Sunday, August 21, 2011

Who has time for a plan B in this business?

Okay, so most of you probably haven't been sitting in front of a person whose opinion you value, showing them your hard work and creative output. This basically feels a lot like opening up and putting your heart on the table in front of them and hoping they don't choose to stab it with a pen.

It's especially hard if it's something you are really proud of, that you poured yourself into. And when they look at you and they make that face and they say, "Oh, is this it?"

Man, that is a moment where you have the potential to just LOSE IT.

Which is my way of saying that the second that Nina first said, "Do you have a plan B?" I felt so much for the designers she was talking to that I wanted to reach through the television and throttle her. It hit a bit of a nerve.

Which is my way of saying I hated this episode. It's no secret I don't tend to particularly agree with Nina either anyway, so yeah. Not a happy camper.

Anyway, dresses and jumpsuits and possibly a coat!

Anthony Ryan

Okay, the whole "two designers chose the same fabric thing" really fizzled so I won't really bother with it. Though I like Becky's better, which I'll get to, this one is still a nice top that I would really love to buy and wear with a completely different bottom.

There's nothing particularly wrong with the skirt, it's just not my style. And I seem to remember it not moving well on the runway, but it looks fine in the picture. Anyway, I feel like it doesn't compliment this top as well as it could. Not sure what I would do instead though.

But really, still a very solid garment from Anthony Ryan, I'm telling you, he is going to do something amazing very soon.


I have to admit, I don't really like this at all. Although I also have to say it would have been terrible in that original mustard color.

Can you even imagine? Could somebody photoshop that please?

But anyway, I just think this is the type of garment that doesn't do a woman's body any favors. It doesn't even make this model's body look all that great, it just sort of falls...I don't find it particularly tailored, so I'm surprised how much the judge's loved it.

This is my major problem though: Anya's reaction to Nina's criticism of the color. I know, I just said mustard was the wrong choice. But at the same time, the entire point of the show, no matter the challenge, is supposed to be to show off YOUR design aesthetic within the confines of the challenge. It's about who you are as a designer. At your core, what do you think YOUR fashion is?

I don't know how it really goes in the high fashion world, but it would seem to me that if I was going to hire a designer to make a dress for me, I would be hiring them because I already believe they have a great point of view and I'm interested in what THEY do, not because I want them to conform to ME and what I tend to buy/wear/whatever. So part of me really wanted Anya to look at Nina and say, "I'm going to make you believe in mustard, because I am going to make something wonderful with it."

There was this episode of Top Chef where the chefs all were supposed to make a dish that reflected their family and history. Tom Colicchio, (the head judge if you don't watch the show) apparently has said before that he hates okra. One of the chefs chose to make okra because it was something her family made, and she was convinced that she could make it well. And when they were at the judge's table, Colicchio had to admit that he had loved it, because she made it well.

Now, I don't know if I think that Nina actually is open-minded enough to be converted like that, and like I said, the mustard WAS a bad choice in the first place, but wouldn't it have been great, just once this episode, to see a designer say, "trust me, I'll make you love this." Where's Santino when you need him?


How much do I want this dress? I don't have any idea if it would look good on somebody of my body type, but if I saw this in the store the first thing I would do is start looking for it in my size, and THEN I might look at the price tag.

I think that this actually is a much better use of the fabric than Anthony Ryan's, but only because the overall garment is better and seems to be working off of the print more than making the print work for it. They're both good, but this? This I want to own. I want to find that fabric and make one of these for myself. I'm still amazed it wasn't top three, though I suppose it wasn't Nina's style.


Blah. That's all I have to say about this. I mean, it's classic, and well done I guess. But it's just a boring black dress. It doesn't say anything, it doesn't do anything. I'm sure he could sell it to a department store and they'd sell a ton of them, but after a woman wore it out, nobody would every remember what she had on that night, just that she must have been clothed or something.


I'm going to admit up front that I have a bit of a vendetta against Bryce because I'm still convinced he deserved to go home last week and that it was a bit slimy of him to blame that atrocity on Fallene.

Plus, he was snooty. I don't like snooty.

