Jul 17, 2015
The Skin You're In
Some people hate over-the-boot covers, others shudder at the thought of sequins. For me, the #1 figure skating sartorial sin is mismatched illusion mesh.
Ah, illusion mesh, that gallant protector of many a skater's modesty. For those uninitiated to the ways of skating's sartorial mores, illusion mesh is the flesh-colored fabric meant to provide an approximation of bare skin without actually baring such skin. Despite the official ISU rules stating that on-ice costumes "must not give the effect of excessive nudity for athletic sport," illusion mesh is a popular means to provide that very effect. Indeed, illusion mesh is often necessary to hold a skimpy costume together (yes, Elena Grushina is wearing more illusion mesh than actual non-illusion mesh fabric):
Other times, it's rather superfluously used to preserve the modesty of some more demure skaters (if you look closely, that v-neck is actually supplemented by a good amount of illusion mesh):
Whatever its use, one thing that drives me absolutely bonkers is mismatched illusion mesh--that is, illusion mesh that in no way resembles the underlying skin tone of the person wearing it. Some eye-searing examples below:
The offending illusion mesh is almost inevitably too dark, thereby suggesting that skaters who get fitted for their costumes over the summer often forget to account for their summer tans, which soon evaporate after spending hours indoors practicing in the rink during the competitive season. Either that, or skaters with mismatched illusion mesh for some reason or another aspire to look like the victim of a botched spray tan job. Whatever the reason for its hideousness, mismatched illusion mesh always makes the skater wearing look slovenly, mildly jaundiced, and annoys me to no end. Blech! If skaters don't want to deal with the problem of adjusting illusion mesh to account for varying skin tones throughout the year, take a leaf from Tatiana Volosozhar's book and just go without:
Alternatively, if there are skaters who would rather look like the victim of a botched tan job than have their precious illusion mesh pried out of their oddly dark hands, such skaters could go to Tessa Virtue's costume designer. Mismatched illusion mesh is a frequent foible for many female ice dancers, but Ms. Virtue is a total champ in the illusion mesh department: