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The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - Feb. 2

2011 U.S. Championships best dressed lists

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani moved into the top 10 in the world skater rankings.
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani moved into the top 10 in the world skater rankings. (Sarah S. Brannen)

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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to icenetwork.com
(02/02/2011) - Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins wrap-up the week that was at the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

It's always the same... one minute you're strategically planning your outfits for the US championships and the next, it seems, you're packing your bags to leave. It was another very exciting week and we hated for it to end.

Spotted at the airport in Greensboro: Charlie White, looking debonair even early in the morning; the Denney sisters, Caydee and Haven; Parker Pennington; Mark Ladwig with his wife and baby; Ryan Bradley and Ricky Dornbush signing autographs and posing for photos for fans; and Jason Brown, with a huge stuffed frog flopping out of the top of his backpack.

Best dressed: On ice
And now, the blog you have been waiting for: our 2011 best-dressed list.

Pennington and Sarah ended up sitting next to each other on the flight to LaGuardia, so we have a bit of a guest blogger today.

Ladies
On the ice, we noticed a major shift in the ladies fashion. Whereas last year the ice was a meadow of delicate pastels, this year the girls brought out mostly deep jewel tones and blacks. Was it a response to a tough economy? We'll be interested to see what kind of trends appear next year.

We think we also noticed somewhat less asymmetry and single-sleeved dresses, although this trend has certainly not died out yet. We hope it will soon.

Champion Alissa Czisny's flowing watery blue dress met with universal praise.

"The long costume was made by Luann Williams and painted by my mother," Alissa told us. "Both were designed in a collaborative effort between my mom, Yuka [Sato], Stephanie Mitchell and Luann (and me also, of course)."

Czisny's white short program dress was also lovely, but to be honest, Sarah preferred it before she added the purple brushstroke. Drew agrees with Project Runway's Nick Verreos and likes the second version of the dress even better.

Shout-outs to Kristiene Gong's teal-and-royal blue dress, Christina Gao's long program dress, and Rachael Flatt's sassy red costume with the crystal belt. We also loved Flatt's classy yellow dress almost as much as we loved her short program.

Men
We liked Doug Razzano's long program costume, a form-fitting black air-brushed up to a deep red, and Ross Miner's Casablanca formal wear. (We are a sucker for formal wear). Winner: junior man Tim Koleto, who wore one of the more interesting shirts we have seen in his free skate, and, what's more, he designed it himself.

"I started with this idea of having one side really bound and twisted," he told us, "And the other side being very classical. That was reflected in some dyeing techniques that we did so it was darker on one side than the other. The costume's main focus was to enhance the program; we wanted to take the choreography and the music and add to it with the costume."

The costume was made by Susi Hubbs, who normally makes ballet costumes but has also done a few costumes for ice dancers.

"I told her I wanted to turn my idea into fabric," Koleto said.

Dance
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani win this one. Their gorgeous yet fun free dance outfits echoed their smooth and elegant skating, and captured the mood of the dance with perfection.

Pairs
Winners: Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff's short program costumes. He was in formal wear, of course, with a black tux and bow tie, and she had a lovely silvery gray dress.

Best skate guards: Jason Wong. Pennington told us about these: One guard was half iridescent white and half red, and the other half pearl-ized white and half blue. Pennington says he's going to look for a similar pair for himself.

Best dressed: Off the ice
Best-dressed coach, men: A very competitive category. Former winner Mark Mitchell, who has a love of Dolce and Gabbana, was in the running, of course, as was Peter Oppegard. But we have a new winner this year: John Zimmerman.

Zimmerman wore trendy, urban style all week, rocking a layered look that included an array of scarves, full length coats and flowy shirts. We asked him and his lovely wife Silvia Fontana to pose for a picture; they discussed whether the scarf should stay or go and we finally voted "Yes."

Best-dressed coach, women: We may need to name this the Karen Kwan award, as she was once again spectacular. Winner: Yuka Sato. Simple and understated, but flawless nonetheless.

Best-dressed official: Doug Williams, who caught our eye all week, looking California-geek chic with his long blond hair and thick-rimmed glasses. Williams secured the win when he marched up the stairs to the judges' table and inadvertently flashed a pair of vivacious pink socks that matched perfectly with his Paul Smith button-down shirt. A Gucci jacket finished the ensemble.

Best practice clothes: Jonathan Cassar. Always elegant, Cassar is a perennial finalist in the on-ice fashion competition and we loved his short program costume. However, the infamous broken necklace incident has disqualified him this year.

Best hair, women, brunette: Madison Chock.

Best hair, women, blonde: Caitlin Yankowskas. Her hair was suggested by Pennington and coach Roberta Mitchell, but we enthusiastically concur. She's a natural, vibrant blonde.

Best hair, men, the "Charlie White Award": Jason Brown. We cannot fully express our love for his ponytail, and we begged him, never ever to cut it off. We also mentioned how much we enjoyed his skating and asked how he felt about the huge standing ovation he got for his free skate.

"It was like a dream," Brown said. "It felt like a fantasy."

Best shoes: Evan Lysacek, making a bold sockless statement, in velvet loafers, as he presented one of the awards at the senior men's medal ceremony. Also Ben Miller, who worked a pair of Christian Louboutin tan canvas sneakers.

Best accessories: It seemed that the hottest item to have at the championships was a RISE t-shirt. Many skaters donned the shirt, both on and off the ice. It was fun to see how the skating fashionistas changed up the shirt, cutting off sleeves, and altering it in various ways for a more unique look.

Olympians
Our final Olympic champion count remains at eight: Carol Heiss Jenkins, Peggy Fleming, Tara Lipinski, Sarah Hughes, Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Evan Lysacek, and Hayes Alan Jenkins.

And with that, we'll say farewell to Greensboro and the 2011 championships. It was an amazing week. Congratulations to the medalists and all the skaters and fashion-lovers at the event! All our blogs are archived at www.sarahbrannen.com if you need to catch up.

Sarah and Drew
sarahanddrewblog@gmail.com
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