Thursday, January 24, 2008

Project Runway: Home of bad puns

You know, I realize I should have seen this before. But the titles of Project Runway episodes are alway terrible puns, and they usually give away the content of the challenge before it gets started. I wasn't shocked in the slightest about the denim.

The actual context of gathering materials was just odd to me. Why this warehouse? Why make them sprint 50 yards to get to the material? Why hang it up so high that I would have never been able to reach it? And why did the warehouse have a dirty, dirty floor?

Do viewers really respond to the scramble? It reminds me of the food flurry* on Top Chef. I don't really like what it brings out in the competitors. Is it just me, or does Victorya seem reminiscent of the type of person that no matter what you say you found, she'll say it's probably hers? "Oh, Victorya, there was some money on the floor in the hallway, do you know whose it is?" "Oh, it's probably mine, yeah, I think it's mine..."

*(I fetched that term from Television Without Pity, it's not mine)

The outfits themselves, I have little to say about. You'd think I'd be more excited, since if I had my way I'd wear jeans all the time. But for some reason all I kept thinking of was the time Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake showed up at some red carpet with denim formal wear. They're still on worst dressed lists for that.

You know, this dress is so close to nice...honestly, I think that weird little piece that Tim pointed out is hat ruins the effect. If I have to hear one more designer say to Tim Gunn, "But I like it..." I'm going to scream. Listen guys, any artist should know and embrace the fact that sometimes you're too close to your design. Sometimes the best thing you need is an outside pair of eyes. Especially an extremly creative, knowledgeable, and intelligent pair of eyes as Tim Gunn possesses.

I also don't really see the "little black dress" interpretation. If this was made out of a nice black fabric, it wouldn't really fly very well. It's too...something. I always thought the point of the little black dress was that it was entirely timeless, and as long as you fit into it, you could wear it. It's outside of the trend-sphere. The actual skirt here is cute, but the top is just not working in a way that's timeless.

I don't think it was a travesty though, I'm not sure why the judges were so upset about it. But then, I'm often confused as to what upsets the judges. They seem to find one thing and harp on it for ages. Look at Stephen's "French maid" debacle. That dress looked nothing like a French maid, and they never stopped saying it.

All that said, the dress certainly doesn't wow in any way, shape, or form. Chris is back to be being a little non-plussed and boring. Stop that!

Okay, I should preface this: I absolutely without a doubt, with every fiber of my being, hate skinny jeans. The depths to which I hate this fashion trend know no bounds. I think they always look terrible, I have yet to see them on anybody of any body shape that I think they look good.

So making his model look like she's teetering on stilts instead of legs? Not winning me any points here. I personally think adding the sleeves on the bottom makes it look like she's wearing leg warmers.

Also, the outfit just reminds me of everything else Christian has done. Maybe it's that he's putting his personal touch in everything, but really? He reminds me of Santino more ever week. I first started writing up these recaps because I was trying to show that Santino was using almost the same techniques from week to week and that I couldn't see this amazing talent people kept talking about.

I say the same about Christian. And his attitude is even worse. For one thing, yes, getting denim wet changes the color. Does it do it permanently? Not to any jeans I've had. A damp cloth wouldn't have done so much damage that it deserved Christian's little preachy speeches. You know what? How hard is it to say, "You know, that might not be the best idea. If you're going to get it wet, do it today so it has more than enough time to dry." And then? DROP IT. Walking around boasting about how right you are? It's so utterly childish.

Also, might I point out that once again, Christian was "above" the challenge. You know what Christian? If you're so "above" this? Then leave. Walk out. Quit. Nobody is keeping you there. Of course this thing isn't how "fashion is." But it's how the SHOW is, and if you didn't know that before you auditioned I have no sympathy.

As for the outfit, well, honestly, if I hold my hand up to the screen to block out the pants, then the jacket is kinda nice. But the poofs on the shoulders confuse me. They looked on screen like the seam had ripped and the lining was poking out. Other than that, I actually like it. The collar is fun, and I really enjoy that it's made out of pants.

I'm really baffled by all the hate for Jillian's coat. Okay, so I completely recognize what Tim said in Tim's Take: this is too similar to what she sent down the runway last week. I also do think that taking off a row or two of the red tags would improve that idea.

But overall? I like it. I actually think that it takes Victorya's idea of updating the classic trench and actually DOES it. I think it flows well, for denim, and the color is really the right one for it.

