Ice Network

Donovan: U.S. championships fashion podiums

Wagner earns praise for both costumes; Shibutanis receive high marks
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The costumes Ashley Wagner showcased at the 2018 U.S. Championships were among the best in the competition, says Sam Donovan. -Getty Images

It's safe to say the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships went down in their typically controversial, stressful, and -- for some -- infuriating way. But enough about Nathan Chen's costume reveal! Congratulations to all who made the podium, and further compliments to those skaters and teams who now comprise the 2018 U.S. Olympic team.

What truly matters for this piece are the clothes, so let's get to awards!


GOLD -- Ashley Wagner (FS)

Truly the dress of the competition, and befittingly somber its beauty, Wagner's costume perfectly fit her routine without being overtly related to the music. (In truth, it's based on a dress Emma Stone wore last year to the Golden Globes, where she won the Best Actress award for her performance in La La Land, the music to which Wagner skated to). Alas, Ashley did not get her fairy tale ending, but she looked all parts the star that she is in this dress.

SILVER -- Starr Andrews (SP)

Starr skating to Beyoncé's "Fever" while wearing a bedazzled red cat suit is the kind of thing Whitney Houston was talking about when she sang "I believe the children are our future." Bold, eye-catching, and deeply unique, I am very excited to see what's next for Ms. Andrews.

BRONZE -- Ashley Wagner (SP)

Frankly, I think this is the ladies costume of the season, but it certainly was not the costume of the night. This is the perfect kind of dress for publicity shots for the Olympics -- certainly the U.S. used plenty of images of it to advertise nationals this year -- and the Phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes quality of it perfectly suits Ashley's powerful presence on the ice.

PEWTER -- Mirai Nagasu (SP)

If there's a silver lining to the drama from these U.S. championships, it's that Mirai finally got her second chance at the Olympics -- and looked glorious doing so. While I love her long program get up, I think there's something commanding and defiant about the color and beading placement of her short program dress.


GOLD -- Adam Rippon (FS)

There's little to write about this costume that I have not already written, and there truly is little to write about it that does it justice. Suffice it to say, I am glad it will get the attention it deserves on an international stage.

SILVER -- Alexander Johnson (SP)

The way to my heart is a monochromatic, textural smorgasbord with shiny embellishments, and someone must have sent Johnson this memo. I love how this looks both fabulous and hardcore at once.

BRONZE -- Scott Dyer (FS)

Dyer may have placed next to last in this competition, but his ravishing fuchsia duds sparkled their way right onto my podium. The complementary golden embellishments highlight the shoulder and neck details, which give the costume a decidedly royal flair.

PEWTER -- Kevin Shum (FS)

I love that Shum kept this relatively minimalist, with beaded trompe l'oeil transforming this relatively simple body suit into something of a figure skater's tuxedo. Simple, modern, just right for a pewter medal.


GOLD -- Tarah Kayne & Danny O'Shea (FS)

I may be ever so slightly biased, given that these were my grandmother's favorite outfits, but it's hard to argue with a pairs duo that coordinates in contrasts to "Swan Lake." O'Shea makes for a brilliant black swan with the feathers dusting his shoulder, while Kayne looks equal parts edgy and ice princess.

SILVER -- Alexa Scimeca Knierim & Christopher Knierim (SP)

While Christopher isn't exactly pulling his weight here (shoulder sequins not withstanding) Alexa looks absolutely stunning in this gorgeously beaded, off-white frock. A little more effort from him, and their sartorial hardware might have matched their championship medals.

BRONZE -- Ashley Cain & Timothy LeDuc (FS)

I love the art deco detailing on Cain's bodice, as well as on LeDuc's faux cummerbund. However, something about the parity of the two doesn't completely align, and that could have something to do with the tone of gold in Cain's costume being a touch too bright for the midnight black of LeDuc's. Two costumes that look great separately, but don't coordinate perfectly.

PEWTER -- Jessica Pfund & Joshua Santillan (SP)

I appreciate the demure, minimalist vibe here, especially since they coordinate in such an effortless way. I also love the gentle swing of Jessica's skirt: perfect cut, perfect fabric.


GOLD -- Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani (SD)

While they may not have lived up to their personal best at nationals, the Shibutanis still managed to look as joyous and effervescent as ever in these glittering get ups.

SILVER -- Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker (FD)

Hawayek changed up the costume I loved so much, and now I'm pouting as a touch of the ethereal quality that made it so special was lost in the shuffle. Granted, the new skirt coordinates more effectively with Baker's ensemble, and it is still gorgeous, regardless.

BRONZE -- Madison Chock & Evan Bates (SD)

I have been in love with these costumes all season, and never had a real opportunity to give them props (the dance category is full of brilliant costumes this season) so I'm happy to show Chock and Bates some love for these glowing ensembles. Whatever shade of blue Chock is wearing radiates on the ice, and makes her crystal embellishments seem to sparkle even more.

PEWTER -- Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter (FD)

There's something weirdly gaudy about these two looks, despite being relatively safe, black, standard evening pieces. Well, standard aside from the sheerness of Carpenter's shirt. I think I'm responding very pleasantly to, again, a monochromatic color story and a textural overload. In any case, these two look like the devious high school power couple from an eighties coming of age film, and I love it.