Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lighten up, it's just fashion.

I had trouble getting myself to write this critique because I actually have a problem with the latest challenge. Thank goodness most of the designers resisted the urge to be jerks to these women for not being model-thin (I actually thought Kevin's attitude was quite refreshing) but I get the distinct feeling that the only reason they weren't bellyaching all the time was because these women had lost so much weight, so calling them fat on top of that would have been cruel.

I realize that fashion is apparently only for thin people. But PR can stop making it such an important point. Last season, the designer's comments about designing for each other's mothers in the Everyday Woman challenge were ridiculous. They all came off sounding like whiny brats. "But...these women are fa-at. How am I supposed to make an outfit for a fat woman! Fat women don't like FASHION! Fat women aren't supposed to want to look nice!"

Instead, this year they treated these women like their most important thing about them, indeed the only trait we learned about them, was the amount of weight that they lost.

Overall, the idea is interesting. It's just, something about the way it was done that just got under my skin. Not to mention that I've become such a big believer that focusing on mostly meaningless numbers like weight or BMI instead of health is one of the worst things you can do for yourself.

I'm going to try to leave all of that behind and just talk about the clothes.

As an aside, I am going to miss Jack but it really was the right decision to make. Your health should always come first, and I think it's safe to say that even leaving this early on he made his impression on the viewers. Good luck Jack!

I'm happy that Chris is back, because I really wanted to see more from him. I agree with the producers in their decision to bring him back as well. Last season they gave Angela and Vincent a change to return, so why not go back to Chris? Also, there was a sentiment that Dale talked about on Top Chef: you want to win because you're the best in the competition, not on some technicality. So eliminating a person early would make the competition too much easier for everyone else.

To the clothes! I don't understand the bow, I really really don't. It's just, wrong. It's bright and out of place and just, pointless really. I like the little colored pleat, but I think if you made it in the blue of the shirt instead of red, it would be more fun. So if you changed those two things: no bow, blue pleat, then I'd actually be pretty happy with this. Actually, I would considering buying and wearing that top. I think it's fun and structured, and it fits her really well. So I hope that all this hate for this outfit is focused on that bow.

I'm kind of over Christian in so many ways. But I have to admit he did really well on this one, especially considering his picky client. But she looks good, it's tailored so well, it's fun. You get the sense that Christian made it, but it's also very much what a normal person would wear rather than being "fashion."

It's pretty modern and fun, and just well done. I have very little to say about it besides kudoos.

Okay, this is something that bugs me: how much time to the judges spend with the "clients" in this type of situation? Because all of them kept saying it was really "Elisa" and not at all what fit her client. But Elisa spent more time with the lady than they did, so how do they know? They kept saying things like "It's so you!" to other ladies as well. Are they making assumptions based on their appearance? How confident they seem? Or do they actually know these women?

All that said, this outfit doesn't look that great. It reminds me of when I try to dress nice, she looks short. There's something odd going on with the skirt hems, and the boots weren't really a good styling choice.

But I actually really love the jacket, I think it's cute and flattering. Nobody talked about it because paired with that skirt it's not really that great. But with a nice pair of slacks, I think it'd be a nice jacket. A little boring maybe, pretty commercial, and not a challenge winner. But a nice jacket nonetheless. I do not think this was the second worst look of the day. I don't know what else was, but this isn't as bad as they made it out to be.

I won't deny that Jillian made a really cute dress. There were things about the way it moved on the runway that I didn't love, but overall it's a really nice article of clothing. I think it's styling is nice, the color is nice. In fact, if I saw it in a store I'd probably try it on but halter tops don't really fit my figure.

I completely disagree with the judges that it was okay that she didn't really do the challenge AT ALL. I hate how they pick and choose who they will hold to strict standards based on the challenge, and who can get away with not doing what they were told. They were told to transform the existing clothes. Jillian decided that fabric wasn't good enough for her and just didn't use it. She used it for an idea, sure. But she didn't do the same challenge as the other contestants, and I think it should have disqualified her design for consideration. I don't think she should be eliminated for it, but they absolutely shouldn't have called her out and praised her either.

Other people adhered to the spirit of the competition, she didn't bother. When a teacher tells you to do a homework assignment, you can't just randomly decide to do a different one and hope that if you do it well they'll ignore that you did something else. The judges need to consistently apply the rules or not bother.

I know it's a personal preference, but I don't like things without straps. I think they make the top part of the torso look too long, and it just doesn't do any favors for most women. I don't know why I think this but I do.

That is about the only critique I have for this outfit. Kevin, besides being a good sport, really transformed the clothes he was given. And you can even tell in the picture, his client LOVED it. She really enjoyed the look, and he was happy that she liked it. I think that I wanted him to win just because he was so darn nice throughout, without any of the catty comments we keep getting from Christian.

Overall, I think this outfit is a success. I think the only reason it didn't win out was that it wasn't as "everyday" as what Christian did. This is really an occasion outfit. I can't figure out what occasion, but it's not something you could just wear to work.