The construction can't really be seen on a screen, so I can understand if it was made poorly. But I don't think it makes the model look huge, it makes her look like she's wearing a coat. They're in New York City, it gets cold there, and women wear coats when it's cold.

Actually, employing the same method I used for Christian's outfit, I covered up the red on the shoulder and the whole thing was more interesting. So while I think the idea was cute, that probably should have been ditched.

But overall, it's not a bottom two garment, in my opinion.

Okay, here's the thing: Rami obviously watched season three of Project Runway. How do I know this? When talking about the field trips, he says you could be making a dress out of trash or going to Paris.

Both of these things were very significant moments in season three. Season three ended with the victory of one Jeffery Sebelia. Whose final dress happened to use zippers along the seams as an accent. It was, in fact, widely praised for this.

So why exactly has everybody, Tim Gunn included, been oohing and aahing over the zippers like he invented the idea? Yes, he uses it to really good effect. Yes, I like it overall. No, there are no new ideas in fashion. But I don't like that everybody seemed to be acting like it was so brilliant. Yes, it was cool looking. Fine, I'll give you that.

Actually, with the exception of the way the zippers go down in the front edge of the skirt instead of just going around and doing a full ruffle, there's not much fault I can find with this dress. I love the top, it's really cool looking. The buttons are something that reminds me of a sailor costume, but it's pulled off well. It's a great garment, and if it had won I wouldn't be surprised.

I will however point out that Rami's assertion that he's more sophisticated and fashion forward because he's not American is insulting. What is it about this season? First Michael Kor's says that straight men can't design women's evening wear. Now we get that American's aren't fashionable.

You know what Rami? That's ridiculous. Think before you open your mouth. If you said you have a different design sensibility? I would be behind you. But saying it's BETTER because it's not American? Whatever.

Okay, I really don't know why Ricky won. For some reason I'm okay with it, I don't know why. I don't understand why it's any more or less impressive than Chris or Rami's designs (in fact, it reminds me a lot of Chris' design). I can't explain to you a single reason why this is a winning design other than it must have been constructed impeccably.

Now, one of the parts of the challenge was to represent the Levi's 501 brand. And I can see how this dress does that more than the others. Certainly more than Rami's. I think that it was probably what helped it win, that it seemed to fit 501s so much more than the others. Even Christian's, as much as it was based on their "trucker jacket" didn't quite capture it. Don't ask me to explain why, but 501s are in my world rugged, real world jeans. They have their own laid back style, but they're not high fashion. So maybe that explains the win.

I do have to say thank you to Heidi for asking Ricky what the hell was up with his crying. She said it exactly the way I wanted to.

I probably would never wear a denim dress. But if I for some reason decided to, it would probably be one like this. Now, the fact that the dark patches don't line up at the waist bothers me. But having just made a dress that had a similar issue I can tell you I understand 100% how hard that is to do, especially if you're in a time crunch.

There's just so much that is right about this, and it puts me right back on the Sweet P bandwagon. I would like her more if I didn't see her reactions to criticism, but her clothes are getting better and better.

This dress has so much to like. The pattern, the construction, the shape. It's all in all just so well made, I think the only reason she didn't win was because it was more dressy than the idea of 501s.

Okay, sometimes I say things like "I could make that!" Most of the time, it's not really true. It's usually especially not true if you take into account the time constraints that these contestants have.

But I do not exaggerate here: I could make this. Something like this, any costumer with a couple hours and the right supplies could throw together. I know she tried to say on the runway that it took her a long time to do, and it LOOKS simple but isn't...and I think the judges believed that as much as I do. If it was that hard for her to do this, then how has she survived so far?

There's nothing to like about this. The jacket was probably pretty standard before she altered it. The collar is okay, but the skirt-that-isn't-a-skirt is weird looking. It doesn't match, it doesn't flow well. I can't find a single thing to praise about this coat.

My picks for the top four are changing, slowly. I'm not entirely sure that Jillian can survive much longer. She's been about to miss the runway for weeks now, and seems to be falling more and more unhinged. Rami, of course, is a shoo in. Sadly, Christian probably is as well.

So the question is, Chris, Ricky, or Sweet P?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

*insert "witty" guarde joke here*

On-Guarde, Off-Guarde. See, it's "Avant guarde" jokes! Haha. Really, we get it Bravo.