That said, this dress looks like something I could make. Actually, it looks like several Halloween costumes and cosplay outfits that I _have_ made. Because I don't actually sew that much and I'm a bit impatient, so my seams are never QUITE as straight as they should be, and my fabric almost always ends up puckering, and my hems take three tries to get them right.

Seriously, WHY was this not in the bottom? Not only is it super boring, but it's made like somebody that hasn't even started fashion school, let alone graduated.

Okay, I'm done being bitter and cranky.


I actually thought it was evident from the casting episode that Cecilia really didn't have the right personality for this, and she wasn't going to get far. She wasn't even a good choice if you were looking for a villain, she was just...uninterested and unimpressed. I don't know, she hasn't really struck me as anything and I keep forgetting she's even on the show.

This dress, for the record, is terrible. I'm not even sure what I can say about it because it's just so evident from looking at the picture. She gave up, she picked up the wrong stuff at Mood (which I still don't get, she's not the first designer to say something looked different in would think a fabric store would have great lighting, but anyway) and instead of mustering up her own ingenuity, she gave up.

I don't really want to see any more of her.


The judges ripped this apart pretty well, and I don't think they said anything I particularly disagree with. Though I do want to point out that they LOVED the exaggerated and comical shoulders on Viktor's outfit and yet couldn't stop pointing out the only slightly larger than average ones on this shirt. Yeah, that made a ton of sense.

Actually, a lot of what the judges said this week bothered me, because they were clearly making decisions based on previous performance and they're always saying that it's just the garment in front of them that they are judging. Listen, you and I both know that has never been the case, but they keep saying it, so shouldn't they at least TRY to do it? And seriously, if that's the case, they should have put Bryce on the bottom again just for being Bryce.

Anyway. I actually think this color could have looked great, but Danielle had the same problem Anya did only in a different way. She didn't stand up for herself enough, but she TRIED to hang on to herself, and what she ended up doing was a mismatched mess.

I wrote this script once, for a class. I wanted it to be about a certain thing, and my teacher heard the pitch and decided it would be better if it was about something else. He didn't change the specifics, but it was originally a comedy about cooking, and it became more of a drama about a dysfunctional family. There's more to it than that, but I don't want to bore you.

Because I had only just started grad school, I was under the mistaken impression that he knew better than me, and I did what he said because well, he must really KNOW, right? But part of me held back, and didn't do it right because it wasn't ME, it wasn't what I wanted to write, and it wasn't what my story wanted to be.

The script I ended up with was junk. Only the bare bones of it were salvageable. And it was because I didn't say, "No, this is MY work, and if nothing else it needs to be what I wanted to write." If Danielle had gone out on this, she couldn't have proudly said, "I at least accomplished what I set out to do."

And that's got to be the worst way to go out, IMHO.


I don't get this dress. I understand nothing about it. Okay, I take that back, I actually like the color combination if there was a LOT less of the orange stuff. I think grey with that orange accent would be great. But really, what is this?

I can say that unlike some of the other garments that went out this week, this one really made the model's body look better. Something other than the orange and I might have loved it, just because of how it fit her.

But as is, it kind of reminds me of those bulky night-shirts with a skinny woman's body printed on them.


Oh, Julie. I actually loved Julie, and I can't even explain to you why.

I don't hate this as much as everybody else seems to, because I see a lot of potential in it. The collar is weird, yes. But I kind of like the asymmetrical hem (because it looks done on purpose, rather than bad construction like Bryce's).

I mean, honestly, the more I look at it, the less nice things I have to say about it. Maybe liking Julie is messing with my judgement. But I think maybe it's just that I like the fabric choice, and I'd love to see a cute little trench made out of that color combinations. With less orange.


I think if this top hadn't been made in this gold, I would have adored it. But the gold made it a little much for me.

I don't think I could rock this (in another color) but I'd love to try. It's fun, and it makes the model look fantastic. It was a well earned win. Though I never in a million years expected Nina to like it.


I honestly don't understand the first thing about this dress. It doesn't look like it fits well, the sheer bits on the skirt go way too high up, and the sleeves just look constrictive and odd.

It wasn't bottom of the list material, since there were at least four that were worse. But I expected more from Laura.

It's a good color though, I'll give her that.


This was was pretty boring too. But the thing that gets me is that it also seemed poorly made, and that confused me a lot. I don't really have a lot to say about it other than it's puckering all over the place.

