Sunday, October 28, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars Season Deux, Episode 1: Attitude Adjustment

Greetings, Project Runway Fans!  It's All-Star time!  Can't you just feel the excitement in the air?

Wendy Pepper!!!!  Josh! Ca-za-no-va! Ulllliiiii!  Kayne!  Anthony Ryan!  ANDRE!!!!!

Some things never change.  Emilio has that cute little lisp that sugar coats his fierce competitiveness.  Wendy Pepper STILL isn't here to make friends.  Suede still talks about himself in the third person.  Your straight guy friends will keep confusing Laura Kathleen with Althea and Althea is "Miss Bossypants."

Tell your straight guy friends that they'll want to watch this season, if for no other reason than to see the host, Carolyn Murphy.

Only, she'll be looking more like this....

Sorry guys.  That dress is all sorts of wrong.  Let's get on with this week's recap because right now, I've got another girl on my mind....

Hurricane Sandy, as seen from the US Space Station.
The challenge

This week's challenge split our group into teams, even though there were only thirteen designers.  They were to choose a mood and then build a cohesive collection with each designer contributing to the look.

And in case you were wondering, Wendy Pepper was chosen last, by the other team.

Joanna Coles is back with her fabulous British accent and loads of good advice for the veteran contestants.

Our guest judges this week were Rachel Roy (who dresses Michele Obama) and Mondo Guerra, on his world promotional tour, only this time, he didn't promote anything.

Team Black and Blue

Did I mention that each team's collection had to be cohesive?  For some reason, this team interpreted that to mean that everyone had to use the same two colors.  zzzzzz.  Actually, that was there default plan because they couldn't agree on any other.  And that was the start of the problem...

Laura Kathleen

It was the judges favorite of the evening, but because it was on Team Loser, she was safe (free from having to hear judges critiques) and that was that.  I'm not really feeling this outfit.  Yes, it's flattering enough on the model, but that peplum would be horrendous on a real woman.  There's something a little casual about the bodice that keeps me from saying that this is a lovely dress...I just can't put my finger on it.


When Emilio wasn't winning the most challenges in his season, he was dying fabric in the toilet.  Actually, he won that challenge, too!  This is an interesting dress.  It is very flattering and for the right woman, would be a real show stopper.  It's provocative without being tremendously vulgar.

The exposure is only in the front.  Quite a brilliant and youthful dress and it fits perfectly.  Had that skirt been short, it would have been too much.  The model is showcased beautifully here.  Something tells me that when the fabric choices were made, Emilio had this outfit in mind....the others could fend for themselves.


Here's where the collection begins to fall apart.  It's a cute enough dress, but the sheer top just doesn't add enough interest to the very pedestrian dress underneath.


SUEDE SAYS: It's perfectly ok to use bra cups as capped sleeves!

There's a time and place for this sort of dress and that is during an unconventional materials challenge.  The bodice is a bit bunchy and the skirt is just too crafty.  It was not a completely offensive look, just not up to the polished standards the judges were expecting.    The bra cup sleeves do nothing for me.


Peach, I want to like you as a designer.  You seem like such a nice person, but you lead with your insecurity.  When Peach went before the judges, she began tearing her outfit apart...explaining away all the compromises she had to make...complaining about the fabric.  That's not the way to go, Peach.  Sell the dress in case the judges didn't quite think it was the worst one up there.  They were on crack this week anyway, as I'm about to explain with the next team.

It is sad to see Peach go.  I hope she is able to continue designing on her terms with a design process that gives her enough time to workout the self doubt.

Team Bossypants!

Right away, Wendy and Althea clashed.  Wendy thought Althea was much too controlling.  I agree.  Her taste level is extremely questionable and it extended through the entire team.  If Black and Blue had had its act together, Bossypants would have been kicked to the curb.  Or maybe not.  The judges were really eating this crap up.


The front is cute but the back is way out of proportion.  That tail at the bottom looks sloppy.   I really hate the styling here, too.  Not my favorite look at all.


