Friday, September 26, 2008

Arbitrary or genius?

I can't decide if I loved this challenge or completely hated it for how fake and forced it felt. "You're not just giving each other makeovers, WHAT A TWIST!"

I am intrigued that just like in makeover episode of season two, the loser was sent home wearing the winning design.

On with the show!

There are actually a couple ways where Kenley looks better in this get-up than she does in the "style" she usually wears. I was interested by the difference, I think you could write an entire paper on it. But when it comes down to just the actual look, I don't love it as much as the judges did.

I thought it was simplistic for one thing. It doesn't look that hard to construct at all. My other major problem is the diamond cups on the front. They have no edge! They look unfinished and unpolished, which makes the whole dress look just a touch onto the trashy. If it looked a little more like a very well constructed bra (where's Ricky when you need him?) then maybe I would have gone for it, but instead it just reminds me of some fabric swatches glued on the front to keep her from being indecent.

The little fur shrug But very pop. This just goes to show how much I dislike pop-tartlet fashion.

For the record, I'm going in alphabetical order by designer, as I always do.

Okay, as much as I don't hate Suede like the rest of the world I've thought it was his time to go several times now. I figured he'd be gone by now, and so going into this episode I thought "Eh, it's probably Suede's last one."

Then THIS happened. There is no call for Kenley to still be in the running after this. Those pants are a travesty against woman and nature. I felt so terrible for Leanne having to pretend that this was acceptable. First of all, it was part of the arbitrary nature of the challenge that you got Leanne, who probably is the second least hip-hop person on the show and that it was being designed by Kenley who was the least hip-hop. Anyone on the show would have been better suited to design that genre, and Leanne at least seemed to have a pretty good grip on what hip-hop wasn't, which Kenley didn't have at all.

I can't believe how she just kept asking the black people "this is hip-hop, right?" and when they very unbelievably said "sure" she just accepted it and went on her oblivious little way. It was obvious they were just saying "whatever" and she didn't care.

And it's not even just that this isn't hip-hop. It's that it's TERRIBLE. Those pants are wrong on so many levels that I can't even begin to talk about why. Everything about them seems designed to make Leanne look oddly shaped, and it makes me wonder if Kenley didn't do it on purpose. She kept saying she didn't want Leanne to look ridiculous but then she put her in those pants.

I'll leave aside Kenley's ridiculous attitude since so many people have touched on it better than I. I'll let her outfit speak for itself, and it says VOLUMES.

Suede should have stayed.

You know, this doesn't actually say "punk" to me, but that's because I grew up in an odd era. It's close to punk, but it's not quite there. It's got too much grunge influence maybe. Anyway, of everybody there she did get the closest to what she was going for.

The other thing is, this calls to mind the things I said during the last challenge when the designers made over each other all those seasons ago. I mentioned that Santino and Nick sold their looks on the runway and really looked confident and great and those were the top looks. But that Daniel V. looked bored, sleepy, and unhappy and so his look was quickly targeted for dismissal. Suede was the only designer who was really into it. It's like he said to himself, "alright, I look frightening but I only get to do this once!" Leanne made some attempts at playing the part, but well, what could she do really?

Really though, in the end this doesn't make that much of an impression on me as an outfit because I saw people wear more interesting things in high school.

First and foremost, could we ditch the little checked scarf?

Second, what's with all the dissing on country? I understand if you don't listen to it, but the blogs and the judges...nobody seems to really like it. It's like everybody's next door neighbor that they pretend not to know if they see them at the mall or something.

I like country music, myself. I like old school country music too. So really, while this doesn't look like the modern "cross-over country" stars it also isn't that far off the deep end. I think if she had picked a better fabric for the top, and not done the gold accents but instead stuck with a color that was a little less contrast then it was a really solid idea. It didn't look like a CMA outfit, no. But it looked like a Grand Ole' Opry dress, didn't it?

And really, nobody wears anything that looks country to the CMAs anymore. Just like country stars are mostly not singing country music anymore either. But that's another rant for another time.

I will have to say again that the model either sells or doesn't sell the look on the runway. While I think Kenley's whining about Leanne was uncalled for (Leanne tried dangit) Suede could have easily made a case that his outfit fell flat partially because Jerrell's lackluster walk. It was terrible! He was modeling in his sleep or something.

