Toronto Star, June 26 2003
Spandex queen makes snug, sexy fit
Most women would find a full body wax less painful than shopping for a swimsuit.
Marie Routhier completely understands.
The former figure skater’s physique changed dramatically after a car accident six years ago sidelined her with a back injury.
Routhier redirected her passion for the sport into creating costumes for skaters, wrestlers, synchronized swimmers, body builders and fitness competitors. Now she’s making a splash with men and women of all shapes and sizes who are simply frustrated with store-bought suits.
“It’s a matter of fit and choice,” Routhier believes. “If someone has a long body or their hip size is different than their chest, this is the answer.”
From full-coverage maillots to skimpy bikinis, custom orders are all sewn to the client’s exact specifications, no matter what their proportions. Figure concerns can be camouflaged and the design options are limitless.
She’s done striking Canadian flag one-piecers, a funky boy-leg camouflage-print suit and a racy Toronto Maple Leafs-theme bikini. An Inuit-inspired collection with glacial and Northern Lights motifs was designed for the gold-medal winning national synchronized swim team. And Routhier did a series of superheroes for the Guelph synchro team.
“I hand-painted the Hulk’s abs on to nylon tricot spandex. That was really fun,” she chuckles.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 12 years old. It’s like breathing to me,” Routhier says in her topsy-turvy Mississauga home/studio. Throughout her teens, she made costumes for herself and her skater friends, experience that proved key.
She learned not to use invisible zippers in her sports designs because they might pop and she guarantees her seams will not rip. “When I was skating, I was vicious on seams. I really abused my costumes because my style was more athletic than ballet. If it can stand up to me, it can stand up to anything. Even my wrestlers never have a problem.”
In addition to her custom designs, Routhier offers some ready-made styles including a Pride Day collection. The rainbow flag bikinis and pink triangle trunks for men are priced from $67.50 to $75 with 10 per cent going to the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research. Custom swimsuits usually ring in between $100 to $150.
Orders for both can be place through Routhier’s Web site, http://www.queenof spandex.com. Or call 416-732-8783.