Friday, August 28, 2009

Let's say it one more time: pregnant

So, would a drinking game for this episode be inappropriate? Because otherwise, drink every time somebody says pregnant. If you can afford that much alcohol.

While I enjoyed the challenge and thought it was rather interesting and really a challenge for the designers, was I the only one that thought that the little pillows they tied onto the models didn't even remotely resemble pregnant bellies? I could be wrong, but they seemed off. I always figured that was why those "sympathy bellies" were big things that took up the whole upper body, so it would look and feel more natural. I think with a more natural shape, Ra'mon's outfit wouldn't have been so bad. Bad, yes, but not SO bad.

I actually don't love this dress the way the judges do, even though I quite like the idea of it. My primary problem is that the top really is entirely too small. Not just because it wouldn't cover the woman's chest very well, but because it seems disproportionate. It seems to me like most women who talk about wanting to show off their "pregnancy curves" are talking about their breasts being bigger. And this wouldn't really compliment that very well.

My other problem is that at one point when the model turned around during the judges comments, you could see that the ribbon-y details on the top were ragged and frayed. If this was intentional, I don't like it. If this was unintentional, then I don't see why Althea wasn't called on that when Mitchell was (rightfully) raked over the coals for his bad craftsmanship. Maybe some of the other dresses were similarly ragged if you looked at them very close up, and maybe it as a trick of the angle. But in the end, I'm glad it didn't win, though I don't think it should have been top three either.

But my big reason for thinking it wasn't top three material is the bust. It's just not flattering, and it wouldn't be on a woman with a larger or a smaller chest.

I don't want to, but I kind of like Carol. She's quirky and kind of lovable. I don't love the jacket here, if I'm being honest, but I can see how it would fit somebody else's tastes. I love the color of the dress, and you'd think that it wouldn't work to have that swath of fabric under the belly, but it actually really does.

In the end, it's very cute and fun, and youthful. And there's not a lot of "youthful" going on in the maternity market.

This outfit is really cute, and I absolutely adore the color and fabric of the top. I would wear this if it was tailored just a little differently (for plus-sized girls rather than pregnant ones). This is also one of the few times I would ever actually like this type of hem, the whole "bubble skirt" idea usually turns me off almost instantly. But it works here, and the pleats work, and everything about it is great. I would put it in the top three.

I don't really enjoy this garment very much. The jacket is very bulky and looks uncomfortable and stiff. Then she takes it off and well, jumpsuits don't flatter many women. I have to admit, it's actually a better jumpsuit than any I've ever seen (remember the last jumpsuit of PR history, on Kara? Ugh). In the end, it actually is tailored well and does what it can to flatter the body shape. And that gorgeous cream color, all the fabric is so gorgeous this episode.

But it's still a jumpsuit. I agree with the judges, middle of the road. But it is better than quite a few things that walked the runway that night.

I like the bottom of this, with the layers and he flow. But I just don't like the straps on the halter, they don't look well made, or really well planned. It's like they are supposed to be symmetrical but got messed up.

The jacket is very cute, but I have to say that those leggings would probably not work on anyone that is sporting a real pregnant belly. I certainly don't have any first hand experience, but it seems to me that anything tight on your belly would be uncomfortable.

WHY was this dress not in the top three? This, Christopher, and Shirin should have been the top garments and there's no reason why they weren't. How absolutely and utterly gorgeous is this dress? I want it in every color. Though the beautiful blue fabric she chose is a large part of why it works, I could see it in a nice subtle pink too, or a green, even a purple. It's versatile, it's beautiful, it flows well, it would flatter a million body types, it's fun, it's flirty, it could be a day or evening outfit depending on how you styled it.

In short, it was almost the perfect answer to this challenge, and there was only one I would consider better and even THAT is hard for me to say. I don't understand even a little why Irina was overlooked AGAIN. Almost everyone agrees that her dress last week deserved recognition, if not the win. So why wasn't she praised this time?

There's really not a lot I can say about this dress. It's okay, it's interesting enough. I don't like the flower on the shoulder. But in the end, it's not that remarkable. I hope he's not trying to aim for the middle, because that never works out well.