I'll give you all the criticisms that the judges had. It does have to pop from the nosebleed seats if you're going with that kind of style. It doesn't look at all different from what Jerrell wears in general. But here's the other thing, the big rock stars right now? They're wearing jeans and t-shirts for the most part. They're not really going out there blinged up or glammed or any of that. I wouldn't know what to do with a "modern" rock star look these days. I guess dress them like Jeffery, but I thought he looked ridiculous.

Anyway, Suede said that he wanted Jerrell to look like Lenny Kravitz and if they had put a wig on him, he could have looked the part. If Jerrell had played the oozing sexiness and the cocky swagger of a rock star, this could have worked at least on some level.

Which is all my way of wandering around and arriving at the fact that Suede did not have the worst outfit that day, by far. He was eliminated based on past designs, not based on this week. Which I guess makes some sense but in the end, still didn't make me feel good.

Bonus: I took a look at Suede's collection for fashion week and while there were a couple really cute and flirty little dresses, for the most part it was So much of it would have looked good with one less ruffle or one less detail. Learn to edit a little Suede, please? You're getting pretty close.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ooh, sleepover at Parson's!

So I have to admit that while most people would probably find the idea of giving recent college grads a makeover is a pretty stupid challenge. I think this episode failed the potential, but I do think potential was there.

Maybe I only find it interesting because I was in that spot once. It wasn't that many years ago when I was thrown to the wolves of the world with a bachelor's and a hope that I could get a job. But I had majored in film and photography and minored in art history, so really, I shouldn't have expected much.

But it is a time that's really interesting for women and their style. They have to discover how to fit in and look professional while still being themselves and having their own style. It's kind of fascinating in a way.

I could just find it interesting because I'm currently in my first few weeks of graduate school and I'm back to trying to reinvent myself again.

BUT, I think they failed utterly at the fact that the mothers were involved. They were unnecessary, they had no purpose dramatically. I'm in a screenwriting class right now and she keeps telling us about how if it isn't an integral part of the story, then the detail shouldn't be there. Is it vitally important that the main character has blue eyes? No? Then chuck it.

So, is it important to the dramatic arc of the episodes that the mothers are there at all? Absolutely not. The clients ran about the same chance of being demanding and difficult as the prom challenge, and so you didn't need the mothers there. The mothers only came to TWO meetings out of what, four? Then they watched the runway show and went away without a word!

If the mothers had at least joined them on the runway to talk about what they thought of the makeover then I would have given it a go. But they didn't, so they shouldn't be there.

It occurs to me that using a screenwriting argument to debate the merits of the challenge on an "unscripted" show could be it's own post, what with the WGA and all. I'll avoid that post and get back to the fun part: MAKEOVERS!

Or not, since most of the girls looked so very much the same as before. Blah de blah.

Jerrell very clearly won this challenge. He took the girl who said she liked androgyny and tomboyish looks and made her look stylish without being overtly feminine. He made her look professional without making her look old, and just in general I'm a fan. The only problem I really have is that along with this "head to toe" makeover they should have done more with the hair. I'm going to refrain from critiquing the girl's hair because no 22 year old needs an anonymous blogger saying she had a bad hair day on national television, but I wanted to see DIFFERENT looks, and this girl's hair didn't really look different.

They got rid of the different colors and made it one solid, and that's about it.

That said, it's still absolutely the best garment of the show, it's actually so far and above the rest it deserves a win with a gold star or something. Absolutely an earned win.

I have no problem with Joe making an interview suit instead of something that screams "graphic designer." Mostly because what in the world screams graphic designer? Bold prints? I don't know. But the thing is, I'm a filmmaker and I'm pretty sure that I should still just wear something professional to job interviews. I'm still supposed to own a suit. There was a bit of a speech at orientation about "dressing like a filmmaker" but I never did figure out what that meant, so I think Joe's idea wasn't bad.

I think Joe's execution has so many flaws I can't actually go over them all. The skirt is the wrong length, it comes up too high above her waist. The jacket is tailored badly, and the shirt...I can barely look at the shirt. It doesn't fit her, it's terrible. It also is far too low cut to go with the rest of the look, I'm so confused by it.