This challenge was actually FANTASTIC. Thank you, this is exactly what I want from this show! Please do more of this. And the prize was very good, so please, more of that too. I was actually struck by the fact that the description of taking the avant guarde idea and translating it to ready to wear echoed a lot of what I said talking about Kit's dress in episode one. Which turns out to be rather ironic...

So, we have another team challenge. I find it very interesting that the only people who led teams were ones who hadn't before. Chris certainly wasn't going to step up to that plate again, and Ricky probably couldn't have been paid to go through that again.

Jillian, who had probably one of the easiest times in the previous team challenge would have led again, but lost in a notion toss. What did they toss? It looked like a pack of needles. Anyway, I'm surprised that Victorya didn't think strategically and say she should lead because she was immune. I can't recall a single time they've eliminated a worker in a team challenge, it's always the leader.

On to the fashion! Each team did two outfits that were meant to be a matched set, so here goes:

I admit I was worried about this one. I loved it, but I don't really know much about avant guarde fashion at all. I thought that of the looks walking down the runway, it was the most over the top and conceptual, and the most like it was based on an idea or a word rather than a "look."

Also, I could not in a million years imagine making this dress. I think my brain would freeze about a third of the way through. Over 40 YARDS of fabric? Yikes!

I also think one of the great benefits here was the great synergy between the team members. While Christian had some of his standard diva behavior, it really seemed like Chris knew how to take that attitude and roll with it. Christian also seemed to really respect Chris' opinion and expertise. It was a great partnership, and that was refreshing to see!

Their ready to wear look was a great translation of first dress. I agree with the judges, the skirt is just there. And to be honest I'm not a fan of the shirt, but it works for the challenge. It is what it was supposed to be, even if it was a bit too puffy for my taste.

What was Victorya's contribution to this look? The outfit under the coat? Eh, I was underwhelmed. Okay, I admit it. I just really don't like Victorya, and I can't even completely explain why. Possibly because she hasn't made one garment this season I've actually liked that much. But as soon as I saw that coat walk down the runway I knew this wouldn't be the episode to take her out unless they really hated the ready to wear outfit.

That coat is a marvel. I can clearly see the inspiration from the hairdo (which wasn't as clear to me with Christan and Chris). I don't know that I like the tan pants underneath, just because they don't seem to match the plaid. But the plaid looked much darker on my television, and I liked it.

There's so much to love about this coat. But I think that the reason that Christian/Chris won was because they really were outside the norm. I could see a J-rock star wearing this coat, easily. It isn't something that would be worn every day by an "average" woman, but it's a look that would be wearable in certain situations outside the runway.

If you know the ready to wear outfit was constructed in about twenty minutes, you think it shows. But if you don't think about it (and you have a model brilliant enough to pose like this one to minimize the flaws of the garment) then it's a great. The little strap (which the model is covering in this picture) really wasn't great, and the dip of the dress was too low, in my opinion. But it echoes the original dress very well. It is cute, and fun, and I absolutely can't believe it was made in less than an hour. Actually, I watched Iron Costumer at Technicon last year, so I can believe it. But it's still impressive.

Hey, remember when I said that Rami reminded me of an old co-worker last week? Yeah, this week he acted EXACTLY like the other guy. Guess what Rami? Sweet P was right. When Tim Gunn agrees with Sweet P, you should LISTEN. Kthnx.

What did Rami think "avant guarde" meant? Apparently ribbons and folds and bows. He didn't have drama, he didn't have a WOW factor. There wasn't anything that made you go "How did they DO that?" The fabrics, if you ignore the pants, are beautiful. The corset is actually lovely. If you started to strip off some of the random ribbons, it is a nice dress.

But first: blank pants? Under a dress? Please, Rami, go visit Go Fug Yourself and learn a little about why pants under dresses is bad. It looks like she's trying on the dress in the store and just didn't feel like pulling off her pants because she hasn't shaved lately and doesn't want the sales girls to gossip about her hairy legs.

I also don't see what his "theme" or idea was, or how the hairstyle inspired it. I can, however, see how the first look inspired the second. Sweet P continues to surprise me, and I'm actually finding myself rooting for her. It's strange.

There's a little bit of an odd poof on the torso somewhere. But it's cute, it's a compliment to the first dress, and it's made well. Sweet P, despite Rami's constant micromanaging and his belittling of her opinion, managed to pull out something great.