This outfit is so close to great...I can't put my finger on exactly what bothers me about it, to be honest. I don't really like the color, to be honest. And I think the white patch on the front should be black, or there should be another white accent somewhere to balance it out. But overall, it's cute. Actually, it's not as inventive or odd as most of what we see coming from Kit, which I suppose means that she really tailored it to her client, which is good.

I think it's really that coming from Kit, it's a little boring. I also think the bottom patterned piece needs to flare out more so that it looks a little less like she's wearing a skirt over a dress.

Somehow, this outfit left no impression on me after the show. But looking at the picture, I think it should have taken Jillian's place in the top three. It's really cute, it's fun, and it's everyday enough. The model certainly seems to enjoy it, and it's very Rami at the same time.

Rami seems like such a clear favorite that I hate to be nice to him. I'd rather root for the underdog, but it's a really good outfit. I'd probably pick up that top at the store, it accents all the right parts of the woman's figure. Good job.

I think Ricky is on borrowed time just because he's not innovative or interesting. That said, there hasn't been a lot of really out there fascinating stuff this season, has there? It's become so boring. Robert Best is probably screaming at his tv every week.

The top is cute. If it wasn't for those big gold things, I would probably wear it. Well, if it wasn't translucent. I think the top of the jeans somehow don't fit the bottom of the jeans...there's something odd there. They fit strangely on top.

Otherwise, this outfit is just so...standard. I've got nothing more to say about it. Please stop being so boring PR contestants! Take risks! Do something really weird! Even Elisa stopped being so crazy after the first episode. I want baboon's asses exploding! Project Runway isn't always supposed to be about sellable and wearable, fashion is also part art, and art is about being out there to make a point.

First and foremost: the only thing French maid about this is that it's black and white. That's it, it was ridiculous for the judges to harp on that. It has NOTHING to do with the typical French maid idea.

That said, it also was the worst showing of the night, sorry Steven. He was so daunted by the wedding dress that like Jillian he didn't actually do the same challenge as everybody else. He didn't bother to do what he was asked, and yes it was a really hard challenge but that was a chance to shine and he didn't do it.

I get a little tired of the designers this season when they talk about their fabrics. So it was some sort of weird lace that catches in machines or something. Your point? This show has had outfits made out of corn husks, lawn chairs, peanut sacks, scrap paper, ferns, Spanish moss, etc. None of those things were so easy to sew either, I'd wager.

Also, as a costumer I have little sympathy. I've made costumes out of some really really low quality stuff. I'm talking $1/yard stuff from the Wal-Mart bargain bin. I doubt this wedding dress was made out of something so much harder to deal with.

Of course, I don't think this dress is that bad. It fit her strangely as she walked on the runway, but the fact is I've seen a lot of dresses like this in my day. Which is why I was fine with it being the worst of the night. There was nothing new about it, it didn't fit quite right, and it didn't personify the challenge in any way, shape, or form. I want to know what this lady thinks about all the hate being spewed towards her wedding dress. So it didn't fit her anymore, that was still the dress she chose for a very important day in her life. I would be really angry if people were talking that way about my wedding dress, I loved it so much I'd never bring it to a challenge like this. She took a big risk bringing that in, and she wasn't rewarded at all. And yet she's still smiling. That woman is a hell of a good sport.

It's a shame this dress didn't make it into the top, it's really cute and fun. I don't like the color, but that's what she had to work with. I probably wouldn't pair it with black hose either, but that's just me. I also hate pointy toed shoes, you don't see anybody in the fashion world agreeing with me there.

The only thing that's going against this dress is that again, it's sort of unremarkable. It's very safe, very nice. It was a success, but it took very few risks. Where are the risks this season? I can't believe it's making me long for Santino.

I actually really don't like this dress. I think the chest was all kinds of weird, which you can't really see in the picture here. I don't really know what it was about it, but it just was off. It didn't seem properly tailored to the model's body or something. There was also some odd bunching going on, if I recall correctly.

Maybe it's just that I really don't like green velvet. But this dress just doesn't appeal to me at all. But again, it's BORING. What can I say about it that's positive or negative? Almost nothing! Because it's just a dress.

There is no way this is the most talented group of designers the show has ever seen. Maybe it's that the challenges suck, but for the most part they're just talented seamstresses. They're not showing much vision, innovation, or anything that makes me think they're "cutting edge." They aren't envisioning the future of fashion, they're following along what's been done already.

I'm so bored, please PR, make them make an outfit out of electronics!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass - Film Version.

We're going to take a break from Project Runway, because this last week was just a little bothersome. I'll talk about it later, but the fact is the challenge bothered me. So instead I'll talk about the movies I went to see this weekend, starting with The Golden Compass.

Now, I'm interested in how many people are griping about the title. But honestly I like it because it fits better with the idea of "His Dark Materials." Also, it being a noun describing a thing that is very important to the plot of this particular story, I think it fits better.

