Best Costume


ISU Skating Awards 2020 - Best Costume

Honors the Single Skater or Pair or Ice Dance Couple whose costume reflects creativity, contemporary implementation, fashion, style and originality.

Madison CHOCK / Evan BATES (USA)


Madison Chock/Evan Bates’ costumes reflect the theme of their “Egyptian Snake Dance” Free Dance. Costume designer Mathieu Caron and Chock collaborated to create these costumes.

“This is probably my favorite costume I’ve worn so far,” Chock told the ISU. “I designed this dress with Mathieu Caron. It was hand painted and stoned by his incredible team. I wanted the dress to look like a snakeskin in both pattern and fit. The skirt is fitted when I’m standing still and moves with my legs when I stretch to emulate how snake skin would naturally move with the body. We used mesh fabric to show a thin/sheer skin-like appearance between the paint and stoning patterns. The colors were inspired by ancient Egypt so we used gold, turquoise, green and a hint of red in the eyes of my snake glove.”

Designer Mathieu Caron agreed: “Firstly, the inspiration comes from the program, from the music, but mostly from the skaters. I love watching them skating when they create their programs. This allows me to connect with them and to understand their intention for the new season,” he told the ISU. “Madison is an experienced skater and an accomplished artist. She communicates to me what look she wants. After that, it is my task to put the demands together and come up with a design. It is always a pleasure to work with her, as she gives me and my team the room we need to be creative. Madison came with some photos for inspiration, the colors and other details that are important to her. Then, I suggest an outline, the working technique and my artistic vision. We have worked like that for several years and we have reached a point where our collaboration is very natural,” Caron explained.

“In general, I consider that my work should service the performance of the athletes. The costume should always stress and define the intention of the choreographer, reveal and underline the strengths of the athletes,” he added.

A lot of work again was involved in this particular costume. “There are more than 14’500 strass stones, attached by hand, one by one. There are several hundreds of little sequins glued to this dress to recreate the scales of the snake skin. More than 80 hours of work went into this dress when we used several techniques to achieve the result we hoped for. There is tailoring work, we have insertions of cloth, there are also different painting techniques,” the designer said.

This is one of Mathieu Caron’s favorite costumes that he has made to date. “There are various reasons. One is maybe because of the complexity of the design as we were able to realize what we imagined. It is a good success for me and my team. To me, this costume is special because we unite all the elements: the recognition by the audience, a magnificent program and, most of all, two athletes that live and own completely their music and the control of their art, their sport. I am lucky to see my clothes coming to life thanks to the talent of all these athletes. It is the skaters that make a costume iconic.” Biography



ISU SA Costume Anna Shcherbakova web

Anna Shcherbakova (RUS)


Anna Shcherbakova’s costume for her “Firebird“ Free Skating involves a change from a blue to a red dress. The idea to reflect the change of mood in the music and to underline the “Firebird” theme with the change of the costume came from Shcherbakova’s coach Eteri Tutberidze. Costume designer Milena Bobkova developed that idea further and created the costume. “I was very surprised when the coaches suggested that costume change because you don't see that often in Figure Skating. I was very interested in trying it,” Shcherbakova said when speaking about the costume at her ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating event Skate America. “We tried it and it turned out it wasn't that easy, there were some difficulties with this costume and I'm glad the idea worked out. I like it when the crowd says 'wow' when I do it. It looks very easy and we need to train a lot to make it look that way.” Tutberidze turned to Milena Bobkova as she knew that the designer had experience with “changing costumes”, for example she had created costumes for show numbers.

“Eteri Tutberidze told me about Anna Shcherbakova’s program. In our first conversation, I suggested the colors red and blue. I could not see anything else and as soon as I had prepared the sketches and we discussed everything, we picked that one, my favorite,” Bobkova told the ISU. “We had to work on the costume switch, as Anna Shcherbakova executes highly-difficult elements and that has influence on the costume. We discussed everything in detail, checked it on the ice, Anna had to learn unusual moves, but she did great! Obviously, it is harder than just a normal costume, but the effect that it has in the moment is worth it. You have all seen the reaction of the crowd when many don’t trust their eyes – Anna went out in blue and suddenly she is the Firebird.”

