Friday, September 26, 2008

PR Follow-Up

I am in full support of Daniel V's PR blog this week--and also feeling like he and I shared a brain...note his vision for a better hip-hop outfit, and his comments about Jerell's look in particular. Oh, Daniel V. How I enjoy it when you agree with me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

PR: Countrifying Korto

I was nervous about this challenge because I didn't think the designers would handle it well. At least, I didn't think anyone but Jerell would handle it well, because that guy is just not perturbable. But I didn't think that only two of them would create something really good. Oh, well. Let's chalk it up to stress (which seems true if you saw all the runway tears they edited into next week's trailer!).

Jerell: There is no question that Jerell's look was pop. It looked expensive and met the challenge. I hope, in fact, that Kenley realized how many favors he did her, helping her realize that she does actually have a very nice body. That being said, I did not want Jerell to win this challenge for one major reason (and LL Cool J is also on my X list because of this): He leapt straight to skin and body showing. Yes, Brit is an example of a pop princess, and one can think of plenty of others that would wear less...but one can also think of examples that wear more and still look sexy and even over-the-top. I realize you have to convey a lot of information very quickly on the runway, and Jerell's styles have often been revealing, but I guess I might have been more interested if he'd found a more unique way to get us to know "pop" at first sight. In a way, it was more expected than Suede's look, though certainly better executed. Pop should not equal skin. Thus, for my own reasons I concurred with Jerell being in second. (The look also had overtones of Austin Powers' fembots--anyone else notice this? Just me? Okay.)
Kenley: Ouch. Did anyone else think it was weird when she was talking about sagging as "old school" hip hop and then was supporting the high-waisted jean like it was brand new? Girl was alive in the late eighties/early nineties, right? In my opinion, the high-waisted jean is a trend that should never, ever come back, at least not with skinny legs. I can understand how making a hip-hop outfit might be a struggle, but there's more to it than sagging, and I don't think putting Leanne in a pair of nonsagging pants with wide legs (like Michael's travel look a few seasons ago) would have been that much of a stretch, and may have even flattered Leanne. Hip hop dancers wear tons of classy clothes. I was, needless to say, completely disappointed in Kenley this week, in practically every way I can think of.
Korto: Much like Kelli in the first challenge, I thought Korto's efforts to make her materials more than they were was worthy of many extra style points. Her top, as Tim points out, was a little bland (though probably consistent with the average punker), but those pants were really incredible. Also, I have to give Suede major credit here for completely embracing the persona of the punk. He may be a classically trained musician and think of himself as a classicist, but dude's got blue hair in his everyday life, and it was pretty clear there was a punk waiting to come out. In any case, the look fit the client very well and completely met the challenge.
Leanne: I have to be honest...I didn't feel Leanne's look was cohesive. It wasn't the worst look on the runway by far, but as I was listening to the feedback both from Tim and from the judges, I realized I was seeing something different. Checks, purple, gold, and black? This is one of those times when fashion color coordination derails for me, as does style coordination. I know I tend a bit toward matchy-matchy, but still. I was a little flummoxed. I do think she did a beautiful job on that skirt, but I think a different style belt might have countryfied the look more, and maybe been more cohesive with the top. I knew Leanne would be in, I was just confused.
Suede: Suede's look was very 80s European synthpop to me, not rock and roll. It wasn't an ugly outfit, but it didn't fit the challenge, I thought. As someone on the show pointed out, it wasn't transformative. The pieces, neither singly nor together, did anything special. On a more positive note, the U-neck shirt might have been very interesting as part of a dance costume, for a modern piece.

So, it was a tossup for Kenley or Suede. Since I wanted Suede to go before because of poor runway showings, I was mentally voting for him, and for Kenley to go next week. As much as I would like an all-girl runway, I think Jerell has done some interesting work this season and I'd like him to get a third-place finish. (I'm not usually this specific, so it's a little weird.)
One more challenge!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Spoilers, sort of, not really

