Thursday, August 28, 2008

PR: Saturn Guts

So, as a Saturn owner, I don't mind saying that I was cringing as soon as I realized Saturns were involved in this challenge; given the way the designers tore apart their apartments one season, I was reluctant to watch them do the same to the cars. However, the cars were simply stuffed with the kinds of things that are on/in the same time, this made the whole mysterious adventure of going to the parking garage and seeing the cars lined up end with an anti-climax. Also, while I realize Saturn is a big sponsor, I'm not sure they were the best choice for the challenge, since the colors employed within the cars are not super-varied (for instance, all the seatbelts seemed to be tan, which is what I have in my car). I suppose many car brands would be the same, but I might have liked to see more color anyway.
I do like innovation challenges, and I did feel like the designers learned a lesson from challenge 1...most of them. So let's see what they did.

Blayne--I liked Blayne's idea, and also liked that he was trying to do something a little less over-the-top. And while I do not normally enjoy embellishment, I liked that he took that extra step to decorate his garment with the glass. But that sort of unfitted fitted top really only works with lighter materials so that there's a sort of float to it. The seatbelts were so firm that he had uneven bunching instead. Not so pretty. Blayne himself was significantly less weird this week, which was nice.
Jerell--I have to say I hated the hairstyling Jerell chose for his garment. However, I liked that he was thinking of the decoration of his garment, in terms of his pairing of the plastic things and the inset vinyl or whatever it was. Much like the cocktail challenge, I felt like his garment was too small all around, though it seemed well made and sassy.
Joe--Something struck me as a bit wrong about Joe's garment and I can't quite put my finger on it. It might be fit...I love that splash of red, but the garment seems a little baggy to me, or insufficiently tailored.
Keith--Keith's garment also suffered from a poor fit. From the front, in the picture, it doesn't look too bad, but I recall that on the runway it didn't move very well and looked a little shapeless in parts that should have been shaped. The back was a disaster...I was actually surprised when the model turned around because it looked like the back of a completely different outfit, and was very haphazard. I sympathize with the rip problem, but that wasn' t what tore the look for me. The back of the top was more horrible. I felt like Keith was hampered by his handling of the judges' criticism. I can also sympathize with his wanting to please them, but ultimately it's finding what about your aesthetic you can adjust--not change outright, but adjust--in order to bump up the taste level. Witness his outfit for Brooke Shields. It was his aesthetic, but refined. I don't think he ever understood the distinction. The designers need to show the judges they are listening and learning, not that they are changing who they are to fit the judges. It's a big difference. I actually think Keith's auf-ing was related heavily to how he handled himself on the runway, at least from what we saw. (Tim is sick that Keith went home, btw--he finds Stella incomprehensible.)
Kenley--I liked that Kenley sort of created her own design; it reminded me of what Kelli did with those coffee filters in challenge 1. On the whole, the look didn't fully come together for me, mainly in proportion of the skirt, but the creation of the zebra print was an interesting move that I support.
Korto--Korto is so good at coming up with wearable designs, no matter what her materials. She also has a distinctive point of view, one that leads her to produce very structural garments that look like they came from the same mind. I have to confess I like that her garments are so often's so much better than the cheap-looking ubershort outfits that keep popping up, and is more realistic for an actual woman. It's an important characteristic of her aesthetic and makes me want to see what she'd do for a whole collection. I think it would be really beautiful.
Leanne--Leanne has grown on me. I really loved the design she did on the top of her top, with the frayed belts...that interesting spiky wave effect was really clever and I'm still not sure how she did it. Her look was brave and avant-garde, and I was not at all sorry to see her win. Her look wasn't my favorite, but she totally deserved this, and I hope it's a confidence boost for her to make her more amazing. In his blog, Michael Kors says, "She found a way to take something ridiculous and actually make it covetable..." which I think summed up this look perfectly.
Stella--Oh, Stella. I actually thought the skirt was kind of cute, if not well fit. I, like the judges, had trouble with the top with that skirt. I was glad she wanted to do something pretty as a different line for her, but surely there must be a way to do so from within her aesthetic? If the top had been more fitted, more vestlike, it might have been a cute workday outfit, but as it was, things didn't cohere.
Suede--Suede's garment was a little too B-movie futuristic sci-fi for me. It was sassy (and sparkly like a holiday), but when it came down the runway I remember thinking that it didn't have enough oomph for the win. Just not quite enough danger for an innovation challenge.
Terri--Terri went back to her street aesthetic look this week. I actually thought those pants were pretty cute. Both elements of the garment looked like something you might pick up in an edgy store, but the pants looked more expensive.