Although I do have to say this was another set of good color choices. But a pop of color might have made it feel less boring.


I just...I can't...What IS THIS? Why did everybody love it? Did they really think that a woman could wear this outside of a runway and not keep bumping her shoulders into things?

Okay, I'm exaggerating, but at the same time, those are some seriously weird shoulders and I don't understand fashion. They don't look as bad in this picture, but on the show I couldn't really figure out what was supposedly so wonderful about it. The model also wasn't really doing it any favors either, she seemed hunched over the entire time. Why this was in the top three instead of Becky, I don't know.

Like I said, I don't know fashion, apparently.

I'm cutting things a bit short, I've got a shoot coming up next weekend so I'm kind of frazzled. I'll probably be a little late with next week's recap too because we're running Thursday-Monday on the shoot. See you later!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Where's a good "hi top" joke when you need one?

One of my favorite things in the world are actor's resumes. As a filmmaker, I see a TON of headshots and resumes. Most of them aren't anything that you'd remember outside of what you're specifically looking for. But the best part is down at the bottom where they start listing "special skills."

Every actor puts a few things that are really worthwhile in this section, like languages they speak, accents they can do, stage combat experience, etc. But there's also always at least one entry that's designed solely to make them stick out in your mind and make you remember their resume above the others. My favorites have been "Arnold Schwarzenegger Impersonations" and "Stilt Walking." Which brings me to this week's episode.

Thankfully this week's PR will be faster for me to recap since it was a team challenge. The thing that gets me is that it really reeks of running out of ideas. "What haven't we done? How can we avoid repeating ourselves. I know, STILTS!"

I wish I was in THAT production meeting. Mostly so I could have what they were having.

Anya and Olivier

I loved watching the two of them work, with Anya perched on the table. I wish something more impressive had come out of their partnership, but if nothing else they at least showed the rest of the teams what they COULD have been acting like.

This is another one of those garments where there's just nothing all that good OR bad to say about it. I like the fabric, though since it's on a stilt-walker there's just too much of it to be a good thing. It's rightfully the middle of the pack.

Bert and Viktor

What. a. disaster. That fabric isn't hideous, and it could have been made into something nice if it was in much, much smaller quantity. But on a challenge like this where there's supposed to be yards and yards of everything, it's just awful.

Everything about this came out bad, and it's because of the teamwork, or lack there of. While they both get a lot of blame for this going wrong (a lot of the worst decisions did belong to Bert, I admit) at the same time, the poor teamwork should rest squarely on Viktor's shoulders.

At nearly every juncture that he could be dismissive, rude, and a jerk he took it. Bert's comments and problems usually had a root cause, and while he could have taken a higher road, in the vernacular of their behavior: Viktor started it. I found myself thrilled to see him on the bottom even if the major problems the judge's had were Bert's fault.

Danielle and Cecilia

How does that hair even HAPPEN? Please tell me that the hairdresser responsible for that was demoted or at least fined for crimes against decent hair. I know they do what the designers say and so something sent them down that road, but really, how do you do that and then think "Yes, my work here is done."

I can't figure out if it's the hair that sours me on it, but I don't like this outfit AT ALL. I don't feel like the colors really go that well together, it looks really old and old-fashioned. I would be okay with the top if the sleeves were slightly smaller so that it didn't just look like a bunch of fabric swallowed the model.

But I really can't do anything but look at the hair.

Bryce and Fallen

Okay, now we get into the part where I teach those of you that don't sew about a new and shiny thing. You see, I've never been to any fancy-schmancy school for fashion and design. But I do know how to sew, at least enough to make costumes, and I've been doing it since I was rather young. What Bryce was saying about cutting on and off grain was right, although it was explained to me as "with" or "against" the grain, since my mom was using woodworking as a base to explain it, since I understood that already.

Anyway, Bryce is not wrong. You have to go with the grain of the fabric. What Bryce was wrong about was his attitude and his general being a jerk about it. Do you want to know how SIMPLE it is to make sure that every single thing you cut out of a piece of fabric is with the grain, even if you turn it around and mix it up?