Also, it should be worth noting that pocket squares are not, by default, outdated and terrible. I bet they can be pulled off with quite a bit of style if done right. This isn't it, by far, but still. Don't laugh just because it's a pocket square.

All in all, Joe just fell apart here. I expected to not care when he got eliminated, but somehow I actually got a little upset about it. Not fair, Project Runway!

Dear Kenley,

Please go home. You obviously don't want to be here, so just leave already.

No love,

That's all I'm going to say about Kenley's miserable attitude other than where has this been the whole time? I know there's editing tricks and stuff, but it's really confusing! Maybe it's always been there, but it's still just obnoxious! I so wish she had gone home last week.

The dress itself...I actually don't like it. I think it's boring, I think it's cliched, and I think it screams "Look at me, I'm so desperate to be different just like all those other people!" Just watching the girl and Kenley snicker on the runway was like watching a bad high school clique or something. What does that have to do with the dress? Because it feels like a costume, like the girl is putting on an entire costume instead of being a person.

I hate the belt. The vest and dress, with a thinner belt, could work for me I guess. But I agree with Tim that the tulle shouldn't have been showing. I also think that this wasn't remotely a makeover, but then almost nobody really did that.

Maybe I'm just too sour-faced about Kenley in general, but I just don't like it. I think that it was only in the top because when you only have six designers it's either top or bottom. In any other week this would have been the middle, IMHO.

Brace yourselves.

I don't like this at all. I think the jacket would look great on somebody with a different build, but this makes her look like she's so wide and so short. There's just so much not to like about what it does to her body. The dress might be fun and nice under that jacket but when you put them together it makes her a block.

I like the idea of the jacket, I wonder what it would look like on Korto's regular model. I also wonder what it would look like on Korto, I think I'd like it.

But this outfit? I'm just not really a fan of it at all.

Leanne...oh, poor Leanne. While there wasn't much drama or difficulty in the long run, why did you make this dress? Fresh off of three phenomenal garments you make THIS? I realize the girl is an elementary school teacher, but so was my sister and she didn't wear things like this.

The idea might have been sound, I guess. But the jacket is just off in so many ways, including the fit. And the top was just not as well made as I'm used to for Leanne. It made me sad to see, and if she had been one of the bottom two I would have cried.

I just don't know how this garment existed. After so many amazing things and then she makes this? It reminds me more of Jennifer than Leanne.

Okay, that jacket is bad, I'll give you that in a heartbeat. But at least the dress itself is very cute. Maybe it's not a professional work attire kind of thing, but at least it's cute. The jacket...the jacket is just kind of wrong. But it's so much better than Joe's. As much as I'm confused by how long Suede has lasted, this wasn't an elimination dress.

I do have to say that it makes me kind of grumpy how they kept saying "she doesn't look like a photographer!" What exactly does a photographer wear, hm? I get the whole thing about pants because she's hauling equipment and running around to get a good shot, but there are so few professions that have a dress code and photography is not one of them. I was one for a while, I just wore business casual.

Side note!

I checked out Joe's collection since I now knew he was a decoy, since I don't actually look at them before the show. There were a few good pieces (I love the first denim skirt) but for the most part I was so perplexed. The second corset top with the zippers? That looked so cheap.

What really bugged me was his insistence in the Western theme he had going on with the turquoise jewelery. Okay, my mom loves turquoise jewelery, and it can be really beautiful. But it has to be paired properly and wore the right way, just like anything else. Almost nothing in his show fit that description.

Though I am amused that I looked through the pictures yesterday with a co-worker and we couldn't figure out why he went all western and then this morning's Style section in the Express was all about how the Western look is back. Well, you get two points for physic power, Joe.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Missed Oppurtunity

I understand that in a way they wanted the designers to have some sort of investment into the sign that they were using, so they wanted them to do either theirs or the auf'd designers. But here's my issue: we could have had this great fashion show type situation where each of the twelve signs was represented and everybody was working on something different. You could have even tried to do that first season thing where it needed to look like a collection instead of separate pieces. Instead, we get lots of the same sign over and over.