So, next week Diane von Furstenberg gets in on things. I like her, and hope the strain the designers showed in the preview at least leads to some fabulous garments. My mental top three or four has definitely taken shape since about two weeks ago, so we'll see how things go.

Monday, August 25, 2008

You're In/You're Out

Following are my top and bottom 5 PR episodes of all time...I think. I had to comb back through some blogs to remember my thoughts on some of them. Favorites are generally based on both the results and the challenges themselves, producing synergistic enjoyment. Least favorites made me angry or annoyed for some reason, or were boring. I have also completely left the finale fashion shows out of the mix, because the final runway shows are always exciting.

My Top 5 PR Episodes:

Grocery Store, season 1

I love this episode not just for the challenge, which sort of established the PR "way," but also because when I think about it I feel a little excitement, like the Earth is new. Rose-colored glasses and whatnot.

Postal Uniform, season 1

I loved the idea of completely revamping a truly everyday and almost invisible element, and I loved the results of a couple of the designers--it gave you the feeling like PR could change the world.

Garden Party, season 2

How can you not love designers creating things with plantlife? Despite their difficulties, some of the designers knocked out truly amazing dresses.

WWE, season 4

I lovedlovedloved Jillian's results for this challenge, but it was also fun and relatively dramaless. The drama had its proper place, rather, in the challenge itself. Also, one of my favorite lines ever: Thank you, Spandex House!

Drag Queens, season 5

Fun, madcap, and with a lot of great results.

My Bottom 5 PR Episodes:

Makeovers, season 2

Some truly tragic results here. This episode made me feel bad, and I don't like that. Kara and Chloe both managed some good results for Santino and Nick respectively, but in all this was very disappointing.

Trash challenge, season 3

The result of this episode (the ousting of Alison) made me feel genuine outrage, and I considered quitting PR with this challenge, and several of those following this season, as noted below.

Everyday Woman, season 3

This should have been such a glorious episode, but instead there were tears from clients and ill will, and the results from some of the designers were truly horrible. I'm sorry, but you just don't mess with people's moms.

Black & White, season 3

I wrote in my blog that this was a truly wasted effort. While Laura won, which was good, I really felt like my time got robbed this one. The shenanigans in response to the "no wasted fabric" element and the bringing back of Vincent and Angela were ridiculous.

Denim, season 4

There are probably episodes I disliked more than this one, but it stands out in my mind as being kind of dull, and its results dubious. I'm generally not a fan of denim outfits in general; I like jeans and the occasional mini-skirt, but I associate denim other things with the 80s and 90s and had trouble getting around that.

Friday, August 22, 2008

PR Follow-Up

Well, not only was this drag queen episode one of the best ever Project Runway challenges, but it also sprouted some of my favorite comments from my colleagues, especially on the Joe vs. Terri issue, and the issue of listening to helpful advice. Also, if you haven't checked out Hedda's blog courtesy of SECP, do so. I don't like giving this particular queen more hits, but if you ever have a chance to see her show, maybe this will put you off.

SECP also asked what my top five favorite PR episodes are, which is a great question to which I will be devoting some thought over the next few days. What a good distraction from work! :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

PR: In which Terri gets robbed.