I have the same thing to say about Logan's outfit. It's not bad. It's a different type of top for maternity (or at least, it seems that way to me). But how utterly boring is it? It's just very drab, and has nothing to make it stand out or be interesting. If it wasn't so early in the season, the judges never would have let this go without a comment.

Also, side note about the Models of the Runway: Fatma's obsession with Logan is just a little odd. Maybe he's the only straight male, I don't know, and I'm sure models get crushes on designers all the time, but she's being a little creepy about it. Or at least, the editing is making her seem that way.


On the one hand, I really love this. It's very cute, it's flirty, it's pretty and it has a lot of consideration for the woman wearing it. I love the color and the fabric, and taking the time to hand dye the lace is very ambitious.

On the other hand, it looks an awful lot like one of my favorite nightgowns. And again, I'm not a fan of the big bunch of fabric/flower on the shoulder. I tend to not like those, because for the most part they're so decorative that they actually are irritating when you really wear them.

I like this, but Christopher and Irina's were better.

As a student in a rather creative major who hangs out with a lot of people in other creative majors, I have to say I know a lot of people like Malvin, who are very much about the concept and following some sort of high minded idea. And often it is to the detriment of the finished product, because it's almost like Michael Kor's said last week, you start to wonder, "Am I not smart enough to get this?" But in the end, you are smart enough, they're just intentionally being a little bit pretentious.

That said, he did have a concept, and he did stick to it, and he did make something that is at least wearable, even if it's not flattering. As the women pointed out, if the woman wearing it had already given birth and was carrying her baby in the sling, then it would actually be considered cute and interesting, I think.

Maybe it should have been in the bottom two, I do agree with that. But Malvin should still be there because at least he has a brain and he's unafraid to use it, take risks, and fail.

I said this last week and I will say it again: Mitchell does not deserve to be on Project Runway. He absolutely should have gone home this week and there is NO excuse for it in the end. The man apparently can't sew, can't handle a time crunch, has no idea what a woman wants, despite his own claims, and made an intensely sloppy and slobby garment that I don't think any pregnant woman would every wear, unless she was basically throwing on the equivalent of a sweatsuit so that she could grab the mail. At least Malvin had some interesting details and his was well made. This is a mess, this is so much of a mess that I wish Michael Kors had been there so he could have had a quotable quip to insult it.

When Heidi said that it looked like she made those shorts, I wanted to yell back "Me too!" Because I could have made this, and it would have looked about like this.

It's ridiculous, and I cannot even fathom why he was allowed to stay after sending this down the runway.

I'm also highly amused that the models feel the same way I do, and while Fatma's anger at being picked by Mitchell was so unprofessional that I doubt she'll stay in the competition long (well, I'd never pick her) at the same time, at least I'm not alone in my bafflement.

Also, how harsh is it that the model said that Mitchell "did the best he could?" Wow, that's so much of a Southern backhanded compliment she should have added "Bless his heart."

There's something about Nicolas' garments that just seem ill-tailored. I don't know what it is, but they don't seem like they quite fit. And they're boring and use a very dark palette for somebody who calls himself the "feather prince." It's just...dull and boring.

I love the color and fabric (again) of this dress, and I think it's very well done. I'm glad Qristyl toned it down a bit and made something classy, here's hoping she keeps on that track. But I hope she doesn't continue to just be happy being safe.

In high school, I was in color guard. If you weren't in it, basically we were the kids (all girls at my school) who spun flags and tossed them in the air during the marching band's halftime show.

I mention this, because Ra'Mon's dress looks like you should put it on a six foot pole and spin it. The swirls, the color patterns, all of it is the exact same type of thing that we would use because the patterns were big and bold, would be seen from the press box, and would create a cool effect when spun in a circle.

That is not the type of thing a person would want to WEAR.

That said, the colors are really great and compliment each other well. And I think that Heidi's observation that it was flattering from the front was spot on.

Actually, most of their comments were spot on. It did look like a bowling bag (though, really, that comment almost hit drinking game proportions too). And it was like having a big arrow pointing and saying "here is the baby."

So in the end, it was worth pointing out to him what went wrong with it, but he rightfully got to stay, since he was trying something new and maybe he didn't achieve it perfectly, but he at least made something serviceable.

