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The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew

Fashion, modeling and the latest from Sofia

Kristi Yamaguchi made a splash in a red Vera Wang dress at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.
Kristi Yamaguchi made a splash in a red Vera Wang dress at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. (Getty Images)

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By Sarah S. Brannen & Drew Meekins, special to icenetwork.com
(02/24/2009) - Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, icenetwork.com's intrepid backstage reporters, bring you the scoop about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, modeling debuts and junior worlds.

Red Carpet
Between Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York and the Academy Awards on Sunday, fashion was on everyone's mind last week. Johnny Weir and Kristi Yamaguchi were prominent in New York, and Molly Oberstar won a modeling contest in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Kristi walked the runway at the Heart Truth Red Dress collection benefit for women's heart disease; check out the pictures in the gallery. She looked fabulous in a slinky red satin Vera Wang gown with a cluster of roses on the shoulder. Olympic champion gymnast Nastia Liukin modeled a short Max Azria dress.

Johnny was a special guest entertainer at a New York Fashion Week party sponsored by VMan Magazine and Ford Models that took place last Thursday night at Chelsea Piers. Guests included Kanye West, Zac Posen, former skater and designer Richie Rich and Oksana Baiul.

"At first, I was going to skate to Michael Buble's 'Feeling Good," Johnny told us. "But the people at VMan wanted something current. They suggested Beyonce's 'Single Ladies.' Clearly that wasn't going to work, so I wrote back with a counter-offer of Lady GaGa's 'Poker Face.'"

Johnny added that he's planning to revamp the program, get a new costume and skate the number at some shows in Korea in April. But back to the party. "Kanye West came in just for my performance and left after," he said.

Johnny's mom Patti described his on-ice outfit this way: "Johnny's costume consisted of running pants, leg warmers, a big belt, turtleneck, leather gloves and sparkly bracelets. It was a 'get stuff out of your closet' costume!"

Johnny told us the on-ice top was by Raf Simmons. Apart from that, the VMan people dressed him in two different outfits for the party, which, alas, he didn't get to keep. Before he skated, he was in a hot pink jacket and jeans by Dior. For the after-party, he changed into a black Dior suit with cut-out lapels and a Maison Martin Margiela tee that looked, he said, "like a disco ball."

The after-party was at an art gallery in Chinatown. "I had so much fun. I enjoyed it all, and I want to do more," Johnny said. "I was famous for a night! Richie Rich invited me to walk for his own line, and French Vogue wanted photos."

Before we hung up with him, we asked Johnny for his thoughts on the upcoming 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, and he shared this interesting little vignette." Evan Lysacek and I sat down at Nationals and had a conversation," Johnny said. "We decided to bury the hatchet, become friends and support each other. We've formed an alliance."

Johnny says he'll be rooting for Evan at the World Championships, as well as for his friend Yu-Na Kim.

Molly Oberstar, Real Model
For the last few weeks, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine has been running a "Do you want to be a real model?" contest. 157 people submitted photos and a paragraph explaining why they wanted to be a professional model.

Molly Oberstar, who finished 15th at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January, heard the contest announcement on the radio and was immediately inspired to enter.

"I've been searching for a way to get involved in modeling for a long time, but I didn't know how to get started, so I thought I might as well try entering," Molly told us. "They were searching for the next real model in the Twin Cities. I think the contest stemmed from a story about the fact that there doesn't seem to be a huge market for modeling in this area."

The contest went through several rounds, with readers invited to vote at each stage. When all the votes were counted last week, Molly was the winner. Her prizes include a consultation with local modeling agency Moore Creative Talent, Inc., a makeover from Nino Altobelli and an appearance in the May issue of Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine.

So, is professional modeling in Molly's future? "Modeling is something I'm very interested in!" she said. "I can only hope that something will transpire because of this contest! I spend a lot of time looking at editorials and runway pictures. I also love fashion, so that helps. I'm majoring in fashion merchandising at school right now."

Let's face it though, most figure skaters are very much on the petite side, and most models are very tall. Is she tall enough?

"I'm 5'8", not overly tall for a model, but I think I just about make the cut."

What parallels does she see between figure skating and modeling?