What interests me is how everyone seems to be making comparisons between this film adaptation and Lord of the Rings. The reviewers keep saying it was made to cash in on Lord of the Rings, it's like LotR, etc.

It isn't. In the slightest, please don't go into it believing you'll have a similar experience at all. This film is made with almost the exact same formula as the Harry Potter films.

I walked out of the Harry Potter movies saying, "You know, that felt like a mash-up of the best scenes in the book, rather than a true adaptation of it." While I never got past the second chapter of The Golden Compass, I felt the same at the end of this movie. Like I had seen a bunch of random bits, strung together as loosely as they could, so that you could cram in as much of the story as possible.

In the case of Harry Potter, it's a forgivable strategy. There's no way you could actually adapt any of those books (or indeed this one) into a single film. But the difference here that even Lord of the Rings couldn't rely on is that most of the people going to see Harry Potter HAVE read the books.

Most people, myself included, have not read The Golden Compass. So the screenwriter desperately needed to take a page from Peter Jackson and make a story that is deeply rooted in the original, faithful to the feeling of the book, but actually a film adaptation. It needed to be it's own entity, and I don't know that the director alone was capable of that feat. He certainly didn't manage it, I'm sorry to say. His heart was in the right place, and you could tell he did love the books very much. But even Peter Jackson had massive amounts of help, a whole team of people working to make it perfect. He had people who had devoted their lives to these books helping him envision this world. While I'm sure His Dark Materials are good books, they don't inspire that sort of devotion.

It wasn't a bad film. The problem was it had the potential to be a great film, it could have been so amazing. But the truly fascinating characters had these great actors to portray them and they had nothing to do. They were there for a split second and given very little motivation or story. Lee Scoresby and Serafina Pekkala could have carried the movie, if they hadn't had to redub all of Eva Green's dialogue in ADR, making her voice and her face just so slightly off that it bothered me and I couldn't watch her talk. That's a personal pet peeve though.

Lee Scoresby introduction was brilliant, I looked forward to seeing more of him and I saw so little. His interaction with his daemon Hester was comical, and hinted of a calculated casualness. I hope that in the books he is explored in much more detail.

I'm happy that Iorek Byrnison got his due, and had his story told. But couldn't we have discovered anything more about Mrs. Coulter's dual-faced character? Couldn't we have gotten into the fact that even though I only read two chapters of the book, I got the distinct feeling that Lord Asriel wasn't a very nice man?

I suppose the problem really lies in the fact that I just didn't identify with or enjoy Lyra very much. Is it the character? The original writing? The adaptation? The acting? I don't know. But I didn't care what she did from one moment to the next, except that it allowed me to see the gyptians, or get to see one of Pan's many adorable forms. She seemed to exist only as a catalyst for everything else, not so much as a well-developed character.

While lesser movies have had their sequels, I don't know that The Subtle Knife will be made at this point. Sure, there was religious controversy surrounding the film, but I don't think that was what killed it. I think the type of people that would avoid a film because they see some persecution in it wouldn't have seen it anyway, and wouldn't have amounted to much of a box office difference. I think the movie itself just isn't that good, and that's the real shame of it all. It seems like the story only gets more interesting as the books progress, they should get their day in the cinema.

A final note: this is not a children's film, or I think so much a family film, and that is part of what will hurt it's repeat business. The fact is it's violent, and I don't make that claim often. In fact, while I called Pan's Labyrinth a violent movie I also heartily recommend it and say people should look past the necessary violence into the great fable that it is. In this film, it isn't so necessary for the battles to be so full of death. While there isn't a lot of blood, there is a very distinctive moment when anyone dies that shows without a doubt that they are completely gone. I don't think death should be thrown around so flippantly, even of the bad guys. It stops having an impact when you just chuck it out there left and right.

I think in the end it's a movie that might be worth renting, especially if you liked the books and can view it as an adaptation and not expect it to be perfect. If you liked the Harry Potter books AND movies, then maybe this is for you. But I won't be watching it again.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Stop volunteering, really

There's a double edged sword to the team challenges on Project Runway: you can't win if you aren't the team leader. But I don't know that in the entire history they've eliminated somebody that WASN'T team leader in the final analysis.

I mean, to be honest I'd probably want to be a team leader. If I wasn't, I'd probably end up being a little like Victorya because I am a very controlling perfectionist most of the time. This is why I hate team assignments in school, I loath them.

To be fair, just because I said I might act that way does not excuse Victorya for being a bit of a passive aggressive bitch.

But I'm here to talk about the designs!

The challenge is to update old out-of-fashion trends and make them hip and modern. But to work together in teams of three and create a three look "collection."

I have to say I'm starting to hate the word collection. Not being in fashion, I'm not sure I understand what it means. They say it has to be cohesive. In season one, we are told that fabric choices aren't the only thing that can tie them together when they did the future challenge. In season two, Daniel Franco gets eliminated for making them too similar. But then people get in trouble for making them too different. Where is that fine line? Can it even be described or explained? I know that watching some of the runway shows I've said, "This feels like a collection more than X or Y." For example, I was much more impressed with Kara's showing at Bryant Park (even if she was a decoy) than I was by Daniel V. Daniel V's clothes were wearable and interesting, but something about them didn't fit together as well.

