Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Short Delay

My "recap" of the most recent episode Project Runway will be up on Friday. I'm currently on Chincoteague Island for the 83rd Annual Pony Penning/Swim and there is no Bravo at the hotel. Tune in mid-afternoon on Friday!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Not an actual green dress among them

Sorry about not getting this up yesterday, I meant to do it but then birthday festivities took over the whole afternoon ; )

First and foremost I'd like to express how much I hate the term "green." For one thing, if I was going to pick an "earth friendly" color it would be blue or brown. For the other thing, you're talking about fashion. In fashion, could we please reserve the word "green" to mean actually green? Please, use something else, it just ends up sounding so silly to be walking around saying "This challenge, we're going green!" and "This time you had to make green cocktail dresses!" and then have the models walk down with not a green dress among them.

Also: I think a fabulous challenge would be restricting all the designers to the exact same fabric. Because seeing the way that different people took the same fabrics was actually the most fascinating part of this challenge.

On to the actual garments, which underwhelmed me completely. Why exactly did the models end up with so little fabric, or are the designers so bad at using what they have? Or do "green" fabrics cost $30 a yard? I guess that's possible at a nice fabric store like Mood, but really last time I spent $75 on a dress it was floor length. Heck, the last one I made was floor length and fully lined, and it maybe topped $120.

I completely expected to hate Blayne's next creation, after I hated his "girlicious" one so much. But actually, I think this is a fun little outfit. I'm not sure what type of girl would wear it, but his model looks very nice. It might not be for cocktails with people you're trying to impress to get a promotion, but it would be good for cocktails with your friends. I'm still floored that this was Blayne's.

I like this dress, it's pretty simple and cute. Any women's fashion that includes pockets gets a bonus point from me. But there's just something about it that makes me think of Cloe's 23th look from season two. Sure, this is black and that one was gold, but for some reason that's just all that comes to mind.

I'm so bored already this season, this dress has so little I can really say about it. They make this big dramatic thing about if he'll finish or not and of course he does and there it is. It's a black dress. It's a cut, unremarkable black dress. A thrill a minute, these people are. He goes from a dress made of plastic cups to this? Oh well.

This is the dress that most makes me think "where was all the fabric?" It honestly looks more like a bathing suit cover-up than a dress. It's really cute, and I like it a lot from the front (I seem to recall not liking the back though) but if it just had a little more length on the skirt it would be nice.

I am glad she actually used different fabrics. I think a lot of the reason that designers made such short dresses and complained about lack of fabric was how almost all of them seemed terrified of the idea of using two colors. Live it up! Geeze.

This looks like something a costumer would put together in a couple hours to wear to a dance at a convention. I'm sorry, I like Jennifer a lot, she seems really nice, and really my type of person. But this dress has absolutely nothing going for it. Why are the gray parts so completely different? Why does the top fit so poorly? Why are those colors paired in that way? I think they could have gone together if there was less gray and it was more prominent. But that's just my hunch.

But if there weren't such obvious mistakes from other designers, I could see this being in the bottom for being so little effort or real "design."

This outfit looks like it should be worn by a higher class hooker. As if the outfit wasn't bad enough, the top doesn't fit, and the makeup is terrible. I don't blame L'oreal for that either.

Is this the same model who was wearing the horribly styled raincoat last week? Because I feel so sorry for her. Why in the world can't she have somebody who knows how to put together a good look?

Ugh. And that blue fabric seems really gorgeous too, it would have probably been a lot of fun to work with. Or was it the mysterious "jersey" everybody hated so much? Because I think they must have forgotten to watch the show for the last four seasons, when multiple designers have made really amazing looks out of jersey, over and over again. It's praises have been sung probably once a season. It could be completely fashionable to make a cocktail dress out of jersey, you just have to be willing to try it. This is why this crop of designers is not making me happy, they don't seem to be all weird ideas and risk like some of the others in the past.

Though I guess you could call dressing your girl like she's about to hit the street corners to get you some extra cash is a risk...

Joe had the same brown fabric as the two people on the bottom and he didn't end up even getting called onto the runway. I think that says something that Wesley should have heard loud and clear: it's not the fabric, it's the designer.

Don't get me wrong, fabric can make or break your outfit a hundred times over. But you can still get it together, and you should be able to when you're competing on Project Runway.

This brown has it's issues, and I think this dress wouldn't really look good in most situations because it's all wrinkles and puckers on all three things made from it. But Joe seemed to understand that, and he made something simple, sleek, and well-tailored to make up for it.