How Jem-Totally-Outrageous was drag queen Project Runway? Yet in the guest-judge blog on PR's website, RuPaul notes: "The biggest misconception about drag queens is that they want to be women. It's more of a celebration of personal freedom, color, texture, and humor." This suggests that, as much as this is about big life, big color, big comedy, there is also to be a sense of the raised eyebrow challenge about the whole thing. A sense of the wry "wink-wink."
Now, I don't know if I could actually hang out with a drag queen. I'm not generally a "big" person (a person who seems to take up the room not in size but in personality/ego), and while I can get crazy or temporarily take on the bigness, I feel uncomfortable that way and with people who are that self-concious. I don't mean self-conscious in the traditional sense, but in the pure sense that this is all put on. Literally, a drag queen must be completely conscious of the put-on self and display it all. I can take it in small doses (like, say, temporarily being around typical "theater people" when I was in Evita), but at that level I couldn't manage it. It's not disgust or hatred, as I think some feel about drag queens, and it's really nothing to do with a man dressing like a woman (I think Dame Edna is hilarious). It's more I get the feeling I want to, depending on the persona, roll my eyes or cringe, or even just leave for a very, very quiet place, in response to the hugeness. It's just not that funny to me. I feel the same way about clowns, and often masks in general. As my mother might recount, when I was a kid I was always looking for what was inside the giant costume in the mall. Right, Mom?
I think some of the designers were the same, and we were able to see those who could adapt to that feeling and get past it, and those who couldn't. The results were awesome TV.
Blayne--Blah. And when I say Blah, I don't mean that it wasn't colorful, because it certainly was, but there wasn't really anything clever or unexpected about this look. It looked like a backup's costume from The Birdcage. It should look like it belongs to a headliner!
Daniel--I was so ready for Daniel to go this week, and I felt the judges made the right decision. There was nothing even remotely drag about his dress; in fact, from conception to fabric to execution I kept thinking, "I've seen that exact dress in a dance costume catalog before." It had no personality.
Jerell--I was actually surprised that Jerell got called out so badly this week. Granted, the proportion of his dress wasn't great. I was really impressed with the views I saw before the runway show, because I couldn't actually see the dress. The collar (minus the fringe) was clever and the whole thing seemed vibrant (Tim points out the color problem with the model's face, which I do understand). Yes, the dress was either too long or not long enough (imagine that collar with a long cutaway dress, which is what I thought he was doing when I first saw the top part). But I really thought Blayne would be in the bottom three instead of Jerell. Daniel V. had a good point in his blog, that the look didn't fit his model's personality, which I thought at the time and forgot about. It was "too loud" for what she projected. So maybe he did deserve to be in the bottom 3 on that challenge parameter.
Joe--Yes, Joe did a good job, and he actually fit that jumpsuit really well, which had to be difficult. Yes, Varla was delighted. But someone who commented on one of the blogs had it right on the money, in that if Varla hadn't helped Joe with that collar, this could have been a disaster. Joe, you got saved by your model this week. I am glad Joe is doing better, and he did what I mentioned above; while this was completely outside his comfort zone, he found a way to deal with it (in this case, pretending it was a Halloween costume).
Keith--I didn't think Keith's outfit was all that bad, but I could see what the judges were saying--especially seeing it in the still shot on the website. In motion, it looked fine; very Tina Turner. It had a punk element that I didn't find inappropriate, but it didn't really have a drag vibe to it, and I kept thinking that with a little more restraint in the top and with a smooth black skirt, you'd have an interesting club outfit (evidently, acc. to Tim, RuPaul said she/he would wear this dress).
Kenley--Kenley's outfit was safe this week. It looked nice and had body and a definite drag flavor about it. But it wasn't super-special, either. It suited her model's persona, but Kenley also suited her model's persona. I don't think she challenged herself this week, just wanting to make something beautiful. (Daniel V's blog is totally with me on this one, as he often is, in a creepy way.)
Korto--Korto also got saved a little this week by Chris' suggestion to make the skirt removable. The result was something a lot more effervescent and more classic, if that can be said about a drag dress. I also liked what she said about fitting full-figured people. She was very realistic about it and welcomed it, which was good to hear. I also think she did well in providing a fully realized vision, one that was conistent, which she has struggled with in the past. It wasn't my favorite garment, but it met the challenge.
Leanne--Leanne kind of picked herself up this week. She's still a little frumpy in the workroom (and I don't mind that, since I'm that way, too), but dolled herself up for runway things. Someone said something about Suede's dress being Jetsonish, but I thought Leanne's was more. Not that this is a bad thing. It was a lot like Kenley's situation in result--it met the challenge and had some structural elements to it, and it was styled well. It didn't feel like a winner, though. (Tim thought it should be in the top 3).
Stella--If Stella's model were a goth Scottish chick, I think this would have been perfect. I didn't really get an idea of what her drag queen's persona was. I think I need to watch the rerun and see how she introduces herself. I had a problem with the weird plaid flap in the front of the dress, how it hangs down below the lacing. Surely that could have been done better, like maybe hoist and gather the dress up higher with the lacing? And then have a valance effect with the plaid hanging down a bit? That flap was just sort of incomprehensible to me. I liked the back of the dress, though ultimately I didn't get a truly drag feel out of this look. It was almost too understated, which feels strange to say about Stella.
Suede--What a strange battle between Suede and Hedda Lettuce. I thought Suede's glove idea was cute, and it made the outfit more interesting. I didn't follow what the problems with the dress itself were, or what was fixed. On the whole, it was simply safe to me, it didn't stand out.
Terri--As I said, Terri got robbed. I know Joe's outfit was good and made sense, but Terri's look was practically monumental. Kabuki drag queen? Yes! You could see on her face that she felt she should have won, and while I would ordinarily be annoyed by that, she was totally right this time. What does she have to do to catch a break? Hang in there, Terri. You are doing a great job.
Daniel V. points out that the look was a bit too androgynous, which is an interesting point, but I really liked that it took drag in a different and less expected direction, which fit her client's needs. Femininity isn't just about big boobs and hips! And she was wearing a bustier anyway, for heaven's sake! Did it look more like a costume or a drag costume? That's a tough call, but as I said, I like the idea that a drag costume could go in a new direction. Tim says he and Terri had a fight about this look, and he doesn't like the "discordant" nature of the white with the red corset. I'm sorry, Tim--have you ever seen Kabuki makeup? I am totally on board with this outfit, and I will defend that position.

