Thursday, November 15, 2007

Project Runway

It's time for Project Runway Season 4! So I'm going to start cross-posting something that's become a tradition on another site of mine. Basically I make it all about the clothes, and critique the clothes based on what I know about design, with my background in film, photography, and art. A lot of it is gut reactions, and sometimes I'll get into the designers defenses on the runway as well.

If you'd like to see the photos of the designs, please be sure to visit Project Runway's website and click "Rate the Runway."

The first episode is always the hardest because there are SO many things to go over, and you don't really have time to flesh out any of the designers so a lot gets ignored.

But the good news is that the people over at Project Runway have figured out that those screencaps of the runway show were NOT the way to show off the outfits, and they've got really nice shots taken in a more professional way this time.

Done alphabetically.


Carmen, who also has really troublesome hair. And her attitude about designers who haven't modeled is really kind of ridiculous. Anyway, the outfit. Girl needs to learn to edit. I know the judges hate boring, but what the hey is this thing? Genie pants cinched at the ankles, a Zuluma-type jacket, crazier-than-Uli prints, a huge rosette at her neck, crazy hair, too much jewelery...

I'm not sure which judge said it when, but "That's a lotta look." Without the cinching at the bottom, the pants would be nice. The jacket, over some other shirt, is pretty nice. But that orange print explosion from the model's neck just bothers me. Also, I see very little new or interesting here. Actually, I saw very little new or interesting the entire night, but the challenge didn't lend itself to that.


For the guy who got screwed on this challenge, he got some GORGEOUS fabric. I think this is one of my favorite dresses of the whole evening. I would never be able to pull it off myself, but it would turn my head if I saw someone wearing it. The model wears it beautifully, and I'm shocked it wasn't one of the top dresses. In fact, I like it better than any of the three top dresses. The more I look at this dress, the more I'm rooting for Chris. He's not shown any ego yet, but he could def. have some, this dress earns it. Plus, making clothes out of lettuce.


Okay, I could pretend that the fact that I've dislike Christian since the first commercial I saw with that ridiculous hair where he says, "I'm kind of a big deal" has no bearing on my judgment of his garment. But to be honest with you, I was looking for failure. So glad he delivered something I hated!

While the judges didn't notice it or care, Tim was ABSOLUTELY right: the sleeves were wonky. I don't do wonky sleeves. So the back was well made and interesting (and it was) the sleeves RUIN that so quickly. I admit, I just hate puffy sleeves. Can't stand them ever. I also hate whatever weird craft project he glued to the front of it, what is the purpose of that? I have no idea why he felt the need to have it look like she dropped a knitting project on her jacket and decided to leave it there. I know, I'm being overly harsh. But I can't fathom why this was a top three outfit. The skirt is nice, though to be honest instead of looking asymmetrical it looks like she got it partially caught in her hose. All that said, this was not nearly the worst thing to walk the runway that night. Heck, it's three times better than almost everything Vincent ever created.

I know nothing of fashion, obviously.


This is it, this is the dress that will be talked about for ages, not to the level of Angel's Jubilee Jumbles debacle, but still. This is also how you can tell they take the pictures after the runway judging, because they showed Elisa chopping off that bunch of fabric the model is holding.

If you didn't watch the show, that bunch of weirdness actually trailed a few feet behind the model as she walked the runway, which made her trip. This is the dress that caused Heidi to say it looked like she was pooing fabric. This dress made me want Santino as a guest judge, so he could imitate Michael Kors making fun of it.

This is the hard part about this dress though: The front of it is beautiful. Pretend those hilarious boots aren't there. It's a beautiful color, the draping sleeves are just gorgeous. The bottom needs a little work, but the idea is there. If she had simply rounded out the dress in the back with a little of a flare, maybe of a contrasting or complimenting color, then it could have been one of my favorites. Even though Elisa is obviously a nutbag. Anybody who can say they imbued the fabric with a natural element and keep a straight face is borderline crazy. Possibly completely crazy since she sewed some of it on herself instead of the dress form.

