Costume Party: On The Spectacular Tackiness Of Figure Skating Films


‘I, Tonya’ is the latest entry in this storied genre

Figure skating fashion is tacky by definition. While the intense athleticism of the Olympic sport is undeniable, any mention of figure skating instantly conjures up images of tight, overly bedazzled outfits. With I, Tonya, a darkly comic look at the life of controversial figure skater Tonya Harding, now out, it's a good time to check out some cinematic ice-skating fashion.

Ice-skating movies (like most sports movies) tend to stick to a formula: There are the training montages, the moments of doubt, the competitions, and, finally, the wins (or, as in the case of I, Tonya, the undoing of success that comes with scandal). Figure skating costumes are made to be eye-catching, and in film, there's inevitably a contrast between fashions worn on and off the rink.

Skating fashion is ripe for parody. Blades of Glory (2007) takes the silliness at the heart of these looks to the extreme, with Will Ferrell and Jon Heder playing a figure skating odd couple (just go with it) in dopey "conceptual" costumes. The tight, sparkling "fire and ice"-themed costume, complete with fringed sleeves, is truly a pièce de résistance, an example of the potential homoerotic spectacle of skatewear taken to the extreme.

Ferrell, as the excellently named sleazebag Chazz Michael Michaels, and Heder, as the wimpy Jimmy MacElroy, are obvious opposites. Off the rink, MacElroy wears a white suit that wouldn't be out of place at a disco, while Michaels shows up in a black leather look that's a parody of rock star machismo.

Skating films provide an ideal setting for odd couples. The setting of the ice rink, and the intensity of Olympic competitions, attracts extremes. A movie like The Cutting Edge (1992) is a corny but crowd-pleasing, earnest example of this, featuring a stuck-up figure skater, Kate (Moira Kelly), who ends up paired with Doug (D.B. Sweeney), a hockey player. It's hardly a spoiler to say that they end up winning at the Olympics. The film fits neatly into the formula and offers some peak '90s fashion. Kate has an impressive wardrobe of turtlenecks, and the neck acts as a shield, a sign of her hauteur.

Her prim white turtleneck and hair tie contrast with Doug's team jacket and sweatshirt. As a hockey player, Doug is coded as a classic jock, and he's visibly uncomfortable when being fitted for a spangled, matador-inspired skating competition costume.

Kate may wear baggy coats sometimes, but they always have some sort of feminine detail, like this chintzy gold-trimmed number.

When it's time to compete, her red sparkly dress is surprisingly understated.

I, Tonya, with its costumes based on looks that actually graced the Olympics in the early '90s, fluctuates (often frustratingly) between pseudo-tragic biopic and kitsch self-awareness. In a few key moments, we see Tonya (Margot Robbie) sewing her costumes. She's from a poor background, with a demeanor famously considered too brusque and not befitting a proper figure skater. When she's off the ice, she wears a sassy uniform of high-waist jeans and a bomber jacket, and when it's time to skate, she goes for garish, bright colors that become somewhat poignant when we consider her sewing.

The theme of glitz unites cinematic ice-skating fashion, and throughout these three films, it can be intentionally absurd, or elegant, or somewhere in-between. Fashion on ice represents fantasy and femininity. In the case of I, Tonya, the fantasies of glitter and bright colors and flippy skirts, unfortunately, aren't enough to save the doomed protagonist from too-fierce competition and bad men.

Screenshot via YouTube

The band shared details about their new St. Vincent-produced album that will drop "you into the world of catastrophe"

Sleater-Kinney just shared more information about their St. Vincent-produced album and dropped a new single.

Per Billboard, Sleater-Kinney revealed that their new album, which they've been teasing since early this year and will be their first since No Cities To Love from 2015, will be called The Center Won't Hold. It's due out on August 16 via Mom + Pop Records. "We're always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person—ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness—in the middle of the chaos," Carrie Brownstein said in a statement. Corin Tucker further noted that the new album will "[drop] you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election."