Finally, I like that these outfits are being auctioned off for charity. That's a great touch. Next week? Cars.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Good Times--It's Neat!

Things have been a little wild at Avaciousworld. Wild for me, anyway.
I went to a fabulous party last night, full of cute children and chili/gazpacho/cornbread/melon/pie/etc. eating, Olympics, and sorbet. That's right, sorbet-- knowing that Carrie was making pie (peach and cherry, to be exact), I decided to put together some sorbets--just some fruit, simple syrup, and a blender, that's all you need. Pie is always good on its own, but I wanted to bring something to the table that would go well with it and be different. I think it went pretty well--especially the ones I put alcohol in :) Some might find that putting sorbets together is a nuisance, but it's actually pretty easy, and easy to make it to your own taste.
Anyway, I talked, laughed, helped small children get up and down the steps, and ate too much. I also got a little angry about technology and drank some pink champagne. Goodtimes.

How great were Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin on beam, and Jonathan Horton on high bar last night? USA! USA! I also totally forgot about the champions gala. I'm not sure how that's going to work out with Project Runway (drag queens, remember!) and the Ghosthunters International season finale. Guess who's not doing anything productive tonight!

Time to get to work. I have four things on my to-do lst today, and would be completely over the moon if I can finish them all.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Olympics Miscellany

As bad as I felt for Alicia Sacramone, who got robbed on vault, in Bela's words, my heart broke for Cheng Fei on floor exercise last night. Her routine is my favorite--I love the unique choreography and the homage to Chinese theater, and her execution in the team finals was perfect. I thought it was much better than the other Chinese girl's that everyone was fawning over all week. While I wanted US on top in that apparatus, I wanted Cheng Fei to get a medal. So sad. Oksana Chusovitina's vault medal, though? Awesome.

A good sport to watch if you simply love camaraderie, and the thrill of actually finishing at all, is the triathalon. The first US woman crossed the line fourth, and she was beaming all over. But even further down, way out of medal contention, the women crossing were often waving to the crowd and looking delighted. Considering the Canadian's broken wrist earlier, I guess that's no wonder.

Carrie and I were talking the other day about how men's volleyball is kind of boring. I like the beach for men's, but I watched today's indoor match with interest, trying to figure out why it's not exciting (which seems paradoxical). I think it's because there isn't much real digging or hitting the floor. You're either by some miracle in front of the ball or you're not. It's too much muscling and not enough finesse. I'm sure there's skill involved, but at times it looks like dumb luck--and the appearance of the sport is often more important than the actuality.