And only one person picked Leo! I guess there was only one Leo, but that's just not right. Obviously we Leo's are the most interesting sign ; )

On with the show:

This garment is so much of a disaster that I can't even begin. It reminds me so much of the terrible-ness that got Emily sent home, and nearly had Blayne thrown out too that same week. What in the world was he thinking? How could he have conceived of this idea and thought that it actually made sense? What in the world was he thinking when he chose that fabric for the base part of the outfit and then puckered it that way so that it looked like old pantaloons?

What does have to do with being a Libra? I get the idea of playing with weight and balance, but how does this actually convey that? I don't see that really even at all. I'm completely baffled.

I don't really understand how Blayne made it this far in the competition in order to be this bad at this stage in the game. I suppose because of his habit of being on one week and terrible the next week.

I really wish we had been able to see more of the judges talking about the top outfits, because I want desperately to know why this dress won. First, it's not avant guarde. I might hate that term, but it doesn't fit it. Second, if I saw this and had to guess the sign it represented I would say Pisces because it seems fish-like with the scales and the green colors.

I also think that it makes the model look like she's leaning back in a weird way when she wears it, and maybe she is. But there's something about it that makes her look wrongly proportioned. The top is sort of baggy and loose too, which does her no favors.

I'm not saying this is a BAD dress. I'm just saying it shouldn't have won. It certainly is nice, it's well made, and I do like the skirt and think it's pretty interesting. But why it won, I'll never know.

I kind of don't care at all about this design. I don't see it really representing anything about the zodiac. I like the fabrics but really, it's just sort of there. It's not bad, it's not good. It just is.

It's another one of those outfits that the next day I couldn't remember even seeing in the show, let alone what it looked like.

Okay, I realize avant guarde does not mean wearable. I get that. But this is the thing, when Christian and Chris created an avant guarde look last season, it was completely unwearable and yet it was fabulous and gorgeous. This? This is neither of those things.

First, I don't care what Kenley says this has no relation to Aquarius. And I realize that the two fabrics don't have to MATCH but really, they could do better at it than these two. Kenley might want to be known for prints (which is what my text message said last week when they were doing the Diane Von Furstenburg challenge) but really she needs to work at figuring out that fine line that's involved with "matching" contrasting prints. I haven't seen her achieve it all that well.

This is the worst thing about this episode though, not only is this garment off the wall and strange, not only does it not fulfill the challenge, but Kenley turned into a horrible person somewhere along the line. I kind of liked her before, but she's just turned a little more every episode and I want to put duct tape on her mouth.

It's fine if she's in love with her design, she should be. You should be doing something you believe in. But the way she expresses it seems intentionally obnoxious. She's also rude to the judges, and you can think what you like about the judges but that's just a stupid thing to do. But in the end the thing that drives me the most crazy?

"I don't look at collections."

If that is true, my dear Kenley, then you are a failure. You can't be a writer without reading, you can't be an artist without appreciating art. What do you do in film school to learn to make films? You watch a LOT of films (trust me on this one, a lot) and you're encouraged every step of the way to look at other films that have done what you're trying to do so you can see ways they failed or succeeded as well as developing your own idea about the topic. If you want to be a fashion designer and you want to say, "I don't look at collections" then you're doing it wrong and I've lost all respect for you.

I'm almost sad that she stayed, and that's saying something.

Korto's dress really captures the essence of her zodiac sign, Aquarius. But it does so in a rather expected way, I think. The dress itself doesn't seem very new or edgy either. I love it, don't get me wrong, I just think it wasn't out there enough and that might be Korto's weakness.

I do wonder about the little jumpsuit that the model is wearing under the sheer overlay of the top. It looked a little odd coming down the runway.

I have to admit that I think Leanne should have taken home a third win in a row. Not just because I like her, not just because her colors are so gorgeous. But because if you look at the top designs it is clearly the one that took the challenge as inspiration and then went somewhere else with it. She didn't make a direct representation of the zodiac sign, she made something that is tangentially related but more about the avant garde portion of the episode.

It is something that you could take and then tone down into a ready to wear outfit that would be a huge hit. I can't necessarily look at it and see Scorpio, but I can see how she got there once I know. With Jerrell, even after I know what he was doing I don't see what he was thinking.