And for the record, I think the bustle could have been a great idea. It would have at least been more interesting.

I hated that Kit was going to get eliminated, but as soon as I saw it was her versus Rami, I knew she would be out. And it's terrible, because I think she has a lot of talent. But it's not showing in this dress.

I love the corset, I love the sheer apron. But honestly, the fabric selection reminds me of my childhood. Like it's something I would get for a Strawberry Shortcake doll, or maybe Holly Hobby. It's not quite either of those, but I could easily see this skirt being on one of those cartoon heroines of the 80's.

Kit had a theme and an idea, which puts her one up from Rami, but I don't really see it in the dress. She said nesting because the hair was like a bird's nest, but she made a dress that took the idea of nesting from nesting dolls. Those two don't work together, even if they're the same word.

But it just doesn't fit the challenge. I hate to say it, I want to love it. I do, because I like Kit so much and I dislike Rami's dress that much. But it just...I can't see how it has anything to do with what they were asked to do. It doesn't make me think high fashion. It makes me think of little southern girls who think hoops skirts are fun (they are, until you try to sit in them...)

The ready to wear look, well it's made well. It's a cute dress, and I don't dislike it. But again, it's boring. I wouldn't mind it being a little longer, but I also don't see what it has to do with the first dress. It's not even made out of one of the fabrics from the first dress.

Honestly, these two looks were such complete missteps for the challenge that I understand why Kit was out. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

In the end, while I loved the challenge, the results weren't very surprising. So I wonder which I would rather have: to agree with the judges and have little to say, or to disagree and being so angry I could rant for days?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Take it back!

Okay Judges, we had an understanding.

We were in so much agreement! It was unprecedented! I was surprised every week to hear you talking so much sense, to hear you saying things I actually agreed with. When you ousted Elisa, I was upset but I understood. The same with Chris. I actually was completely behind you the rest of the time.

Until tonight. Oh no, when you break my heart you really make sure to do it well, don't you? Why do you do this to me Nina? Heidi, how have you forsaken me so?

In other words: who put what in their water before the episode and don't you ever do it again. What in the WORLD were those results? Were we on the same planet? Did you people EVER go to prom? No really, even the designers: I don't believe you know what prom is.

Do me a favor everybody, do a quick google image search for "Prom" or "Prom Dresses."

In my little corner of the world (which in HS was Southwest Virginia, nestled between Radford University and Virginia Tech) prom dresses were about the same amount of decadence and expense as bridesmaid dresses, only often with more style.

Actually, my prom dress Junior year WAS a bridesmaids dress. Shh, don't tell anybody. But the fact is that these teenagers really do deck themselves out like the red carpet. Almost none of these dresses was actually nice enough for prom in my hometown. So I find it hard to believe that these rich, private school girls did not want something similarly fine. In fact, when I went to my first formal "grown-up" party (a holiday party for my husband's company) I realized that the dresses were pretty much just prom dresses. Man, where is Kayne when you need him?

This episode was so insane, that as much as I'm angry at the judges, it's bringing back the feelings of old seasons. For once, I finally am actually involved. I care! I was talking to the tv again!

I'm unpopular in this opinion, I realize this, but I think Christian needed to be booted for his own good this week. If I heard one more disdainful comment I was going to throw a complete fit.

So Christian is above his fellow designers, he's too good for Hershey's, and he's OBVIOUSLY too cool for school (and prom). Fine, Christian, we get it. How many times do you have to have something like this happen before you get your comeuppance and start behaving like a real person? There's no easy way to put this: stop being a diva. Even Santino eventually realized he wasn't all that and baboon's ass.

As for the dress, well...I hate it. It looks like it could have been something interesting, but the construction looks so poor that quite frankly it reminds me of my own attempts at more formal dresses. It is absolutely not a prom dress, that's for sure. It looks terrible on her figure, though the colors compliment her skintone. But the silhouette is just not something that she should be in, and she was the client.

His behavior on the runway was just downright ridiculous. I do agree with Nina, him blaming his client was wrong. It's just professionally unappealing, along with the fact that the challenge WAS to work with your client.

I do, however, concede that his client was annoying. She was overbearing, sure. But in my world, that's just the way fate likes to turn around and give people what they gave out before.

