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Maggie Hendricks

Evan Lysacek costumed by top American designer Vera Wang

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

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Vera Wang's name is synonymous with wedding dresses, but she is just as likely to have designed a gorgeous ice-skating costume. Her latest creations are worn by U.S. skater Evan Lysacek, who will skate for gold during tonight's men's free skate.

Wang, once an elite skater herself (who still takes to the ice), worked with Lysacek to make his costumes for both his long and short programs this season. She was impressed with Lysacek's line and how that could be enhanced by simple clothing with thoughtful embellishment.

"He has a beautiful line and he's learned to use that line and I think he was very conscious of me wanting to preserve that line." The costumes for both programs are black, "a sleek and sexy color," [Lysacek] says. "It was exciting and really cool that she took so much interest and really took pride in this project and took it on full steam."

Lysacek's costumes make him stand out from his competitors. The other men in the top three after the short program, Russia's Evgeni Plushenko and Japan's Daisuke Takahashi, wear more traditional figure-skating costumes. Among the top Americans, Jeremy Abbott wears costumes that resemble street clothes and Johnny Weir goes over the top, while Lysacek's costumes emphasize his artistry but remain sleek.

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That was Wang's plan, and this isn't the first time she's transformed skating costumes. In addition to her own experience as an ice skater, she has worked with America's best figure skaters before. It was Wang who designed Nancy Kerrigan's iconic costume from the 1992 Olympics, as well as costumes for Michelle Kwan.

Lysacek has a few different costume options for tonight's long program, and he may opt to change from the outfit he's worn for previous long programs. The top he wore for Tuesday's short program was not the same as the shirt he wore for the short at the U.S. championships.

What he wears tonight will even be a surprise to Wang.

"I have no idea what he's going to wear at the Olympics. He's worn all of them at least once. No skater goes into the Olympic year without wearing their costume once. The costumes are not about Vera Wang. They are about me translating Evan Lysacek."

Even with her Fashion Week show having happened just two days ago, Wang has traveled to Vancouver and will be there to cheer on her muse.

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