“Aleksandra Stepanova wanted her dress to be very light, weightless. So that she seemed to dissolve in it.’ Interview with designer who created costumes for Stepanova/Bukin, Kondratiuk and Kvitelashvilli
Figure skater costume designer Evgenia Kosygina, in an interview with Match TV, told how she worked on costumes for European champion Mark Kondratiuk, how she chose the perfect color for Juliet’s dress for Aleksandra Stepanova, and why she likes Papadakis/Cizeron and Chock/Bates costumes this season.
source: matchtv.ru dd. 2d February 2022 by Anastasiia Panina
Zhenya, during the last interview, you said how dream of skaters wearing your costumes at the Olympics. How does it feel to have a dream come true?
Evgenia Kosygina: It’s great that dreams come true. I’m very happy! Despite the fact that I have been working with various athletes of the national team for four seasons, they did not always contact me.
My most stable client is Morisi Kvitelashvili, who skates for Georgia. I drew sketches for him every season. Last season, for example, Vika Sinitsina ordered a sketch, but not this season. But this season there were Sasha Stepanova and Vanya Bukin. There is such a lottery that you don’t know for whom exactly you will draw. But I understood that someone would go to the Olympics in my costumes. I kept my fists crossed to the last, so that no one would change their costumes, change their minds(laughs). So that the costumes will definitely reach the Olympics. Taking this opportunity, I would like to wish all the athletes great luck at the Games. I root for and support everyone. (the view was made before the Olympics – ed.)
How did the work on Sasha’s and Vanya’s costumes develop?
Evgenia Kosygina: For the free program, we started to draw sketches almost in the middle of last season. At that moment, many competitions were canceled, everyone was ill, this was a covid story. As I understand it, the guys had already began to think about the Olympic season, to think about the program, and Sasha wrote to me.
She had a dress, we needed to draw a costume only for Vanya. We drew a sketch and even approved it, but, of course, during the off-season and the end of the season, a lot could have changed both for the coaches and for Sasha and Vanya in their thoughts. Then Sasha wrote to me in the summer, and the request was completely different. If the previous dress, sewn in the atelier, was darker, “deep”, then she wanted her dress to be very light, weightless. So that she seemed to dissolve in it, but at the same time it shouldn’t look like a completely naked body. We chose a delicate beautiful color that would not draw attention to itself, but complement this program. And they – Sasha and Vanya – combined with each other.
We did not immediately choose a color for Vanya, there were also different options, but quickly settled on one design.
The figure of Aleksandra Stepanova is considered one of the most beautiful in figure skating. Does it add complexity to the work or vice versa?
Evgenia Kosygina: Sasha is very easy to work with because she has her own style and vision of the theme. She clearly explains what she wants. But not exactly with Sasha, but in general it is always difficult to find something original and unusual. As, for example, in a short program, previous one – it was difficult choice. At the beginning of the season, you understand that everyone can have something similar because of a single theme. Lots of shorts, leather details and all that. The theme suggests the presence of these things. We wanted something out of the ordinary. But in the end, that costume was changed.
And we quickly decided about free program costume – laconic, light, suitable for Sasha’s natural beauty. And we also decided that her Juliet dress should be without rhinestones. No rhinestones, nothing more.
It should be noted that on Romeo and Juliet we worked together pretty quickly. There was a single long moment of fabric selection. Sasha’s original color was different. We ended up with what we have. But it took long to draw the first version of the rhythm dance costume. We still got into such a peak moment when there were a lot of orders. Sasha’s sketches for both the short and the free program I drew at night. At three, four in the morning. I even have stories on Onstagram where I draw Sasha’s sketches.
They wanted to show a slightly more modern version of Romeo and Juliet. But of course about love. But at the beginning even the music seems to be a bit electronic. Modern music, modern costumes, modern choreography. It was impossible to make some kind of monograms, sewn-in lace, and so on. We were looking for a complete correspondence of images to music and choreography.
Mark Kondratyuk will show two your costumes at the Olympics. How was the image created for the Magnificent Age and Jesus Christ Superstar programs?
Evgenia Kosygina: Initially, I worked with Nikita Mikhailov. He is a choreographer, and a request came from him. He sent music, a summary of the programs, said that it was for Mark. And last year I drew a costume for him – black with colored lines. The only wish is that it be stylish, more modern, especially for a short one, and so that the images are remembered.
I really like the costume for the short program. There were only four options, from which they chose this one, and practically did not change anything – it remained as I drew. Moreover, I also had an additional request to make the image closer to the pharaoh, so that it would be majestic.
