Friday, October 30, 2009

PR: No-Your-TV's-Color-Is-Not-Out-Of-Whack

While things came down the runway in an almost never-ending parade of black and grey/silver, I realized that all the winning looks chosen for inspiration except Irina's were also black and grey/silver. Surely, I thought, the judges have shot themselves in the foot with this? They complain about being bored and then essentially mandate that they be bored.

Althea: I didn't care for this look. I'm tired of the slouchy breastfest tops that Althea has made in the past, the ones that are so loose the bosom sort of rockets around while the model walks. The back of the top I liked, and I'm all about big sweaters, but I don't care how fashionable Heidi thinks those pants are.--they're awful. If they were "in," I would never, ever wear them. Is it a "look"? Yes. But not a winner. Sorry, Ohio.
My pick--Carol Hannah: CH is very good at making cute dresses that lots of women would like to wear, and I liked her fabric choices. I did not, though, find much that was original about this dress. It is stylish, and it is a look, and it's possible that I'm being too needy, but I didn't feel really excited. At the same time, I think it was the nicest thing that went down the runway this episode. And that's a little sad. CH is also the designer I currently like the most as a person.
Christopher: Ugh. The top of the dress was well fitted for Katie, but as a garment this dress was a disaster. The shape and draping of that bottom tier was sloppy and unbalanced, and seemed to be made of that cheap-looking white satin that Christopher favors. If you look at the back silhouette it's even less comprehensible. At the same time, that crazy draped-bottom technique seems to be something Christopher does often, and I'm done with it. I really wanted to like the silver petals, but there was too much of it, arranged in an unfortunate way. No. My theory is that the reason Christopher did not go home is that his garments kind of related. Logan's didn't.
Gordana: Ready for an unpopular opinion? I really liked Gordana's jacket. I didn't like the vest underneath (seen better in the Models of the Runway following) and I didn't like the shape of the skirt (petals were a good idea, but not in a tapering shape--the proportion was wrong for Matar), but I really liked that jacket and would totally wear it. And, to be honest, I think I'd be complimented on it. I was wondering, though, what it would be like if that jacket was made of a slightly more luminescent material, or had silver accenting, or was over a silver top, and was paired with a really fluid, silvery pant? I like the jacket as is, but I was trying to think of ways to improve the "look" potential. Anyway, she should not have been bottom 2.
Irina: When I saw Irina's materials, I was excited, and also when she was beginning to work with her mannequin. I was disappointed in the final look. The sheath dress was too short and too tight. The lace-up back was a little slutty--actually, the back looked a little like a craft project, as did the side trim in stripes. It wasn't as well crafted or thought-out as I expect from Irina. Irina has a good idea for color and materials choice, and I think that's part of the reason she does so well. In fact, she's the only one who HAD color this week.
Logan: The skirt of Logan's look was actually kind of cute, abeit paired with a space-dance-costume top. One thing that can be said for Logan is that he has kind of a punk aesthetic and I have seen things like some of his looks go down a few runways. I did not dislike this outfit as much as Christopher's, but really I've lost patience with them both.

If all girls go to the finale, I am not going to mind a bit.
If you're longing for Bryant Park, I invite you to go to Tom & Lorenzo's blog, where they made lists of the top ten PR:BP looks of all time, and the top ten PR looks of all time. In fact, instead of doing my work I have also spent the last half hour sneakpeeking Bryant Park on Naughty.

Friday, October 23, 2009

PR: "Project I-Didn't-Mind-It"

