“Cramps and bleeding awoke the Crown Princess. She cried out for help. After losing her baby boy, she was faced with speculation whether she and her husband would – or could – deliver another baby, an heir to Norway’s throne.”
Queen Sonja of Norway speaks out about her tragic miscarriage 47 years ago and sure as hell breaks your heart.
Continuing our series on Skating Costuming through the ages, we move into the 1930s. You can read the first post here.
The Great Depression was rocking the world, but you would never know it. Ice skating, just beginning to be popular in newsreels and the occasional show, was like all other forms of entertainment during this era, designed to make people forget about the depression. The glitz factor just starts to come into the sport and, as the sport starts to evolve, so do the costumes to allow for better movement.
Costumes in the early 1930s continued to stick to a traditional old-timey winter vibe, for the most part. Remember that all competitions were held outdoors. Here are the US Pair Team from the 1932 Olympics, Sherwin Campbell and Beatrix Loughran. Both look very dapper, and you can see the embroidered designs on the bottom of her dress and fur cuffs. Note that it was still considered necessary for women to wear a hat, even while skating. Our men look dapper in suit tops and pants more tailored for movement.
Practice clothes started to look similar to the active wear/sportswear of the time as well. Remember the first skating super star, Sonja Henie of Norway mentioned in our last post. Here she is in yet another Olympic games (1932) modeling with the Gold Medalist from the Men’s event Karl Schafer of Austria.
In fact, Sonja Henie, widely credited with pushing the sport forward athletically, was also widely responsible for helping to popularize the hemlines on female skating costumes, which continued to rise through the decade. (She also, was rumored to have an affair with Hitler, which was never confirmed…though they did meet several times…)
Henie also brought her silver blades to the big screen as a Hollywood Starlet. Here’s a clip of her skating…in her mid-thigh skirt. *Gasp!*
The end of the decade saw ladies slowly getting rid of the hats and men slowly getting rid of the Knickerbocker style pants. It also saw the rise of the touring Ice Show, with The Ice Follies in 1936. The Ice Follies troupe, modeled after the famous Theatrical troupe the Ziegfeld Follies was a variety show, comprised of lots of pretty women skating in lots of impossible costumes. I mean IMPOSSIBLE. And it also featured Mr. Frick, who invented the cantilever move. (OMG HIS KNEES). Below is a picture of the Ice Follies performing a traditional number at the 1962 World’s Fair. (It’s not from the 1930s, but a lot of their stuff was like this…generally with bigger headdresses).
The troupe was featured in the 1939 movie, the Ice Follies of 1939, starring Joan Crawford. If you can get a hold of it, you can see the show costumes from the time.
We’ll return next time with even shorter skirts, more dapper men, and the beginning of the sparkle craze! And, the birth of the Ice Capades!
P.S. If you want to watch a cool documentary the history of ice shows and “Professional” (as in tour) skating you can check out the documentary the Fabulous Ice Age, which was streaming on Netflix, last I knew!
Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex and Her Highness Princess Martha-Louise of Norway attending a dinner to celebrate the 80th Birthdays of Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway [10/5/17]
martha_louise123 Happy 80th Birthday to one of my greatest inspirations in life: My Mom. Thank you for being stubborn enough to change what needed changing, loving enough to let everyone around you blossom and intuitive enough to let everyone be appreciated for who they are.