And he didn't win, sure. But he wasn't out either.

This dress looks cute and fun in this picture. This dress moved on the runway like it belonged in a circus. I know that it's my own personal issue against those kinds of skirts but I just can't take it. Standing still, it's great. But the way it moved...yuck.

What is this? Seriously, it's not a cocktail dress. The skirt is so stretched in such an odd way...

I realize it's one of only a handful of outfits to really utilize having more than one color of fabric. But I just can't stand it. The colors look good together, but the top is just too much and it seems badly sewn. Which is dissapointing, coming from Kelli. Did she run out of fabric? What happened on the left side that made it so uneven and strange?

And for something so dull, why do I dislike it so?

This dress is fabulous. I don't really usually like things with a big collar like that, but for some reason it works here. Maybe it's the model, maybe it's the color, but it's fun. I can't imagine actually trying to wear it to an event, how would you eat? I guess you wouldn't because getting a stain out of that would be a disaster and you wouldn't want to risk it. But even sipping cocktails in a collar like that probably has it's own challenges.

But with just the subtle belt to break up the dress, and the collar being the only real draw to it, I think the reason this dress works so well is that it's fitted and sewn perfectly. Kenley certain didn't lament her fabric, she took it and made it into what it really wanted to be. She made something so elegant and classic I almost expected Laura from season three to pop out of the woodwork to applaud.

One question: why? Maybe the outside darts could work, though I can't really imagine them ever looking like anything besides inside-out. Maybe that super small top part could work if the look was meant to be slimming overall, but instead with the point being to accentuate her curves, it makes her look more bottom heavy than she deserves.

But then the wings hit you. They make no sense, I can't even fathom what in the world could have been going through her head as she put them on. Why? How could anybody in their right mind sew those things onto the dress and think it's a good idea?

And the worst part, the back of the dress was completely off-putting. It wasn't symmetrical, though it seemed like it was trying to be. It looked like it was badly done. When you look at the front, you have misgivings but think "it's not too bad" but if you see the back...then you chuck your good faith out the window and say, "Wow, this is just wrong."

Also, at this point in the competition, Korto really shouldn't be so emotional. She's going to get labeled like Andrae. I realize she didn't actually break down for 45 minutes on the runway, but it just made me feel like a horrible person as I watched her start crying.

But as horrible as I feel, I can't change how much I dislike the dress, and neither can the judges.

This outfit is...special. Honestly, I love Leanne, she's exactly my type of person. She seems to be a little shy, but to also really think as she speaks. I like her quite a bit.

But she committed one of the cardinal sins of Project Runway, and I think it's definitely in the drinking game (if there isn't a PR drinking game, then why are you slacking internet? Make one!): she said, "Tim Gunn said XX but I'm not going to listen."

*bangs head on desk* When are they going to learn? WHEN?

Anyway, the thing to remember, and the thing that saved her despite the massive amount of stuff that got thrown on this dress, is that while she made a lot of stuff out of that brown fabric, she made it WELL. It's a terrible fabric to try to make an entire garment out of, but she did as good a job as she could, I think.

I felt really bad when Heidi asked her model how she liked it, because you could tell the model didn't want to hurt Leanne's feelings, but also wanted to be honest. At least Leanne didn't get upset and start spouting off about being thrown under a bus (who started that phrase, and can we go back in time and actually throw them under a bus?) I think Leanne might be too classy for that.

I am 90% baffled as to what the judges loved here. For one thing, this is absolutely the wrong fabric to be making this kind of dress out of. It looks like crushed velvet to me, and who knows, it might be.

But really, in the end, it looks like something Julia Roberts would have worn in the pre-shopping-montage moments of Pretty Woman. You can do the asymetrical one sleeve thing, but this just looks wrong here.

I'm not saying it deserved to be on the bottom, it didn't. But it certainly didn't deserve top three. Not with some of the other looks that came down the runway.

When I saw this dress on the form, half-finished, I made a couple noises that roughly translated to "Oh my goodness, there is a mess of weirdness over there and it's going to be nuts." But it completely surprised me, and I'm glad it won. While I think Kenley's dress was very impressive too, this one was flirty and fun and original.

I like that Blayne didn't sit around whining that he had the wrong fabric and he hated the fabric and blah blah blah. He just said, "This is neat. Everybody else has it too, but here, let's do something else..."