The costume designer provided sketches and chose the material. It took a little time to polish the effect of the change, but the surprise was ready for the first public performance at the Russian test skates. “Obviously, we can’t do without strass stones, we need the brilliance of the firebird, but at the same time we cannot overload the costume to make it too heavy. Therefore, for this costume we used a little more than 3’400 hot fix strass stones,” Bobkova shared. “Of course, this is a complicated costume and not everyone is ready for that, but the difficulties are pushing us forward. I really enjoy the effect that came out. This costume will be remembered as nobody else did something so striking and unusual,” the designer concluded.


ISU SA Costume Yuzuru Hanyu web

Yuzuru HANYU (JPN)


Yuzuru Hanyu’s long-time costume designer Satomi Ito created the costume for his program “Origin” that he performed at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2019/20 and other events. The designer was inspired by Vaclav Nijinski’s costume in the ballet “Le Spectre de la Rose” (“The Spirit of the Rose”) that premiered in 1911. Hanyu’s program “Origin” was a tribute to Evgeni Plushenko and his “Nijinski” Free Skating program (2003/2004 season).

“If it wasn’t for Nijinski, Plushenko would not have skated to "Tribute to Vaclav Nijinski", and I don’t think Yuzuru's "Origin" would have been born either. Therefore, in honor of Nijinski, who is the starting point, I got the idea for the "Origin"’ costume design from his masterpiece ‘The Spirit of the Rose’,” Ito told the ISU. “Typically, I would get requests from skaters and make design drawings. Some would send me music and choreography videos, from which I would expand my imagination. The inspiration of design varies such as landscapes I saw while travelling, paintings, films, theatre performance and music, but I am particularly attracted to the natural colors and shapes of flowers”, the designer explained. “Regarding the ‘Origin’ costume, Yuzuru asked me to propose designs based on the image of the music. I think I drew three designs in total. I wanted to create a costume with a mystical image that fits Yuzuru's neutral image,” Ito said. She picked purple as a color as it is regarded as a ‘noble color’ in Japan. “Since many of the ready-made purple costumes were colored towards red and blue, I dyed the purple of this costume myself.”

A lot of time went into creating it. “I think it took about one month in total to make this costume. This includes basting and subsequent modifications. I finished the decoration in about 6 days,” Ito recalled. “I don't know the exact number of Swarovski stones used, but I think it should be between 2’000 and 3’000 pieces. I use small stones so that the costume does not become too heavy. The hardest part was the roses. I started from cutting each of the rose petals one by one using heat-cutting, so I made about 80 petals. After that, I composed the roses by hand. I think the costume has about fifteen roses. Also, this costume has three butterflies. I asked a couture embroidery craftsman to make these butterflies from scratch - butterflies made just for this costume.”

Hanyu told his designer that he did not want a black costume as he had a black costume the year before when skating this program. The new purple costume is Ito’s favorite creation so far. “Last year, I made the black “Origin” costume with a feather theme. When the black “Origin” was completed, I thought to myself ‘This costume is the best ever’, so when I started making a new costume for the same song, I was not confident that I could make a better one. However, it turned out the new costume also looked good on Yuzuru, so I was glad,” the designer noted. “As mentioned earlier, I put a lot of efforts into the design of the purple “Origin” costume, but it’s also notable that this costume is lighter than the previous costumes. The weight of the purple “Origin” is 620g. I first made Yuzuru's costume five years ago, and at that time the costume weighed 850g. With originality and ingenuity in terms of materials and decoration, I could make this costume so light while keeping the high-quality design. This costume has achieved a good balance of visual design and functionality, and I think it can only be worn by Yuzuru. This is indeed my favorite and the best that I could make to date,” she concluded.