Friday, September 25, 2009

PR: Lights and Camera, but Little Action

First of all, let me just say that last night's TV was better than most. Supernatural made me squirm uneasily and also nearly choke with laughter on a piece of candy. Fringe was creepy as all get out, and in between (since I recorded Fringe) I had Project Runway to keep me company.

I liked this costume challenge, and it was interesting to see the different interpretations of the challenge. However, if it were up to me, this episode would have been entitled "Epperson Gets Robbed." Let's see why, shall we?

Epperson: This garment rocked my face off. Let's face it--Western could mean classic Western, but it could also mean a reinterpretation of Western. As soon as I saw this outfit, I thought, "Firefly." Yet if I saw it in a kind of badass Western film, I might believe it, too. It was so badass I wanted to own it immediately, and I do not feel this way about any outfits generally. It was classy, interpretive, feisty, and meticulously constructed, and SO clearly should have won. (Chris March disses this outfit in his blog, as does Nick Verreos to a lesser extent, and they can both go do something unprintable. I shall not be moved. Andrae Gonzalo, on the other hand, also mentions E getting "robbed." I heart you, Andrae.)
And the rest (these aren't even in order of how much I liked them, because I tried doing that, but I only feel really passionately about the top 1 (in my eyes) and the bottom 3, and I kept changing my mind):
Christopher: The fit (or lack thereof) of Christopher's cincher bothered me a lot. I liked the idea of the blouse, but it basically looked like the girl had no middle of any kind from the front. If one looks at a side view, the back part looks all right, but in the front the cincher is doing the girl no favors. Lord knows I am a sucker for ruffled, flouncy skirts with a period feel to them, but the fit and proportions of this garment were off and it disappointed me that the judges were that gung-ho about it. It was fun, but it didn't fit. (Entertainingly, Andrae Gonzalo disses the "pick-up" technique used here and by WAY too many bridal designers. And I totally agree.)
Nicolas: I actually liked the floral icicle detailing around the neck and shoulders. But in a challenge that is about constructing a costume that will look good on the runway, I was disappointed that Nicolas won--because it seemed like the reason was that it would photograph well for a film. But that's not an appropriate reason--and it still looks kind of B-movie in the pictures I'm looking at. It wasn't a bad garment, but it was not a winner.
Carol Hannah: This seemed well constructed, and really could have worked for action or sci-fi. It was a little too Matrixy, but I quite liked the cut of the trenchcoat.
Irina: The cape was underworked (it looked like a shower curtain to me), and the dress panels went down too far--you don't need lace over your hips, with unattractive seaming. I respected the idea of the dress, but wish it could have been executed with more polish.
Logan: Well fitted, but a little too Lara Croft. Difficult to make? Sure. But derivative. And while we're on the subject, why pick action adventure and immediately put a girl in leatha, Logan and Carol Hannah? You really both went "female assassin" rather than something more interesting, like "adventurer" or "ballerina who's really a spy." The story was too easy.
Gordana: Gordana's dress was beautiful and styled in a pretty way. Unlike last week, though, when the designer made a completely unconventional material look normal, which was edgy, this week when she had all the license in the world to be creative, she made something kind of conventional. It didn't have her stamp on it. In fact, if you take away the styling, including the jewelry, hair, and shoes, the garment is even less inspiring. Very similar situation to Logan. Even so, I know her garment was difficult to make and I respect that she selected this tricky gold beaded fabric.
Shirin: Look. If you're going to make a cancan saloon girl outfit, you better make a frickin' awesome one. This garment was only slightly more lush than the type of thing you can get at an online costume shop, and then only because it has more fabric. Completely uncreative. Seriously...Western is a very rich category, and she could have done almost anything to reinvent it. I did think the way Ebony shook her dress as if she was completely bored was funny, though. (Nick Verreos, in his blog, favors this look over Epperson's because it's more "Western," but I couldn't disagree more. This costume was not actually period Western any more than E's was, and was less period than Gordana's, and as I said, looks like a Halloween costume.)
Althea: While classically Althea (as in, making the backside look awesome), I didn't get the costume out of this look at all. When I looked at the garment, I couldn't even remember what her movie genre was supposed to be. It looked too modern, and there were some construction issues with the hem.
Louise: Oh, Louise. I was so afraid you'd go home this week. I am looking at the pictures, and I still can't figure this garment out. The guest judge hit it on the nail when she said it wouldn't photograph well, but it didn't seem to look good on the runway, either. Its silhouette is confusing and its construction looks scattered. It was not the worst thing on the runway. But it was the second worst. Louise, I'm glad you're still in, but I'm begging you to step it up!
Ra'Mon: No. I can sympathize with Ra'Mon because I know exactly how it feels to envision something, work hard to craft it, and then realize that for some reason it's just not working. It happens to me all the time, because my vision is more creative than my hands. I can't think of anything about this garment that I like, though, and it was a definite out. In a strange way, it reminded me of the Flintstones again...just like Johnny's last week.

