June 30, 2010

Colour Inspiration for Figure Skating Costumes

I've been thinking alot lately about costumes as I find them a constant source of amusement and creativity in skating. I make my own outfits and love all the thought processes that go into that final garment. The most interesting step, for me, is the design stage, and this happens on paper with pencils (and when I'm feeling really crazy, watercolour pencils which turn into a wash of colour upon a stroke of wet brush tip).
So what about colours? Every year we see new styles and even trends happening, much as they do on a catwalk in Paris or Milan. I recently read on another skating blog a very well written article discussing the idea that the ladies are becoming more and more subdued and sophisticated, whereas the men are going whackier. If you wrote that article let me know as I'd love to cite it.

But whatever other skaters are doing or creating, your programmes and costumes are unique to you. You should feel confident and happy in them. That's why I draw mine and create them by myself.

Financially I cut corners. I buy cheaper fabrics and bog standard threads. I buy my sewing materials off eBay (apart from my machine, which came from La Redoute catalogue for about 150 €), I buy my beads, sequins, and crystals from eBay too.

But let's get to the point of this entire post. How do you choose the right colours for your cozzies? Well there are no rules as such. Just common sense, and personal taste. I love soft pastel colours and find them well suited to soft classical music and waltzes. For me, bold neon colours should be reserved for latin music. I don't know why, that's just me. But then a few years ago we saw couples dancing a waltz in lime green and hot orange. So who am I to tell you what to go for.

If you're going to be using more than one colour in your outfit, which does happen quite often, you might have your own ideas about what looks good together, but the complementary colour rule helps greatly and if nothing else will give you inspiration.

Complementary colours are 2 colours that are "opposites" in the spectrum. Many websites are available now to calculate exact complementary colours and this is a tool many web-designers use to make those unexpected but oh-so-cool looking web layouts. To learn a little about this, take a read of the Wikipedia page by clicking here.

Some useful sites for choosing complementary colours are;

You'll need to know what colour to put in though, so for inspiration take a look at this page. Use the "hex code" for a colour you like and pump it into the above website to find its opposite.

This gives you a general palette of compatible colours. You'll need a more trained eye to decide on what looks good among this lot. You can make the palette lighter or darker by clicking on the buttons on the left.

This is a good little article on complementary colours and covers not only opposite colours but "split colours" and "triad colours" (if you take 3 mins to read it you'll understand what these terms mean really quickly)

I also just came across this site called Colour Lovers, I don't know what it's all about yet but it looks great even just to browse for inspiration!

Of course you also have the staple of "black with any colour". This is a classic combination and still works well, as in red and black for latin music. I'm not a fan of white on the ice as I find it really "dies".

The very last thing you need to think about is embellishment. You can play alot with the colour of your adornment and this can really change the whole look. An outfit can literally be made out of the embellishment! My favourite example of this is Sasha Cohen's dresses. I leave you with this video to show you what I mean;

What was your all time favourite skating outfit, either your own or a famous skater's? Mine have been this very one of Sasha's, her Romeo and Juliet exhibition outfit from the 2003 season, and my own beautiful sky blue waltz dress!

Have any questions, want to know more, don't agree? Please leave me a comment!

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