I've now sneak-peeked at the collection pictures on Bravo's website. I wasn't going to last year, and then I did, and I'm glad I did this year, too, because it actually makes me look forward to seeing the runway show more. I'm going to give my gut reactions here because they really fit with what I think of the designers' work after watching them all season--it's like they lived up (or down) to everything I already think. Here's what I saw, as vaguely as possible:
Suede...yikes. The garments in the photos look really poorly fit. The silhouettes are often unattractive as well. That dress he did with the strips of fabric back in the day was so sleek. What happened? Also didn't enjoy the "color story." It seemed like he wanted to go a little punk 80s, but never arrived.
Joe had a few cute pieces, but the collection as a whole was not cohesive at all. He was sort of all over the place, and I couldn't see the story he was telling. This was a "decoy" collection, but even so, I would have liked to see the collection better as a unit.
Kenley has some flower detailing that I like, though her overall collection doesn't work for's a little too confectionary, rather than reeling that in and letting it emerge as a surprise with a few garments. Nevertheless, she did have several garments I liked.
I liked several of Jerell's looks a lot, especially the first dress shown in the pictures. But a few of his outfits have that old problem of looking messy to me. Creative, yes, but too many go overboard in the busy category and make my eyes hurt rather than making me want to put on the clothes. Also, they are all shiny fabrics again.
Leanne and Korto...I'm glad I looked at the pictures for this reason, too. They are my two favorites, and their collections are the ones I like the best. I would wear just about every one of Korto's garments, but Leanne also has some really innovative Leanne stuff that is unique and beautiful. Both of these shows look like ones I'd actually like to see in person, things I'd like to ahh over in Bryant Park if I ever went.
So, if you're feeling bummed about the season, consider going to the look book, because you may be like me and get a little excited about the final show.

On another note, I have caught the Rachel Zoe Project a few times on Tuesday; this isn't really my kind of show, but I have to say I kind of enjoy it. I think being a celeb stylist is an interesting job; not sure I'd want it, but I think Zoe would be an interesting person to shadow for a few days, as she picks out garments and jewelry and so on, and does fittings. This show is sort of a guilty pleasure.

And finally, Supernatural started last night, and I think we can all agree that we're in for some crazy business this season. Carrie and I were feverishly texting regarding the appearance of Sam and Dean, and the grossness of eyes being burned out of people's heads! When Sam made a body throw up a demon, I just kept saying "omg omg omg" in my head. I Die! as Rachel Zoe would say.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

PR: Frustration again.

First, two notes:
1. The final six designers evidently all showed at Bryant Park, and there is a lookbook on the Bravo website if you want to see.
2. The Top Design episode last night with Project Runway alum was interesting. Jeffrey's design was fairly staid but was inspired by Blade Runner. The window wasn't warped enough, unfortunately, and one of those designers got cut. Sweet P's window team won, and it really did look pretty. Daniel Franco's team's window was also pretty good. Anyway, it was interesting to see the fashion design from a different angle, and I'm always interested in window design, especially since I did a little of that at Pier 1.

I am completely baffled as to why Suede is still on Project Runway after the last two weeks. Did not the judges call his garment horrendous this week? Did they not have nearly the same reaction as they did to Blayne's, in thinking what he did was almost comical, in a bad way? Sure, Joe's look was a little cliche and a little off in the sewing, but Suede's garment was completely out of control, and not attractive. WHY?