First, let me say that judging really surprised me this week. I was not expecting the judges to gravitate toward what they did, and considering I didn't have very many strong opinions myself, I was even more confused. My opinion of the garments was pretty much exactly what Milla Jovovich said (see title).
Althea--When the model came out, I had two immediate, conflicting thoughts: "What an adorable chiffony top" and "WHY short shorts?" I loved the way the top draped, but a really cute and uniquely fashioned skirt from that fabric might have been better. (By the way, I think that was gold pleather or something). From what I know of St. Tropez (admittedly little), though, this look seemed appropriate enough. There just wasn't much risk.
Carol Hannah--Okay...I really thought CH was going to get panned at least a little this week, or just be safe. The dress was pretty, and this was a context in which I liked the fabric twisted and braided--in fact, I think the detailing saved it. But the first word in my head was "Uli." It was so strongly reminiscent of her looks that my heart sank a little. And here is where I think Kors' aesthetic came in--I could see the print pleasing Kors, and the style also. This was another look that didn't have much risk, but at least it fit the challenge. I would wear it.
Christopher--I was bothered by the judging of Christopher. The reason why is not what you'd think. Ever been to New Mexico? Ever seen the art there? Yes, there is turquoise involved, but very often it involves sandy pastels. In essence, he went pueblo with his colors, rather than feathers and vibrant hues. Why should that be inappropriate? I think part of the reason he got panned is that he didn't fit in with the judges' preconceptions of what colors "made" Santa Fe, and that made me irritated. I actually tossed out that component of their commentary.
The dress was actually nicer than I expected from the mannequin, though I agree that it looked flat on the runway, and too simplistic. It didn't look like luxe fashion, which is what the challenge was about. If you look at the dress in progress, you see that the top/underskirt is a strange shiny white material that is attached to the brown overskirt in kind of an unsophisticated way. Altogether, it wasn't unwearable, and the brown and aqua were all right, but it was shaky in several of the choices.
Gordana--I didn't care for this dress that much, and I was surprised it rated as highly as it did. The proportion of the top seemed all wrong, and it wasn't styled strongly. In fact, there didn't seem to be any styling at all. The necklace part looked the tiniest bit like tinsel. I liked the striping in the garment, but the dress just hung there on the model. It also made Katie's butt and hips look big and her chest look miniscule. I wanted to like this dress, because I liked the concept, but it didn't please me.
Irina--Let's face it. We knew, looking at the outfits side by side, that Irina would win. She arranged the most fabric, had the best styling, and her model worked it out. As a "look," it was the most complete. Yes, it was a throwback--I thought more to the 60s with the color palette, actually. I also didn't care for the fur vest. But I liked the sweater shape, and as Andrae Gonzalo has pointed out before in his blog, well constructed sportswear is carrying the day. The fans are kind of in a tirade on the Rate the Runway this week, bored by the colors and the cowl, but brown and cowlnecks are popular right now, and Irina seemed to have the most collected look. The sweater was very Victoria's Secret, but in a good way--something they would only put in the Holiday lookbook. It was more of the "fantasy" Nina Garcia seemed to be looking for (and what is up with that? She was kind of harping on that theme this week.) (Nick Verreos calls this look, "Ukrainian mafia arms dealer.” Perfect.)
Logan--I was kind of intrigued by the punkish jacket of Logan's look. I really cannot stand the skinny white jeans look, though, especially not with zippers at the back of the leg. Zippers on the back pockets I can deal with. I also do not care for suspenders. This is very early 90s and I have lived through that fashion craziness. I also didn't care for the striping on the top, which reminded me of something I might see in a Talbots catalog. Thus, in sum, this look was not aesthetically pleasing to me at all. That being said, it was one of Logan's better construction efforts. Someone on the Rate the Runway mentioned London rather than Hollywood, and I thought that was interesting and possibly accurate. It did have kind of a Carnaby Street look to it.
Nicolas--I liked what Nicolas was doing with the pleating of the pant leg. Then I saw the rest of the pant. I think it would have been okay for any designer to make something that we wouldn't think of when we thought of a world location, but when we saw the garment we could say, "Wow, I never thought of that interpretation, but I like it!" But I didn't get anything Grecian out of Nicolas' look. It would have been just as relevant to call that swathing material Egyptian or something. (By the way, how fun would it be to go to a fashion show in Egypt? I think that would rock!) Milla Jovovich was onto something interesting when she spoke of a whole dress made of that overlapping white material, maybe one with no sleeve. I'm kind of intrigued by that. Anyway, Nicolas' fashion crimes were the worst this week; at least I agreed about that.

