I have a feeling that I'll get a lot of criticizms, but now that the 2010-11 season is finally over, I figured that this might be a good time to consider the whole notion of re-packaging C/P team. Note that I dedicated majority of my thoughts on Vanessa but also puts Paul's name on the title. I just did not want people to think that I am singling Vanessa out. That's not my intention, nor do I mean to disrespect her.
The goal for me is to define their style based, of course, on what they already have - We cannot build something out of nothing. This is especially pertinent now. Though they are technically accomplished team, they still are young, and need to develop their own style.
That said, I would like to see Vanessa packages herself creating "memorable," or "unforgettable" look. By memorable, I mean a striking looks like Marina Anissina and/or Angelika Krylova. Unique to her contemporaries, Vanessa has a very strong facial feature just like Marina: http://static.actustar.com/img/stars/150/4633.jpg.
Though Vanessa is a beautiful woman, her feature is not of a classical beauty. For her team to stand out among clouded and strong Canadian ice dance field, she doesn't want to do "luvy dubby" (V/M) or pretty and/or cutsy (W/P, P/I, etc.) Her country already have plenty of those, as are her international competitions.
Rather, she can really pull-off unique and memorable. Here are some examples. Be warned. I am wildly exaggerating to make my point:
Don't laugh. Yes, it's Glenn Close' Cruella DeVille. She may not be pretty, but she sure is memorable. Can you honestly remember the names of the nice couple who adopted all those Dalmatians? For that matter, do you even remember what those couple looked like? But you remember Cruella. That's my point.
Here are some other examples - all these looks are best suited for strong featured person like Vanessa (just to help you, try imagining Maia Shibutani also emulating the same characters):
The first two are the "evil step mother" in Enchanted played by Susan Sarandon; the 3rd and the 4th are my favorite, Shakespeare's Lady McBeth; and I don't have to tell you what the last two pictures are.
Finally here are the last two pictures with Paul and Vanessa's photo tacked at the end. Notice how little effort it may take for Vanessa to pull off this particular character:
Of course Vanessa is prettier, but you sure remember Angelika Heston's unique feature. The point is not to dance those characters but to take up what is common among them, that is, to create striking features that her audiences are unlikely to forget.
To pull the "unforgettable" I would like Vanessa to exaggerate her feature rather than soften it. For instance, I would like her to thicken/darken her eyebrows to further emphasizes her already striking eyes, just like her:
(Margaux Hemingway, a grand-daughter of the writer, Earnest Hemingway)
Make-up that emphasizes her sharp cheek bones and red hair like Marina may further strengthen her feature:
Strong feature/characters call for a strong presence. I apologize in advance if Vanessa is one of those rare and lucky women who have difficulty gaining weight. If not, gaining approximately 5 pounds or so may help her costume fits better as well as enhancing her presence on ice. Jewell toned color costume probably shows off her complexion the best, just like the SD costume she wore at the Canadian Nationals.
Finally, here is the lady who does "memoralbe/unforgettable" the best IMO:
Though Krylova is gorgeous, she does not go for "pretty." To me, her movements and facial expressions scream "unique" and "stunning." And I would love to see C/P coached by someone who knows how to package the "striking."