But that train, that six foot trail of WTF, it just killed everything about it. I actually don't think this dress necessarily should have eliminated her, but it marks her for early auf'ing. To be honest, the fact that it is so great until you see that train is what makes me think she deserved to stay. But if she doesn't learn fast, she's gone. I hope.


I love this dress. If it didn't have that little "keyhole" type opening in the front, I'd want to own it. Well, and I might not look good in halter tops, who knows. But I love the fabric, I love the flirty fun, I love it top to bottom. I especially love how it's black and white but with this fun splash of a beautiful blue. It looks really well made too, and it makes me root for Jack. I can see how it wasn't a top dress because it is relatively safe and sort of a staple. But it's just flat out great.


I'm amused that these two dresses ended up together in the list because they're really similar designs, aren't they? Anyway, at one point they showed Jillian pinning things on her dress form and I don't really remember what it looked like, but I was so intrigued and thought it would turn out great.

I don't know if she ditched what she was doing then, if I saw it wrong because of the angle, or what, but the only thing this dress has going for it is a really rich and beautiful color. I admit, I hate skirts like that. And comparing it to the stuff Jillian has been wearing since she came in, I think she created a dress for herself. The model just wears it right, but on Jillian, her clothes look babyish in a way. This dress would too, on most women.

What the above dress has, that this one doesn't, despite them being so similar, is a great sense of pattern and color. This one has one single color that is really good, but the dress can't carry itself on that. And something about that seam down the front bugs me. It reminds me of seams like I would sew.


This dress might look a lot better on a different model, I'll give you that. And this is a terrible pose, she must just be a runway model.

Anyway, the dress itself. I love the skirt, if you can't tell it's got this great diagonal pinstripe, and a really rich dark red layer that peaks out the bottom. It's really cute, it flows, it's just great.

But the top...oh, the top of this dress. I can't even put my finger on why it bugs me. For one, the ruffle on the bottom of the silvery part is in opposition to the great flow of the skirt. It's a stiff tight ruffle, instead of fun and flowing. The top has an even tighter ruffle, which I could live with if there wasn't that weird silver thing between.

The skirt also should be a few inches longer, but they didn't have their models until after they made the outfit, so that's okay. Anyway, I think if he got rid of the ruffle in the middle, and made the silver underbust thing into just a wide belt it would have been much nicer. If that skirt is a seperate, I want one so much it's ridiculous. I want it almost as badly as I want Diana's Barbie skirt from season 2.


*sigh* Kit Pistol. Really? REALLY? Something about her makes me want to tell her to get her own personality and stop trying to be interesting. Maybe she's genuine, we'll find out I suppose. She does seem good enough to last.

I can find faults with this garment. I wouldn't wear it, I can't imagine who WOULD wear it. But it actually manages to be something other, to be one of those elusive fashion outfits where you look at it and go "You know, nobody could wear that in public really...but it's still fashion."

In a way, Kit is accomplishing a lot of what Jeffery kept failing to do. Jeffery kept trying to be punk, but couldn't quite manage it. He only succeeded when he gave up being punk altogether in his final collection. (Some might argue that point, but I say his final collection let him win because he stopped being something he wasn't, which is what he did during the show).

The pattern on the black and grey part, the bright red print, the colors in this just really work. This could easily be taken as a starting point to create several more looks from those fabrics with similar styles but that just echo this one. This one could be the dramatic statement, and those could be the wearable clothes. Like the anchor piece of a collection.

I didn't think I liked it that much until I started writing this. But the more I look and think of that black dress, with just a belt of that red fabric, would just be beautiful. But that would be safe and not express "Kit Pistol" (srsly, Kit Pistol? I can't get over this).


I have no idea why this wasn't on the low rung. In fact, it should have been over top of the simple babydoll that Ricky made. Wait a second, Ricky's dress isn't in Rate the Runway! CONSPIRACY! I loved that dress, I couldn't wait to talk about it! Where are the photos???

Ignoring that for the time being. I hate this dress. I just...there are no words. Unfinished denim hem? Denim crossing straps that look like they're trying to hold the thing on since it's barely sewn? See-through lace midriff? I just...I can't even fathom that this existed and was not called out. It looks like something I would have rigged together and called fashion when I was first learning to sew.