He's one of the only people that really tried to make something great out of what he had, rather than just making something. I personally would like it more pink showed through, and I'm not a huge fan of the tulle because I generally think tulle is a bad idea if you're over the age of five. But it's still much more inventive and fun than anything else people did.

This is the dress I think should have been in the top three instead of Stella. One of the girl's at work said she would buy it and happily wear it. It's not revolutionary, it's not really amazing. But it's very wearable, it's very nice, and it's something that I could absolutely see being on the rack tomorrow at the store.

And somehow Terri managed to actually have a dress of a decent length instead of a micro-mini. Maybe her model just has a little more sense.

First, Wesley can't dress himself, so I'm not sure what we expected. Did you SEE the outfit he was wearing on the runway? It hurts my brain.

Second, apparently Wesley has no color sense. He stood there with some nice green and this brown and said they didn't work together at all, and just chucked the green out the window. I looked over at my husband, who actually has to think about colors that go well together for a living, and we both were completely baffled. Everybody I've talked to has agreed that he should have made the dress with the green as a focus and brown as an accent, so that that fabric wouldn't have done him in like it did.

Third, he came off as such a whiner. Nothing was his fault, nothing was his problem. He basically was like Stella last week. I should establish a Whiner of the Week award. Goodness gracious, what do these people expect? They're on Project Runway!

Lastly, this dress is such a mess. He said it himself, he was completely aware that this fabric was absolutely unforgiving. And yet he did it anyway and he messed it up so terribly. I admit, I couldn't have done anything with this brown. But I also admit that I'm not a fashion designer, I'm a "sometimes it's fun to make costumes" type. The design isn't even one that would look good with that type of fabric if it was impeccably done.

Actually, quite frankly, this fabric is just a bad choice for a dress. One of the main reasons that Joe's wasn't too bad was that he made something that wasn't so heavy with it. But it's a heavy, dark, difficult thing. It's meant to be an accent, or a skirt, or a top, not an entire outfit.

There are a few things about fabric shopping that are always good to remember:
1. Get the best fabric you can afford. Sure, there's usually some $3/yard stuff but your finished garment will look like $3/yard. Maybe you can't get the luxury stuff, and for some projects and budgets cheap is the only way to go. But it's the best advice I've ever gotten about sewing: buy the best fabric you can afford.

2. While you should buy as much fabric as you can afford, and if you're working from a pattern go with their recommendations, cut conservatively. Use every inch that you can. Depending on the width of the stuff on the bolt, you can get a nice dress with very little yardage. But for some reason the Project Runway crowd always seems to be so wasteful with their fabric. Maybe that's just how it looks from this side of the editing. But really, my mom always used to buy a yard or two less than the pattern called for because she could cut the pieces so much better than their diagrams. Thankfully, pattern makers have made better diagrams.

3. Remember money for notions, but that shouldn't be the bulk of your budget. It's easier to get buy without a zipper than it is to get buy with two yards less fabric.

Maybe next week, somebody will do something really wacky. Though I have to say, hearing Tim Gunn say that he wants to jump in front of a cab after he slits his wrists made my husband and I burst out laughing.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back where we started from

I didn't meant to do a hiatus at the same time as Project Runway, but that's what happened, huh? Anyway, I've also been reading a lot more books that just weren't good or bad enough to review. They were just kind of there.

But since Project Runway is back, so are my recap/review/ramblings!

Every time Project Runway or Top Chef start a new season, I just watch the new people and wonder if I can get invested in them. They never seem to catch my attention quite like the first crowd (for me, Runway season two and Top Chef season one). But then somewhere along the line, one or two of them win me over. Last season, it was Chris March and Kit Pistol. In season three, it was Michael and Kayne.

The strength of each season, I think, is how I feel about those contestants that I don't become big fans of. While I loved Michael and Kayne, I still really liked Bonnie, Bradley, Katherine, Uli, and Robert. But in Season 4, most of the contestants were ones that I tolerated more than actually LIKED.

So now I'm sitting here wondering how this season is going to fall. I have to say that the women look like a lot of fun this time around. Some of them seem a little out there *coughStellacough* but for the most part, they seem like a really interesting bunch. Then men...well, we'll just say I like Joe, so far.

But enough rambling, on to the clothes!

This completely reminds me of Santino's disastrous skating outfit from season two. I know that Michael Kors said it was the wrestling challenge over again, but I don't see that as much as that turkey feather explosion.