You put in a couple pins, going along with the grain of the fabric. Then you can always use those pins as reference. If you're having trouble finding the grain, you go to the edge of the fabric and check the selvages (just a fancy name for the edge of the fabric). And what's even more fun? Sometimes you actually DO want to cut on the bias...All things that I bet Fallene knew perfectly well, she just couldn't keep track of the grain, and I've had that problem a million times when working with remnants and scraps. But if you've ever even picked up a pattern, you've seen these things, because I've never seen a pattern that doesn't explain it when they say how to lay out the pieces to cut them.

So my problem is, how did Bryce, with his fancy schooling, NOT know the trick with the pins? I'm pretty sure I learned that when my age was in single digits, but I forgive Fallene for not knowing. He could have pinned the fabric down, or taped it, so that she could lay all the pattern pieces out and pin them before getting mixed up again. Personally, I think he was doing the hoity-toity "I have SCHOOLING" attitude and didn't even contemplate helping her despite the fact that it's a team challenge and he should have gone down for it.

Because let's face it, even WITH the bodice, this would have been the bottom look, and Bryce would have deserved to go home for it. Because here's the trick: Fallene might be a bad seamstress, but Bryce is a bad DESIGNER.

This look is a hideous mess, and it's not because Fallene cut against the grain. The skirt alone deserves to get somebody sent home, especially considering that Bryce seemed to be spending so much time on it.

When I was little, I had a piece of crinoline with a cheap piece of elastic sewn through it. This doesn't even look as good as THAT. It looks like another evolution of the skirt Bryce made last week with the puppy pads, and Fallene took the blame for it and went home.

That's just WRONG. I can only hope that Bryce goes home next week when everybody figures out he dodged a bullet two weeks in a row.

Josh and Julie

Josh made a very astute observation that the three bottom looks were more costume-y, and honestly I thought with the parameters of the challenge that was a mistake. They asked for garments for stilt walkers, it shouldn't be something boring. Which is part of why I don't like Danielle and Cecilia's look. It's dull for a challenge this fun.

I can't say that I loved this look, and I think the model (as with most of them) went completely overboard with the runway walk, which did it no favors. But at least they tried, and I think they succeeded. I would put them above both Anya/Olivier AND Danielle/Cecilia. They embraced the spirit of the challenge, and they deserve some credit for that.

Kimberly and Becky

This was a toss-up for best look for me. I really enjoyed this one, and I loved the way that it looked. It was also so perfectly tailored, like the judges said.

I love the attitude of it, the fun, the stripes, the asymmetry. I think if the model had sold the look better on the runway it probably would have been a much harder decision for the judges on the winner.

Yet another case for me to think Nina is out of touch with everything. That collar is awesome, and it's just the pop that it needs. Maybe it could have been placed a smidge better, and I think it looked better when it was popped rather than laying down like it is here. But that jacket's shape is BEGGING to be extended past the shoulder by that collar.

Laura and Anthony

This was a really lovely look, and I think it was probably the only one that would look good without the stilts (Becky and Kimberly's would be fun, but not as awesome). But that's why I don't think it actually SHOULD have won.

The challenge was to make a dress for a stilt walker, not to make a dress that could also work on a stilt walker.

I do love this, it's a beautiful red, it flows like nothing else, and the feathers on the shoulder were a great touch. The model also was probably the best one, which didn't hurt.

In the end though, the one thing this proves to me is that Anthony Ryan is the person to keep an eye on.


Also, I'm going to go back to something for a second. Bryce and the rest of the group seemed to be jumping on this ridiculous "these are the things you learn in SCHOOL" junk. You know what you learn in school? How to live on no money because you're in debt.

Okay, I have to say that's unfair. I'm a bit bitter because I was just working out my student loan payment plan for my graduate degree in film. Listen, I think art school can be a great thing, and I have no regrets about going. But I also don't believe that I'm any better than any other filmmaker because I've been to school and they haven't. Their artistic voice is just as valid as mine, and they can probably express it just as well. I have a bit more experience than they do probably, and I feel like school gave me a better safety net in case of failure. I know some more technical things, I have a better vocabulary. I can usually express myself with a little more authority.

But the moment I assume I'm better than another filmmaker simply because of that degree on the wall is the moment I've lost the point of it all anyway.