The clothes:
Jerell: I think Jerell did a nice job responding to his client. I accept that the client wanted androgeny, but I also think he didn't do her shoulders any favor. I have shoulders that tend to slump and are very narrow, and I frequently notice in pictures that whatever I'm wearing exacerbates the problem and makes me look thinner than I am. In his client's case, perhaps some posture lessons might have helped, but he could also have mitigated the issue. Note, once again, a shiny fabric, though this time more tasteful. All in all, this is the look I'd most likely wear myself. The look was a little formal (a point also made by Tim Gunn, who calls it cocktaily). Tim says that the hat Jerell was wearing was originally meant for the model, and asks us what we think about that. I was glad Jerell wore it.
Joe: Now, people have called Joe's look cliche for his graphic designing client. In some ways that's true, but I am here to tell you that ad design offices and many other graphic design scenarios are still looking for professional looks in their people. There are ways to dress that up, but I thought Joe's sin here was much less than Suede's, as I described above.
Now, was Joe's look great? No. It had flaws, and Joe was a bit single-minded in his approach; but, he incorporated a few more small twists that, as I noted, would be in keeping with a professional graphic design office that works with more conservative or formal clients. There was too much belaboring of a point that wasn't fully correct in Joe's case. I don't know what these people are expecting graphic designers to wear.
Kenley: I am done with Kenley's attitude. I have reached the point everyone else has, in other words. It's like having a boyfriend that seduces you with a few particular strong points, but then eventually, maybe long after others have figured it out, you just realize you can't change him.
I liked Kenley's dress. Not a big fan of the vest, though I realize that she was using it to make the look more officey. I would really like to see her do something truly outside her comfort zone, though.
Korto: I really liked Korto's jacket; it was pretty and original, and it had a great structure to it. The dress was kind of blah; the print was pretty, but the construction just looked a little boring. I was really glad Korto did well, though, because her jacket was my favorite piece produced.
Leanne: I liked Leanne's look on the runway better than I do in the still picture; however, I, like Tim Gunn, was baffled as to why she got such low marks. I didn't like the sleeve of the jacket, but I thought the look was very appropriate to this woman's job. When she took the jacket off, the judges seemed so much happier, but I think it looked less appropriate for her position--especially since some schools are too chilly. I remain convinced that the judges are often in a fantasy world about what they think a job or an experience entails (as in the prom challenge last time around!) and lack the experience themselves to know anything about it. I also applaud Leanne for listening to her client's troubles and editing her design carefully so that it still spoke of her aesthetic but met the client's needs. Her model looked adorable.
Suede: I can't say enough bad things about this look, and I'm not normally like that. It looked like a costume from the movie Toys, but a poorly made one. The fit of that jacket was terrible, and at this stage of the game for me, that is a more horrendous problem than something that is a little overdone. Bleh.

In other TV news, Supernatural starts up tonight. Dean, come back from hell!


By the way, if you like Project Runway you might want to check out Top Design tonight at 10 pm on Bravo for a crossover episode. A few PR alum, like Jeffrey, Santino, and Andrae, are having window designs based on a fashion creation.
Good times.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

PR: One of my new worst episodes ever

There is so much dreadful stuff happening "out there" right now, touched on by my other dear friends in their blogs. But I just spent two days in the company of my beloved niece (and sister and brother and parents, of course), and am relishing those memories as my week gets busier, and I'm going to try to keep a glow for at least another day and a half.
So, business as usual, about PR last week...
Boo. It's well known that I hate episodes where designers come back. There is literally no point to it except to create artificial drama, and I don't like that one bit. As an additional problem, I don't "get" much about avant garde fashion. For me, avant garde is French for "trying to hard" or "self-conscious," which I also don't like. Now, sometimes I enjoy learning about what avant garde is. Last year's avant garde team challenge was actually pretty interesting. This year, it just bothered me. So much so that I saw only part of the episode, caught up on what the challenge actually was with a quick view of the beginning, and feel no need to watch the whole thing.
First, let me say that Suede should have gone home. I know that Terri didn't work well with Keith. I know that there were some problems with her garment, and I learned from Tim's Take that Terri's outfit looked worse at the party, which I didn't watch (somehow it makes me even more mad, since she did some editing that showed she was listening to criticism). But Suede has been a consistently weak performer, this week included. It made no sense. It's one of those times when credibility is lost.
Blayne: He deserved to go. The design was hideous, and if anyone has ever had questionable taste at any moment on the show, it is Blayne with this outfit. My eyes! My eyes!
Jerell: For me, Jerell is just a little too tied to shiny fabrics. Many of his designs look like they are employing lame', and despite certain of my perferences as a teen, I'm not that fond of the look now. I respected Jerell's skirt, am ambivalent about the sweater, and am not at all fond of the blouse.
Joe: I actually liked the look of Joe's outfit, though Tim says that Daniel had a very large role in its execution. It looked a little couture and wearable, and I liked the color story. Put a pair of wings on it, and it might be an Amy Brown fairy picture. Things said about the "team" dynamic turn me off, though.
Kenley: No one seemed to understand Kenley's design. While I don't get the Aquarian angle, I do see what she was going for with the dress. I'm not sure what that says about me, but I see a power struggle between sweetly feminine and uber-strong and severe. Tim called it cartoonish, but I prefer to think of it as caricature, maybe even of Kenley herself. I don't care much for the color story, and I'm enormously tired of bubble skirts, but I as I said I "got" what she was after and could interpret it in my own way. The fact that no one else seems to be able to is perplexing, to say the least. I was sitting there thinking people were being prejudiced against "getting" Kenley or didn't want to see the look. I just don't know.
Korto: I'm not really a fan of this design. Normally I'm all about blues, but sometimes I feel like Korto's color choices are not refined enough. On my TV (and computer screen) at least, they end up looking a little less expensive than I feel they ought (same trouble with the yellow last week). The look had some interest, but not enough.
Leanne: I didn't "get" Leanne's look. Tim and Daniel loved it, so I'm guessing there is something about it that doesn't translate on TV. Maybe if I'd seen the construction, I might have seen better how the thing came together, but I just wasn't with it onscreen. I like the dark red and the black together for Scorpio, and I like the thought of an exoskeleton, and I like that Leanne and Emily got to work together, but in the end...I just don't know. Can anyone help me? It certainly wasn't my pick to be auf'd, but I didn't fully understand.
Suede: I felt like Suede was designing for Aladdin's bride. The look was costumey, the proportions were strange, and the back piece was incomprehensible. Suede should have gone home.
Terri: Editing was a problem for Terri in this challenge, and the color story here was also a little weird. Unlike Suede, though, I could see what Terri was after, and I liked some of the structural elements.
As you can see, this episode bothered me on multiple levels, and left me confused in a manner similar to Blayne's design. I can't even talk about it anymore, I'm so annoyed.