Friday, September 18, 2009

PR: Off the Press and into My TV

Hello, mes amis.
Well, it was time for the "alternative materials" challenge this week! I am pretty fond of some of these types of challenges (grocery store whatnot, anyone?), and I have to say I was geeked for the newspaper. It was fun to see the papers whiz around the Times office, but beyond that you just knew things were going to get crazy. I think we, the viewers, were at a disadvantage this week because construction issues (like tape or rips) would be invisible to us and not to the judges.
Judging was also much smoother this week; I think the cool classiness of Tommy Hilfigger kept things under control, and while I'm sure Eva Longoria Parker can be sassy, I think they respected her "presence" as the judging went on.
This week, I put things in order of how much I liked them, just for a change. Entirely based on my personal preference!
Carol Hannah--I have to say, I wish she'd been in the top three. I know her model had to be lifted on and off stage, but this garment looked immaculate and feisty. I loved the color choice.
Gordana--I was disturbed that they called her out for being boring. The dress was not boring; it was pretty and seemed well constructed. It looked like a real, fabric garment--personally, I think that's genius! I would put that on and wear it out of this office building right this minute, and expect compliments. I didn't think it was safe at all, even if the challenge had been to make something out of fabric. I was very confused by the judges' response.
Althea--Her garment actually looked like it was composed of feathers. The fit was a little sketchy, but it was nice to see Dayton (as I call her in my head, like she's a newsie or something) rise to the challenge.
Irina--I was not surprised that Irina won. The collar and cuffs of her coat were indeed very interesting. The bottom half of the coat, though, was kind of boring in comparison; it wasn't as well constructed as the top, and it looked a lot like what it was--a sheet of newspaper. I didn't especially want the garment to win, though as I said I'm not surprised it did.
Epperson--E is always true to himself; I knew who that garment belonged to before I saw the label come up. While it didn't move well, I liked the basic shape of this dress, and the patterning of the colored portions.
Christopher--In terms of ballgowns made of newspaper, I prefered Carol Hannah's. I liked the idea of Christopher's, and I know his garment took a ton of labor. The feathering, though, looked a little raggedy or crude to me. Cutting them in a more curved or slanted way, rather than like palm leaves, might have been more sophisticated.
Logan--The paint job was a little sloppy up close, but it had the right effect on the runway. The shape was also unique. I wouldn't call it a top 3, but it was a good garment. I'm kind of a sucker for ruffles these days. It did look a little 80s.
Louise--This dress reminded me of Rami's winning dress from the candy challenge. It had the same feel to it. I didn't especially care for it, but I could see why it was safe.
Shirin--I want to say for the record that I hate this skirt style. I have no interest in looking like a car muffler. If there were a bottom 4, Shirin would be in it this week.
Ra'Mon--This dress was the other one to round out my personal bottom three. It looked messy. The patterning idea was cool, but the two pieces together didn't match in style and the thing looked overworked as a result. It didn't make sense.
Nicolas--Oh, does this man irritate me. If I could have kicked him and Johnny off this week, I would have. Unlike the judges, I understood the alternateen direction this dress was heading in (punk was the wrong word), but the garment looked too drab rag doll/It's a hardknock life as soon as it appeared. This designer is slinging insults around the room, but the talent level he's shown is nothing to brag about.
Johnny--I am in completely agreement with the departure of Johnny in this challenge. As soon as the garment came onto the runway, I was positive he'd be auf'd. It looked kind of like the Flintstones, didn't it? And how weird was it to hear Tim call Johnny out with the other designers for his tall tale? I can't say that's the best thing I've ever seen Tim do--a little unprofessional. I bet he rues that making it to TV.