I have kind of a problem watching high-pressure situations. I usually look away during vault competitions, and pommel horse, and just watch the replay. I wish I'd been looking away with some of the other mens' routines--I thought someone was going to be killed during the all-around. So, you might very well wonder what I was doing during Michael Phelps' final swim, and the answer is that I was walking around my very small front room and peeking at the screen when it seemed safe. It's a miracle I went to sleep that night.

Have I mentioned how much I like that the equestrian events are co-ed? I really appreciate that component, and I think there are more sports that should go that route. I know badminton has mixed doubles, and one or two others. But why, for instance, have shooting and archery separated by gender? It's just silly.

Still crossing my fingers for some synchro and rhythmic gymnastics footage!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

PR: Appropriately, associated with lipstick

I finished my syllabi for the first four weeks of my classes, which means I get to do my PR post...that's right, I'm bribing myself to work with blogging about fashion. Actually, I am looking forward to getting lots of handouts and lessons taken care of so I can relax a little next week.
And, as a side note, there are few things more frustrating than knowing that your lips will react to your lipstick (having done so on command a few times), knowing that your back has reacted to a chemical that is in your lipstick (namely, propyl gallate), but not having your back or your arms react to your lipstick. I'm chalking it up to skin thickness and sensitivity, but who knows? It really is a nuisance. But I have a new lipstick, which seems to be okay, and I'll be testing the one Outlast type that doesn't contain gallates on Saturday-Sunday. It is worth noting that, if that one works okay, I'll be able to purchase it in a color called "Tutu."

On to the fashion!
I admit that, with GHI and the Olympics going on, I was worried about catching PR. I did, in fact, miss a few minutes here and there, like the first two outfits of the runway show. I saw enough, though, and of course the PR website has the pictures.
I have made no secret about the fact I don't care much for team challenges. I understand the use of it, and I think pairs challenges are better than the en masse "make a collection" groupings, but I still am not super-thrilled. Ah, well. It was time, I guess. Did anyone notice that all the teams were boy-girl? I wonder how that happened.
Blayne, with Leanne--I did think that Blayne's pieces were a little mundane, but I also think he made a bad styling choice. He didn't show what the outfit would actually look like at work, as he did when he showed it to Tim, so the transition from day to night was completely lost. I don't think that the outfit showed boho chic, either. I liked the colors, though not together, and the whole thing just didn't come together. I missed Blayne's pitch to Brooke Shields, and I'm baffled on why she picked him to be a leader. (Also note that for the second time I get a Victoria's Secret catalog vibe from Blayne!)
Jerell, with Stella (bobbarella)--Okay...personally, this look didn't appeal to me. It's too busy, and while Brooke liked the colors, I'm not sure I did. I also didn't really feel like the look would work for the workday or for evening, but maybe more for the ladies who lunch or for shopping. I don't live in a lipstick jungle, though, so what do I know? I am a little confused on why Kelli was busted for leopard print, but Jerell's skirt and belt tie looked jungly and he escaped criticism. Oh well. Anyway, lucky Stella this week, no? I did like watching these two work together. They got along well.
Keith, with Kenley--You know, Keith has really come on for the last two challenges. His oufit was my favorite this week. I really liked that skirt, and while I personally probably wouldn't wear that print (but definitely not the print Kenley was gunning for--girl, what are you thinking?), I liked the transitional design of the top, which was clever. I think this pair unexpectedly worked well together in execution, and their finished outfit was definitely TV worthy. While Tim is skeptical of the day-night move, I think it could be achieved with the top's changeability and a hairdressing shift. Easy. I don't want to talk about Kenley this week because she was completely bizarre.
Kelli, with Daniel--This pair was doomed. I really liked the color of that greeny-blue offset in the jacket, and as I believe Brooke pointed out, the shape was interesting. But Kelli's work has been all over the place since her creativity of the first challenge, and Daniel's weird attitude combination of Eeyore and snobbery is really getting to me. I, like Nina, have not seen evidence of his so-called "high fashion" design--only the attitude. Alas, I was hopeful for Kelli and her Ohioness, but leopard print? Really?
Korto, with Joe--This is a look I didn't get a look at on the runway. While I do not think the shirt looks like a giant sweet potato, as Tim said in the design phase (he's getting snarky this season, no?), I don't think it fit the challenge. It was eyecatching, and might be interesting as the "pop" piece in a travel ensemble with a pair of pants (the piece you bring that is completely impractical but which cheers you up and gets you some attention in the midst of your trip, like when you finally buy a real dinner at a real I the only one who does this?). The skirt was bland, though. (Actually, Tim's Take informs me this was a dress and overshirt. Hmmm.)
Terri, with Suede--I feel like this was Terri designing for Terri. While not unattractive, I don't think the outfit reached the sophistication level necessary--the "expensive look" that Brooke spoke of. Her model also did a very unattractive job of demonstrating how the sleeves can sit on the shoulders, not just off them. I think this might have gone better on the shoulder with a cute vest for work, then off the shoulder and no vest for going out. A different neckline, in other words. Almost like a ruffly cowl. I don't know what you call it, to be honest. Anyway, I didn't dislike the look, but I didn't see it for this show--even though I've never seen it. Also, I don't know why Terri insisted that Suede do that top, even when he expressed discomfort. She knew he could do it, but...I don't know, the whole thing seemed off. And if they'd been called out, it would have been easy for Suede to call Terri out on poor leadership. Bad dynamics.