I keep hoping for something amazing in this show. Witness Top Chef--they have some truly masterful chefs on there this year, some who seem almost unstoppable. On PR, I think we do have some good designers, but I haven't seen much that I really LOVE or that impresses me with its unique beauty. I want something to fashionably poke me in the eye! I want to twist my hands and be completely baffled as to who should win because there are several equally amazing garments, not just equal garments!

Friday, October 16, 2009

PR: I Heart Bob Mackie

I don't know why I like Bob Mackie so much. I just do (it might be the Barbies he used to do, and his amazing work on Carol Burnett's show). The opposite is true of Christina Aguilera. I don't like her. Never have. Sure, she has pipes, but she bothers me in some indefinable way (or perhaps it's her speaking voice and her frequent tackiness).
That being said, it was her challenge, and I was actually surprised at the ineffectiveness of the garments. Even the winner (which was also my winner) was not really right for an energetic singer who dances in her show.
Althea: Clever with the fabric--it looked good and it was a creative solution. The gown, however, was completely impractical for the stage unless Aguilera was going to be seated the whole time. It might work better for a Grammy red carpet outfit or something.
Carol Hannah: My favorite, hands down. This one would also be cute for the Grammys (onstage for a slow song or for the red carpet); it probably would never work for Aguilera's stage show since it seemed like it would be difficult to move in, but I couldn't get over how nice it was to look at, and it looked like the kind of thing Aguilera would like.
Christopher: Seriously? This was like a cheap Halloween interpretation of Aguilera's old look. The judges were completely right about this travesty. See more below.
Gordana: Horrific. I still haven't figured out what is up with the top--I think there are little slashes right over the breasts or nipple areas. It's very confusing. Oh, immunity. Never have you been so required.
Irina: This look was too nightgowny. Or, alternatively, it looks like a tap costume. Styled with some pinstriped tights and a fedora, it might have been better, but it then would have been a little too Moulin Rouge or Cabaret star. I also am over Irina's attitude.
Logan: I have to be blunt--I hate this fabric choice. With the flatness of the garment (it has no silhouette whatsoever except straightness), it looks like a cheap hooker dress. I agree with the website commentor that the side view is better, but you don't look at people from the side onstage much. I mean, really, can you imagine Aguilera wearing that? I can't. The fabric itself just looks cheap. In a more expensive-looking fabric, I think this could have worked, but I just cannot get over the choice of fabric with the shape of the garment.
Nicolas: In Nicolas' favor, he clearly thought about the constraints of stagework, and the top of the garment in close up is actually very pretty. However, I don't think it was "big" enough, and also it reminded me too much of Chicago (and I came up with that independently, though Chris March actually mentions it in his blog also). I also don't think it was the right color for Aguilera. Not a winner.
Shirin: Okay, I'll go on record as saying that the judges' decision this week was whackadoo. Yes, Shirin's garment looks like a cross between a ballroom costume and a cabaret outfit. BUT, it was wearble, and I could see what she was after. It was too long, it was too fluffy, but I actually think Aguilera could pull it off. I also think that there could be a few slight alterations done to make it better.
Christopher's outfit, on the other hand, was unfixable and LAZY. It was old and not fancy enough and the judges didn't like any of it, whereas they at least liked the top of Shirin's dress. How does that add up? HOW? I'm so mad about this. And that's not even considering prior work, because I know the judges really don't that much mid-season. Christopher has had poorly executed outfits repeatedly, and this was another example of the same. Why is he still here? The same is true of Logan. The mind boggles.