Last year, I spent the entire summer and winter trying to find a new winter coat. Mine was rather old, I'd had it for three years and while it was warm and cute, it was also lavender which wasn't really that professional and didn't go with a lot of things.

My point is, I spent MONTHS trying to find the right coat, and it was really annoying because I wanted something cute, warm, and that would go with a lot of things. But something still a little fun and young looking.

I tell you this story because I managed to find a coat, and I love it. One of my favorite things was that when it arrived I found out that the coat I had ordered had this adorable pink lining. Now, I'm not a pink person, but this surprise touch of color made me really love this coat.

Which is why I wholeheartedly and undoubtedly want the coat that Shirin made in this episode. I want two of it, so that when the first wears out I have another in reserve and I don't have to go on another hunt for the perfect coat. The lining, the fit, everything about it was fabulous.

There is no question in my mind that this is the best garment that walked down that runway this week. Or last week. The color is beautiful (again) and I love the detail on the waist. I would wear this in a heartbeat. The dress is lovely, and alone it would have been a contender for the win. But when you add that lovely coat on top of it, it's an absolutely stunning effort. I really want Shirin to make this available to the public. I don't even care that it's maternity.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Here we go again

Okay, so now that I'm done ranting about hatred of Lifetime Television, it's time for me to get back in the PR recapping game!

I'm going to try my best to be brief. Each year, there are just so many designers in the first episode, I feel like I'll never learn all their names or get a sense of who they are. The first episode is always so overwhelming, and then with the change to L.A. and starting with such a big challenge, yeesh.

Plus, I'll be honest I've just gotten off of a very draining project and I've gotten very little sleep this week. So rest assured that I will be back in full force and form next week!

I can't say that I like Althea, but this is a good dress. It's not a great dress, or even an innovative dress, but it's certainly one I could see walking the red carpet. But it's not one I could see getting a lot of press either.

Can't say I like the feathers on the top, but that's just not my style. I'm sure some people would like them and could pull it off.

I feel like Ari wanted to be this seasons "loveable oddball" or something. Or maybe she's just really from another planet. But she just felt to me like a poor man's Elisa Jiminez. Elisa might be a little wacky, but I loved a lot of her clothes and I could see they were just a little outside normal.

Ari...Ari was different. In another challenge this could have been a weird but okay outfit to put down the runway. But a red carpet challenge? This doesn't even remotely begin to work.

That said, I still think Mitchell should have gone home. Ari might have been out there and just downright strange, but at least it was complete and she didn't blame anybody but herself.

I really, really don't like this dress. The top is a complete mess, and the bottom doesn't feel like it was pulled together properly. It looks like what I would come up with if I was trying to recreate something a real designer had made.

I can't say that I'm as thrilled with this as some of the judges. It reminds me of something that would have been made out of trash bags and curtains in one of the alternate materials challenges. But it was cute, and fun. I just don't really care for the colors.

I can't really see this on a red carpet, but I can see this on a runway at Fashion Week. There's something really nice and bold about it. I love the color, I love the statement it makes. I really would have picked this one for the win, myself.

I don't like much about this one. I like the color, I like that she made something short and fun. But the top is just too much. It's also just sort of "meh."

I find this dress very pretty, but something about it feels more bedroom than red carpet. I'm not entirely sure why, maybe the color? It also really feels like I've seen it before. It's extremely familiar, and I can't place it. Hopefully some other blog will figure that out.

I really don't understand what the judges saw in this dress that they didn't see in others that weren't in the top three. It feels a little too loose and free flowing, so it doesn't really strike me as flattering in the front. The back is, of course, more interesting, and unlike the judges I love the color. But I really don't see what they were praising on this one.

I love the color of this dress, it reminds me of Andre's gutter water dress. But in the end, it's another one that isn't particularly noteworthy for any reason. For a red carpet challenge, there were a lot of forgettable clothes.

UGH. When they first showed Louise, I liked her right off the bat. The older Hollywood glamour look is the kind of thing that I really like. But this? This doesn't really fit that mold. The top is rather ill fitting, so it doesn't do the model any favors. The color does completely wash out, and I don't know that the two-toned idea was a good one in the first place.