For the record, we totally cast the girl that listed stilt walking on her acting resume.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Catbox Fashion

Okay, so I'm going to get back into the habit of my recaps of Project Runway! For those of you who have no idea who I am or what I do or why you should care...

Basically, I'm a filmmaker and a former art history student. I've worked in the wardrobe department of several films, and also worked as a photographer for a short period of time. When I do a "recap" of the show, what I'm really doing is taking each of the looks and taking it apart from an artistic point of view, looking at it from (hopefully) a different point of view than the standard "fashion" idea. Because honestly, I don't know from fashion. I know art, and I know clothes.

Sometimes I'll also talk about what the designers do and don't say on the runway, because I honestly think half of them could hire a media consultant to learn how to represent themselves with clients (which is how they should treat the judges). That's something else I do, work with clients as an artist.

Anyway, you'll get the feel for what I do pretty quickly! I'm going to do episode two first, and go back and pick up episode one when I have time.

Honestly, this dress was the clear winner of the top three, and we all know it. I'm a little glad this was the first dress, since I go in alphabetical order. I didn't actually love this one the most, but like I said, of the top three, it was the best. I liked the sunflower seeds and the pattern they created at the neck. But I can't say that I love the fact that the rest of the dress literally was just a muslin base coated with glue and birdseed. Difficult? Of course. But just not the kind of thing I like for these sort of challenges. It's not really creating a dress out of unconventional material so much as it's creating a dress from conventional material and decorating it unconventionally. It's no corn-husk dress. But that's a quibble.

Anyway, the thing is, I actually said at the end of last season that I probably wasn't going to watch if Nina wasn't replaced as a judge. Her comments during the whole Gretchen/Mondo debate proved without a doubt that she is just not with it anymore, somehow. Last week, I thought "maybe I rushed to judgement. I feel like this is the show I missed..." But then this week...she was rude to Heidi, condescending, and she was basing her dislike of this dress on the LENGTH? I felt like it was a problem that had nothing to do with the challenge itself. Yes, a few extra inches on the bottom would have made the shape and size of the dress look better. But considering what else he accomplished and how nice it looked? Not at all a concern.

I'm still a bit baffled by Anya. I've been sewing for most of my life, though not in any serious way. So for her to say she'd never touched a sewing machine until four months before this challenge? I just don't think it's actually possible. It reminds me of people who advertise that they made "no budget" films. Then you find out that they spent a ton of money on their movie, they just pretended that wasn't part of the "budget" so that they would have a marketing gimmick.

Anyway. I don't hate this, but I don't love it either. It's certainly interesting, and a bit innovative. But the halter on the top seems a bit too long and it elongates the model in an odd way. And for some reason it always looked like a dress from the candy challenge a few seasons ago. Ultimately, it's forgettable.

I love this dress. It might have been cliche to go for the aquarium plants, but Becky made something with a cute shape, fun movement, and a lot of nice color. It was a little young, but they didn't ask for anything specific with this challenge (unless I missed it) so it didn't have to be a cocktail dress for a woman in her 20's. I think she did something that reminded me a bit of Chloe's leaf dress from back in the day, only much more colorful. Which is probably why the judges didn't pick it for the top three, even though I would.

This is such an inoffensive and boring little dress. It's okay, there's nothing that makes me go "ugh, how awful" or even really think about it at all. It's just there. Bert's attitude about the challenge though...what show did he think he was auditioning for? Seriously, every season designers complain that they're DESIGNERS why do they have to make things out of trash? Do you WATCH the show? Note to the world: don't audition for reality shows you haven't seen! And if it's a new show, then watch some shows by that production company, or just watch some reality TV. Or just check out some of the super-cuts from fourfour or something. You're not there to make friends, you're there to make dresses out of weird junk.

(For the record, I recall Bert saying in the first episode that he wasn't there to make friends. Since that's so cliche and he didn't seem to be trying for ironic, I'm going to assume he doesn't have cable and didn't watch TV during the time he wasn't designing).

Oh, sigh. At one point in the episode, when Bryce had first started putting the puppy pads on his dress, some of the other designers were making fun of it and I thought "but that doesn't look bad, from that distance I kind of like it, I'd think about buying it if it was real fabric."