So, based on who is left, I want Leanne and Korto in the finale and don't really care about the last spot or two.

Friday, September 12, 2008

This week's consumer plug

A story demonstrating why you should shop at Best Buy in Rossford:
So, as some of you know, I'm getting a new computer in my office, and due to the transferral process from old machine to new, and all its myriad complications, I decided to get an external hard drive, since I don't have a truly functional computer at home anymore, and storing things just in the office environment suddenly seemed dumb.
I have had no time to work on this. The deadline is Monday.
I was feeling panicky on Wednesday night, latish, so I did something I would never do otherwise, and went to Wal-Mart. They were nice to me there, but their selection was ridiculous, and evidentally they've had some things stolen because they were out of what I needed even though the records said otherwise. I toyed with the idea of traveling to the next closest Wal-Mart, but I wasn't feeling well and I knew that the lateness of the hour was probably going to make me make a bad decision and get something that didn't fit my needs.

Instead, I chose to wait and head up to Best Buy in Rossford on Thursday after a long day of teaching and conferences. I got some McDonald's, hit the highway, and arrived at a clean, cheerful store, bustling with activity even though it wasn't really that crowded. I looked at what turned out to be a vast selection of drives, felt bewildered, and then walked out to an open space to wait for someone to ask me if I needed assistance. Ordinarily, I like to do things myself, but I have no experience in this particular item, and I wanted input.
I ended up with a gal who first went to get another option, an online file service that would hold 25 gigs, and then we together perused the drives, ranging from 160 gigs to 1 terabyte. I told her my situation, and she listened patiently and provided advice. We picked me out a MyBook from Western Digital and discussed the reviews it's had and how popular it is. Now the great thing is this: The 119 dollar item, 320 gigs, was on sale for 80 bucks. I felt confident that she wasn't trying to scam me; she listened to my price concerns and my needs, and as she correctly pointed out, probably any of the items would work just fine for me, but this one was on megasale, and she's never had one returned.
Then, she came with me when I went to pick up a new flash drive. The 4 gig model was also on megasale, so I grabbed one of those. Do I need that much space to store my poetry? No, but I feel like I now have some other storage options. She walked me to the checkout and told me about the MyRewards program. I don't know if I was just feeling relief or goodwill because of McDonald's or what, but I decided to join. But then, halfway through the line, I realized I wanted to look at irons, since mine has stopped steaming and leaks on me. Back she went with me to the small appliances, where she introduced me to Stephanie, who has one of the irons they sell and loves it (she bought one for her grandmother, but then decided she wanted it and had to buy another). The three of us plus the autotech guy had quite a chat about crockpots, their recipes and new liners, and about toaster ovens. I also picked up the iron. It was more expensive than I might usually get, but I also reasoned to myself that I am sewing a lot and really do need a good iron.
Those three items together? About 150 bucks. That's all.

