It isn't the packaging per se that needs to change. What needs to change most is that they relate to one another on the ice. To me, they look like a couple who are strangers and have no interest in one another, which distracts from the effect of their programs. Each performs his/her dance steps, but the whole is less than the sum of its parts.
OT -- Anjelika Krylova is the most stunning woman on the planet.
Constable , Costume Police
I agree with chuckm, that they do need to relate to each other better , but I'll come back to that.
There is a need for better packaging , but they don't need to create a particular persona for Vanessa , her persona could change , depending on the program , or as she matures she'll find her own definitive look . Likewise , with Paul ..men mature later than women , and he will lose some of his boyishness naturally in the next couple of years. In the meantime their team can do a lot to improve their overall appearance by just following a few basic costuming priciples or guidelines.
My sister and I have hashed this over at some lenghth... We've both designed costumes for dancers in the past, and we'd just love to get our hands on these two.Their continuing costuming fiasco simply drives us wild.
First, you have to look at the bodies before you and with a completely objective and critical eye, identify what are the assets and what are the problem features you have to work with in order to achieve the most ideal effect. You will almost never have a perfect body / dancer to work with , so you always have to think of what will be most complimentary.
Vanessa has broad shoulders , just average ,not very long, legs and not a long neck , so you should always want to be trying to achieve a lengthening effect with her. A V neckline is always going to look best on her, to draw in the width of the shoulders , and legthen the neck.( and you can still achieve a great variety of looks with a V neck, so why would you deviate to something less flattering to Vanessa ?) I would never give her any stand up detail on the shoulder, no chokers, and no turtle necks , no puffed sleeves.
Rats ! I have to interrupt myself. I will be back.
Last edited by colleen o'neill; 05-04-2011 at 03:34 PM.
Good start, I agree........come back and finish
Wicked Yankee Girl
colleen, I'm glad you're weighing in on this, because I know you know a lot about costuming and packaging!
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
I think they moved in the right direction with Elenor Rigby. Last season they looked like two singles skaters trying dance. Now they look like dancers. I agree that she is much more dramatic looking than he, like Marlie a few years back. Now Charlie White grew out of the boyish look and into one of the sexiest guys in skating (although I wish he had kept his hair shorter for Worlds). Maybe Portier will change as well. In the mean time, I think they should try a charachter piece like Chock and Zurlein this season.
Constable , Costume Police
Back to Vanessa and Paul...I mention puffed sleeves, which are an absolute no-no for her, but for that matter, why are her arms almost always covered ? It's not a big no-no , like a corsage or flounce on the shoulder, but it can draw the eye out extending from the shoulder and add to the width somewhat. I think her arms should appear bare much more often.
Moving on down the canvas.. to help her leg line , Vanessa will always look best in an uneven hemline. A straight hemline cuts across her legs and makes them appear shorter. Sometimes a split , or slight wrap on the side might be good as well, to let a little more leg show when they're stroking. I'd generally stay away from a belt on her ( even in the same colour ). Nothing to cut her body line . She's short, so she can't take a lot of fullness or flounces in the skirt. If the dance calls for it , e.g. Flamenco , one ruffle, not 2 or 3. All of those sorts of things should be kept to a minimum with her. And she should always be kept in soft ,lightweight fabrics with a bit of flutter, nothing stiff or bulky.
Her hair looked fine down at Canadians , now that it's grown past her shoulders.( It could also be good if it was really short and fluffy ) . If it's worn up, it should never be at the nape of her neck , but up sort of in line , diagonally from the jawline through the ear to the back of the head. ( Her ponytail in the FD was well placed). She could even wear it higher if she wanted , but not lower.
There's been some improvement in her make-up this year , but someone needs to cough up the bucks and get her a consultation ( or further consultation) with a really good make-up artist. What's good for the street maybe isn't the best for competition. I think she has to hew a middle line , here. It looks to me like she's raised her browline ever so slightly. I think that's to the good, but the shape may need a bit of evening out. If her lip colour is too pale , her mouth disappears but a very strong red ( as in this year's SD ) I think is too harsh for her. I think she should generally go with a nice vibrant rose , and learn a trick or two about defining shape. This is really getting down to the fine details, but.. in for a penny.
I have to go and get some groceries. I'll be back.
This is great stuff, Colleen. Packaging fascinates me, especially designing costumes for particular body type. Perhaps you should start a "Skaters I would like to repackage & what I would do" thread. It would be a hit!!!!! Can't wait for your return.
I think one of the major challenges for this team right now is that Paul is younger than Vanessa, and still comes across as a boy, not a man. When he matures, they will be a very powerful team.