Friday, September 11, 2009

PR: Model Party

The Vent:
I think this week is a good example of Project Runway on auto-pilot. It was not a standout, and the person who went home did so because she did not stand out. I didn't hate anything except for the judges.
Seriously. The judges this week were snarky, mean, and fussy for the wrong reasons. The judges, admittedly, are usually snarky, but this week they were not even respectable. If Heidi asks a model how she likes her dress, and she says she likes it, even after hearing criticisms, it is completely unwarranted for another judge to say "Well, that's why you're not the designer." That was classless, and bruised the model because she answered honestly a question the JUDGES asked her, when she is not usually going to be called upon to answer questions at all. Model Valerie seemed to handle this with her usual cool calmness, whereas I probably would have called the judge on the carpet. When the models seem more intelligent that the judges, it's time to make some changes. If I were a producer, I wouldn't ask any of those substitute judges back.
The clothes:
Althea--The jacket was not "all that" as the kids say, and I was offended that the judges were talking up a bra for Epperson's flat model, but not for this model, who looked lewd and nippy in her sagging top. Her breasts were going everywhere! Gross. I quite liked the skirt, though I thought another inch of length would have better. Eye-catching? Yes, but not for the right reasons. Not a loser, but not the winner in my book. Still, go Dayton! (Hilariously, Nick Verreos, I have just discovered, said A's look was not "all that" in his blog this week. With quotes. So it's not just the kids.)
Carol Hannah--I liked the color of the top and the print of the bottom. I did not like the saggy, matte attachment piece between them, which made it seem unfinished. The proportion of the skirt also troubled me a bit. That being said, this was one of the more interesting garments and I wasn't surprised to see it in the top three.
Christopher--Great color, construction questionable. Talk about prom dress...this looked like an eighties prom dress. The black pieces were very peculiar in shape and fit. Had the dress been a different shape (not fitted through the hip, for instance) and the black bits been styled differently, I would have been more intrigued.
Epperson--While Matar looked a little too hippy in this dress (and I mean physically, not as in a 70s flower child), I actually voted for this mentally for the win. I didn't care for the back of the garment, but the front was very eye-catching, and the color was perfect for the model. Yes, a little bra space would be nice, but this dress was unique and engaging enough to get around that problem--and I know from experience. I mean, she's a model. Designers don't want to see breasts. This was my favorite dress this week.
Gordana--I was pleasantly surprised by this look. I had my doubts, thinking it would be too modest, but it looked great on the model. The skirt had some construction issues in the back, which I suspect got it some lower scores, but on the whole it was an innovative solution to the design challenge. Unexpectedly risky without being risque.
Irina--The two pieces here didn't go together; the coat was the wrong shape for an evening party, or even a model party at any time of day. It was too Sex in the City Charlotte at lunch. The dress was the right print for the event, but I never got to see the top part. The jacket aged it up too much. I actually liked the jacket, but thought it was wrong for the occasion and the dress. (And Chris March also calls out this outfit for S in the C overtones in his blog.)
Johnny--I am not at all surprised that Johnny got called out. His garment was indeed wearable, but it was a little young-looking (like a homecoming or Winter Ball dress, not a bridesmaid, Heidi), and entirely conventional. It was a likable garment, and I completely disagree with the idea that things are "too accessible" (things can be very accessible mentally without being physically accessible) but I do concur that the garment wasn't innovative and was, in the literal sense, something you could buy already.
Logan--I'm going to defend Logan a bit here. I was surprised that his result was so cute after the crises he had in construction. The dress was a prom shape, but I disagree with the judges' comment that it looked prommy. The blue was very striking, and he did manage to "edge up" the middle a bit. If the model sat at that party on a white couch and looked alluring, people would be drawn right to her. I'm pretty sure no one agrees with me about this judgment, but I don't care. I'm right. Could it have been better? Yes. But it wasn't as bad as everyone made out.
Louise--Louise did a great job this week. All that pleating by hand...yikes. She captured Fatma's personality perfectly. This was one of my top garments this week and, although it's black, I wish it had gotten more positive attention by the judges. I think it was my second favorite.
Nicolas--The top of this garment had a weird fit, almost like it wasn't fitted at all on the model, which was a bad choice, but I was intrigued by the neck piece. The color looked great on the model, though I don't think white is a very practical color for a cocktail party.
Qristyl--I have made my irritation with the judges clear. That being said, the basic gist of their comments were right on for Qristyl's garment. This dress was boring--not because it "aged" Valerie, but because it was just plain dull. The back was edgier than the front, but the dress in sum was just not going to cut it. Not at this level. Not a bit surprised Q went home.
Ra'Mon--Not a big fan of this dress. The color was exciting, but that flower was a bit much on the whole. It looked a little corny.
Shirin--Shirin had a lot to work with demandwise from her model. The finished product was kind of dull...This was another dress that looks like something you could already buy in a store. I was not all that intrigued by the back's design detail.