So my thought process is this: is this something that is taught in their fashion schools? How do you learn this? It's just so darn nebulous. It's like that whole "I know it when I see it" idea.

Anyway. We're going to start with me agreeing with the judges again (what is going on with the world?). Jillian's team had the clear winner. Their fashion trends were 70's flare, poodle skirts, and overalls. I was amused that Tim pointed out that all the outfits looked like they were designed FOR Jillian. Yeah, I pegged her for that type of designer in my first post about this season.

That said, sometimes the challenge calls for that kind of thing. And since she was wearing overalls, we've seen her in very full poofy skirts, and I can picture her in flared-leg pants without trying to hard, then it seems obvious that she'd do well here.

The shirt here is really cute, in fact the whole thing is very cute. It's not something that I think anybody over the age of 30 could every get away with, but for young women it's stylish and girly. To be quite honest, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if a look like this suddenly showed up on the front of magazines. To make it more everyday-wearable, I think it would be better to have a denim vest of this style and maybe different colored pants. But really, the things people are wearing these days? I could imagine this on the street with no problem.

I've been kind of griping about the hairstyles and things lately, and I really like what Jillian did here. The hair has a whiff of the stereotype of a farm girl that goes with the overalls, but also looks like a stylish girl in the city. Overall, this is a big win.

I can see why everybody loved this, honestly. I can kind of understand. But I think that those types of shorts are not flattering on anybody, not even Jillian. Everyone I've ever seen in them has looked generally more awkward in them. They pretty much delete a woman's hips, and why would anybody want to do that? They don't hang well, they move as one solid piece. It makes me think of polygons in a video game. There's no flow. And the shirt, well I chalk the shirt up to something that nobody would wear in public, but is considered high fashion. It did serve it's purpose on the runway.

All that being said, this outfit does fit the collection. It fits the theme by echoing the poofiness of the poodle skirt, and the denim of the overalls. I don't see much 70's flare, but they never said all three looks had to have everything.

This dress isn't modern or fashion-forward to me. At all. I feel like I had this dress in my closet in late middle school, and that was the mid 90's, not a high point for fashion. It reminds me of the sort of barnyard cute/farm kitsch stuff that becomes popular every once in a while and was pretty big when I was young.

It's trying, in another fabric it probably could have been adorable. Like a cute white sheer or eyelet lace over a muted pastel color. But the denim creates a lot of bulk, and restricts the flow. Which makes me make a point I think a lot of people miss: poofy skirts and poodle skirts are two different things. A poodle skirt is simply a full circle skirt, sometimes worn over crinolines that make it more full. But for the most part, it's just so much fabric that it falls a certain way.

I realize I'm not the high fashion police, and that I can't necessarily declare a definition. But I actually have made my fair share of poodle skirts for costumes, so I feel like what happened was that the trend itself was misnamed on the card. Or like the "poodle skirt" trend was actually already taking something and altering it in the first place, so that when Elle was reporting on it it was not truly poodle skirts to begin with, but poofy or bubble skirts like Angela was famous for.

All of that isn't important in the slightest, but it part of what bugs me about this dress. Poodle skirts are meant to swish and flow and twirl out and be as much fun as possible, that's why little girls love them. This skirt will swish, flow, and twirl, but not at all as much.

I hate to say this, it sounds so terrible, especially coming from me but do Rami's fashions make his model look large or is she just a larger size than the rest? Because the girl always looks so different in comparison to the other models, who can be so bony it almost looks painful. I think she actually looks like a real, healthy person. It confuses me.

Moving on to Christian's team, who were dealing with fringe, pleather, and zoot suits:

I can see the zoot suit inspiration here, but where's the pleather? Was there some fringe I can't see in the picture? My cable actually fritzed on and off during the runway show, so I didn't see this one actually walk.

Now, not all of them had to incorporate everything I'm sure. But I thought they had said that was their goal.

The only reason this is important to me is because this outfit bores me. Christian seems to usually do something at least innovative and a little off-kilter. This is so simple, that I can only hope something awesome is going on under the jacket. Otherwise, it's

I see some things that could be fringe...I see stripes (don't get me started about how zoot suits are more than just striped suits), but I see no pleather. And pleather was Jack's trend! Are the pants pleather? The accents? Why did they not play with this trend more? One of the reasons I think Jillian's collection won was because the influences were so clear, so obviously there. It was like when Top Chef had their "reinvent a classic American dish" challenge, and some people just went so far it didn't resemble the original dish. I don't see Chicken A La King on this plate.

I also very very much do not like this dress. It makes me think of a prison shift. The color isn't just dull, it actually looks like it's been washed so much that it used to be something interesting but now it's leached of all the dye and you're left with what happens when you don't seperate your clothes like you should.

