World Figure Skating Championships | Quebec genius for the benefit of international skaters

The egg or the chicken? The lyrics or the melody? The choreography or the costume? We will never really know what comes first. One thing is certain, the talent of Quebec designers is a commodity that the best figure skaters in the world are unable to do without.

“I prefer to work after the work of the choreographers,” says Josianne Lamond, internationally renowned creator, in the corridors of the Bell Center. I always say that a successful costume is one that highlights the skater. It’s not a costume that steals the show. If you look at the skater and you only see the costume, for me, it’s not successful. »

For Mathieu Caron, the “first source of inspiration is the skaters. I try to get to know them. The more I work with them, I think the better I am for them, because it’s a costume, but I don’t want to costume them. You have to be near them. But yes, the music will influence, definitely. »

When a skater jumps onto the ice after removing their blade guards, the costume is the first element of their proposal to be judged. Before even knowing the music to which he will perform. Before even completing a single loop. Even before, sometimes, hearing the identity of the athlete warming up.

Sometimes sober, sometimes exuberant, but always thoughtful and worked, the figure skaters’ costume is an integral part of their program in the same way as their jumps and their musical routine.

Among the skaters in action on the ice of the Montreal Canadiens as part of the World Championships, several are dressed by local designers.


Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the Pyeongchang Olympic Games in 2018

“A costume is really important at this level,” notes Caron near his booth in section 117 where he presents some of his creations, some of which have been worn by Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Each person goes on the ice to defend their program, their skate and who they are. »

As such, the need for skaters to put on a costume that reflects their image is immense, because they must wear it throughout their entire season. It therefore requires precise, meticulous and delicate creative work. The two experts we met emphasize that on average eight weeks separate the first creative meeting and the delivery of the final product.

And this, with a few exceptions. “Isabeau Levito, we did it in seven days,” explains Lamond. They decided to change his program mid-year for the US National Championships. So they called me and I had seven days to make the dress. »

A relationship of trust

According to Caron, when the time comes to develop a costume at the start of the season, “some people don’t know at all what they want. Others know exactly what they want. We listen to the music, I talk with the choreographers, the coaches. Then, I make suggestions to the athlete. »

Caron dressed all the skaters who won gold at the last Worlds last year. He is also behind the visual identity of Quebecers Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha.


Zachary Lagha and Marjorie Lajoie

To achieve quality products, the process is rigorous. “We think, we discuss, we make proposals. Once the proposal is accepted, we start looking for fabrics, we do tests, cutting, assembly, fitting and corrections. »

The idea also remains to avoid making costumes in the first place. Our two speakers hate it. They talk about it as if it were unworthy for a self-respecting designer to propose ideas that are as obvious as they are lazy.

“The choreographer creates the outline of the program, the story behind the program, the emotion. So my job is to find the key words to make them stand out in the costume. Sometimes it’s clear, sometimes it’s not. We don’t want it to be literal. The lion king, you don’t want to disguise him as a lion! »

Same perspective for Caron, who continually works to push back concepts, without distorting the original idea or inspiration. And it is in this quest for refinement that we can recognize the most brilliant creators. “If we do Romeo and Juliet, how can we reinvent Romeo and Juliet to ensure that the skater who plays Juliet can be in her own flavor? How are we going to modernize it? How are we going to make it more contemporary, more athletic, more sporty or more theatrical if that’s the order? »

The task is considerable, but the result is usually spectacular. While the outfit doesn’t make the monk, it generally does a good part of the work in a skater’s performance.

Two Canadians qualify


Roman Sadovsky

Expectations for skater Roman Sadovsky were at the minimum threshold. Thanks to a successful quadruple jump at the start, he laid the foundations for a performance of a quality that initially surprised the main person concerned. “I haven’t had many moments like that this season, I’ve had several failures, but right now I feel like myself and in my place,” revealed the 24-year-old skater at the end of his program. short, Thursday afternoon.

Sadovsky rose to 11e rank in the provisional ranking with 84.28 points. He crushed his best mark of the current season by almost 12 points.

“I relied on my training. It’s really the result of a sustained effort in practice,” he added between two manifestations of a nasty cough.

His teammate Wesley Chiu also qualified, but with a little less confidence. Unlike Sadovsky, the reigning Canadian champion performed poorly in his first jump due to lack of explosiveness. He was shaky at different times during his program. The judges decided, however, that he had done enough to make it to Saturday’s free skate.

“I’m satisfied, but I was really nervous,” admitted the Vancouver athlete after his first performance ever in a World Championship context.

It points to 18e rank in the provisional ranking with 78.00 points, just ahead of Adam Siao Him Fa. The Frenchman is a two-time reigning European champion, but due to two consecutive falls at the opening of the program, his chances of getting on the podium on Saturday evening fell from ‘excellent to zero.

His poor performance opened the door to the Japanese Shoma Uno and Yuma Kagiyama as well as the Americans Ilia Malinin and Jason Brown who finished the day in that order at the top of the provisional ranking.


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