And that's it! It's getting easier by the week to get this written as they drop, one by one!

Monday, September 07, 2009

PR: Team + "Avant Garde" = Yuck

Add this past week's episode to my least favorite PRs. Not only did it involve teams, but it also involved avant garde, the results of which episodes have always been sketchy. Bleh. After it was over, I asked myself if I had learned anything, agreed with the results, or enjoyed more than one or two designs, and the answer was no. Sad.

Althea and Louise: Good synergy on this team, and their looks were reasonably polished. I quite liked their black dress with the frilly train (surprise, surprise), though admittedly I didn't really get the "surf" out of it, and it didn't strike me as AG. Really, I think this was the only dress I'd like to wear. My feelings about bubble skirts have been previously documented, though the effect was minimized in their red dress...overall, I thought this team did well.
Christopher and Logan: The drabness of the greyish shirt with the goldish pants was simultaneously odd and dull. When their AG look came down the runway, I could see its relationship to the first look, but didn't care for it...except the back, which was tidier and more interesting. Some of the comments on the website coincide with this view, so I'm not alone. Ultimately, the first outfit was so dull I was turned off for this team. Since I have had this reaction to both of these designers before, I have concerns about them.
Irina and Johnny: As above with the drabness of the shirt from Christopher's design, the drabness of the skirt for Irina's bothered me. I liked the slouch top, but actually disliked the colors of their macrame focal point, which the judges raved about. Paired with the just didn't seem to come together well. Regarding their AG look, I totally agreed with Irina's self-criticism--good idea, mess in construction. Granted, they didn't have much time, but I would have enjoyed this look much more if it had been more polished.
Mitchell and Ra'Mon: I've taken to writing notes while I watch the runway, and for this team, I wrote, "Yuck." I didn't like either of their looks and am appalled that they won. Or that Ra'Mon did (it was time for Mitchell to go, as I noted last week). The chiffon dress, though it had nice coloring, was not at all innovative (it seemed to be just ombre fabric in a simple design that was untidy in construction...I could be wrong about the fabric, but still), and I HATED the neoprene AG dress. I liked that it got some painting, but even that seemed random and slapdash. It was like a giant sneezed and they put it on the model. In the words of Yoda, Ra'Mon, "Control, control--you must learn control!"
Nicolas and Gordana: I am in agreement that the macrame of the top was a unique feature. The top looked pretty cool; while the judges dissed their white pants, though, I liked them. They looked comfy and totally appropriate to the challenge. The AG garment? I hated it as much as I hated the neoprene. I think I know what he was going for, but it was outdated at best and hideous at worst. It had absolutely no relevance to the challenge or to its sister garment.
Qristyl and Epperson: The judges liked the top of the palm tree dress, and I liked it, too...the dress seemed wearable, but ultimately not that interesting. On the other garment--again with the attachment or growth, as in Qristyl's first dress. There was nothing Avant Garde about either of these outfits. And how disappointed was I in how these two related to each other? I actually have sympathy for Qristyl because she seemed to fall into that trap that women often do--she's trying to assert herself with someone overbearing by nature (even if quietly so) and used to being in charge, and then gets picked on for poor leadership because she can't rein him in. Yet, if she had asserted herself more, she would have gotten labeled a nightmarish bitch that has...poor leadership. Obviously, the interactions are edited down, but ultimately this was a Kobayashi Maru.
Shirin and Carol Hannah: The AG dress (long, blues) was a little too much drapey-drapey, but I "got" it. I liked their regular look, which seemed very practical. It wasn't thrilling, and I think it drew too heavily from the currently popular maxi dress trend, but it was a respectable garment. I didn't see much relationship between these two garments (wasn't that part of the challenge) but it was better than some.

So--I might conceivably wear Shirin and Carol Hannah's swim garment, or Louise and Althea's "AG" look. Everything else pretty much gets a fail. Sorry, designers. Better luck next week. I was also wondering about the aspect of Garnier challenge. Sure, they had a "consultation" with the hair dressers, but they kind of have that every week, and it seemed to take just about one minute out of the whole show. What was the point? It ended up looking like sloppy advertising rather than sleek part of the show, and "by the way have you tried our product?" Disappointing all the way around.
In other TV news, new Supernatural this week...and next week, new Fringe at the same time. Why? WHY?