But the bunches on the sides? It reminds me of women tying their skirts up so they can stomp on grapes or something. What is this look supposed to be? It just looks odd, it's bunchy, and it's a bad idea.

I can't help but like and dislike Malvin so far. He's a little pretentious, but I don't mind that he's about rejecting some of the stereotypes that I myself am tired of. But this isn't a red carpet look. It is a cute dress, and I like it, but it's not red carpet material.

Mitchell does not deserve to be on Project Runway.

Harsh words, I know. But the fact is that if he couldn't find a way to rescue his garment besides giving up and sending his model down in a sheer curtain then he shouldn't be there. To whine, on the Runway, that his model was six inches too big is, in essence, standing there and saying you failed because your model was too fat and that you can't be held accountable.

First, why in the world would a real fashion designer take a set of measurements on a card in so much faith that they would do a design that relied on those measurements being perfect? Whenever I go to sew anything, I measure MYSELF all over again. I don't even trust my own notes from the last time I made anything because bodies are constantly in flux. That was a rookie mistake, and for him to be so indignant and rude about it shows that he not only has less skills than he should, but he has no class or professionalism.

He should have been sent home.

The top is very interesting, I actually would like to wear it myself, but as a separate top and not a dress (I can't tell if it is a dress or separates and I can't recall). But I think it would be more elegant and interesting with a longer hemline or pants.

I wanted to like Qristyl, I really did. Mostly because unlike most designers on this show, she's willing to make clothing for women of realistic shapes (though "Plus Sexy" seems patronizing). But first there was the name, and then there was this dress.

It's just...unfortunate. What's the worst part is that those two fabrics are actually really nice. If she had made something with less of the pattern, using it just as an accent, and that gorgeous purple, without that weird bunching in the front...well, it could have been something. But instead, it was this.

I like the idea of this dress, but it doesn't seem to fit the model. I suppose since they couldn't measure the models themselves before they got started that can't always be helped, but it just seems to bunch and fold in odd places. Otherwise, it's a great idea, a great fabric, and it's very nice.

I don't know what red carpet this dress is supposed to be on. I just know that I want a copy of it. I'm not sure if I could pull off that cape, but I love everything about it. She used the natural flow and fall of the fabric to make something cut, fun, and gorgeous at the same time. I have a feeling I'll be rooting for Shirin.

Thanks for reading, and if you want to make sure to catch my recaps for this whole season, subscribe to my RSS feed! The link is at the bottom of the bar on the right.

In Defense of Lifetime

Before I get started on telling everyone what I think about the newest episode of Project Runway, there's something I need to address: Lifetime, Television for Women.

I think all of us have to admit that we have insulted Lifetime Original Movies, and the station in general. The Onion has skewered the channel brilliantly on multiple occasions. We love to talk about the melodrama and the bad writing. In particular, I am constantly talking about how whenever I end up flipping through channels I won't let myself stop on Lifetime because I get sucked into their movies and I end up losing two hours of my life. So that was why I was making fun of the new home of Project Runway, saying I must change the channel the second that it's over or I'll never move from my couch.

However, in the last few months I have heard several people talking about the work of women screenwriters, using the term "Lifetime movie" as an insult that reeks of more sexism than I've encountered in my small corner of the industry.

As I've mentioned before, I am a film student and a screenwriter. The moment I remember thinking that this was a problem was in my summer screenwriting course, when the professor told a student that she should add a male character to her story so that it wasn't "too Lifetime."

This particular treatment was fascinating, well thought, and had great characters. It had drama, it had emotion, it had risk, and it was heart-wrenching at times. But the main character was a women, and the point of the film was her dealing with an extremely traumatic experience in a war-torn country. The professor spent over a half hour trying to defend his statement, saying that "men don't watch movies about women" and the great gem, "I'm not saying this to be sexist..." If you have to point that out, most of the time, it means you ARE being sexist.

I was so angry about the whole thing, because it was the first time in my program I had encountered any sexism at all. Only the week before I had been defending the industry on Jezebel saying that while there is still plenty of sexism, that at least at my film school it wasn't something I had seen and the women there were being trained to not think about how they had the odds stacked against them, but to think about how to be the best filmmakers they could be (which is, incidentally, the best thing I can think of to combat the problems in the industry. Stop telling women they're going to fail, and give them the tools to succeed. Because there is no surer way to get someone to fail than to tell them they can't win).

