Saturday, September 05, 2009

Avant guard meets...surfer?

When you think of surfer girls and surf wear, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Wet suits? Bathing suits? Hibiscus flowers? That really annoying level of JoJo's Fashion Show?

How many of you thought "Avant Guarde fashion?" Nobody? Crickets?

I'm so completely baffled by the decision to pair the two ideas, and apparently so were the designers. In season four, the designers had to make an avant guard look, and then create a ready to wear look to compliment it, the two looks mostly complimented each other. You also got some astonishingly good fashion out of it. Even the dress that got a designer eliminated wasn't BAD, it just didn't fit.

Yet this group...this group turned out a lot of really weird stuff. Some boring, some downright weird, and none of it matched, really at all. What did their pairs of outfits have to do with each other? They didn't. Much like surf wear and avant guarde fashion.

Louise and Althea

What's really sad about this episode is that aside from a few key groups, I can't even remember who was paired together. I keep having to go back to the website to figure it out, but I guess that's what you get this early in the season.

Last week, I didn't like the fit of the bust on Althea's dress. This week, the fit is still really similar, so I think it's just one of her design trends. There's just something about that particular style and fit that makes the woman's chest look like an odd proportion. I don't understand why people think it's great, I guess because it shows off a lot of flesh? But in the end, it actually elongates that part of the chest, which I don't think is the intended result.

I also gave a pass last week to Christopher for the bubble skirt hem he did on the shirt he made. I won't do that with this bubble skirt hem, I still hate them.

In the end, while I like the color and the garment fits the challenge really well, it's just filled with sewing techniques that I've never liked, understood, or wanted to wear.

The avant guarde look is much nicer, and very well constructed. I find it very impressive, and beautiful. I don't think it takes enough chances to be really avant guard, but it's still nice.

But how does it even remotely relate to the first look? Look at them together, they don't even seem like they'd be in the same collection, let alone the same challenge.

Shirin and Carol Hannah

The surfer outfit was nice, I love the fabric. It really reminds me of the things that Uli made. The only thing I hesitate about is that I don't know if surfers actually wear teensy bikinis or if they prefer something with a little more coverage. Since they talked to the surfer girls, I'll presume that sometimes they wear more skimpy things. But in the end, solid effort, a little fun, and well done.

The avant guarde look...well, if you cover up the bottom third of the dress and pretend it isn't there, then it's really nice. The color is very pretty, the sweep around the shoulder, the braiding, all lovely.

The pouches at the bottom? Um...what was that about? They flopped around weirdly on the runway, they're large and cumbersome, and they don't really serve any purpose besides being large weird things on the bottom of the dress. And we're not going to go into what they remind me of.

But the big thing in the end? Again, what do these dresses have to do with each other? The colors don't match, the designs don't flow together. They're just two different dresses with two different inspirations and I wish that they could have kept everybody on the runway so that the judges could have called them to task for it.

Actually, why didn't the judges call them to task for not making the dresses work together? It was part of the challenge!

Christopher and Logan

Okay, okay. THESE two looks at least look like they belong in the same show, if not "inspired by" or anything. They're similar enough to be of the same aesthetic.

The top half of the model for the surf look is great. But while I realize this is a "surf inspired" look, I can't get over the idea of how much a surfer would probably hate wearing skinny pants like these. They look vastly uncomfortable, and as I pointed out time and time again during Christian's season, skinny pants are not flattering on anybody. They make you look funny, so please women of America and the world, stop wearing them.

No really, even if you're skinny they aren't right. They accentuate the wrong parts of the woman's body, they make her legs look strange, and just generally throw off the entire natural curve and proportion of a woman's body which is, in general, the entire thing most people find attractive about women.

While these aren't as bad as some I've seen, they certainly don't work for me.

I actually quite like the avant guarde look, because it's rather daring and fits the idea. It's on the edge, something that would be a good centerpiece to a collection even if it's not entirely wearable. I also like that it seems to be a very good blend of Christopher and Logan's styles. Actually, I think it's the best avant guarde look of the night because it certainly feels more risky, better made, and more demanding than Ra'mon's.

Qristyl and Epperson

I like the fabric for the casual dress, I like the top (though it's got a little of the same issue that I talked about with Althea. The problem isn't the tiny top so much as it is the long long straps until you get to the top, it makes that part look too long). But the bottom, I don't understand. It's gathered and flows strangely as the model walks down the runway and again, I just don't get it. I don't understand fashion. But I especially don't understand the level of this season's designers. Sure, I might not understand. But usually I'm not so completely baffled by the fall of the hemlines, even on PR. It's a topic that comes up for me several times and episode right now and I don't understand why.

As for the avant guarde...there are no words. Remember last season (was it last season, really? feels like years) when several designers made dresses out of this one particular brown fabric, and it was really hard to work with and looked pretty bad all around, and the two bottom outfits were made of the same fabric?

I think this might be made out of the same stuff.

Okay, I know it's not because I looked back at the old pictures and that brown was much lighter and shinier. But still, this is just...wrong. First, it looks more like a swimsuit than half the things that went down the runway. So, I guess in that sense it fit the challenge to mesh surf and avant guarde? But the bunches of fabric and how haphazard it looks just...what is it? What are they going for? What are they actually SAYING with this garment? Because I have no idea.

I wanted to like Qristyl and root for her, but I think I'm done.