I do think that there's something about the dress when it's shown in a photo like this one that you don't get, and it doesn't look as good in a picture as it did on the runway. It's definitely something that needs to be seen in motion.

It does make me wonder if the designers supervise the photo shoots, because I don't know why the model is smiling the way she is.

Honestly, as much as Terri's attitude bothered me, and as much as I think her inability to be a team leader makes me think she should go home, I think Suede should not have stayed in this instead of her.

This outfit is not just kind of boring, it's not typical, it's poorly made. It is so badly made that it reminds me of the first time costumers try to mess around with satins. It's puckered and mangled and just sad to look at. But at least Suede didn't try to make himself a martyr. But really, he should have gone home. Sorry Suede, you seem like a great guy though!

It depresses me that this is the only representative we have of Leo. That makes me downright sad. Leo isn't just a fire sign, it's also a sign that denotes royalty. This does not look like royalty.

I think if she ditched the gold skirt for either a different gold fabric or something else entirely, I would like it so much more. But as it is the fabrics just don't go well together and I just don't like them.

But the thing that bothered me most was Terri's attitude. It was useless, it was baseless, and it made me cranky. She intentionally set up a situation where she was doing all the work and then tried to get somebody to feel sorry for her about it. She wanted to be a martyr for her efforts and that's just stupid. Even if you don't like Keith, he knows how to sew a straight line so have him sew the straight lines. It's not that hard. Give him the crap work, sure, but don't just tell him to get out of your way and then get mad at him for listening to you.

While it may have been a touch petty, I like the way Keith handled it. He basically said, "Fine, I'm not going to fight you, there's nothing in it for me." But he wouldn't just sit there on the runway and take the blame either. I'm impressed that the judges realized that Terri was the problem and didn't try to say "Why didn't Keith stick up for himself." Good on you judges, did you review the tapes or something?

In the end, like I said, I still don't think this deserved to go home because really, Suede's was much worse. I may not be a huge fan of Terri's work (I don't actually understand why so many people loved it so much) but in the end, she's proved herself to be more skilled than Suede and I'd rather see her collection at Bryant Park.

Another administrative note: For those of you who have LJs and would like to add the Syndicated Feed for this blog to your friendslist, my friend Domynoe created one for me! It's at Thanks!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Back to the same old

Project Runway, the highs and the lows. The great challenges and the fun drama followed by Kenley crying a lot and forgettable designs again.

Ah well, not much to be done about it. I did enjoy the challenge, and I did quite enjoy some of the top looks. I just felt like there were too many people in the middle again. When I went through to save the images, all I could think was "Oh yeah, that is what Jerell made, isn't it?"

Shouldn't I remember these things the next day? I would think so.

I have no idea what this is. The jacket itself is really cute, I like it. But those pants, what in the world are those pants? I understand nothing about this ensemble, even though I can forgive the scarf as just a splash of colors. But the pants...I just keep going back to those pants. It's the wrong fabric for them, and it's the wrong look in general. I just don't understand it even slightly.

Jerell doesn't know how to turn himself down from 11, does he? He can't just make fashion, can he? If you took off the bright blue belt, which frankly doesn't belong at all, and the jaunty little hat, then you have a cute little outfit. But it's like he's compelled to take it up that notch into costume. On the one hand, inventive styling really helps you stand out and be interesting. On the other hand, why is he that way week after week after week?

I do think this is a cute outfit, but like I said, I forgot it entirely in the meantime.

Okay, I would like to point out the absolute saddest part about the previous two outfits. Up until I just looked at this picture, I remembered that the challenge was to create a look to go with Diane Von Furstenberg's collection. I completely and totally forgot about the entire "A Foreign Affair" influence until I looked at this outfit and tried to remember why he wanted an oriental look.

What does that say about the previous two? That they failed utterly to convey the influence of either old Hollywood or the film. That must be where Jerell's jaunty hat comes in.

Back to Joe's outfit, which is a bit of a mess. I actually kind of like the little hooded wrap/shawl that he's got, but I hate most of the color choices he makes. Why the hot pink with the more orangey-pink of the shirt? Why the glittery black with the satiny black? I'm baffled.