Chris belonged in the top three for this dress. He absolutely deserved as much praise as could have been heaped on him. I could easily see all the richest girls in my school begging their parents to buy them this dress. If it came in a deep navy blue (or any shade of blue, really), I would buy it myself. I'm not kidding, depending on the price, I'd go out and put some money down for it because I think it would look good on most body types, and I need a new formal dress.

This dress is the exact mix of style and fun that most prom dresses are designed for. In my world, the only reason I don't think it should have won is that I don't adore the color. It looks great on this girl, but for some reason I'm not a fan.

But man Chris, thank you. You're actually bucking up and showing us what you've got. Keep it up!

(Also, thank you for shutting down Sweet P and Victorya's whine fest by pointing out you got voted off. They were annoying me).

You know, if you just ignored the bust of this dress, it's actually quite lovely.

But I was positive Jillian would be called out for how borked up the bust looked. It's bunching oddly, the seams aren't smooth...I just don't understand it at all. It's a great idea, actually. If it was constructed perfectly, I bet I would like it.

Maybe I'm crazy and it's not a construction problem. But the bust of this dress looks terrible and I don't understand why not even Tim said anything about it. Where is the justice?

I do, however, love the colors.

I was absolutely baffled by almost every word coming out of the judge's mouthes during the judging of this dress. What planet were they from? Matronly? Old? Wait, what?

In Tim's Take, he says they really were obsessed with the hem. Okay, I decided to go and check out my own skirts because I personally am a huge fan of the flirty handkerchief hem style, which this seemed to want to be. I have four of these style skirts.

Each of them had the edge of the fabric barely turned under, not even a half inch, and a simple seam around. One of them (a red one, actually) had the very edge of the fabric covered with a sort of zig-zag stick that gave the bottom this interesting rolled look.

Neither of these seem like what Kevin did, so okay. He should have done one of those two things, fine. I actually can't understand why he didn't just do a quick, small hem. I know that hems are annoying. Trust me, my last sewing project I actually volunteered to do anything else so that my friend would sew the hems because it was probably about ten yards of hem to sew. But while it was tedious, it was actually the easiest part of the entire project. If you actually own a hem gauge, then yes it would be time consuming but not the end of the world.

The only reason I don't like this dress is that it's not formal enough for prom. If it was floor length, then yes, I'd be all for it. But as it is, it's a homecoming style dress, where shorter dresses are more the style.

I honestly have no idea what they mean when they said this dress looked old. I see nothing about this that looks old. The only thing I can figure is that they didn't like it and latched onto the first criticism they could think of, if it fit or not.

I actually really love this dress. It's very cute, it seems like a great marriage of Kit and her client's styles. The colors are really bright and fun.

My only problem with it is again, it isn't formal enough for prom. It would work, especially depending on the girl wearing it. But I think people just really have missed what the modern prom is: a FORMAL.

But I do really like this dress, it is fun and well made. It deserved a little bit of praise, but then I often think that of Kit's outfits. Why isn't she getting the attention she deserves?

In the middle of the episode Wednesday I realized finally why I don't like Rami. He actually reminds me of somebody I used to work with, years ago. This somebody was...not a nice person to work with. And Rami has a lot of the same mannerisms and a very similar look.

So forgive me for not jumping on the Rami bandwagon, it's nothing to do with him, I just can't get past that resemblance to somebody I'd rather never see again. It's not his fault!

This dress though, sorry, is his fault. What IS it? It looks like there is supposed to be a train, but the model got tired of tripping on it and threw it over her shoulder. Also, please, how many times do I have to say this: prom is a FORMAL, not a cocktail party. FORMAL. This is not a formal dress. Just because they are 17 doesn't mean they don't understand the meaning of formal. Please to go pick up an issue of YM's Prom Special. Or whatever the hip teenager magazine is these days.

This dress doesn't really just fail because it's not right for prom, but because it can't decide what it is. It looks like three different dresses put together, without too much trouble to blend the ideas.

I don't understand all the hate for this dress. For one thing, if you're going to hate on the skirt you have to hate on the winning dress too (and trust me, I will). The weird bubble hem was just...dumb. I can't even figure out why somebody would think it looked cool.

If people were complaining about the fact that the skirt was odd, or that it wasn't formal (again, not formal, what challenge were you people doing? What proms did you go to?) then I would understand. But instead everybody is angry about the color.

