The women’s short and free figure skating events in Sochi are happening today, and in honor of the events, we caught up with Sasha Cohen, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist and current commentator for Good Morning America, to get her thoughts on what we’ll see on the ice — both in competition and in the costumes.
Known for her flair and style during her routines, Cohen also has a penchant for fashion, and she recently walked the runway at the Red Dress event during New York Fashion Week. It doesn’t seem such a far cry from the high-fashion costumes she was known for wearing on the ice that — we were interested to discover — she designed herself.
“When I was seven years old, I had my babysitter draw a body for me, and then I would make dresses, and I’d make them little pearls and lace,” Cohen tells InStyle.com exclusively. “I watched a lot of Disney and so I was just re-creating princess dresses!”
Later in life, Cohen found inspiration both from her skating music as well as magazines. “I would always look through Collezioni or different wedding magazines and find things that inspire me, like certain cuts that were amazing or really innovative,” says Cohen. Flush with ideas for color and design and armed with sketches and fabric store samples, Cohen collaborated on costumes with designer Jan Longmire. (Longmire also designed Ashley Wagner’s costume for Sochi.)
It can be challenging to make the transition from comfortable athletic outfit to beautiful costume for the ice. “Knowing how to fit a skating dress is an art because it has to stay on you and it has to stretch,” Cohen says. Among her favorite costumes is the deep red dress she wore for her medal-winning long program in Torino in 2006. “We put so much care and detail and thought into it and the beading was so intricate,” she says. “I really felt it made the crossover of looking more like a couture runway dress,” Cohen says of that costume (pictured, right).
As for the women’s events we’ll see later this week from Sochi, Cohen knows what the competitors will be going through. “There are so many dreams that are made and dreams that are broken, there’s so much heartbreak and so much drama,” she says.
No matter the results, we’re sure to see a feast of beautiful costumes during the performances in Sochi, costumes that have only become even more elaborately fashioned since Cohen’s competition days.
“Looking back, they were much simpler,” she says. “I do think as people have gotten better at making costumes, and better at transferring runway styles to dresses — letting them stretch and not get too heavy, instead of just having it be a uniform or a leotard — it’s now become fashion,” says Cohen.
Watch all the action and fashion on the ice today and tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 20, during NBC’s primetime Olympic coverage at 8 p.m. EST.
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