that man is too old for knickerbockers

Skating through the Decades: A Spice Capades Series! (Let’s Start at the Very Beginning!)

Are you singing Sound of Music, yet? So, Spice Capader, @tenacioustempest suggested costumes as a potential topic to cover to get me through my blogger’s block. Here’s the original pitch:

Here’s a possible topic, just because I’d love to know more! How much does real-world fashion influence what’s trendy in terms of skating costumes? (I assume it does, but to what degree?) Have there ever been some seasons where there were certain common elements between costumes, such as sleeves vs. no sleeves, gloves, colour schemes, fabric (velvet comes to mind), etc.? Or does everyone just do their own thing?

I’ve covered the basics of costuming on one of my more popular posts here. However, when I went to get photographic evidence to answer this ask, I found there was just too much great costuming that you were all missing out on. And thus, I give you my latest series: Skating through the Decades! 

Skating was and has always been influenced by the current fashion, and societal issues like (womp, womp) lame gender roles. I’ve started our costuming journey in the 1920s because by then, it had fully hit it’s groove as a recognized sport. 

The first Olympic Ice Skating event was held in the 1908 Olympics. But it wouldn’t return until 1920. It officially joined the Olympics permanently in 1924, when it was officially recognized. Only the Men’s, Ladies’, and Pairs competitions were held. It was here that Sonia Hennie, renowned figure skater and Ice Show/Hollywood Starlet made her debut (at ELEVEN YEARS OLD). 

In the early days of the sport, skaters didn’t really wear “costumes.” Their skating ensembles were pretty much cute activewear. Here’s the 1924 Ladies’ Gold Medalist, Herma Szazbo of Austria. Yes, this is a picture from those Olympics. Check out the skates! No triples or quads in these soft leather boots! (Notice, the ladies’ skates were brown or black at this time, a change from the later years to come.)

The men didn’t dress that much different going dancing than they did on the ice. Here’s the pairs’ gold medalists, Andrée Joly & Pierre Brunet of France. 

So, if Yuuri and Victor lived in the twenties…they could literally wear their banquet suits on the ice (Challenge, thrown!).

However, you can see the very creepings of classic skating costumes emerging, even in this period. The “coat-style” dress for the ladies and the dapper military/prince hybrid rocked by Victor in the show and, way back in the day, by Men’s Gold medalist, Gillis Grafström. No wonder he won, seeing what his competitors were rocking (see below)! Dapper may not always win, but it sure does help! 

Overview: clothes were built for movement as much as fashion would allow. They were also much heavier (because no one was jumping by today’s standards) and all competitions were held outdoors. The women’s skirts were much longer, but all competitors rocked thick legging like tights to keep their legs warm (…and cover their bums).  

So, if you’re writing a time-travel AU, an AU set in the 1920s, or just wanna draw Yuuri and Victor in their dapper 1920s best, you know where to send those links (Right here. Right here to my dash.).

And I’ll see you next time as we explore the 1930s and 1940s!