In another fabric, this dress could maybe be cute. In another fabric, this dress would also still be pretty boring. If these are the most talented designers that the show has seen, then why am I so bored so often? Why are so many of the outfits things I could go buy at a handful of stores at Tyson's Corner? Is it that the challenges aren't challenging enough?

Kit still continues to surprise me. I don't know why, but her things are so unconventional, and her prints usually clash...but something about them makes me notice them. Are they so ugly they're good? I don't know. Lots of people on the internet seem to disagree with me greatly. Reading other blogs I'm finding that I seem to think the exact opposite of popular sentiment half the time.

I actually have little to say about Kit's outfit here. Again, I don't really see much fringe (unless you count the scarf) and the zoot suit is only echoed in a pin stripe, and where's the pleather? Can I just not spot the pleather? I thought that stuff was shiny...

But overall, it's not boring. It's not something that you have seen again and again. I think Kit is going to really break out soon, and I can't wait to see it.

Moving on to Chris' team, we have shoulder pads, baggy sweaters, and dancewear:

Eh. That's all I have to say about this, eh. I actually like the fabric of the jacket, and apparently since the episode was filmed, this look has become fashion forward (I'm sure Chris is gloating) but again I say: where is your first dress Chris? I wanted to see so much from him based on that one design, and he gives us this. It's just nothing special, and he took the whole shoulder pad thing so literally, making a jacket with shoulder pads, and not really very huge ones. Be bold! Be brave! Forget about if you're boring Nina, stop boring me!

I hate that Chris was out in this challenge, but he seemed like the only choice. The other choices I had were Ricky, Victorya, and Steven. But the last two weren't leaders, so they weren't really eligible. While I think that Chris' past performance was better than Ricky's, I also think that when you put these two outfits together individually, and judge if the collections came together, then Chris was the choice.

I don't have to be happy about it.

While again, this dress isn't all that out there or "wow" at all, it is a very well made, very interesting way to take on the idea of the baggy sweater. I wonder, if Sweet P had been allowed to do the designs for all three outfits, how would the collection had come out? Sure, this is once again something you could probably find in a store, it's also something that you might BUY in a store, which is a difference.

I also have to say that while it irked that Sweet P acted like she didn't know she would have to pick somebody, I commend her for the statement she made. She chose someone, she defended her decision, and she apologized. And Steven to his credit, acknowledged her fair criticism, and accepted it.

Sweet P was absolutely right, this outfit sticks out from the other two like a sore thumb. I vastly disagree with Nina though, she said she doesn't see dance wear in this. I see it as almost an exact copy of the photo she gave them, and half the modern dance outfits out there. This isn't a reinvention or an interesting take, he just made what was on the card. And actually, it came out kind of cute. But he no matter if I think I'd wear the top (I probably would, but never with leggings, I hate leggings) the fact is it shows no innovation and no creativity.

I think Steven was saved by two things here: his execution is very good, the outfit itself is very well made, and he wasn't the team leader.

Lastly, we have the train wreck that is Ricky's team! They had neon, underwear as outwear, and cut-outs. Victorya interviewed that she actually picked the team based on the trends and what they could do with them. I think that these three trends fit together SO well, that it's just depressing what was done with them. And with Ricky as a lingerie designer! Yet, I think the blame for it falls squarely on Victorya, not Ricky.

It's a toss up on which of the two outfits (Ricky or Victorya) is actually a worse design. But you can't change the fact that Ricky was the leader, even if Victorya decided to be annoying, or the fact that his execution once again failed. Last week he was almost eliminated because he couldn't finish his outfit, and this week he showed that he just can't handle making a nicely finished garment. Exactly why weren't these things pressed before they went out?

I don't understand the yellow to be honest. I don't know what it would take for me to accept the yellow, but basically from the bust down it's a different garment. Also, while sheer is interesting, that's the part that echoes underwear to me, not cut outs. Where were the cut outs? I see the neon influence, and that's cool (but doesn't excuse the yellow not tying in) and I see the influence of making undergarment type designs but the fact is that corset tops aren't that rare, so it doesn't automatically think "Underwear!"

With a different color option, better finishing, and some pressing, this could have been a really great dress. That's what is so annoying about Ricky, he's so close to good but isn't getting there.

If this hadn't been wrinkled all to hell like she'd slept in it (and it's Elisa's, maybe it was slept in) then it would have been really cute. Not too innovative or fascinating, but it looks like a slip or a nightgown (underwear), it has cut outs with neon in them. Tadaa! I want it to have something at the bottom so that the fabric doesn't just drop off the way it does, something to make it feel finished and less like a block. But it is the best outfit out of this group.

I want to say huge props to Elisa for two things. First, because she acknowledged on the runway that Ricky helped her understand what he wanted, and pointed out that he attempted to explain things in a way she would understand. Because honestly, there is nothing more valuable as a leader than the ability to communicate in the same weird ways as your team members. I think the way he took the time to say things in a more sculptural language said a lot about him as a leader. When you combine that with the fact that he sacrificed his own garment to help his team members, you see that he's probably a very good guy to work for and with.