Janet Weiss noted that the band will "explore a different sound palette" with this album, and pointed to St. Vincent as the reason behind it. She said that St. Vincent "has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us."

To satiate us until then, the band released a lyric video for new single, "The Future Is Here," which is very grungy. Bump it, below.

Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here (Official Lyric Video)


This is so satisfying!

Even Jon Snow knows just how unsatisfying the final season of Game of Thrones was, and he's ready to apologize. Well, a deepfake of him is at least. A heavily-edited version of Snow's speech from the fourth episode—just before the bodies of those lost in the Battle of Winterfell get burned—now features Snow apologizing for the conclusion of the show and lighting the script on fire.

"It's time for some apologies. I'm sorry we wasted your time," Snow begins. "And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I'm sorry we wrote this in like six days or something," he adds, before signaling to his peers to light the script with torches and "just forget it forever." "Fuck Season 8," he says before the pages begin to crackle and burn.

If there were more lines left to alter, we would have loved to see Snow also tackle how messy Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's story line ended up, as well as Bran's kingship, Cersei's boring demise, and the water bottle appearance.

Watch the entire deepfake and try to heal the wounds left by HBO below.


Photo by Darren Craig

It premieres today, exclusively via NYLON

In LP's song "Shaken," the most recent single from her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, she tells the story of seeing her lover out with someone else—ouch. Today, exclusively on NYLON, she releases a cheeky animated music video that pokes fun at the song's heightened drama and perfectly demonstrates all the angst that comes with falling hard for someone.

"She looks at you like I used to/ And I'm just sitting in the corner sh-sh-shaken," LP sings, as the visual—with art by Maayan Priva—depicts the singer hanging out in a bar, watching the girl she likes meet up with another girl. Despite the situation's inherent drama, "Shaken" is less of a ballad and more of an upbeat bop. LP told us she loves the way "this little video captures some of the fun of the song, and its inherent comical anxiety." Sure, heartbreak isn't that funny, but our (sometimes) overly dramatic reaction to it kind of is.

"'Shaken' feels like a bit of a wild card on this record," LP says. "It's the closest I've come to writing a musical, which I hope to do one day." We heartily endorse this idea: Please, LP, give us the queer jukebox musical we crave.

Until that day comes, though, you can watch the music video for "Shaken," below.

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Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

This cameo has the Beyhive buzzing

I went to see Men In Black: International alone. Which would have been fine if it wasn't for the shock I received when I saw two specific characters on the screen. Unable to keep it to myself, I shared a curious look with the stranger next to me, who was obviously thinking the same thing as me. "Is that them...?" I whispered first. "I think… so," she replied. Then the two men in question started to dance, and we were both sure: "Yep, that's them."

It was Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, better known as Les Twins. Fans of Beyoncé will recognize the duo as the talented brothers who often accompany her on tour and in music videos. In Men In Black: International, the two of them play shapeshifting entities—they're more like energy forces than aliens—who pursue Tessa Thompson's and Chris Hemsworth's characters throughout the duration of the film. The twins' ability to manipulate their bodies in ways that are graceful and otherworldly really helps sell them as extraterrestrials and is fun to watch.

So if Thompson in a suit or Hemsworth shirtless weren't enough motivation, here's another reason to go see it. If you look close, you can see them in the trailer below.


Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

"I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter"

In a heart-warming Instagram photo, Serena Williams shares the history of hair braiding and the importance of the tradition. The tennis player shared a photo of herself braiding her daughter Olympia Ohanian's hair and spoke about how "honored" she was to be able to "add another generation" to the tradition of the practice.

The photo shows Williams attentively braiding her daughter's hair while Olympia smiles, obviously loving the experience. Williams noted that hair braiding was created by the Himba people in Namibia, Africa, and that "we have been braiding our hair for centuries." "In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe," she continued.

Williams pointed out that braiding is a bonding experience. "People would often take the time to socialize," she wrote. "It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world."

Williams closed her post with a sweet message about her daughter, saying that she's "honored to share this bonding experience" with her.

See the post, below.