Saturday, January 28, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars Episode 4: 6-Hour Catwalk

Greetings, Project Runway Fans!

All this week's episode needed was this.

As many of you know, I co-host a Blogging Project Runway chatroom every Thursday.  For the past three weeks, I've been hanging on past 10:00 pm to comment on Lifetime's new fashion game show, 24-Hour Catwalk.   This week, both episodes became a complete blur to me.

"Designers, you don't know me, but I'm British Fashion Icon, Alexa Chung.  This week, you get to eat gelato and make a dress in 6 hours!"
"Wait, the producers told me that this week was the Diane Von Furstenberg challenge." 

"Do you seriously think that I have nothing better to do than to waste my time on judging a 6-hour challenge?"
James LaForce: I'm available and we all know Derek Blasberg has nothing to do....
Cynthia Rowley: Heck, I'll judge anything.
But wait!  There's a Project Runway All-Stars twist!  Supermodel Miranda Kerr gets to wear the winning outfit.

Doesn't she look thrilled?

Let's get on with the show, shall we?

Jerell Scott

His gelato was some berry flavored concoction.  His garment was typical of his style...very easy, very bohemian.  I loved the prints he used this week and the strapping gave it a nice pop, but I think we all know by now that Jerell isn't in the running to win the All-Star competition.  He was safe...much to Miranda Kerr's relief.

Austin Scarlett

"I picked vanilla, the best of all flavors and colors."
Unfortunately, Joanna didn't look at the geegaws he had laid out on the work table.

From the Joshua McKinney Trim Collection for Mood Fabrics....

Admittedly, the silhouette is much improved from previous weeks.  Nevertheless, this is yet another look that Miranda Kerr was relieved not to wear.

Anthony Williams

Anthony chose "Green Tea," a flavor and color that would have been my choice.

And here, I mistakenly thought that this would be in the running for the win.  It certainly didn't look like it had been done in 6 hours.  However, none of the judges were very thrilled with it.

Derek: Actually, Cynthia, I rather like it.  He made two pieces in the time it took some designers just to make one--and he didn't need our professional sewing team.
Cynthia: I like the contrast in textures, too.
Wait until you see the garment that actually won this challenge, then go back and look at this one.  Keep in mind that a supermodel promised she'd wear the winning challenge in a public place.  Maybe the origami folds have been overdone.  Maybe the skirt is a throw-away, but I thought this was a solid presentation.

Rami Kashou

On the other hand, Rami chose kiwi and went completely literal...and ugly.  Why Anthony was called out for criticism and not Rami was beyond me.

It's a kiwi explosion, right down to the seeds.

Kenley Collins

I miss the snarky, overconfident Kenley who had nothing but shade to throw at her fellow competitors even though her garments failed to live up to her hype.

We saw just a smidgeon of that this week, but not nearly enough.  She chose passionfruit and declared that her outfit would win.

It didn't.  In fact, it was safe.  It's a nice dress to make in 6 hours.  I would love to make this dress in 6 hours.  In fact, if I could sew fast enough to make this dress in 6 hours, I'd have one in every color of the rainbow.  Perhaps, if I hired Just Raymona and the 24-Hour Catwalk Sew Team, I could have four 6-hour dresses in one day.

Just Raymona: I'm sorry, crazy person. Unless you are a famous designer or a producer of a network TV show, I can't see you.  

Kara Janx

Kara chose was left with Chocolate-Cayenne gelato.  Yummy, with a kick.  This week, that kick nearly sent her out the door.

Yes, she was too literal with her garment.

Yes, her garment had a wonky silhouette, which made the model look pregnant.

And everybody knows you can't mix brown with red.
Except when you do it, Isaac.

Poor Kara was spared the boot this week because someone did way worse.

April Johnston

She chose blueberry, which is a cool color to work with.  Originally, she meant to do this.

I'm not saying with certainty that she would have been better off if she had, but I think she would have at least been safe.  Her plans changed when she did not find jersey in the "mini Mood" fabric store that the producers created in the workroom to save time.  She had her heart set on jersey, but there was no jersey to be found in her color.  So she went with other fabrics in her color and had to rework the dress.  This is what resulted.

It's not the worst dress ever made.

Derek Blasberg: Boy, that's for sure.  You could have won this week's "24-Hour Catwalk!"
But it was the worst one on the All-Star runway this week.  I can't quibble.  Sorry, April, we'll miss you.

Mila Hermanovski

She chose cherry-vanilla and practically had the win wrapped up.

Joanna: Instead of black and white, cherry and vanilla. Clever! Innovative!
Snark aside, what was on that dress form was perfect and didn't need an extra thing.  Unfortunately, it was too sheer and instead of lining it with white, Mila gave it some other things.