That was apparently just the bottom layer. He just kept adding things, and adding. And for the record, I've never seen those things called "wee wee pads." Maybe it's a brand thing, but I've ALWAYS seen them called "puppy pads" or "training pads." So the constant refrain of "wee wee pads" made me want him to get eliminated just to make him stop saying it.

The entire thing is a complete mess, and it was obviously the worst thing on the runway. I don't know how he wasn't even in the bottom two. It looked like (literal) trash walking down the runway, it didn't fit, it didn't move...I just don't understand how he was safe.

Okay, first of all, has anybody besides me noticed that the standard length on these mini-dresses is almost exactly the same as the "too short to win" dress Anthony made?

Anyway, I have nothing to say about this particular design except to point out how much I hated every single design that basically glued bedding to fabric and called it a day. Have you ever really dealt with hamster bedding? Or the papery stuff that I think is for mice? That stuff has a horrible texture, and it looks even worse. It looked terrible, on every single dress that did it. It basically looked like the remainders of a lint trap, or what gets stuck to a sucker that's been dropped on a carpet.

This picture doesn't look that bad, but this is actually one of the better dresses of the ones that went for this "technique." But up close, it was pretty bad, IMHO.

This isn't bad, it's at least interesting. But it feels really 80's to me. I can't be the only one that got that vibe from it, right? I think it would look right at home in a hair metal band music video.

But really, that's not a terrible thing. I mean, it's not a winning look, but it's certainly better than half the other stuff this week.

This dress looks better in this photo than it did on the show. The colors on the show really were off, and the proportions weren't great either. But I really did not understand the sheer volume and intensity of the hate that was heaped on it by the judges. It came across to me like Bert's dress-inoffensive and forgettable. I'm hoping that if Bert didn't have immunity he would have taken Fallen's place in the bottom three.

I do have to comment about her attitude on the runway though. I just finished up with my MFA, so I spent the last three years having my work critiqued (part of the reason I haven't been writing recaps). Sometimes, the films/scripts/work that was being looked at were not my best work, and more than once they were things that I was done with and had more or less wiped my hands of. So I get a little bit of where Fallen was coming from. But you don't SAY those kinds of things to the judges. You can say, "I struggled..." or even "Yes, I see what you mean, I wish I had been able to X..." or even "What I was trying to get to was Y, but I couldn't quite capture it." Usually with what I do, that's followed with, "Do you have any suggestions" which I guess she couldn't do.

But to stand up there and say, (paraphrase) "I can't defend this dress because I hate it, and I wish I hadn't made it?" That's just asking to be eliminated. It's unprofessional as well.

Josh C.
Okay, can you honestly say he deserves to be ELIMINATED for this? I know, it's just "real fabric." But he used the exact same material for his skirt that one of the top three designs did (actually, I think several of them used that lizard bedding stuff). And while the top was fabric-LIKE, it still wasn't as close to a normal textile fabric as, say, Oliver's. Which, you know, won.

They say all the time that they are just looking at what is in front of them THIS WEEK. This elimination proves absolutely that it's wrong. He played it safe, yes. But when you compare it to the blue trainwreck that is Bryce's dress, it's obvious he was auf'd because of last week.

I'm not saying this was a winning design, far from it. It's actually just uninteresting and safe. But the rationale the judges were using to dismiss it were not consistent with their other comments during the same challenge.

Also, that purple on top looks really terrible. He shouldn't have used the part with the dog print. And I don't know that I've ever seen a top designed like this that didn't make the woman look...unsupported.

Josh M.
This picture does not begin to do this top justice. This one is a rare case where I agree with pretty much everything the judges said. The styling was bad, the design on the top was STUNNING, and the skirt was adorable. I don't really like the midriff bit, but I think that with the way he made the top it was probably the only way to make it work.

These aquarium rocks are about the only dress in this episode where I will give somebody a bigger pass for basically just gluing something to muslin and calling it a day. He created a pattern with different colors of rocks, which I think was more impressive looking than even the sunflower seeds on Anthony's dress.

A very solid second place, and only just. If it was styled better it would be the obvious winner.

This dress is just...there's nothing positive I can say about it. I just hope that they donated all of that dog food to a local humane society or shelter.

And then let's just forget this dress ever happened.