Months ago, I entered a screenplay competition with a draft of my first finished feature script. Now, I want to be very clear on two things here:

1. I did not enter this competition expecting or even intending to win. I entered because it was free, and one of the benefits was getting a page of comments from "an industry professional." The fact that I wasn't a finalist isn't a sticking point for me. Actually, if that draft had actually placed I would think the competition wasn't very good, because it was not a draft that was ready, it was one I was stuck on and needed more critiques in order to improve.

2. The response that I received did have some valid points about my writing and the story itself. They weren't new ideas, and were all things my professor had pointed out, so I admit I was disappointed that I have no new insights on where to go from here, but not all critiques are perfect or insightful.

The problem is that amidst the comments was the well placed insult that my script was "more suited to Lifetime Channel programming than a feature film."

First of all: what exactly do they think Lifetime Original movies are? They are full length films made for television. Nothing in the rules of the competition stated that it needed to be a major studio motion picture for distribution in a million theaters.

The problem lies in the fact that people have a tendency to regulate any script that features a woman dealing with emotional issues as a "chick flick" or a "Lifetime movie." This is especially true if it isn't of the currently popular ilk of "career woman realizes she needs to be more emotionally open and find a man in order to be happy."

My particular script was trying to discuss real life issues in realistic ways. And I specifically wrote it to avoid melodrama and Hollywood stereotypes. Maybe I didn't succeed, that's a valid point to make. But to say that because my film deals with the breakdown of a marriage that it belongs on Lifetime is sexist. There is no other way I can break this down.

You might be thinking I'm too sensitive, that maybe they were saying I wrote it in the melodramatic way that people associate with the Lifetime originals of the 1990s. Maybe they were saying it was cliched?

But no, the sentence specifically said that the subject matter was what regulated it to "television for women" and that because of the SUBJECT ALONE it was not good enough for a feature film.

So what both my professor and the anonymous commenter are saying that movies about women, especially dramatic movies about women, belong only on a channel billing itself for women, because no one else can or should enjoy them.

This is downright ridiculous. Movies that my friends and I love often have female protagonists. Successful films can star women, and maybe the marketing people will tell you they usually don't but maybe that's because we're not giving good films starring women a chance. It's ridiculous when you think about it, we're creating self fulfilling prophecies for the sake of marketing. Art isn't supposed to be about marketing, and I know the film business is a business, but it's also an art. So let it speak like one.

And while we're at it, what IS so wrong with writing something for Lifetime? If Lifetime approached me tomorrow with a paying job writing for them, I would take it and I would call everybody I know to tell them about it. Because it would be a paid writing job, and because just because a television channel is aimed at women doesn't make it less of a television channel.

Most people make fun of Lifetime because of the melodrama. The abused women murdering their husbands, etc. And, let's admit it, the production quality can be pretty low sometimes. But they've left a lot of that behind. Army Wives is critically renowned, and everybody just seems to ignore the fact that it's on Lifetime. There are mixed reviews for Drop Dead Diva, but for the most part people agree that it's better than a lot of things on television today.

During the premiere of Project Runway, they advertised a film starring Joan Cusack. I don't know about you, but I think Joan Cusack is one of the most talented comedic actresses of this generation. I'll watch almost anything that she's in, no matter what channel it's on.

And let's address the big thing here: Project Runway. Obviously, that show is one of my absolute favorites. Lifetime is doing it justice, and Models of the Runway might need a little tweaking to be less reminiscent of "America's Next Top Model" but at the same time it was fun to get to know the girls a little more, and see their reactions to their designers and the eliminations. It was a good little show.

So maybe it's time for us to stop being so harsh to Lifetime, and maybe it's time for us to stop using it as a tool for sexism and to degrade and discourage female screenwriters.

When I started this feature, another girl in class was writing about almost the same topic. She said she was worried about it being "too Lifetime." My teacher (a much better one) responded that we shouldn't worry about that kind of thing, and be true. We should write OUR stories, we should create OUR characters, and that if we did that the piece would be the best that it could be. And if that happened, then really, who cared where it ended up?