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.