I don't think the color is that bad. She needed more interesting makeup to mitigate the fact that it's not a color that pops. But I don't think the color is so bad, I think under the prom lights (it's a dance, the lights are dim) this lighter, sparkling fabric would actually pop instead of fading out like darker shades.

All that said, I would gladly have let them eliminate Ricky if it meant Kevin got to stay. Ricky did well at the Hershey challenge, but in this one he's right back to lackluster. It's boring (not because of the color, because it's a non-entity of a design) and it doesn't fit the challenge at all. And honestly, it doesn't look that far removed from lingerie. Plus, the construction isn't too on par.

This dress should have won. Flat out, no question in my mind. The judges are on massive amounts of hallucinogens if they do not agree that this dress should have won. They obviously are too old to properly judge high school fashion.

This dress is classic, beautiful, perfectly constructed, and made of some of the most gorgeous fabric I've seen this season. The working relationship between Sweet P and her client was perfect. The client asked for something, Sweet P took her wishes and made them work without compromising herself.

The styling is perfect. The hair, the jewelery. Everything is absolutely spot-on exactly what it should be. This dress and this model could be the cover of Seventeen's Prom Special.

I can find nothing to say that is negative about this dress. Some people might say it looks a little too "old" or something. But as I said before, I see no difference between the formal wear at my prom, and the formal wear at parties for adults. There are outfits on red carpets right now that aren't that far from dresses being sold for high school girls. There isn't this huge disconnect like the people on the show seemed to think.

The fact that this dress didn't win is ridiculous. Sweet P had been faltering, but she pulled this one out. She deserves a lot of praise for this. I only wish I would look good in it.

There is one thing I like about this dress: the color. It's a fun, bright blue. Something like that can really be a neat twist on the average formal dress.

I hate everything else. The depths to which I dislike this dress are matched only by the depths to which I dislike the judges for choosing it to win. What in the WORLD are they thinking? How could any of them have thought that THIS was the best example of prom fashion on that runway? When you had Sweet P and Chris' dresses next to it?

It wasn't. It just simply wasn't. For one: NOT FORMAL. This is maybe a homecoming level of formal, it is NOT PROM FORMAL.

Two, bubble skirt. I hate that style of hem. It flows funny, and it makes the model look like a cartoon character or something. The movement is completely off, and it just reminds me of a marshmallow or something.

Three, the bedazzled front. I could have sworn that the Bedazzler was "out" when I was in high school, is it making a comeback? Cheap jewels that don't match glued on in no discernible pattern? WHAT? Without the jewels it was okay, with them it looks like somebody in high school that fancies herself a designer made her prom dress and expects everybody to think it is "kind of a big deal."

Four, the bust. It's just constructed badly! It fits strange, it looks's just not made well. Sweet P's dress had no flaws, not one. This one looks again, like a home sewn job.

I cannot fathom why this dress won. I can't wrap my mind around it in the slighest. I can't come up with a single reason for that decision, except that the judges have some sort of strange love for Victorya, who I personally think should have been eliminated a few episodes ago. Her construction seems poor, her fit is almost always bad, and I haven't seen her do much that really pops and demands attention. Why do the judges like her so much? How completely disconnected are the judges from the actual purpose of the challenge that they thought this met the criteria?

It seems to me if you're going to do a prom episode, you should maybe research prom. The designers couldn't, obviously, but they had their clients to help them do it right. The judges should have known what they were talking about before they walked in that room, and they so clearly didn't.

One last note, and I hate to be harsh to 17 year olds (which is a lie, really, but I usually save my barbs for private conversations) but couldn't they have gotten some runway coaches for the girls? This was our fifth episode with non-models on the runway (mothers/sisters, designers themselves x2, "real women", and now high schoolers). This was by far the worst showing when it came to runway walking and presence.

When I still worked at the newspaper, I covered a high school fashion show. Those kids were fantastic, they weren't awkward in the slightest. So I know high school kids can do a runway walk, it's completely possible. So why were so many of these girls so awkward? They didn't show off the garments at their best, and that's kind of a shame.

Though I guess, walking a runway in front of Heidi Klum would make anybody seem awkward and nervous. But really, I think the show would benefit from a runway coach for these episodes. I was too focused on the model's walks that I missed the clothes the first time around.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Where is this store again?