I don't hate this top...but I don't love it either. I like what she was going for, I applaud the work she put into it. but it seems a bit haphazard. The tubing doesn't seem to really be forming a pattern so much as it's just THERE. It's almost tangled or heaped on, like she wanted it to make a pattern but she couldn't quite get it to go there so she just glued it where she could and called it a day.

If she could have done a really interesting design with the tubing, I probably would have loved this one.

I didn't LOVE the dog-cone skirt. But I thought it was inventive and it would have probably put Laura in the top. It was way too short, that never would have worked. But I don't understand why she couldn't have done something underneath it to deal with the problem rather than scrapping it entirely and going with this pretty uninspired and forgettable cardboard thing.

I mean, couldn't she have done a cardboard pencil skirt under the cone skirt? Or even just a mini-skirt?

This isn't BAD, actually it's really well done. It looks nice, and probably is the most photogenic of all of the designs. But it's just not got that bit of something that will make people remember it in a couple seasons. I mean, remember Michael Knight's coffee filter dress? And that one made of Twizzlers? THAT is what this show is looking for. The cone was her best chance at that.

Look at this model. You can't tell me she looks like she's standing up straight. And maybe she's not, but this dress would make any woman who wore it look like they were slouching and hulking over as they stomped through whatever they were doing. It makes her entire front look squished. It's bringing up her belly, bringing down her shoulders... aesthetically it's a mess.

And knowing dog beds as well as I do (which is to say, not that well since I don't own a dog, but well enough since a lot of my friends do) the fabric that the top is made of? It would be wretched as an actual garment. It picks up hair, dirt, and fibers like nobody's business. It's not's just a terrible, terrible textile. I actually refuse to buy cat beds that have that woolly stuff on it. And the wood chips glued on the muslin. I think I've already made my point on why I don't like it. I mean, at least it's better than the paper bedding. But just because it made a pretty pattern in a still photo doesn't mean it moved, that it functioned.

If Nina thinks that this is where fashion is heading, then I will be trying my hardest to never be fashionable. This is the kind of dress that would make any woman look worse, even Heidi. It will never do the female form any favors, and it will always make me itch just thinking about it. The fact that it won makes me wonder if I shouldn't have listened to myself so many months ago and given up on this show.

Why in the world wasn't this dress in the top three? I mean, considering how much I hated Olivier's, it's obvious to me that this should have been the replacement. This still is terrible (what the heck is the model doing?) but between the dye job and the banded look of the fabric, I think this looks a lot like what I'm seeing in red carpet photos these days. It's a great color, and if it was made of actual fabric then it would be a pretty middle-of-the-road dress. But considering it's made out of the same puppy pads as Bryce's dress, it's a huge success. I hope Viktor gets some recognition soon, he deserves it.

So there you go guys! I hope you enjoyed, feel free to tell me how terribly not stylish I must be in the comments.

I'm currently filming a documentary, which takes me out of town frequently. I'll try to keep up with the recaps but I can't make any promises. If you subscribe on RSS, then even if I'm late with them you'll still get them eventually!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Electronics aren't evil

So, I came across this article this morning from Real Simple's blogs. Let's leave aside for a moment the fact that the OP actually typed the phrase, “How long have you been playing computer?!?!?!” and get to the heart of the matter.

For a long time, it's seemed to me that parents all around America (and probably the world) are under the impression that television/computers/screens/electronics/anything newfangled is evil.

It's not true. It never has been. And articles like this just remind me of it over and over again.

I should be clear here: I'm not coming at this from a parental perspective, that's part of my point. I'm not a parent, and I don't intend to be. I'm coming at this from the other side, I'm trying to explain this to you on behalf of your kids, whose opinions you seem to be disregarding.

I know why, trust me, I get that. I know teenagers, I remember being one. It's easy to lose perspective, to get completely caught up in things. It's not that you don't realize how unimportant these teenage slights are, it's that up until now that really WAS the worst thing that could have happened to you. You don't yet know how bad life can really get, and that sometimes makes teenagers really insufferable to be around. It's really simple for adults to just chalk it up to "teenagers are stupid and we know better" because, well, most of the time we do.

