Thursday, September 07, 2006

PR from Paree

So, Project Runway.
I liked this week's challenge, though I thought it definitely favored some designers' interests. An understanding of couture methods does not make a better designer, but it seems like several designers were aided in the planning stages because of this knowledge. Thus, Jeffrey and Vincent openly exercised their senses of self-importance, as though knowledge equaled skill. (Stay with me, Jeff fans...I'm on your side this week, witness below). I might have liked this challenge better had it been farther along, for a group of five or even the final four.
I have actually pinpointed the above issue as a beef I have with this year's many of the challenges have been clearly geared toward a particular designer's interest. While this doesn't guarantee success by any means, it does prevent that all-or-nothing zeal, that all-in-the-same-boat action that marks out a more exciting challenge. Witness the results of challenge 1, season 1: at the grocery store. Under such conditions, there is no choice but to innovate and everyone has the same challenge. When you have challenges that favor some designers, despite the uncertainty of the outcome, the design process isn't nearly as interesting for me. Essentially, I prefer a challenge that puts everyone on the same page start to finish. Something that is as unexpected in the delivery for everybody as in the conclusion. Cohen's skating garment, the grocery store, the garden store, the muslin challenge, the dog outfit--these are the challenges I truly enjoy, or that I can really get behind in principle.

That being said, Jeffrey clearly deserved to win. While others employed couture techniques, as was the challenge, Jeffrey embodied the concept of couture and took the risk based on that energy. I didn't enjoy his dress as a garment, but I enjoyed it as a couture-esque piece for the runway. This is unlike Vincent's "art" dress from the recycling challenge, which was enjoyable to me as neither couture nor art, and certainly not as a garment. Jeffrey pulled through with this one.
As far as wearable garments, I prefered Uli's, though as we've encountered previously I'm not a big fan of the fabric braids (though I think she pulls them off better than Andrae or Santino did). The color was exquisite and it really fitted my desire to see something new and different from Uli, but that was still Uli.
Has anyone noticed how hypercritical the designers are getting of each other's designs now? And of course, the judges don't always agree. We're really getting down to execution and taste here rather than design itself, which is interesting. I don't really remember that peer critique as much from previous seasons, though maybe it just didn't pique my interest then.

Anyway, I enjoyed this week's episode despite my complaint on principle.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you that Jeffrey dserved to win. I think a lot of the problem lay in the fact that the designers had different understandings of "couture." To Vincent, it was all in the careful muslin patternmaking. Michael took it to mean a lot of handsewn work. To Laura, it meant to give her garment a dramatic Frenchy look. To me, even as I was hearing the challenge, I was thinking only of sewing techniques rather than final design and effect -- i.e. soft (not crisp and ironed) rolled hems, lack of exposed seams inside, etc. That was how I made my wedding dress and that's why it took so damned long.

But I think Jeffrey had the fullest sense of what Tim meant by couture. Good sewing, made-to-measure, and a unique, avante-garde design.


Carrie said...

I'm glad Jeffrey won. I loved loved loved that dress. I think it's really interesting of him to do something that's still in his general asthetic, but in such bright colors and fabrics. If I ever got invited to some awards show, I would love to wear a dress like that.

Uli's dress was fine, I guess, but maybe I thought it was a little boring? Very pretty, but I'm tiring of that same silhouette coming from her. I'm also pretty meh about Kayne's, Laura's and Micheal's. Thank god Vincent's gone. At least now I like all the people that are left, even if I don't always love their designs.

Stephanie King said...

I thought Jeffrey's dress was by far the most "couture" and walked the best on the runway... but I would agree that Uli made the most wearable dress -- I would happily wear it, if I had somewhere to wear it.

I hated Vincent's dress ... it seriously looked like he picked up a really oversized, early nineties dress from Goodwill and put it on backwards.

I also didn't like Michael's, but when they tucked the little boob flaps down, the dress looked ten times better.