SP)

As the kids say, I am triggered that I had to mosey all the way down off the podium, to a Russian in sixth place, to find the most interesting costume of the men's competition. Aliev certainly took some pointers from Nathan Chen's stunner of a military-inspired piece from last season (which we will get to later) because this is a near-perfect costume that works well with his music, and glitters exactly when and where it should. If I could ask for anything, it would be a little more depth in the bodice.

SILVER -- Andrei Lazukin (FS)

My head is going to explode with all these classy Russian costumes going on. Apparently, they've hacked my style files, or just read icenetwork on a regular basis. In any case, Andrei looks good here, and manages to convey this slightly deranged aristocrat vibe through his piece, which the costume really works with: perfectly styled, perfectly thought-out.

BRONZE -- Denis Ten (FS)

I'm almost a little disappointed in myself for choosing this, because it seems to tick off so many boxes I used for last season: mixing textures, well placed, contrasting sequins, dark and dramatic, etc. But it's hard to be mad at what, essentially, looks like a bedazzled sweatshirt that you could probably buy at Balmain.

WEIR AWARD -- Nathan Chen (BOTH)

Nathan was easily the best-dressed male skater last season, but these looks are not doing him any favors. Let's hope he has a stunner of an Olympic costume in the works.

PAIRS

GOLD -- Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov (FS)

The struggle was real when it came to the pairs, y'all. Not because anyone was bad, necessarily, but because everyone was bland. What made Kristina and Alexei stand out was their adherence to their narrative, effectively becoming Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling for their La La Land number.

SILVER -- Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (SP)

This is mostly for Evgenia's dress (shocker), but I do appreciate the coordination on Vladimir's part. The Russians have many shortcomings in costuming, but their commitment to going there is never one. In any case, I'm not sure it's the most attractive set of garments, but they are graphic and different, and have a little personality, and that was good enough for Rostelecom.

BRONZE -- Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran (SP)

Had Mervin chosen a more inspired top, I could nearly copy and past the first line from Evgenia and Vladimir. I do think Marissa's dress deserves much attention for taking a classic style and giving it some sex appeal, with the nude illusion netting. All in all, a solid showing, if not particularly inspiring.

WEIR AWARD -- Valentina Marchei and Ondřej Hotárek (FS)

Man, you guys: Harley Quinn was, like, so two years ago.

ICE DANCE

Just as a foreword, God bless ice dancing. The cray comes out in spades for this criminally overlooked sport, and without it, my life would be an empty place, and my podiums emptier.

GOLD -- Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani (SD)

And the Shibutani kids take their first fashion (and competitive) gold of the season. Each time they perform, they are on their game and excited, all while looking awesome in the process, and these nude, orange and pink salsa looks are no exception. While I had a tough time choosing the top three slots for this division, Maia's gorgeous, flowing skirt and Alex's perfectly matching shirt were always number one. That's how you coordinate with the lady while still giving her (intrinsically) superior costume the spotlight: you enhance the spotlight.

SILVER -- Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (SD)

These two are just the cutest; every little head bob and hip swivel is so full of vibrancy and love of what they're doing. In terms of costumes, I could not pull myself away from Piper's fascinating dress. I'm not sure putting gold and green is usually my go-to, but the embellishments are so stunning here that I buy it. Plus, Paul had a sleeve reveal, and I was like putty in their hands after that.

BRONZE -- Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev (SD)

I'm always going to be here for an unconventional silhouette, and an electric blue fringe dress with crystal embellishments is just what the doctor ordered -- and Miss Thing was making that fringe dance. Kudos for bringing that garment to life, because the routine would have suffered had she not. These two might have taken silver had Dmitri not taken a nap when it was time for costume consultation.

WEIR AWARDS -- Too many to count!

You guys. The Weir(d) was so aplenty with this crowd that it felt cruel to choose just one. From the post-modern anime flamingo fantasy from Charlène Guignard's short dance to the absolute insanity of whatever preschool won the chance to design Betina Popova and Sergei Mozgov's short costumes, it was a true cornucopia of crazy.

If I had to choose one that rose above the others, it would have to be the Power Ranger Halloween costume Alper Uçar wore for his free dance. I still can't explain that one to myself, but it makes me very excited for the rest of the season.