First and foremost: what the hell is with the "girlicious" thing? What is so girlicious about this outfit? There is NOTHING that that moniker fits here. Girlicious to me is something that Britney Spears or Ginger Spice would wear. Something sleek that shows off their curves, possibly in pink but not necessarily.

There's also something very strange about the shoulders. You only got a glimpse of it once in a while, but they were made out of some odd colored fabric that had nothing to do with the rest of it. The whole outfit was just confused and going in too many directions.

Blayne also strikes me as a whiner. His model is too curvy apparently (they had their measurements, and they should realize that's what the hour of fitting is for) and according to my text messages, the supermarket clerk rang up his purchases wrong so he didn't have the money for a skirt.

Really? Austin's dress shriveled and almost died. It's called make it work.

I'm not thrilled with Blayne, at all.

I'm with the judges on this one: who goes in the grocery store and says "plastic cups! GENIUS!" But it worked, and it worked really well. That must have been such a time consuming and difficult dress to make.

I admit that it doesn't really look comfortable, or all that perfect (she is so obviously encased in hard, rough plastic) but if it was made of fabric it would just be a cute little dress. I think the only reason he didn't win is because he went with just one idea rather than the multitude of stuff that Kelli did. But it's a very strong showing to start out the gate with.

I have to say that I'm actually not a fan of this outfit. And I agree with Tim that everybody used a "fabric substitute" and that made it kind of boring. The outfits were interesting, and they were dresses, sure. But it went entirely against the spirit of the challenge.

The bottom of the dress, using the detail from the tablecloth, are cute. It's all at least interesting, but it honestly just makes me think that somebody stuck a bunch of gum on the model and this is the result of years worth of schoolchildren's bad habits.

Plus, there's the fact that the collar of the dress doesn't really seem to flow into the rest of the dress, it's like they're two different outfits put together. I have a feeling most of the collar is the result of Tim's angry comment about nobody being able to wow the judges.

I know that I'm technically yawning because I got almost no sleep last night, but this dress could easily be the culprit. It's so boring that there's so little I have to say about it.

See, I know it's made of paper towels, and that's interesting. But they didn't really transform into anything, it just became a boring little dress. Michael Knight's coffee filter dress was fluttering and fascinating. Somehow, it was both coffee filters AND a dress. Don't ask me what the difference is, but there's nothing that makes it MORE. Maybe that's what Tim means by wow factor.

(The fact that I just typed that as "WoW factor" means I'm playing way too much World of Warcraft, BTW).

On the one hand, I'm not entirely sure what this outfit even is. On the other hand, it's pretty whimsical and much more reminiscent of the outfits from the first time they did this challenge. The skirt is actually really cute, it's the kind of thing I'd want to wear. The top is a little out there, and the colors certainly clash a bit. But for some reason having the stripes on the top go all the wrong directions actually makes me like it MORE.

And the paper umbrellas are a fun touch, I'm surprised nobody else thought of it. Overall, a good idea, but not the best outfit to walk down the runway that night.

Poor Jerry, I actually liked him. I think his problem here was more styling and presentation than the actual outfit. Well, there's a few problems with the outfit too.

But the boots? Too much. The gloves? Never in a million years should have happened. That weird hat she's got on? Bad choice. The wacky cape on the raincoat? What in the world was that for?

If he had actually taken the shower curtain and made a really great raincoat with it, I think he would have been middle of the pack safe. But he tried to just chuck stuff at it to capture that "wow factor" and none of it worked at all. Plus, if he had said something about his inspiration being the whole "april showers bring may flowers" and then actually followed through on that...

Think about it, cute little white raincoat (that was tailored and fit without the weird bunching on top) is atop a neat little dress that actually is covered in fake flowers (or real ones) or umbrellas, or something bright and colorful and reminiscent of flowers...

That would have been a great reveal on the runway, it would have been cute, and it would have been a great soundbite for the judges. But instead, it's just blah. Plus, the dress under the raincoat was a disaster. The gauze, and the random swaths of purple just made me think of a bad sci-fi movie.

I'm sorry Jerry. I don't think you were the worst of the fact, I don't eve think this was the second worst. But it was third to last, probably.

This was a really cute idea, and he styled it really well. But I just really like that he went in with a theme and an idea (pasta, one of my favorite foods) and he executed the theme from top to bottom. The pasta makes a really fun pattern on the skirt, the pot holders make a great bodice. It's not really making a dress out of banana peels, but it's still a really cute little outfit.