Namely, she gave it a red underdress that Angela didn't like and a heavy Neiman Marcus belt that neither Diane Von Furstenberg nor Miranda Kerr liked.  And much like people looking at a house who can't see  past the ugly wallpaper, the belt stopped them cold.  Really, Miranda Kerr?  You wouldn't want to wear this outfit but you prefer the winning design?

Isaac, on the other hand, was grateful that Mila did not use any brown in the making of this outfit and declared it his favorite.

Mondo Guerra

Mondo has quit Sterling, Draper, Cooper Price and moved to a Miami, Florida retirement home.

Of all the dresses inspired by cantaloupes out there, this one is the cantaloupiest!  The funniest thing about this outfit, besides the fact that it was so over-the-top literal and no one called him out on it, was that he complained that he didn't have enough fabric.  I wonder what he would have made had he gotten sufficient fabric.

Blanche Devereaux: Thank you for being a friend, Mondo!
I actually thought if this was what was left, Mondo should have gotten the win this week.  But apparently, Miranda Kerr was so horrified at the thought of being seen in a caftan in Miami, she let Diane Von Furstenberg talk her into the winning outfit.

Michael Costello

Michael chose grapefruit....willingly.  He was thinking pink grapefruit, clearly, but Georgina Chapman kept arguing with him about the color.

Georgina:  I'm not seeing grapefruit and I should know.  I'm an expert on grapefruits.  I subsist on them.
Putting color quibbles aside, Michael meant to do a sleek, sophisticated, gathered dress.

He must have picked all the fabric that Mondo didn't get to have because what resulted was anything but sleek.

It was like something out of the South Fork Collection for Neiman Marcus.

Miranda Kerr was horrified at the prospect of having to put her post-pregnancy, still nursing body into such a flimsy outfit.  But Diane Von Furstenberg distracted her.

"Look!  See the back?"

Your point, Diane?  Besides wanting to humiliate Miranda Kerr?

"Michael, if I weren't dead, I would ask you to design one for me, too!"
Sewer 1: Do you think we could have done better?
Sewer 2: Maybe, if they chose good fabric.
Just Raymona: Girls, don't sell yourselves short.  No one wins unless they listen to us!

So Michael is the big winner, again, this week.  And somewhere, Miranda Kerr spends sleepless nights in anticipation dread of having to wear the dress that Diane Von Furstenberg picked out for her.   Diane always gets the last laugh.

That's it for now.  See you next week for a Central Park inspiration challenge.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars Episode 3: Silk Dresses and Sow's Ears....

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may become necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye!" --Miss Piggy, wearing Zac Posen
Greetings, Project Runway (All-Stars) fans!  This week was the much awaited Miss Piggy challenge.

"It's time to start the music, it's time to light the lights..."
I hoped that Miss Piggy herself would model the outfits.  You see, Miss Piggy can handle designer outfits.

Miss Piggy in Burbury Prorsum, Christopher Bailey
Instead, the designers used their regular models and Miss Piggy was part of the judging panel.  This week, Isaac Mizrahi was missing from the panel.  Perhaps one diva was enough.  He was replaced by Eric Daman, costume designer for Gossip Girl and Sex in the City.  He had a nice rapport with  Miss Piggy.

As an aside, Ms. Georgina Chapman literally looked like Wilma Flintstone.

All she needed was a rock necklace.

The Muppets are all very cute and cuddly but they can become oh, so deliciously nasty when it comes to contest shows.  Cookie Monster and Elmo were brutal during Top Chef, so I was waiting for Miss Piggy to deliver her characteristically over-the-top insults.  Unfortunately, Eric Daman received the Karate chop and the most biting comments.  Pig's got a movie to promote, so she couldn't afford to be too mean to the designers.  So I guess that job is left to me!

Kara Janx - Dominatripig!

When Miss Piggy stars in the Muppet remake of Exit to Eden,  this will be the outfit to wear.

Actually, this is quite a smart little dress.  Is it Miss Piggy?  I don't know.  Do any of us know?  So you toss a pair of pink opera length gloves on and all of a sudden, your outfit is safe.  Perhaps if only a certain someone else had used the magic pink gloves she, too could have been safe and not in the bottom two this week.... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Anthony Williams - The Thing with Feathers...

is not hope, but it may be a desperate attempt at glamour.

I'm not fond of them and I really don't think this is Miss Piggy's dress, either, however, it moved nicely on the runway and the back was drop, dead gorgeous.

April Johnston - Goth Minnie Mouse

Seriously.  Miss Piggy would wear this?  Really?

Toss some feathers on the shoulders and call it glamour?  I'm not seeing it.  The skirt emphasizes the widest part of the hip area.  This one would have been in  the bottom group had I been on the panel.

While I do admit that the back of the bodice is interesting, that bow is very distracting.  Speaking of bows...

Austin Scarlett: The Bows!

What the hell?

"The panels are very slimming."
No, really.  Austin, explain to me how you got from this (note his drawing of Miss Piggy's face)

to this...

because I'm just not getting it.  Seriously, Austin, please to explain.