I was all set to post my Project Runway thoughts. I was so excited! What could be more fun than talking about outfits made from stuff at a candy shop? The first really fun challenge of the season!

But I can't get Bravo's website to load, so I can't post the pictures. Which makes things difficult. I'm currently trying to find something to work with so I can do this post. The pictures are just going to have to wait.

First, I want to say I'm completely baffled by the model selection. It comes down to those three and Ricky picks the one that I think has had the least attractive poses/walking in the bunch. I'm rather confused. And I agree with popular sentiment: where have the models even BEEN this season?

Also: What did they do with all that candy? Please tell me the chocolate got eaten or saved or put into cookies for the homeless or something!

If you can get the Bravo website to work, be sure to check out the outfits!


I was actually surprised that Ricky wasn't called out in the top on this challenge. He really understood the spirit of the challenge and from the audience's POV he seemed to execute the idea well. These were Ricky's two weakest points, so go Ricky.

It was fun, it was whimsical. It was not just something off-the-rack. It was one of my favorites, even though it's not something you could wear to a party.


I'm amazed nobody stopped to be amused at Kit using Kit Kat bars. No jokes? No comments? Did I miss them? Come on! It'd be so easy!

I like Kit's skirt, a lot actually. I find it interesting that three different outfits made use of the Hershey's label vertically in a rather similar way (Ricky, Chris, and Kit). But at one point Kit says something to the effect of "Should I just use one Kit Kat bar?"

Yes, yes you should have. The top just loses all focus the way it is, and with one artistically placed wrapper it could have been really neat. Instead the entire outfit put together is just too much, too busy. She looks like a store rack instead of a model.


The Meiling Syndrome strikes again. When the show started, I didn't like Elisa. I thought she was crazy. But then the second episode started to change things a little. I thought she was crazy but I really liked the outfit she and Sweet P put together. It wasn't too much later that I read about her car accident on the internet, and I gained new respect for her. Then seeing her talk about it in the episode, seeing her work, I just started to like her so much in spite of myself.

I honestly don't think Elisa should have been eliminated either. Though I think her outfit went the wrong direction, and it was a misstep, I think Sweet P's was more off than hers. When she started talking about making a sort of faerie dress for her daughter, I thought "Wow, this is going to be so neat."

I admit, I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. The outfits people came up with at FaerieCon were some of the most fanciful and fun things I'd seen in ages. I want to see what the Chocolate Faerie would look like!

But when she started talking about Gretel I realized she meant Fairy Tales, and I thought "Well, that can still be pretty cool!" But I don't think the concept actually came through in the dress. It has to be in the dress, because the garment has to speak for itself.

I'm sorry that Elisa is gone, hopefully she won't become one of those Project Runway stars who drop off the radar and stop updating their websites.


Bored now. It's an nice enough outfit, but it doesn't stand out. It's not FUN. This was a nutso challenge and he turned in the same kind of thing he's been making. It shows he has skill, but creativity? Not on display.

Side note: Why are they all so patient and willing to listen to Christian? I'm supposing they might trust his judgment, but I certainly wouldn't. I guess they don't get to hear all his derisive comments.

Which brings me to...


Hey, Christian, here's a tip: this challenge was about stretching creatively. Making something zany out of unconventional materials. Stretching your artistic muscles. It was not about making a simple dress and covering it with wrappers, nor was it about being so constantly dismissive of the materials. So you're better than Reeses Cups? What does that prove? Nobody likes a diva.

In season two, I liked Chloe's flower dress a lot. Until I read a review of the episode that said they couldn't stand the praise it got because it was just leaves glued on muslin, it wasn't really trying to make something of difficult materials. I realized they were right. Which means Christian's outfit is just...blah. Besides, it didn't move or flutter, or have sculptural qualities...if it had at least had some of the presence of Michael Knight's coffee filter dress it could have been redeemed. Heck, Chloe's leaf dress actually made a fascinating pattern that really thought about color and texture.

This dress looks like Christian thought the challenge was stupid so he didn't bother really doing it.

On a side note: how did he find so many Reeses Cups that would come right off the wrapper like that without leaving smears of chocolate behind? And they looked like minis, I NEVER get the minis out of the wrapper that cleanly. Maybe that's why I dislike the dress so much, because I want to eat that candy without getting chocolate on my fingers.


