Give the Little Lady Another Hand

During the half-time show on Superbowl Sunday I kept thinking about the infamous wardrobe malfunction, and all I could say was, “You call that a wardrobe malfunction?” Next to my malfunction that fleeting glimpse looked like a Little Miss Sunshine Pageant.My mishap, which occurred when I designed the costumes for Stars on Ice, happened at the end of the pair skater’s set. Dick and Jane (not their real names) still won’t speak to me.

I always get butterflies when I watch a show I’ve designed, especially ice shows. From rehearsals I know where each leap, each spin, each lift should be and I get nervous in anticipation. On this night, as I sat tenth row center, I anxiously waited for Dick and Jane’s final show-stopping lift. With their left hands locked in a death grip, Dick skated behind Jane and placed his right hand on the seat of her leotard. He then lifted her off the ice—higher and higher—the audience gasping with each inch of elevation until he fully extended his arm over his head with Jane sitting gracefully on the palm of his hand, a full nine feet above the ice.

Dick then circled Jane around the arena and came back to center ice where, after some nerve-wracking teetering, they at last released the fingers of the their left hands and Jane triumphantly raised both arms like she’d just completed an Olympic dismount.

That’s when the hook on her halter top let go, and two new stars made their debut. Her face instantly changed from triumph to despair. Jane frantically tapped the hand that held her aloft—but the hand had no clue what was happening just a few feet above it.

As the audience went wild, her pleas of, “Put me down! Put me down!” went unheard and Dick, thinking, “Wow, I am on fire tonight,” circled the ice once more in case anyone had missed his remarkable performance.

With every camera in the house flashing, Jane banged the heel of her boot on Dick’s bicep, but nothing could distract him from his moment of glory. In fact, he made one more slow pass, soaking up the adoration of the crowd before Jane dug her toe pick into his shoulder. Dick winced in pain and at last glanced up. His look of horror rivaled that of Edward Munch’s Scream. And he couldn’t simply skate off because with his partner held aloft; they wouldn’t fit under the exit curtain.

No, an exit required a dismount—and a dismount required the use of Jane’s hands—the same hands that were holding up her top. After another crowd-pleasing flash, he ungracefully deposited his partner on the ice and in their dash for the exit, the two broke all speed skating records.

Though the audience clamored for an encore, Dick and Jane did not return for their well-deserved curtain call.

It was too bad really . . . because it was press night.