I have had my share of good and bad shopping experiences, and I really felt like this was a great one. I was helped well, by friendly people, and I ended up with what I think are some good products. I am anxious to work with the MyBook today and get things reorganized, but amazingly, I don't feel daunted, after weeks of stress about the whole thing.
So, cheers, Best Buy in Rossford. You rock.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

PR: 00-Diane

This will be a quickie about last week, since I'm behind.
Blayne: Gah! What is up with those hideous pants? I was intrigued by the jacket; however, those pants were clownish and ruined the coat's ability to be taken seriously.
Jerell: I liked Jerell's jacket, too...I liked the blue stripe in the sleeves. As I often feel with Jerell, though, the look didn't cohere for me at all. When he's on, he's on, but when his pattern/fabric choices are off they are way off and we end up with awful.
Joe: Joe is an interesting case. I didn't get his outfit at all. The individual pieces were interesting, but I'm not sure on what planet they would go together. I actually liked the backless "cinnamon" top (that's not cinnamon from where I'm sitting, but that's what they called it), but concurred with the judges that construction fell apart in the back. No matter what, I'm not sure how hot fuschia was supposed to go with his top. Bleh.
Kenley: I'm glad that Kenley stuck to her guns, and I'm glad that she was more human this week. I didn't love her dress. I have fairly specific tastes in prints, and her tastes and mine do not seem to line up much. But she met the challenge and put together something stylish.
Korto: You know, everyone seemed really gung-ho about Korto's design, but I didn't care for it. I really didn't enjoy that shade of yellow for one thing, and I didn't really see how that dress would fit in any of the places they mentioned the spy as traveling. In a different garment that shiny print might be nice, but I just couldn't see this dress as fitting the challenge.
Leanne: How completely proud of Leanne am I? Her look was intelligent and sleek, and I loved the combination of that jacket and the dress, both of which I now want in my closet. Pretty colors, sweet fabric choices, and believable as part of Diane's collection. I also thought she was funny during the episode, pretending to be a spy (well cut, editors!). Honestly, I felt like this garment was designed for me. She totally deserved this win.
Stella: On Tim Gunn's blog, it has been increasingly obvious that he wanted her gone--and Tim is not usually like that. He just completely dismissed her after the first couple of weeks. I didn't mind that Stella had a little cape, but the construction of this issues cannot be overlooked. Yes, it is difficult to get different fabrics to mingle in fitted vests. But this really looked like a school project (did someone say that about this outfit? Or was that about Suede's?) and I am glad that Stella is finally able to go back to what she does and didn't want to stop doing even for a minute.
Suede: Suede missed the mark. The dress was kind of pretty, but like Korto's choice, I didn't think it met the concept of the woman they were all designing for. It didn't tell the right story. Much like Blayne's pants, I find the vest Suede created to be completely incomprehensible. It was poorly shaped for the garment and the color story hit my eye badly.
Terri: Terri's coat was pretty bold and seemed well constructed, and I might want her pants for me. On the whole, though, I didn't feel inspired by this look. It didn't have anything original to set it apart.
That's all I got! I have to go read essays now. And buy an external hard drive.

Monday, September 01, 2008

From the dept. of my weird dreams

If you're wondering whether I had a long, kerrrrazy, Supernatural-related dream last night, the answer is yes.

I wish I could remember more of it--something about an old hag trying to lock us up (I think there was some Elizabeth-Peters-novel-before-bed stuff mixed up in here), and we escaped. The building was like a lavish hotel on one side, like a church basement where we got trapped, and then when we escaped we came out through an abandoned storefront in a mall. One of the stores in the mall was selling incredibly ritzy clothes, and of COURSE Dean had to go look at mad expensive leather jackets. Since the store was also selling perfect cancan style feather plumes, I didn't care too much. I wanted a pink one.

All I know is, I was Sam for a while, but then later I somehow was a woman wholly unrelated to either of them. I think it's because I wanted to make out.