With all that said, who's ready for drag queens next week?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Invisibility Cloaks and Olympics Miscellany

An update on cloaking technology. Good times. Bring on the Klingon Birds of Prey!

Re: World Records, I feel completely sorry for this guy. I don't know what alternate universe of Olympics he's been in; maybe it's different when you see events in person. But I've been watching quite a bit of the swimming and have watched the little green WR line moving with the swimmers on NBC, and every time a swimmer is looking to beat the WR mark, it gets pretty exciting. It's true that a lot of World Records have fallen at these Olympics, in lots of different events, but swimming's rules and such have only been in place since 1908, according to The sport has changed dramatically in 100 years. Running has grown in technology also, but its rules have been well established for much longer than swimming. The different type of growth in the sports would certainly lead to different world records changes. But back to feeling sorry for the man, he seems very jaded and inaccurate, and I hope they don't have him do any more coverage of swimming.

Re: Swimming commentators, there is a woman doing poolside interviews that I can't stand. She kept badgering Natalie Coughlin yesterday and asking her about getting close to the lane marker, and did that spoil the race, and why is it happening, and are you focusing on that in the rest of your races. She was obsessive, even though Natalie had already told her no, it was just a bad habit and she needed to focus on other things. Geez! Talk about sowing seeds of doubt. She was like that with Brendan Hansen, too, and a few others. I think the woman is a spy working for another country and trying to shake up our Olympians or get them down. In any case, at times I'm a little embarassed for her because she really doesn't have the Olympics spirit. Shut up, already.

Re: Swimming, OMG how exciting was the men's relay win last night? I thought there was no way, and then could not believe my eyes. And the color commentator was so excited it made me even more excited. I love moments like that, and that's why I watch the Olympics.

Re: Gymnastics, does anyone besides me think the names used to differentiate the gymnastics types are completely backward? "Artistic" gymnastics are based completely on rhythm and, while I enjoy them very much, are really not that artistic--aesthetic "choreography" is often overlooked. "Rhythmic" gymnastics certainly include a rhythmic component, but they are based almost entirely on artistic merit and choreography. What genius thought the nomenclature up?

Also Re: Gymnastics, I actually cried for that little Chinese girl when she fell off the bars. Her release skill was so amazing and then to have that freak accident. Our girls had more than their share of hard knocks, and I felt bad for them, but they are such fighters with clearly positive attitudes, and something about this tiny girl trying not to cry really got me.

Re: Opening Ceremonies, my favorite part was the dancing scroll writers. How awesome was that? It was simple but dramatic, and looked amazing visually. It was like all my major interests combined into one package. It seems like in every OC I always love the parts where they do historical nods. In Athens, I loved the parade and the Cupid and, while I loved the later helix, too, it was that sense of the ancient I loved best. When things start to get neon, I lose interest.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

From the Dept. of Psychic Research

So, I was watching the Olympics but also channel flipping, and I landed on the "Puppy Games" on Animal Planet, and found myself watching a bit.
I noticed one very little dog, and she proved within seconds to be fairly quiet vocally but all over the place with tenacity. I thought to myself, "She reminds me of me and I shall call her Abby in my mind."
Then they put her name and "vital stats" you see where I'm going with this?