"Miss Piggy was my inspiration for becoming a designer!"
Thanks, Austin.  You're no help whatsoever.  Judges?

Eric Daman: What do you expect from a man wearing a ridiculous bow tie?
Miss Piggy:  It's no more ridiculous than your sloppy ascot!
For some reason, Austin migrated from his planned full skirt to a more fitted dress.  Unfortunately, bows materialized, attacked the dress and refused to let go, just like the birds in the Hitchcock's thriller.  The horror!

My theory was that after looking at the flouncy skirts on the other designers' creations, he wanted his to stand out.  He succeeded, but not in a good way.

Kenley Collins: POUF!

"Blue dotted swiss or no blue dotted swiss?"
Kenley, you could have kept the blue dotted swiss.  It wouldn't have made any difference.  At one point, someone commented that another designer had no sense of whimsy when it came to designing for Miss Piggy.   Well, Kenley had that in spades.  She found the pink giraffe fabric in the whimsy aisle at Mood and ran away with it.

It's perfect for Miss Piggy, but would it be perfect for a promotional cocktail party?  Judges?

Eric Daman: Such a large head pouf could cover your ears.
Miss Piggy: I like to keep my ears uncovered so that I can BETTER HEAR YOUR INSULTS!
Mondo Guerra: Mad Pig

Mondo Guerra still works at Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Price....

The dress featured interesting origami folds along the bottom hem.  It was a cute look and Mondo is definitely in an interesting and consistent place this season.

Mila Hermanovski - Mod Pig

"I can definitely see your point of view."
This was one of my favorite looks last week, believe it or not!  How could it wind up in the bottom?

After all, we know Miss Piggy can totally rock a pair of boots.

Mila's outfit would have been a completely different character change for Miss Piggy and therein lies the problem.  If you're dressing for a cocktail party to promote a movie, don't you want to reflect your character in the movie somehow?  Perhaps this is too much of a departure, but I believe it's no more of a departure than any of the previous black looks we've seen.  Mila, you would not have been in my bottom two, but maybe you should have wrestled those pink opera length gloves out of Kara's hands!

Rami Kashou: Chick Chicky Boom!

Lifetime Network, delivering women's fantasies since 1982....

When the Muppets remake "Weekend In Havana" this can be Miss Piggy's dress.

I totally agreed with Georgina Chapman's remark about the seaming cutting off the polka dots.  It disrupts the flow and makes the final look very messy.  Here's the more important thing to me; it was not the dress Rami wanted to make.  He originally wanted to make a dress in a solid color with more flounces.

I think he fell in love with the polka dots and decided to cut back on the flounces in order to save time and let the pattern stand out.  It was probably a good decision with the fabric choice, but I think I would have preferred the outfit he planned to make.

Jerell Scott - Hot Pink Mess

Remember Molly Ringwald's weird prom dress in "Pretty In Pink"?

Well, Jerell spiced things up.  Again, nothing says glamor like feathers on the shoulders.  I think it's really sloppy and ill-fitting.

The lace and the eyelet fabric just don't go together for me.  Perhaps it was girlie enough that the judges decided to declare it safe.  It would have been toward the bottom, just above the weird garment Austin produced.  In his particular season, Jerell grew on me as that season went on.  This season, I'm just not liking his stuff at all.

Gordana Gehlhausen: Babydoll Lingerie 

It's such a shame.

We know Gordana is capable of making beautiful clothes, but this just seemed like she was giving up.  A cocktail dress has certain rules, by its nature.  It's short, since it's more informal than a gown.  They tend not to be diaphanous and flowing since cocktail parties are likely to be held in people's homes or nightclubs.  Having to navigate subways and cabs in a dress like this just isn't practical.  

This really did look like a nightgown.  It looked way too intimate and coquettish for a star like Miss Piggy to wear to a promotional cocktail party.  Setting the rules of the challenge aside (as the judges seemed to do) the dress was just too simple and did not show much personality, either Gordana's or Miss Piggy's.

So Gordana said bye-bye this week.

Michael Costello: Loop The Loop

Michael, once again, was the big winner!  Congrats to Michael!  This was one of my favorite looks and I'm very comfortable with his win.

Miss Piggy likes to make a scene.  Michael's fabric is shiny and the hat grabs your attention without requiring its own zip code.  The hat and the vertical bow in front add interest without too much bulk.  Yes the fabric looks stiff, but this is a cocktail party, not a dance party.  It's formal enough to wear to a promotional event and the body conscious shape gives it the sort of sophistication that a movie star would want to have.

I especially like that Michael didn't bathe her in pink.  She's already pink!  He chose a fabric that would compliment her coloring, but still be fun and feminine.  And he added some details, like the exposed zipper in the back, that would give Miss Piggy a bit of an edge.

After all, a diva doesn't want to be typecast.

See you next week for the 6-hour challenge.  If only Alexa Chung were guest hosting....