You can’t think of anything special for Jesus costume. How do we all imagine him? In a white cassock-shirt, something like that. It was necessary to play with color, because with light pants he would be just like in pajamas – this was not desirable. Moreover, after the Russian Nationals, when everyone realized that Mark was doing well, he was the first and would go to European Championships and the Olympics, Svetlana Vladimirovna wanted to remake his shirt a little. She didn’t like the bottom part, how it was torn. I also wanted it to be more torn. But overall, I like the way it turned out. Looks good on ice. Short- program in general, delights me. Everything together – the costume, the choreography, the energy and power of Mark – everything came together perfectly. Yes, and free program too. It’s just that it’s probably not exactly what I like. The short program is closer to me in style, there are unusual details, and the free program is more classic. But everything fits the image, and Mark is comfortable, this is the main thing.
As a result, by the way, they did not change the costume. They wanted to leave it the same, only slightly change the shape of the shirt, but left everything as it is. We tried this and that, and powdered it a little, and made him a shirt from a different fabric, so that it looked like canvas – a fabric like wrinkled cotton, so that it was more textured. But there was no time to try out a new coetume before the European Championships. Going to an important competition in a new costume would be too risky. Who knows how it will behave. I didn’t want Mark to be uncomfortable, so we left everything as in the original version.
What can you say about your regular customer Morisi Kvitelashvili?
Evgenia Kosygina: Morisi is an ideal customer, he always messages me himself. Not a coach, not a choreographer, but himself. He himself tells what kind of music, sends all the links, some of his ideas and thoughts. In the vision of the costume, he relies on his personal ideas and emotions, which he likes and is close to him, and especially does not consult with anyone, as I understand it. If he liked it, we choose it. He always fully tells what the program is about, what emotions he should experience, what the viewer should experience, so that I delve into the story and start working. He is not picky, I offer three or four options, from which we will choose something, only slightly modify it. There will be no such thing that he did not like anything and does not know why. He clearly indicates what he would like to see. I try to be as close as possible to what I understood, to convey everything on the sketch. This season, I’m happy that he got a blue suit. I think blue suits him very well. Broken heart, some red rays and veins. The rupture of aorta, so to speak (laughs). Every season I offered him something blue, because I secretly dreamed of seeing him in this color, and he chose it. We tried the black version, but agreed that it was too simple, and blue was more noble.
For Morisi, it has always been important for me to emphasize his stateliness. Because he is quite tall, long legs, you need to keep the proportions well, that is, you can’t even make any sleeve length you want.
Is there anyone else you’ve worked with that we didn’t mention in the interview?
Evgenia Kosygina: I am completely delighted with the costumes of Khudaiberdieva – Bazin for a free program at the beginning of the season, which they eventually changed. True, I also drew their previous costumes (laughs). Liza’s costume turned out great, very feminine, strong, stylish. Liza loves to shine, so a lot of rhinestones were supposed to look right in this costume. The design itself was successful, and Liza came up with almost everything herself, I just had to beautifully put everything together into a common composition.
And I really like the costumes of Karina Akopova – Nikita Rakhmanin for the free program. I also drew them. But it seems to me that they are simply beautiful – both the costumes themselves and the guys in them are beautiful. Such costumes would look very worthy even at the Olympics.
By the way, I also drew The Nutcracker for Mikhail Kolyada. There were many variations of sketches, it was very difficult to choose a design at the request of Alexei Mishin. We redrawn them several times, and as a result, they decided to combine ideas from several sketches together. Probably for this reason, I did not publish a post with Misha’s costume on my instagram, because it was combine from several options.
Whose costumes this season would you sign out from those that you didn’t come up with?
Evgenia Kosygina: Costumes of Papadakis / Cizeron for both dances, and they also changed costumes for a free one. I’m in love with the original version, where she has an understated light skirt sewn over the asymmetrical bottom layer and a second layer on top in the color of the bottom. Beautiful, very light and modern. To match this pair. He also has everything beautiful and laconic. The second costume is also good, it is rather more “Olympic”, more calm in design and the color is gold. Although I still prefer the first option.
The rhythm dance is also cool thanks to an interesting cut and different density of the fabric – stylish and harmonious.
I also really liked the costumes of Madison Chock and Evan Bates for the free program. She has an unusual costume where they played with volume and relief! This is very clearly visible in the close-ups in the photo. Well, it should be noted that Madison is good at integrating makeup and hair into her looks. Both this season and past. Everything I listed is the work of designer Mathieu Caron. Many of his works touch my heart.
I liked Liza Tuktamysheva’s costumes this season, they, in my opinion, present her figure very well.
Related topics: Alexandra Stepanova Ivan Bukin, Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva Egor Bazin, Gabriella Papadakis Guillaume Cizeron, Madison Chock Evan Bates, Mark Kondratyuk, mikhail kolyada, Moris Kvitelashvili