The second thing is that she outright said what I've been waiting to hear for AGES. When asked who to eliminate she basically said "I have integrity and I'm always going to choose myself, no matter what."

Thank you Elisa. That could have been such a canned and terrible line, but she was very genuine with it, and just shrugged it off. She said it in a manner like, "this is what I do, ask the next person now." She's growing on me more every episode.

If you stop an inch or so above the waist, then this garment is actually pretty nice. At least Victorya admitted that Ricky helped her with the fit, because the top does fit well.

But the waist has execution problems (the puckering! How did that even happen?) and the bottom is reminds me of the skating outfits they made in season two. I don't understand it, I can't make it fit. If there was something in the waist are to either bring the two design elements together, or something like a waistband to seperate them, then maybe I could see it. But overall, there's just this puckering strangeness along the waist, and it doesn't work unless you're a figure skater or a dancer.

As for Victorya's behavior...well, it was ridiculous. Ricky more or less said, "Eh, I'll be in charge if nobody wants it?" and Victorya as much as said that he could be her puppet. She intended to control the group without taking the heat if it went wrong, and she almost got away with it. I'm very glad that Michael Kors basically said he was surprised that she was so terrible to work with. You get a sense that they've known designers like that before in their professional lives. While Ricky did lower himself to say he felt micromanaged, he also did it to defend himself and didn't go past what I thought needed to be said. Victorya managed to dig her own grave, and I was shocked to see it. Normally that type of person knows what to say and when to say it so they end up looking like they didn't mean any harm.

She very clearly wanted Ricky to be her fall boy, and even though I'm sad at losing Chris, and think Ricky is going to be eliminated next week if he doesn't get better at basic construction, I'm glad she didn't get her way.

That's it for this week! Slowly this thing is getting easier to write!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Worlds collide

Okay, so it's about four or five days late, but here it is! I'm still shocked that Vegas had no Bravo and no free internet. But it was Vegas, and it was a ton of fun. In a few days I'll probably write up a few reviews of different things like the Cirque show that we caught, the Star Trek Experience, and all the restaurants I ate at.

But for now, the surrealism that was last week's Project Runway!

I knew the challenge had something to do with menswear because I get the text message alerts from Bravo. I was amused, because I'd been thinking for ages that it would be fun, but I also had been thinking for ages that it would probably not work because menswear isn't as freeing or as interesting as the challenges should be to really show off a designer's talent. I still feel the same way, if not for one thing I probably would have been pretty bored by the whole episode.

That one thing? Tiki Barber. Okay, I don't watch football, I know nothing about football. First down what? Who fumbled what now? But I did grow up in Southwest Virginia, and I went to college in Ronde and Tiki Barber's hometown. They are two really great guys, and great role models. One of my friends actually has met their mom on multiple occasions and says she is a really fantastic person. So I'll just say it's really weird to see a hometown hero on Project Runway.

I do have to say that he continued to be a classy person, because the only bad things he said were "sloppy," "messy," and "it looked like my five-year-old made it." The last thing wasn't even to the designer but after they'd left. Considering some of what came down that runway, that's a heck of a lot of tact.

Which brings us to the runway! Again, this is alphabetical.

Oh, Carmen. I actually was not surprised in the slightest to discover that she was out (Bravo's website ruined it for me when I was trying to find the episode, thanks guys). Her taste is a little questionable, especially when it comes to styling. What in the world is that hat? I realize that they've got this Bluefly accessory wall, and that it's really impressive, but sometimes I wish they'd step away.

I think draping the fabric when she couldn't make the shirt might seem like a crazy idea, but it was what she had to do. I admire the idea actually, because she had to do something. I personally think she should have presented it differently when she went to talk about it on the runway though. None of this "representing the idea of the shirt" that she wanted to make. Fine, own up to running out of time, but just say you decided to drape the fabric and see how it looked. Because at that point she should have been on the same page Sweet P was: forget everything else except not being out.

Carmen's outfit also brings to mind something I noticed about a good number of the outfits: this is an outside jacket, not a suit or an indoor outfit. Does Mr. Barber's work with the Today Show mostly take place outside? Because inside a studio this would just look silly. Like he forgot to take off his coat.

This outfit really is just such a mess that it's hard to see where Carmen was going or what she was doing. She just fell victim to the challenge, that's the best way to put it. She couldn't handle it's particular constraints. I completely agree with the auf'ing.

I want to see something from Chris that's on par with his first dress, and this is just kind of boring. I will give him the fact that it looks well made, and would probably look nice on Mr. Barber. But unless he chose some really interesting fabrics, there's not much to really make it stand out.

I will say that Chris' model was well-styled. I think the designers this week had a LOT of problems knowing how to make men look good, and I'll get to that later. But overall this is well put together, just not very interesting. It looks like next week is another team challenge too, and I just want to see more from Chris!