This garment is interesting, but not fascinating, when viewed on it's own. The thing that makes it so worthy of praise is that Chris made it. If you visit Chris' website, you see some of the things he's made with similar design challenges. Heck, I'd actually seen his salad-fixings dresses on tv before on some talk show. He could have done anything with this challenge. Like he said, he could have made the parade float. He could have done that in his sleep, I'd wager.

Instead he thought about what the judges have said about him and took a step to prove he has range. He said "They might just be waiting for me to fail and overdo this. I'm going to prove a point." And then he actually proved his point.

Normally the judges are annoying about things like this. They spend three episodes telling somebody "You're too costumey, you're too costumey!" Then they give them a costume challenge and go "Where's the costume? You're out!" Instead this time they praised Chris for showing what he was capable of. Kudoos, judges. When did you get so rational?

Sidenote: a lot of fuss has been made about Chris' departure and return. I can see both sides of the argument but quite frankly, I don't think it's as big an issue as people were making it out to be. Besides, it's all said and done now.

Sweet P:

As I said earlier, I think this should have been the dress to be out this week. For some reason, while I find Sweet P to be a perfectly nice person, something about her getting by week to week bugs me. This dress was flat out boring. It might have been made well, but she clearly couldn't handle the challenge. She waffled about and couldn't settle on a design, and ended up with something clearly made in a couple hours.

Again, very little creativity on display here. Again, creativity was the point of the challenge. It's a cute outfit, sure. But it's got nothing. And if I remember correctly (again, can't find good pictures right now) the front of the top was just off somehow. It bunched up, and looked disproportionate. I honestly can't understand why they judged this to be better than Elisa's dress.

Sweet P also has this habit of always looking so shocked and dismayed on the runway. Actually, she just over-emotes all the time. She's not quite at Andrea or even Angela proportions, but I really want her to be understated sometimes. I don't think it's doing her any favors in the judging to be constantly going "Ooooooh, ooooh, really? It's really that bad?"


I probably would have given the win to Jillian if it wasn't for the fact that Rami's outfit just looks better. Jillian's was more creative, to be sure. But Rami's is just cute. You could probably sell that if it wasn't made of paper.

The model wore it well, the styling was on point. It was just fantastic, and Michael Kor's was right, it fits her like a dream. It's the kind of thing you expect to see in advertisements.


Jillian deserves about a thousand bonus points for effort and innovation. The skirt is sort of a cop-out, but the bodice is beautiful. I'm personally not a fan of those bodices that move as one piece around the model's body instead of fitted TO her body. But this one does what it's supposed to do and does it well. She made a great pattern out of Twizzlers of all things.

One random thing, when the model was leaving the workroom she had glasses on, I'm assuming her own glasses. For some reason I decided this was brilliant styling and couldn't wait to see her walk down the runway in them, but they were gone for the runway show.

Don't ask me why, but I loved the idea of some cute, red plastic square glasses on that model in that outfit. Something to make the outfit even more of a juxtaposition of sexy, childish, cute, and beautiful.


I actually put Victorya's outfit below Elisa's on my scale. What WAS it? It had no personality, no color, nothing neat or interesting. It was just a bunch of ruffles, most of them not showing off the Hershey's patterns which was the whole point.

And instructing her model to walk that way was a seriously bad decision. Since you didn't get enough of the York idea from the dress, you couldn't even make a case that it was the York commercials used to have that whole winter theme going on. If she had gone somewhere with that and really went all the way, that could have been neat (and shown she knew the brand). But instead it's just a weird off-white frilly apron dress.

There's nothing that I understand about it. The only reason I think it deserved to stay over Sweet P was that it was a little more difficult to make, appeared to be made a little better, and at least Victorya had a vision and went with it instead of changing her mind.

Overall, I'm so glad the challenge was fun and interesting. Can we please continue to do this PR? Please? Next week, make it autoparts or something!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New book challenge

I'm trying to get myself to clean out my list of "Books to Read" and so I'm going to be doing a book challenge this year. The lovely Lenneth is doing the Mythopoeic Award Challenge:

I'll be listing the books as I read them, along with links to where I'll be reviewing them on this space. Book #1 is one I've had about three stops and starts on and never gotten past chapter one:

1. Sunshine by Robin McKinley.
2. Tithe by Holly Black.
3. Valiant by Holly Black
4. Deerskin by Robin Mckinley.
5. The Stolen Child by Keith Donahue.