"On the ice, you need to have a certain attitude and air of confidence. You definitely need to make use of that as a model. I think there's a certain amount of performance in modeling that I have acquired over the years from skating. In regards to the fashion aspect -- anyone that has attended Nationals will know that every day there is a fashion show on and off the ice."

We couldn't agree more!

Winter Wonderland in Harbin
We got a little pre-Olympics fix this week as we watched the opening ceremonies of the 24th Winter Universiade, also known as the World University Games, in Harbin, China. It was fun watching the teams enter the arena and trying to pick out the figure skaters. Alban Preaubert! Kiira Korpi! Jason Wong!

Most of the athletes were taking pictures or filming as they came in, which made for good souvenirs but bad TV. How cute that the Swiss team did the wave! The German team needs to seriously re-think their official team uniforms, and we kind of want one of the Kyrgystani hats.

We enjoyed the world's largest pop-up card in the opening ceremony, and we never thought we would see a sliding rock light the torch at an event. Flaming arrow, yes. Ski jumper, yes. Curler? That had to be a first.

Jason emailed us stories about his experiences and impressions of Harbin. "Harbin is great!" he wrote. "The staff here is amazing. They have over 1500 volunteers, and they are fantastic."

Jason reported that Qing Pang and Jiang Tong skated in the opening ceremony, and did "An amazing number including an incredible throw triple salchow... it was perfect and fanstastic!"

Jason was blown away by the opening ceremony. "I had no idea the magnitude of this event," he wrote. "They had a great animation of the creation of 'Dong Dong,' the mascot! 'Dong' means 'cold' or 'winter' in Chinese. It's not pronounced like Wong but instead with more of a U. Sort of like Donut. But not quite. Anyway, the dancing was fantastic, and the girls flying from the ceiling was great. It would be amazing for an American Ice Show to combine both dance and skating like they way the Chinese did here because we never wanted it to end!"

Apparently, the US team jackets don't say "USA" on them anywhere. "Because our team jackets are just red, everyone starts speaking to me in Mandarin, and I have no clue what they are saying. I was told I was in the wrong place when I was in the USA line!"

After a disappointing short program, Jason rebounded to finish 9th in the free and 13th overall. Congrats to him!

Scoop from Sofia
We're starting to hear tidbits from our friends at the 2009 ISU World Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Adam Rippon, Madison Chock and Marissa Castelli were all in the computer room on Sunday afternoon (their time), "talking" to us.

"Sofia is nice," wrote Marissa, "It actually snowed today. Everyone here is extremely nice. The only funny thing that happened so far was Ross Miner almost slipped and fell on the snow outside -- it was pretty hysterical."

Ross said that skating in Sofia is like "crossing the line" in the old days of the Royal British Navy: a rite of passage. "When you've skated in Sofia, you've arrived as a senior competitor," he said.

Adam, a veteran at 19, is competing in Sofia for the third time. We wondered what it was like for him, going into the competition as the defending champion.

"I am very excited to be in Sofia again. I have really great fans here. I don't feel any extra pressure being the defending champion. Having competed senior this entire season has really helped me."

Curran Oi checked in with his first observations on Monday. "Our hotel, the Kempinski, has exceeded expectations so far. The beds are comfortable, bathrooms are nice, and there is even a refrigerator in every room. The food has also been great -- more than just edible."

Both Curran and Marissa commented that the practice rink is somewhat peculiar, so much shorter and wider than a typical skating rink that it's nearly a square.

"Also, as you descend into the basement, where the practice rink is, there is an overpowering smell of propane," continued Curran. "It does not really smell down by the ice surface, however. Many people who had skated in the practice rink in past years had touted it as the coldest they had ever skated in, but it must be warmer than usual this year, because nobody on the team has complained too much.

"Yesterday we went to the grocery store to get water and some food. The sidewalks were not plowed or shoveled, which I found odd considering we are in a pretty densely populated area. It has snowed a little since we have been here and a light fog has descended on the city, making it difficult to see anything from our windows."

We'll have more from junior worlds coming up very soon. Until then, make it work, everybody!

Sarah and Drew

SarahandDrewBlog@gmail.com