Christian's outfit here is the opposite. It's interesting, it's not the same as everybody else's. I don't know that it fits the challenge because I can't picture Tiki Barber wearing it, but it's a well-constructed outfit.

I don't like the fabric on the pockets either, with the contrasting color. I don't think that works. But otherwise, it is something new and different. It's not just another suit in a new color, especially that shirt. I think this was a job very well done, though I do have to admit that looking at it I don't think you'd wear that jacket with that shirt in real life. That shirt shouldn't have a jacket over it at all.

But for once I have to say that Christian deserves a lot of credit for this outfit. I was surprised it wasn't in the top.

Elisa has one thing going for her here: she's herself. She is absolutely taking every challenge, internalizing it, and making a creation that represents her and the assignment she's given. As much as people might think she's a little crazy, and to be honest she probably is, she is very much settled in who she wants to be and she's fine with that.

The pants and the vest are made very well, and if they were paired with a more formal shirt I think she would have had a shot at the top this time around. The shirt is just a little too casual for the context of what they were doing, and it doesn't seem to fit the vest itself. I wouldn't pair those two colors together.

It just wasn't quite formal enough, but it proves one thing to me that I never thought I'd hear myself saying: Elisa deserves to be there. She might just make it a long, long way. As much as her first challenge was a complete misstep, she actually has talent and skill.

We'll get one thing out of the way: I do not think this should have won. It's nice, it's well done.

It's also boring. It's safe, it's not trying anything new except putting two sets of stripes together. And according to Blogging Project Runway, it didn't fit the constraints of the challenge, which was specifically to make three pieces. Apparently the judges didn't care this time, and I'm intrigued by their decision to ignore that.

It is another example of the judges picking and choosing which rules they think are important and which aren't. Keith Michael gets blasted for not making an outfit for his dog, and this season we've had several outfits which didn't follow the challenge and nobody cares. Why is that? Did they decide the challenge was too hard? I think Chloe's win in season two with that outfit for Nick proves that it wasn't. Granted, she was the eventual winner of the entire competition, but if she could crank out that beautifully fitted and fabulous outfit within the same amount of time, then these designers could too.

As for the hubbub about Jack using his own shorts as a guide, well Vincent used his pants for a guide last year. I don't think it's that big a deal, and I don't think it actually won the challenge for him. Having a pattern is a far, far cry from making something well-fitted. Trust me, I always have patterns when I sew, and they never fit that well. Tailoring is another animal entirely, and it's the part I haven't mastered.

To sum up: well tailored, nice fabric choice, but in my opinion not a winner.

First and foremost I would like to point out that this outfit has FOUR pieces. There are pants, a shirt, a vest, AND a jacket. It doesn't seem as perfectly tailored as some of the others, but it is finished, it's well-made. So to me, this is the prime example of why Carmen got cut. If Jillian could finish THIS with the same constraints as everybody else, then it was completely feasible. This also exemplifies why I think Jack shouldn't have won if he couldn't finish a third piece.

Staring at the picture, I see a few loose threads around the hem of the pants. That might be why she was in the middle of the pack. Or it could be because she picked that really odd print for the shirt. It's the only thing that saves it from being yet another suit, but it's just not something I see most men wearing. It seems a little 70's to me. You can barely see it though, so otherwise my only opinion is that it is just another suit with a printed shirt. But really, what else could they make? That's why a menswear challenge isn't all that fascinating, except to see who didn't finish.

Okay, I don't tuck in my shirts. Ever, really. But the basic rule is that if you're wearing something over the shirt like a vest or jacket, you tuck in the shirt. I'm okay with that rule, I'm a fan of it. I think this entire outfit would have been elevated to a pretty sophisticated level if he'd just tucked in that shirt.

The pants don't seem tailored as well as Jack's, which might have been part of the problem. But I'd say with well-tailored pants and a tucked in shirt, I would wholeheartedly say this should have won. My only thought is that maybe Tiki Barber wouldn't look that good in purple, I'm bad with colors. I wouldn't hesitate to put a red-head in pink and I hear that's a big fashion don't.

The fabric of the tie and handkerchief is just a really great compliment to the shirt. The fabric of the vest and the pants compliment them's all just very well done. It reminds me quite a bit of why Chloe won with her outfit, when you put it all together it was just a fabulous look (though I think Chloe owed a lot to Nick really working the runway).

It does also look better without the pin holding the vest together, he should have gone with his instinct on that. Pins stick out and are very noticeable, especially under those lights. We haven't see a lot of people run into that on the show, so hopefully they'll learn from now on that hot glue is a better idea.

To be absolutely honest, I don't see the appeal of this outfit. For some reason it makes me think of yachting. It's well done, and well put together, but I can't for a second picture it on Tiki Barber. The jacket seems interesting, I never would have thought to make a blazer out of fleece.

And that I think is why even though I'm confused by the outfit, I'm okay with it being in the top. Because Kit seemed to sit back and think, "oh, a suit jacket...what can I do to make it different and interesting?"