The judges LOVED this look.  For Casanova, who did not impress me in his season, this is not bad at all and very well fitted.  It was rightfully in the running for a win.


Uli's turned a new leaf, everyone.  She doesn't work exclusively with prints anymore.  However, the essence of every dress she turned out in her season is reflected right here, only with the ugliest front piece I've ever seen.  


"Everyone loves a good jacket."  - Rachel Roy

You would have expected the judges panel to argue about the lace patches on the jacket, but no.  They argued about whether shorts were still in or passe.  "I'm over dress shorts," declared Isaac Mizrahi.

Then, Rachel began praising how perfectly placed the lace pieces were.  "They match in the back."  While that may be so, everyone is ignoring how strange this looks from a if someone shot holes through your arms and waist.  Then again, they would probably rave at how slimming that effect is......sigh....

Anthony Ryan

Admit it...when you saw him working in the sewing room, it didn't look like he was off to a good start.

Of all the looks out there in Team Bossypants, this one was the most versatile and modern.  Isaac thought the fit of the pants was off...I'm not seeing that.  Rachel gushed over how the back made the model's tush super sexy.  I would have complained that we would have liked to see more of that sexy tush and less of the cheap lace that covered it....but I wasn't on the panel.  The back is a surprise and the judges responded well to that element.  

Anthony Ryan was the winner this week.

Before I dart off to stand in line for D-batteries and bottled water, I have to note with amusement that this season is chock full of BIG PRIZES!  The winner gets to be an assistant editor at Marie Claire for a year, use of a fully equipped sewing and technology studio for a year, $150 K, a trip around the world to fashion weeks, and the OPTION for Nine West to pick you up as a designer.

So let me get this straight...for the privilege of knocking yourself out for two and a half weeks and coming out on top of a cut-throat competition, you get 365 days to travel, use stuff, and arm wrestle with Nina Garcia AND hope that doesn't distract you from putting together a winning proposal for a Nine West capsule (limited edition) collection.   Really?   I'm thinking the runners up this year will be the really lucky ones.

I may combine the next two weeks as I'm not sure that I'll have cable (or power) after the storm.  We'll see.  Until next time!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Project Runway Season 10, Finale: It Might as Well Be Spring


And so it was down to four designers after all.

Oh, and judging by what most of the models were wearing, Spring, 2013 trends are black and white, leather jackets, and fringe.


Also, if things seem a bit...inconsistent, quality-wise, consider that these four had only five weeks to produce their collection.  That's THE SHORTEST TIME TO PRODUCE A FINAL COLLECTION IN PROJECT RUNWAY HISTORY.

If the producers can't see fit to give their designers sufficient time to produce a quality runway show, then why should I spend lots of time analyzing it?

We've got 40 looks to examine, so let's just get this over with.


His inspiration was his mother's X-rays?

The print was...visually arresting, indeed.

 Leather shorts, black under's distinctive.

I was surprised there was no prudish commentary from Michael Kors about the first model's clear lack of undergarments.  His models were clearly going for a goth Spring look here. black. Just the thing for spring!

Gown!  Got to end with a gown!

I totally disagreed with Michael when he said that this look belonged in a different collection.  There was plenty of cohesion, color-wise.  What was jarring was that this was the only gown and the only garment that featured ruffles.  

Christopher is brilliant when he had the time and clarity to produce a beautiful garment.  Does he have the vision and range to send out good collections or is he just limited to producing brilliant garments here and there?  Time will tell.


Nothing says spring like jackets and dresses with a huge collars....

 Oh, look?  a bathing suit!  This must be a spring collection, no?

 The collection did have her strong point-of-view, that's for sure.

As she got toward the end, the collection lightened up significantly.

Until it ended with the worst and best looks of the collection.

I liked her clothes, don't get me wrong...but I didn't think this was the strongest Spring collection.  Clearly the most arresting dress was the red one she produced the day before the runway show.  It would have been nice to see pops of that color...or some color...throughout her show, besides the ones that were added haphazardly with accessories, but she simply didn't have that vision.