Her name is Abby.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

PR: Olympic "Glory"

Double-posting today, yippee!

I really liked the challenge on Project Runway this week, and I liked hearing about the designers more, hearing their stories and inspirations. Certainly, some of them missed the mark, but I actually liked watching this entire show, which I can't say about many because of the drama. This week it kept my attention. I also had a really hard time picking my favorite--and least favorite. I also am really glad we haven't yet had a team challenge, because we have gotten to see a lot of outfits. Finally, has everyone noticed how many designers are doing several pieces, and how many have included a sleeve of some kind?

Blayne: This sort of made me think of something I might see in Victoria's Secret for a new take on workout wear. I think he is the first of several designers to forget that skimpy high heels on athletes during the hours-long Opening Ceremonies would be an exception, not something many would do. The outfit was kind of cute, but not terribly appropriate to the challenge-in-hand. Perhaps if the top had bolder red and white and had been paired with a loose pant that could be worn with different shoes.
Daniel: WTF? Airline stewardess much? The only other thing I will say about Daniel this week is this: Even if you have never seen an Opening Ceremony in your life, you surely have heard about them, and barring that, being told by Tim and Apolo that it involves every country parading in and standing around a lot, with some other countries having designers do their outfits, you could still come up with something better than this.
Jennifer: Poor Jennifer. At times I found her a tad annoying, and at other times I related to her as my ten years ago self. Nina (who repeated herself) did make the point we all were thinking, that she designs for herself...but since I do, too, I can't complain. Her outfit looked like something you might pick up at Target--and that's not an insult. I thought her skirt was very cute. But an Opening Ceremonies outfit for the USA it was not. Her auf'ing this week was also down to her previous troublesome work. Her outfit was not the worst of the bunch, but she hadn't shown as much creativity as others previously.
Jerrell: Once again, WTF? Though I don't like Siriano much, I have to bring in his "hot mess" here. I don't know who on what planet would wear this, let alone when representing one's country in front of lots of other countries. Stretch pants? No fewer than four patterns? A pink shirt? The scarf was endearing for the challenge, and I think that's why Jerrell scraped by. You could see the athletes wearing that, maybe. The rest...*shudder* I was a little surprised he wasn't auf'd, actually.
Joe: Joe got the picture. Kors was right in pointing out the disparate length of the skort--it became a sort of sign instead of a skirt, but that could be considered kitschy in a way, and appropriate to the occasion. It certainly wasn't vulgar. While a bit dated, his design was streamlined and eyecatching and I was glad he was in the top 3, though I would not have picked him as the winner. Holla at your boy, Michigan! (I can't believe I just typed that.)
Keith: Keith's outfit wasn't bad, but I think the design (in different colors, of course) might be better for a country like Italy. I don't know why I feel that way. Maybe because it's not quite as "wholesome" as the Americans tend to wear, whereas Italy can get away with a bit more unusual design. The skirt was just a little too short, though with that shape I don't think it could have been longer. It did at least look modern. So not bad, but not a top 3, either.
Kelli: Oh, Kelli. Your design was cute in a throwback sort of way, as an outfit for a person to wear to church bingo or the club's BBQ, but not for athletes in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. It crossed the line to cute-sy.
Kenley: Kenley's outfit, while sassy, had a similar problem to Kelli's. I can see them being part of the same slightly eclectic closet, this time to wear to the Ladies Afternoon Tea or shopping on the Drive. It had a Pretty Woman thing about it, you know? The skirt wasn't completely out of line for the Opening Ceremonies, but I don't think that top would suit a well muscled athlete--this is something that has to look good on the tiny gymnasts, the shouldery swimmers, the sleek distance runners, and the burly shotputters. I don't see it. (I also don't really follow Tim's comment on this outfit...he seems to be doing a lot of paraphrasing these days.)
Korto: Korto, on the other hand, made an outfit anyone could enjoy. I thought the jacket was a wee bit too boxy/swingy, but I liked her concept and thought it a good update. I think it was she who said "it's 2008. I'm designing for 2008!" and she did. It was wearble, could be dressed up or down (though some might say it was a bit too casual), and utilized a splash of color in just the right place (since during most Opening Ceremonies we're looking down on the athletes first). I thought it said USA without being over-the-top. I never did pick a true favorite, but I'm not sorry she won. (Tim points out something I was thinking, which is that this look could be easily adapted for the men on the team...Tim and I are back on track!)
Leanne: Leanne's design was edited well again this week. I would have placed this fourth, I think. The lower half was a tiny bit frumpy, but I thought she brought her style vision out with the top of the top. Unlike Keith's garment, it was both designed unusually and practical. I never could see what was going on with the stripe on the side of the top and wish I could see it better in the picture. But I could picture athletes wearing this during the walk-in as something a little different but not completely out of whack. (This is the one spot where Tim and I totally disagree this week. I could completely see what Leanne was after, did not think her collar was haphazard, because it was aiming to be scarflike, and thought she was the only one who succeeded at least partially with retro-modern. She was definitely not near the bottom.)
Stella: Yikes. I am impatiently waiting for her to get called out in a big way for her lack of versatility and vision. She has a point of view, yes, but no vision. Really? A belly-bearing black leather top? Why? I could sort of see what she was after, but her attachment to her old ways kept her from reaching it and it ended up looking like a recital costume.
Suede: If Jennifer were going to walk in the Opening Ceremonies, this is what she'd wear. While not completely out of whack, I can't really see this on the athletes. It was pretty, but didn't really have power. It was too little girly. Sueded has seemed very attached to floofy skirts.
Terri: Terri is another one who got it; a bustier might have been pushing it a little, but as someone on the panel pointed out, one could wear her outfit a lot of different ways. It might be just a little too busy, but that isn't unusual in the ceremonies either. It was pratical and classic with a few nice twists, and you could totally see athletes wearing this outfit. Another solid effort from Terri.