One of the first things you start to really understand when you start sewing is how much you make or break the outfit at the fabric store. Before you sew a single stitch, you've already put yourself on the path to failure if you've picked the wrong fabric. I've learned that the hard way so many times. The right fabric can take something and elevate it past what it is. One of the best pieces of advice I ever read was that you should always buy the most expensive and best fabric you can afford.

So kudos to Kit for making that decision. It really paid off for her, because I think Michael Kors was right, if she'd made that jacket from anything else they would have been bored and she could have been in the bottom.

Rami is probably very confused about being in the middle of the pack. I bet some of his fans are too, and in a way it's quite confusing. This is a very finished, very tailored look. It isn't just like everything else, it isn't just another suit.

But it's an outdoor look, there's nothing to get away from that. Just like I said with Carmen, if you wore this on the air in a studio, you'd look like you forgot to take off your coat when you came in. I think that's what put him in the middle of the pack.

Otherwise, this is a great outfit. I actually really love this jacket, I would buy it for my husband in a heartbeat. It shows a lot of talent and skill, because it's not designed just like any other jacket. It's got some extra seams and stuff in there that make it much nicer. It's yet another reason that I think time constraints were no excuse for the designers, this was not an easy jacket to make. If it's lined as well, then Rami deserves a gold star.

I think if it had been just a touch more of a formal jacket instead of a windbreaker, he would have been up in the top.

As much as I was rooting for Ricky in the first episode, I'm not counting down until his departure. I put it at next week, if not the week after that since next week looks like a team challenge.

He just doesn't seem to have anything to say as a designer. This competition is supposed to be about the next big thing, who is coming up on the scene, who is going to be making a name for themselves. Ricky doesn't seem like he's doing that, he's just making really great clothes. Sure, they're great clothes, but what's new? What's innovative?

Completely aside from the fact that he couldn't finish it, it's just a boring everyday suit. It had a neat lining, but that was it. The lining doesn't show in broadcaster's suits, so I don't know why people were so interested in it here. Do you know what color lining Tom Brokaw has in his suits? No, you don't.

There is something about this that makes me think of American Psycho. But, putting all that aside, I think taking off the silly neck-kerchief or whatever that is (an ascot? I don't know these terms) and this is not a bad outfit. I don't know if it's good enough for the Today Show, but it's a nice sweater. My only question is would it look good on somebody as imposing as Tiki Barber?

But the neck decoration really has to go. It doesn't fit the client in the slightest. It doesn't even come close to something I could ever see him wearing. I wonder how good Steven really is at considering the client...

This actually reminds me even more of American Psycho and begs the question: where did they get these models? Eye candy though they may be, they were rather terrible on the runway. They didn't present the clothes, they didn't walk like they were models. Maybe they're all print models, I don't know. But I was not impressed with them when it came time for the actual runway shows. I have been saying since season two that the way the model presents the clothes is often a make or break point for the outfit. Actually, the episode that made me say that first was the one where Chloe and Nick both had to design menswear, and she won but he lost. Nick presented Chloe's outfit with class and skill. Daniel V. looked sour and half asleep as he walked.

Back to Sweet P. I feel so bad for her, because the last two things I've tried to make have looked great every step of the way, and then I sewed the last seams and it went terrible somewhere and I never did quite figure out where I went wrong. So I know exactly how she felt when she put that shirt on her model and it didn't work at all.

I think she handled it with humility and did well at laughing the whole thing off. And I think that was why she is still in and Carmen is out, because she just stood up there and said, "I screwed up, look at this, isn't it terrible?" She didn't try to play it off or make excuses.

That said, it is a pretty drab outfit. Even if it had been tailored perfectly it would have been boring. I like the fabric for the tie, but otherwise, ho-hum.

I'm completely shocked this wasn't in the top three. It might end up looking a little to "rap star" if Tiki Barber tried to wear it, but honestly it's cute and fun. It's still a little more formal, but not an everyday boring dark blue or black suit. It's well-made, it's finished. As much as I didn't understand the appeal of Victorya's last two high ranking outfits, I don't understand why this one wasn't in the top.

Maybe it wouldn't look as good on the client, but the model looks great. I'm a fan of it. And it isn't even just a boring white suit jacket, it's a different kind of jacket.

Overall, I'm not as thrilled with the menswear challenge as most people were because I find men's clothing very dull. Look at all these pants, they're all more or less the same style. The only people who broke out of the mold weren't praised or scolded for it. The winner made something that you could more or less put together off the rack at any department store (bias-cut pocket notwithstanding).

I'm going to be glad to return to women's clothing, where it's so much easier for crazy things to happen.

Late for the Runway

Hola all,

I'm sorry for the delay on my Project Runway post. It turns out that there is not a single spot in Las Vegas where you can get internet for less than $15 for 5 minutes. Since those posts take about an hour to get together, it was a little crazy. I still can't believe that my hotel didn't have some sort of free internet access.

Not only that, but they didn't have Bravo at all! So I watched the episode last night and will have my opinions up sometime in the next 24 hours or so.