First off: Mr. Kors, stop with the mother of the bride crap, please? That flower has nothing to do with MOB. I think it's unnecessary and kind of lame, but it's not MOB.

I haven't decided how I feel about this dress. On the one hand, I really like it. I love the fabric and the way it flows. On the other, there's something about the way it looks like two different dresses put together that feels kind of costume-like.

I don't necessarily think it should have won, but of the top contenders on the runway, I think it was the best one. I think without the flower, it could get raves on a red carpet.

Also, I like his model a lot.


As I said before, Ricky's dress isn't in Rate the Runway. You can find a single picture of it in the episode photo gallery. What in the world! I mean, geeze people. Why do they do this to me?

Anyway. I think this dress is adorable. Okay, it's safe. Fine. But it's well made, it's out of beautiful fabric. You can't tell in this pic, but it shimmered so nicely under the runway lights. I think it was one of the best out there, I was shocked when they started ripping into it for being too easy. Okay, it looks like something we've all seen before. But how many other dresses on this show look like something we've seen before? The winning dress was a toga! I've seen similar things in Halloween costumes. So it's a double standard at best.

For some reason, in this picture, the model reminds me of Sarah from Chuck. I can see her in a dress like this, she'd look really great in it. Maybe that's the rub, that this dress would FLY off store racks if he actually sold it. If any straight men are reading this: don't you think that dress is really sexy? Wouldn't you love to see women in things like that? Okay, maybe you can't make that judgment from this picture. I wish I had a good one!


This dress was killed by poor execution, which is sad. I think that without the jacket, it was a really adorable little dress. And I think that Simone talked a good game, which is something I appreciated. She wasn't spouting BS like Elisa, she actually seemed to know what she was saying.

I can see how they would dislike the jacket, it doesn't really seem to go with the dress. If you didn't have the yellow band in the middle it might be quite cute. But for some reason it doesn't work with that wide yellow piece. The ribbon tie might be part of the problem...

I like the fabric that the dress part is made out of. It looks beautiful. It's nice that they got to work with "luxury" fabrics.


Steven might just be a force to be reckoned with. I actually recognized him from his audition that aired on Road to the Runway last year. This outfit isn't exactly WOW, but it absolutely shows a great amount of skill. The construction is probably fantastic. It's wearable, without the big red scarf, I would buy it. I would pair it with a colored top to give it a splash of that bold color, which is exactly what it needs. I just am not one of those women that could pull off that scarf. The model can though.

It's just a really great garment. I can understand why it was the middle of the pack, but it puts Steven as a contender.

Sweet P

This dress looks okay in this picture. The only qualm I really have with it specifically in this picture is the straps, they should be of that same really rich red fabric. That red is so beautiful. So in love with the fabric on this challenge.

The pattern of the main fabric isn't that great, IMHO, but it's sort of "whatever." it's not memorable at all.

What was memorable though is that the dress hung terribly. As the model walked down the runway, it was smaller on the bottom and poofed in the middle and it just...flowed wrong. It looked terrible in motion. I expected this to be in the bottom because of how bad the motion of it was. I don't picture Sweet P lasting long.


I don't understand why the flower on Rami's dress was so terrible, but the flower on this one isn't. It's larger, it's more noticable, and it just to me. The flower itself isn't the problem, just the size probably.

The dress does need something right there, some bright silvery accent. But the flower itself doesn't work for me.

In this picture, the dress looks fine. I think boring (why is this so fabulous when Ricky's is boring? WHY?) and sort of every day. But on the runway it had other flaws that might be coloring my opinion. When Victorya was talking about it, looking at the dress, it seemed to have weird seams and just stick up oddly in places. So the idea is sound, the execution not so much in my mind.

To sum up, I don't really agree with the winners or losers here. If I was choosing them myself, I'd go with Chris for the win, and Marion for the lose. Both were voted middle of the pack instead.

This season is going to be interesting. Also, add Ricky to my list of people I'm rooting for. The crap he got for his dress was so undeserved I want him to do well and make the judges apologize.