Nicolas and Gordana

For the surf look, while it might not be my personal style, I get it and I like it. The workmanship is pretty amazing, and surprising. Actually, there was a lot of braiding and macrame this week, and I'm curious why. Is it something one of the surfers said? Anyway, it's still really nice, and it's light and open, so very beach-wear. The bottom also is very light and airy, and just feels appropriate for a beach cover-up, though it is a shade long. I'd rather see it show just a little more leg.

As for the other...


Color wise, I can see how the two relate together. In any other way, I don't really quite understand. And the blue lace body stocking...I mean, it even goes over her shoes! What in the world IS it? Who would have created that? Who, in a million years, would think that looks like anything other than trashy? If I cover up the bottom, and assume that the top flows into some sort of matching skirt (though I can't imagine what that could be) then it's not that bad. The collar and the design are interesting, at least a little inventive. But the stockings. I just can't imagine the stockings working anywhere on anyone.

Johnny and Irina

First, thank goodness that Irina was on the top of the runway for once. Girl needs to be given mad praise as soon as possible.

Second, Johnny's model has never looked more beautiful. She looks a bit like Sarah from the show Chuck, somehow. But I like it.

And I like their casual look. It's simple, but it's wearable, it's fun, and while the pockets of the skirt do a bit of an odd thing, in the end I think it might be the best surf look that was out on that runway. It just really looks like something a girl might throw on after surfing to go grab some lunch or a casual dinner.

While I don't see how the designs themselves really fit together, the avant guarde look was tied to it with color, which is more than some did. But I have to admit, I don't like it.

There's something about it that makes it look like the model is being pulled in two directions, like she twisted funny before she walked out on the runway and didn't have time to straighten the dress. The braiding on the top is a little off somehow, it's top heavy, though I can't explain exactly why. Maybe it's to do with the width of the strips or the tightness of the weave.

It just looks a little sloppy, a little half realized. I can't say that I'm a fan.

Mitchell and Ra'mon

I actually really adore this dress. If it had a lining instead of being sheer, and was for a dress challenge instead of a surf challenge, I would spend three paragraphs singing it's praises.

Instead, it's meant to be a surf challenge, and I don't see surf in this really. Sure, it's a bathing suit cover up. But the colors don't say sun and beaches to me. But I do like Ra'mon's story about the algae, so I guess I'll forgive it.

Now, I love the effect of the dye on the neoprene. I love the pattern that it makes, and I'd kind of like a laptop bag made out of the "print." But I can't say I loved the dress itself, especially not as much as the judges did. It's cute, and interesting. If it was the surf inspired part itself then it would be pretty good.

But avant guard? Really? It bunches in weird ways and when the model walks it just moved in an odd and stilted way (largely because it's neoprene and not being used as a formfitting fabric). But I just don't see it in the same positive light the judges did. I don't know who I would have given the win to aside from Ra'mon, because in the end his two looks were the only ones that were BOTH really well done. Not that they fit together in the slightest, but that's beside the point.

That said, the fact that he put it together in thirty minutes or so is really impressive so I won't be so harsh.

All that out of the way, to the drama. Mitchell made a huge mistake but at the same time, it was honorable and honest to not try to make himself out to have done more than he did. BUT, at the same time as that, the fact is that the only reason these came out as well as they did is because he didn't help, and I think we all know it.

I try hard not to be really harsh to these designers, and I realize I'm kind of picking on Mitchell a lot. But I just don't understand it, he seemed to show about the same amount of sewing ability that I have, and I'm really not cut out for PR.

For them to have the "follower" of the team win, and the "leader" lose, that isn't something that's happened before. But aside from Qristyl, I don't see any other way the elimination could have gone. And while they might say that they're only going to take into account the garment in front of them and not all their work, you know that they just finally gave up and said, "You know what, Mitchell isn't going to cut it."

As for the model drama, I have to say I now love the model who cried because she got chosen by her friend's designer (I can't learn any of the models names, I'm sorry models! But I'm barely keeping up with designers and cheftestants right now). But anyway, the emotion she showed for her friend was really heartfelt and it made me want to hug her, and her friend. I don't think she should have gone home anyway, she was very pretty and seemed kind, which I suppose isn't a requirement for a model but it's nice. But at the same time, I'm also glad Valerie didn't go home two challenges in a row, that would have been terrible!

I do like that they're back to their original antics of choosing models each week though. It was funny, one night the models were acting like that was such a new and weird idea and what in the world was happening, but that's the way it was first season and the designers jumped just about as often as they are this season.

I'm surprised at the girl who took the Arby's commercial instead of PR, but if they're still not getting paid for their appearance then I suppose I can't say much. But it seems to me that all other things being equal, PR would be a better way to actually elevate yourself and make yourself better known. It certainly has a larger following than Arby's. She did mention getting into SAG, which I found interesting because I'm pretty sure being in a single commercial won't get you into SAG, otherwise all the actors I've met who are so desperately trying to get in wouldn't be having so much trouble. But I guess I don't know the rules completely.

But then, why is a model trying to get into SAG? Is she really an actress and she started modeling to make more money until she broke into the business? Heck, a lot of full time actors I've known haven't even wanted to be in the guild, but that's a big long story that's far more political than I want to be. Anyway, she confuses me and we'll leave it at that. I liked Valerie (the one name I've learned) so I'm glad she's back.

As for Fatma and the other girl...The middle school called. They want their drama back.