I'm already thinking I'm going to like Joe.

Again with the yawning. And this time I can't even talk about how it's paper towels. It's just a tablecloth. Yay.

It's not even a new or interesting silhouette or a really fabulous's just a little cocktail dress. We've seen this plenty of times before.

I think it's obvious that this should be the winning outfit. I have no qualms here, this was the best, the cup dress came in second. I really love the skirt, that's the kind of print that I would wear if I could pull it off (and if there was really a top that matched it). She's the only person that didn't use a single thing as it was intended. Well, aside from the cups.

But she didn't use any plain fabric. Even her fabric substitute, the vacuum cleaner bags, she transformed with die and bleach. She made clasps out of a notebook, she made a pattern with thumbtacks (and I'd like to know how she did that without killing her model). The whole thing was exactly what the challenge was about.

When it comes down to the dress itself, I like the skirt, and the clasps in the back. The thumbtack belt I'm okay with. But I'll be honest, I hate the coffee filter bodice. I can recognize that it was exactly the right thing to win the challenge, but I have to admit that it just looks weird on the model. It doesn't really flow from the top to the bottom, it feels like three pieces put together, like one of those books where you flip part of the page to make silly pictures.

But it's still the clear winner.

I love that you could still see the texture of the dodgeball on the bodice. I also really like the fun, asymetrical nature of the skirt. If Kelli and Daniel's outfits hadn't been so great, I think this one would have been in the top. It's a cute, fun outfit. It's colorful when most of them really weren't and it seems to fit pretty well too.

I imagine that it wasn't that comfortable to wear though.

I don't really see what Michael Kors was so in love with here. I do like that she used fresh produce, and that she thought about it. It wasn't just "I want to throw something living on here to be impressive" it was "I wanted to slice the tomatoes to look like brooches or jewels."

It sort of reminds me of the salad dresses that Chris March made before he came on the show. But I see why the judges didn't really want to put it too far ahead because it, once again, was just a piece of cloth that happened to come from a grocery store.

It's a good dress though, it's made well and it's just different enough to catch the eye. Plus, the colors are all fabulous together.

This is a really cute dress, but it seems like something you'd make for a five year old for Halloween. Add a tiara of twizzlers and call her queen of candyland.

But I do have to say that of all the people that listened to Tim say "what's with all the fabric" Leanne actually did something about it. There's not much different between her gluing the meringues on top of the tablecloth than Joe gluing pasta on a muslin skirt, or Chloe gluing leaves on a dress for that matter.

It's not my style at all, and it could probably stand to be a few inches longer, but it's a pretty good effort. Also, for some reason, I really like Leanne and can't wait to see more from her.

I hate this outfit and I don't like the designer much more. Remember when I said Blayne was a bit whiney? Yeah, Stella turns that up to eleven. She's the one that got the trash bags without looking to see if they were high quality or cheap, and not thinking about it. And she put more in her bag than one box of trash bags and yet she couldn't muster herself to do anything but this?

It's a horrible, horrible outfit. It's not even close to the outfit that got Kirstin eliminated in season two (the clothes off your back challenge). That one at least had an interesting skirt to go with it.

Not to mention that she styled it with the hair under the halter top, so I kept wanting to yank it out and fix it.

She did nothing to make this outfit. She barely draped it, and sure she "hand sewed" it, but really? That's barely any effort compared to what some other people did here.

She should have been eliminated, I can't imagine why she wasn't. Jerry at least showed some creativity. This, this is something that a middle-school goth kid might whip up.

It's boring. It's a checkered tablecloth. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Also: SUEDE? And he owns a bedazzled denim jacket with his "name" on it? Wow, I am not impressed.

I don't exactly love the look of the top, but I love that she did it. It was something different, and nobody else really did anything similar (unless you count Blayne's weird jump rope belly patch). I can't imagine how much work went into weaving that together, I'm impressed.

It's a pretty nice outfit too, but there's not that much I can say about it.

Boring. Tablecloth. Only with fly swatters as decorations. And? And nothing, that's it.

You know what I'd like to see? Next week's challenge to be "take all that crap you bought and didn't use, you know, all the fun stuff? Make THAT into a dress now you slackers."

But I guess they didn't know people would buy all those fun looking things and then not bother using them.

I think this crowd looks promising, but if Stella doesn't get eliminated soon, I might snap. Especially if I have to see her in those leather-booty-short-with-striped-leggings pants again.