To be a top ice dancer, he needs to think of himself as a man, and carry himself with a man's confidence, but it's tricky to rush something like that - it's all part of growing up. Perhaps it would help to change the coaching approach. Carol Lane has been a developmental coach up till now, and hasn't coached mature teams. I get the impression from the K&C that she herself treats Paul as a boy. Any thoughts?
1. You know, it's interesting to hear people mention the age dynamic and how it alters our perception of the team (the comparison with A/P in particular is stunning). I've always felt that Vanessa and Paul perhaps tried too hard too appear older than they are. Ice dance is a mature sport, for sure (well, not anymore), but it had the consequence of making them appear like kids playing dressup (in their Olympic programs in particular). Intriguingly, to me, perhaps their finest program remains their 08/09 OD. It's fun, playful and manages to both embrace their youth and the way they dress-up (the drawn on moustache really is a terrific touch). Even the packaging that we have so many problems with is spot on here. The choreography really suits them (love the second transitional lift).
2. And we see just how well they can relate to each other. Admittedly, it's relatively superficial, but it's definitely present. Perhaps a FD in that mold would allow them to show some more charm on the ice (because I do think that's what they lack - they enjoy the uber-serious a little too much).
- * -
I think they looked cute back in 08-09. They should go for a look like that again.
Constable , Costume Police
N-o-o-o Pogue... Drawn on or glued on moustaches should be verboten except for show programs. ( I'm also firmly against teardrops painted on cheeks.) Arrgh ! That OD had pefectly fine choreography, but I was shuddering at Vanessa being buried in that hat. And the leg o' mutton sleeves ,the big collar , the stiff plaid skirt...No. No. She was like The Unknown Ice Dancer...completely lost inside all that stuff.
I can't believe I lost the better part of a post . I stopped to feed my dogs, and it timed out. *sigh* What I was saying was ,still in the make-up department Vanessa"s best facial feature is her eyes and she should do everything possible to accentuate them. I don't much care for the sharp downward turn at the inside edge of the eyebrow. I'd prefer a straighter line...(this is maybe a minor detail ) her eyes are a bit deeper set than many , and of the longer rather than rounder type. So I think she should avoid letting the eyeliner on her upper and lower lids meet at the outside corner of the eye and she could add a little stroke of white there between the two ( a toned down version of a standard practice for stage dancers ). If she uses a false lash , it should be spikey and not too long rather than full.
Paul is still boyish looking ( which is another reason for Vanessa not to go too dramatic at this stage of the game. ) He will mature over the next couple of years. In the meantime ,it won't do to have her look too much like the older woman. I like the idea of having Paul's hair a bit longer and maybe gelled...He would look fine in a pony tail , but does he have the panache to carry it off (yet) ? hmmm... My sister thinks he might also do OK with a shorter back and sides, longer on top ( sort of a la Soloviev ,but curly )hmmm...I definitely think they should experiment a bit. While waiting for the man to emerge, forget lacy shirts , high waisted pants like his first flamenco thing , and maybe not skintight shirts either . There must be a gazillion variations on well-tailored pants and not too fussy shirt ( probably a variation to suit every need ) . He looks fine in tails , or vests, as long as they're well fitted.
They're not alone in this waiting for the guy to look as mature business . To one degree or another , P/I, I/K and even B/S are in the same boat . ( On the Canadian scene , I must say Mitch Islam has made strides this last year, but has farther yet to go .)
With P/I, much of Mitch's progress comes from the way he relates to her , not so much from appearance...Mother Nature marches to the beat of her own drum. This brings us back to the inescapable fact that as well as fixing the packaging ,C/P desperately need to fix their posture and to develop a more intuitive sense of each other on the ice. In the end this can't be hidden behind choreography. It can be done, ( I've seen it done with dancers ) but will it be done ?
ETA: I agree it would be nice to see them lighten up a bit , next year.
Last edited by colleen o'neill; 05-05-2011 at 01:12 AM.
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The more I thought about this (on my drive to the rink this morning at 4 am!), the more I realized that if Paul never looks older than Vanessa, it would actually be OK. Not only that, they could come up with some pretty unique programs where it will be Vanessa who is the lead, and not Paul. I could actually go for some dance programs that had a more feminist approach. What a lot of dance teams do, even with the COP requirements making dance more acrobatic, seems to be to present programs that have the male lead the dance (especially in dances where the dance is rooted in ballroom). That's very heteronormative. Crone doesn't have to play a witch, or an older woman seducing a younger man. She can present a strong Vanessa who either saves herself from the dragons, or helps the prince (in this case, Paul) save the day.
On that note, I want to see them doing something lighter--like a swing number.
It is not so much the fact that Vanessa is older than Paul. But where Paul looks boyish, Vanessa sometimes looks downright matronly. Colleen's suggestions re hair, makeup and costuming would help.
Piffleberries. A beautiful young lady and a handsome young gentleman.