The idea is okay, actually. It's the execution that fails completely. Like I said, the colors are off. They're poorly chosen and they don't go together. But then to have an uneven hem at this point in the competition is a little ridiculous, and for everything else to be lopsided in the back? I'm confused. And the open back almost could have worked with the hooded shawl IF the fabric had been a little less...trashy. It could have been pretty if he had done maybe all black or more muted colors. But those bright pinks just don't flatter the design at all.

I might try to make a shawl like that though.

I ponder that pattern. I think the dress looks great, and it could have been the most impeccably made thing that Project Runway has ever seen. But looking at it on the form Kenley HAD to know that it wasn't going to be enough. She obviously knew, she interviewed about it constantly. So why didn't she conceive of even a little shrug or a shawl or something? Why didn't she try? I understand her protests about making the perfect dress, or the collection needing a simple look (and isn't that presumptuous?) but at the same time, she should have known the judges wouldn't buy it and they wouldn't care.

But the thing that kicks it over for me is that I really never warmed to the print. It would be a great print if it had a solid to temper it. Even a wrap or a small jacket could have broken it up and made it really so much better. Making the top in this print and the skirt in a solid could have done something great for it too. But instead I just think the whole thing looks so busy that I wonder who could wear it.

I expected Korto to win as soon as I saw her put that splash of yellow in the underside of the dress. In this picture the dress isn't as flattering as it could be around the hips, so maybe a bit more tailoring could have helped. But I love the interplay of the print and the yellow solid.

This outfit really does seem at home in high fashion, and I could see it on the runways at Bryant Park. My only problem, and what makes me step back from saying it should have won, is that I don't see the exact correlation between the influence of the film and the dress. But then, I often don't see the influence in finished garments.

I have to say, I really love that Leanne won with immunity. It was a great thing to see because she's just so darn cute and excited all the time. But I do have to admit that as far as fashion goes, I like Korto's dress better.

That isn't saying I don't love this one though, I do like it. I think the coat probably could have stood to be a little less bulky. But the dress is fabulous and I can really see the influence of old Hollywood in the design, without it being too retro.

I think I just still have problems understanding how the jacket fits with the dress. I see how it's an intersection of masculine and feminine and such, but at the same time, it doesn't seem to go like an outfit meant to be together. It seems to be an accidental success where the woman put on the wrong jacket or just had to grab something before she went out. I do think the jacket on it's own is really great though, it's the kind of thing I'd like to wear.

Of all the crazy things that Stella has made (and worn) throughout this show, I think that the model really works this look in this picture and makes it hard to understand why she was eliminated when compared to the other bottom level looks. But in motion and on the screen it really was just a mess. It looked to me like it needed another trip through the iron.

I'm surprised about how the fit ended up because Stella makes tight pants as a matter of course. So how did she mess up making pants? Was it just that her heart was not in it? Was it the fabric? I've got no idea. I do think it's interesting how Stella didn't pay a bit of attention to the challenge. Maybe she wanted to be out, I don't know.

I'm actually kind of confused by this print even being in Diane von Furstenburg's closet in the first place. But I suppose it could be used to good effect, it just isn't here. Also, it's boring. The jacket doesn't look well tailored or well made.

I think the positive thing about this episode is that none of the bad designs are THAT bad, but I also think that's part of what makes this season boring. Where is the crazy German lingerie?

I do really love this coat, but I have to say that the designers and their comments about Terri making the same thing over and over are really spot on. She's reminding me of Christian, only with more understandable ego and a lot more imagination. Did I say that out loud? Anyway.

I think the print worked out pretty well here, but I do wish that Terri would bust out a really fabulous floor length gown or something. What else can she do? Where is she going with this? What kind of collection would she make? This is not to say there isn't a market for Terri, there is. She is going to be very good at what she does and make money at it. I just don't know why that makes her a Project Runway winner.

A housekeeping note: I'm sorry these are getting posted on Friday's these days, but I've started grad school and I have class on Wednesday and Thursday nights and it's the first chance I get to write them up. But I should be able to continue to post them up on Fridays. Also, there's now and RSS feed for this blog, click the link over the right that says subscribe and you'll never miss a post!