At this point, I'd like to say that once again this year, we had the judges look at previews of each collection.  Either Christopher and Melissa came away with the wrong messages or the judges didn't communicate the right ones.  To each of these two designers, I would have said, "I'm just not seeing 'Spring' here."


Springtime in Belarus.....

I love the idea of this dress...but I hate the execution.  It was too stiff, the fit was too loose and the hem was just an inch too long.  The illusion across the neckline was a bit too much as well.

I like the idea of the jacket and would have liked to have seen more cut-out works throughout, but that was it for the cut-outs.  The weird waistline of the pants didn't do a whole lot to flatter the model.  The sheer, black illusion fabric did even less.  Looking at the collection overall, I guess this was Dmitry's toss to a casual look...only, I can't see a casual event where this look would fit in.  My least favorite look...well, almost my least favorite look...

 I know Michael thought that that the yellow dress was boring.  I thought it was one of the most gorgeous dresses that walked the runway.  I would have liked to see more of this yellow interspersed throughout.  And I would have liked to see less of...


I'm simply not seeing the beauty of these two looks.  I would LOVE to see Nina wear what she thought was "one of the most beautiful dresses on the runway."  Go ahead, Nina!  I'd use some Photoshop magic here, but I really don't think that comment is worth any more of my time and effort.

I read the comment on another blog that said, "gorilla arms." Yes, nothing says Spring to me like fringy jacket sleeves and loud, chevron wool.

At this point, I should probably tell the less-informed that the judges declared Dmitry the big winner this season.


I have my theories, which I will share in a moment, but let's continue on.

 One-armed evening looks.

Can I say here, too, that judges have previously tossed out designers who did not show range?  I'm not seeing range with this collection.

At all.

Here comes the big finish.

Boom!  Bow down, you fringe is FIERCE!  And your bodice is tacky.

I was NOT IMPRESSED with this collection at all.   I thought that Dmitry had serious taste issues, but I was not on the panel that day, so who cares what I have to say.


The ghost of Jay McCarroll and Anya Ayoung-Chee haunted this collection.

Everyone in the audience gasped a collective sigh of relief when these garments walked out.  Spring was finally here.

These looks were casual or dressy, depending on how you styled them.

Beautiful, flattering draping....cropped pants that didn't look matronly....

Pulling these two looks together and possibly adding a long sleeved jacket, would create a mix-and-match ensemble perfect for travel.  It had a multi-cultural feel to it.  Nothing was too gaudy, too tacky or too vulgar.

From modern elegance to casual elegance....this collection had a strong point of view and a fresh take on modern design.


Here we have another self-taught, home sewer that dared to crash the big, fancy designer party.  The exchange between guest judge, Jennifer Hudson and Nina Garcia was the most revealing of all.  Nina asked what we could expect of Fabio in the future.  Jennifer countered that of all the designers, Fabio needed the win the most to jump start his design career.

That, was the death knell right there.  If you NEED Project Runway too much, you might not be deserving of the win, whether or not you answered the brief in the final collection.  Jay walked away from a fashion design career and is content to explore the fringes of the industry.  We'll see what Anya ends up doing, but so far, there's been no big splash.  It was as if they didn't want to send another unseasoned designer out there with a bunch of cash who only intended to spend it on past debts and nothing else.

They wanted a designer who could hit the ground running.

In my perfect dream world, I would love to see Jerell Scott or Epperson team up with Fabio Costa to produce modern, easy-to-wear clothes.  I would love to see more multi-culturalism explored and design that addresses problems that real women have, such as how do I look good post-pregnancy or what should I wear to still look cool after 60?  Dmitry will just give us expert tailoring and who knows what else.

I would have loved to have seen the judges take a risk with a designer willing to take a risk, but twas not to be.

As an aside, Crazy Elena Slivnyak won the fan favorite award.  This is interesting because had she not been booted off, I believe she would have won.  Her collection was fresh, spring-like, modern and had a very strong point of view.  Here are a few looks to close:

Oh well....It does make you wonder how many "I think Elena should have won" comments that the editors had to edit out of the final commentary montage.

Thus ends another season of Project Runway!