Friday, October 09, 2009

PR: Hospital Gowns and Wedding Gowns

Before I give my PR report, I'm going to try to explain what happened to me last night.
You see, I watched PR in the ER. I had a rough night the night before, with insomnia again, heartburn, trouble breathing, and a cough coming on. I didn't feel nauseous, but I felt ODD. In the morning, I was weak and shaking, and still having trouble breathing evenly. I made it through two and a half classes and was feeling better, but then suddenly felt awful again, and had to send my third class away early. I was scared. I went to ReadyCare, and because of the breathing they sent me to the ER, expecting labs would be needed.
I got to the ER around 7. I tried to explain my symptoms several times, and since I was feeling lethargic and stupid, I relied on the list I'd written down. I just couldn't seem to string a sentence together. The doctor, a resident, was very nice, and took me very seriously. He did some quick physical tests, and then ordered blood work, and an IV of fluids. A little later he came in and said my D Dimer level was high, unexpectedly, and he'd ordered a CAT scan to look for a blood clot.
Ever had a CAT scan? It feels weirder than 85 % of the things you could experience. When the heat of the contrast hit my veins it was the first time in hours I'd been warm, and it actually made me feel a little sick. Anyway, the scan was negative for anything, which was a relief. The non-relieving part was that there is no answer for my D Dimer being high. The rest of my blood work came back normal, and all other vital signs were normal enough.
I did develop an outrageous head and body ache, which is why, even though I had the TV on and watched snippets of Supernatural and Fringe, I didn't really feel like watching them, and of course I was interrupted numerous times. I am watching Fringe right now on hulu--anyone got ideas for how I can catch Supernatural?
The end of the story is that we're theorizing anxiety attack, and I was given medication for that purpose, to be used whenever I felt I needed it. It's a pretty powerful drug, and I asked him to prescribe half the normal dose given my size. He sent me home with one pill to take so I could sleep that night, and I took half, after eating some toast. I'm supposed to go to my own doctor next week (he is out of town right now!) for a follow-up. Today, I have a headache, but I feel stronger, and I'm not coughing. I'm breathing like a champ. Also, I had deviled eggs for breakfast and a brownie bowl for lunch. Did I mention I'm pampering myself?
I watched PR while I was waiting for CAT results, and to be dismissed. I was feeling a little more energetic by that point, so I did get a good look at the designs.
My pick for the Winner: Gordanna
My pick for the Auf'd: Logan or Christopher
Althea--I didn't care for Althea's design . It looked like the breasts were in bags...the loose cup with that contrast color were not so flattering, and the back was a little sloppy. I liked the colors, but the dress seemed a little too childlike up top.
Carol-Hannah did a good job. her dress was really chic and wearable. People have complained on the website about the color, but the dusty lavenderish look of it on my screen is nice. I actually put this in my top three.
Christopher--Seriously? This was meant to be flattering? The look was was very unflattering to the model, and probably would have been to any other model. It was poorly fit, and I couldn't figure out what about the construction was meant to show skill or difficulty. In short, I am panning this look.
Epperson--Unlike Heidi, I am not panning this look. I don't know where she was coming from with Oktoberfest. I think she just got that into her head and couldn't get it out, even though it was an inapt comparison. Was it a winning garment? No, but it was not a losing garment. I think they were looking for a reason not to make a decision, and they picked on his admission that he'd started with a different understanding of the challenge.
Gordanna--The color of this garment was a little iffy for this client, but the dress was sassy and well designed, and took a lot of work. It wins my "I'd wear it" seal of approval. It also responded really well both to the challenge and to the client's desires. The dress was the badass garment of the week, and I was really glad Gordanna got good credit for it.
Irina--The colors of this garment were really lovely, and I always respect a good fabric dye job. Someone on the website, though, made a similar comment to my feeling: The dress was a little bit mother-of-the-bride. It is a pretty dress, don't get me wrong. It was just a little too much in the same event category as the original dress.
Logan--Ouch. I like Logan as a person, but I don't like Logan's choices. Nothing seemed to go, the top of the garment was unflattering on the client, and the construction had errors obvious even to the TV audience. Even though Christopher's outfit was seriously questionable, I think this one should have been the Auf'er.
Nicolas--I know this opinion might be unpopular, but I thought the jacket was actually kind of cute...albeit paired with completely the wrong outfit. The pants were not that exciting, and the camisole questionable, but the jacket would be really cute with, say, a peach strapless dress or something. As an outfit, this was prety incomprehensible.
Shrin is what I call the good save. Her dress was passable--I wouldn't have top 3'd it, but she ultimately produced a good idea from the wreckage of her stressed brain and the tawdriness desired from the client. The end result was perhaps a bit too feminine, but it was at least respectable fashion.

Chris March's blog tells me that the divine Bob Mackie is the guest judge next week, so I do not know what that entails but I'm ready.