Korto and Terri clearly did the best with this challenge; I really liked Terri's take on the scarf, and thought she fully conceptualized the event at stake. Her look was similar to traditional Opening Ceremony wear, though--for some that's a plus and others a minus. Korto's look was a little different--again, for some a plus and others a minus. Her look may have been a little too simple, but as I said I think it was practical and eyecatching. I am glad this wasn't my decision to make because they both had high marks from me. On the bottom, well--it wasn't hard to figure out the bottom three for me, and if I'd had the choice and just based it on this week I would probably have chosen Jerrell to go, even though I really liked his dress last week. His look was just that incomprehensible. I hope he does better in future to redeem himself.

How Much We Move

I may have mentioned this before, but I move a lot during the day; I don't notice, though, until I really can't, much.

As some of you already know, I have 109 different substances adhered to my back. They are on little disks attached to adhesive strips, and they are all taped down with lots of paper tape. I think too much tape, actually, because the strips have a tendency to stick to the tape rather than my skin as I move...the whole thing becomes a shell that shifts a bit too much. I'm trying not to move too much, and not pulling t-shirts and whatnot over my head because I can't really lift my arms too far. I also lean against things to get the tape to stick down properly. This part of the process I find pretty hilarious.

I am hopeful that something will happen, because the specialist dermatologist I saw Wednesday is not. He doesn't believe me that this lip thing is an allergic reaction to my lipstick. As you can imagine, this is infuriating, and I have to confess that I bordered on the rude in a few of my reaction comments...or not rude so much as short. It just didn't feel like he was really listening. His assistant doctor and the nurse, however, were much more my speed. The female doctor was very nice and acknowledged my intense preparations with approval--as she said, I am an educated woman and I want to know what is happening! That's just what I needed to hear.

I told the specialist that I would be putting on the lipstick and topcoat and wearing it for the next few days so he can see (I phrased it almost exactly as a "you'll see"). I am hoping for a big reaction, as painful as it is. I'm already having soreness, tenderness, and little blisters from the experiment. I am going back tomorrow to have the substances removed, and I anticipate being read once tomorrow, and then again at my appointment on Tuesday. I will be, for once, showing this crazy mouth off boldly, and hoping that I finally convince this new set of people that my condition is not so easy as they think.

On a better note, here is a picture of my beauteous morning glories:

They have grown so fast this summer, and I'm delighted they've been flowering so well. I have been worried about not watering them enough because it hasn't, at all...but I put a jug on them every few days and they're still kicking and trying to climb under the siding and up the eaves.