But when it comes to electronics, you don't, actually. It's well documented how quickly we lose touch with emerging technologies as we grow older, and how quickly and simply kids can embrace them. I remember being in middle school when the internet and the "world wide web" was this weird and wonderful new thing. Now kids can have Facebook pages before they are even born. I've embraced the online world in a way my parents haven't, and probably couldn't. But the generation born even just ten years after me? I'll never be able to get to their level either.

The point of this is that the first thing we need to accept is that as an older generation, we don't live or exist in the same place as "these kids today." We see technology and electronics in a completely different way than they do, down to the most basic and fundamental of levels. And this is coming from somebody who DOES spend a very large amount of time on social networking sites and watching TV.

Which gets me to my next point. Parents seem to be assuming, almost unanimously, that nothing good can come from television/computer use. That's just completely untrue.

First of all, you know one thing you're keeping your children from when you're keeping them from computers? Jobs. The most financially successful people I know at the moment are all computer programmers. Almost everybody I know that has a good, steady job has it because of their computer expertise. It's not that computers are our future, it's that they are our present. The more familiar and comfortable we are with them, the more employable we are. That's the truth of our lives right now.

And it's not even just the obvious things like programmers that benefit from time spent with electronics. Everybody acts like watching television or movies is just sucking the creativity straight out of our youth. That could be true for some kids, but I think we're blaming the wrong thing. I am a filmmaker, a writer, a story teller. It's what I do, it's what I'm passionate about, and it's how I use my imagination to better the world around me. I watched a lot of tv as a kid, and I used it to fuel my creativity instead of draining it. Kids do that, they are good at it.

As an added bonus, if you work to find a way to direct that obsession with television into creativity, you're reaching your child where they are, not striving to make them what you want them to be. Listen, I love to read. It's one of my favorite things, I still routinely stay up half the night reading because a book is just too good to put down. But some kids don't like it, it doesn't reach them. That's just the way they are, it's about they way they learn and how they internalize things. Movies, television, computer games, books, they're all stories. It's all art (no matter what Roger Ebert says) and they all can spark creativity and imagination if you want them to. I can't help but feel that when people start talking about getting their kids to read instead of play games that what they are really doing is trying to make their kid into what they WANT them to be, instead of who they truly are.

Instead of assuming that computers and television are evil, why don't you figure out what it is about them that your kids enjoy? WHY do they like them? WHAT do they get out of it? Are they just vegging because they want to zone out for a while? Then sure, tell them they get an hour of that every day (because as adults, what wouldn't we give for an hour to zone out every day?) But if your kid is programming flash games to play with her friends, then for goodness sakes, encourage her. Sure, you can make sure she does all her homework, but don't act like just because it's electronic it's not worthwhile. Creating a video game, making a short film, even keeping a blog, these are all things that are just as creative and valid as painting, playing piano, and all those other things parents are okay with because they understand them.

On a side note about the homework, I never did mine. I did just enough to get by with A's and B's. It wasn't because of the computer or television. If I had been denied those things (and I was sometimes) I would have found other things to do. Kids don't skip their homework because of computers and tv. They skip their homework because they hate their homework. Find out why, and work on fixing that instead. Maybe their homework is so remedial that they can tell it isn't worth their time. Maybe it's so difficult that they need help but don't want to ask for it. Maybe they have a learning disorder, or the teacher they had before this one was so terrible that they don't have the foundation they need for the class they are in. They have a reason that homework isn't important to them, figure out what it is.

I've been spending the last few months getting to know a group of professional gamers. Most people assume when I say that, I mean game testers or designers. Those are awesome people to, but I mean men (they are all men right now, unfortunately) who make their living as competitors. They train on their chosen game, they travel to tournaments and play for prize money. They have sponsors, they might earn a salary, and while it's a very difficult job to get, it is just as valid a job as being a professional athlete.

All of these guys were once high school students (actually, some of them still are, but not the ones I am filming for my project). Once upon a time, they were just playing a game they loved for hours at a time. The difference is they were good enough at it, and they were determined and competitive enough, that they now make a living at it. I'm not saying your son/daughter is going to become a professional gamer. I'm just saying you should be open to the possibility that your kids passion for electronics could be a career path that you haven't considered, and that career path could be the way to happiness for your child.

And if you don't want your kid to be happy even more than you want them to be successful, then I'm not entirely sure what to say to you.