In the meantime, in an effort to "reduce my anxiety" (It's clinical, people!) I ordered the two sweaters (one in rose, one in bark (I need something pretty for hockey nights) and the sweater dress from Victoria's Secret, and some things to bulk up my Lush stock, which is dwindling more drastically than I'd thought. I have essays on tap, and Falcon hockey upcoming on the radio--which will win? I'll get some essays done, but after last night I'm going to take it slow.
Peace out for the week!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Project Runway: Snoozefest.

Unfortunately, the judges' snarkiness ruined my interest in the judging this week. I watched, but only with half an ear, while I graded essays. They were pointier than usual and belabored their points unnecessarily, trying to come up with the worst metaphorical insults to sling at people for sound bytes without actually talking about the fashion constructively, or providing intelligent comments. I hated it. It was, to use last week's term, a snoozefest. Fail, Project Runway. Also, did anyone notice how Tim's comments were completely different from the judges'? This isn't normal.
At least I learned why I don't "get along" with Nicolas--anyone so rabidly anti-ruffle cannot be a personality I enjoy. I have, in the previous challenge, made my feelings about ruffles pretty clear.
My pick for the winner: Carol Hannah and Shirin. The dress was reasonably cute and wearable. The color combinations of the blue were a little questionnable, but it made sense for the customer, and as the Macy's person herself said, if the two outfits were placed together in the store, they would relate well as sets and would sell. I wasn't all that keen on the top myself, but it made sense. Since this was a challenge about making relating outfits, I thought Carol Hannah did the best job meeting those parameters.
Althea and Logan: The jacket wasn't bad, but it was kind of boring. The skirt was a nightmare, and the pieces didn't look nice together. For the pants outfit, I thought the pieces worked nicely together and were realistic. I think this second outfit saved the pair from the trainwreck of the first.
Irina and Gordana: I thought the blouse was pretty, but wasn't as well crafted and ethereal as it could have been. It was ultimately a little heavy, and the back fastening was questionable. The skirt was bland. The dress was the prettiest things made for this challenge. I'd like to have it. But I think this pair won just on the strength of this dress, and that was annoying. The two outfits made did not really relate.
Christopher and Epperson: That greenish shirt reminded me of something you might find at Deb, something you might pick up inexpensively to wear to a party and never put on again because you spilled soda on it...and you didn't really care. The shirt dress was more manageable, and I disagreed with the judges' panning of it. That was a realistic look for you, Macy's. I've seen you sell things like this before, so don't act like they have insulted you. That being said, I disagreed with Tim's comment that C & E were reinventing the shirt dress. I didn't see anything particularly dynamic about it. But what really bothered me about this duo was the complete lack of relationship between their outfits. They were from two different planets, which missed the challenge.
Louise and Nicolas: Did anyone notice how, when the dark blue dress was on the mannequin, and the ruffle was pinned flat to the dress, with that bit of contrast showing, that it looked chic and even elegant? I actually thought that was going to be the final look of the dress, and I wish it had been, because it was cute. For the final look, the ruffle was either too big or not big enough, and it looked undecided. For the other dress, unfortunately, it had nothing to do with the sketch, and it looked heavy-handed and also indecisive--the bow on the back is a good example. I will miss Louise very much, but (and it pains me to admit this) I think she has trouble knowing her customer and designing for a customer. She got rattled and never got back on track.

Next week looks a little scandalous. I also wish for no more team challenges this season. I hardly ever like them.

In other news, I am trying to decide whether to buy this dress or this dress or both, at some point this season. I feel like sweaterdresses might be just the thing for my professional wardrobe here in freezy Ohio. They also have some new boucle colors so it might be time to get that shawl collar v-neck sweater I've had my eye on...since Lord knows 11 boucle sweaters (or whatever the number now is) isn't enough. It's a shame they're so hard to wash because I'm completely addicted. They have a v-neck with puffed sleeves, too. I haven't seen that much fall fashion I like this year, which is probably a good thing, but these sweaters...
Speaking of which, hockey tomorrow at noon (I know, weird, right?) and I need to figure out what I'm wearing!