Friday, March 26, 2010

PR: In Which I Actually Get Angry.

This challenge held so much promise. I was truly excited when I found that the designers would be designing their own fabrics, and really enjoyed watching how the computer system would make that happen. I mean, how cool is that, to get your own digitally created fabric? I also loved the butterfly fabric V. Tam showed. I'd like to wear that.
I was disappointed, though, with the results of this week. I didn't agree with much of the judging and felt a little disheartened about it. I feel like it's been a while since everything came together in one episode to be satisfying to me. Are my standards getting too high?

Anthony: So NOW the judges lambaste Anthony about his silhouette constancy? It felt a little disingenuous for them to applaud him so much, and then quite suddenly knock him for doing the same thing over and over. I've already made my feelings on this dress shape clear. I liked Anthony's print and wish it could have been a bigger part of his garment. I still thought his look was better than Mila's.
Emilio: I hated Emilo's print. I like the color, but I can't see myself wanting to wear a designer's personal fabric, nor did I think it represented creativity. I liked the skirt of the dress, but not the top half. The jacket was kind of an interesting departure for Emilio, since he doesn't usually do things like that. I feel like I've seen that coat somewhere before, though, and I can't think where (aside from vintage movies) This was not my winning look or fabric.
Jay: I liked the vibrant color of Jay's print against the black, but I also thought the fabric was kind of boring as a design. It seems like something you could actually already find at Mood. I liked his jacket, which had a strong vibe to it, and liked that he lined it with that fabric. The rest of the outfit was kind of dull as pieces. Again with the stretch pants...or whatever it is. (Tim says it's a catsuit.)
Jonathan: Again with the contoversy. This was the judging that made me so angry I was actually talking out loud to the telly and shaking my head. I don't usually like it when designers talk back to the judges, but Jonathan was well within his rights to do so this week.
I couldn't disagree with Kors more about that print. Sure, it was understated, but it did not look anything like a dirty tablecloth, nor was it sad. I thought it was pretty, light, and kind of dreamy. I felt that Kors was going for more soundbyte than sense there, and I will reprimand the judges here and now for laughing in such a self-satisfied manner at their own (unwitty) witticisms, especially when the designer was clearly upset. A disgusting, distasteful display, and a definite low point of the season.
I quite liked the dress aside from the admittedly goofy kick panel (it didn't pleat, that was the problem). I didn't quite understand the collar of the jacket, but I liked the color and belt and didn't mind that it was backward--clearly Kors has never been so cold that he's worn his cardigan backward, as I have done on occasions. I feel like the judges made up their minds to hate this look and treat it as if it were an alien thing, and I completely disagree. In fact, I think women would really respond to that print if they saw it in a shop. The sum of my feelings are this: I would wear that outfit, and I would look awesome in it. The end. (Except for this: Tim agrees with me.)
Maya: I sensed there might be some trouble when I saw Maya working on another high collar. I liked her print, but the dress didn't seem well composed, nor did it look special. It was kind of 90s throwback, and it was too short. Not a winner for me, but I didn't mind Maya being called out as a top 3. I'd like her to get some applause somehow.
Mila: My pick for out this week. Seriously. It wasn't an attractive garment, and the Model. Couldn't. Walk. That is the kiss of death for me. The dress was saggy and stiff at the same time, which is quite a feat. I honestly cannot find a single thing I like about this look, and that for me is rare. The whole point of a maxi-dress is fluidity. You're supposed to be able to move in it. Thus, Mila did not execute her stated goal at all. Out.
Seth Aaron: I liked how, from a distance, Seth Aaron's print looked sort of baroque, and then it turned out to be something completely different. I thought Seth Aaron was going to win. It's true that he too often makes separates, including jackets, but his shapes are always shapely and sophisticated, and he knows how to put a complete look together. I didn't care for the pants, and his color coordination leaves something to be desired, but I still thought his look was the most polished of the lot.

So it seems like there's some kind of scandal coming up next week. With essays coming in, though, I'm going to have to record the show and wait to find out what's so crazy!

Friday, March 19, 2010

PR: What Neighborhood Are YOU In?

I wasn't sure if I'd get to this right away because I have essays, but I got so many done yesterday I guess I've earned a brief blog break.
I like the idea of getting inspiration from different areas of New York. And, for once, the teamwork portion of the challenge was understated and fairly drama free. That being said, I wasn't that impressed with the work that came out this week. I liked parts of some of the garments, but no garment stood out to me, and I really didn't like the winner.

Amy: Amy's look struck me as the wrong neighborhood. I was really sorry to see Amy go, but after last week, you know she needed to pull off something fantastic. This wasn't it. I wasn't bothered by the color, but the shape of the look wasn't very luxe, and, while I think people would wear the look, it wouldn't be the people on the Upper East. Actually, when I look at the picture, it looks sort of like Chinatown to me, like a modified, modernized Chinese robe. So, in a way I think Amy missed the challenge, but I would not have picked her to go home.
Anthony: I liked the idea of the incorporation of the dragon folding. The dress's structure and construction, however, were a mess. It was too short, first of all, by about an inch. It's that's same skirt style Anthony always seems to do. It looks tarty. I also saw some puckering and poofing that disrupted the silhouette. This dress could have been so glamorous, but it just looked rushed, which is a shame considering its detail to the trim.
Emilio: I didn't like this dress. It was stiff and very baglike at the bottom. In fact, I thought it looked like a dress made out of a lightweight sleeping bag. Now maybe there is something urban about that, but I don't know what it is. The top of the dress was nice, but seeing the model walk in it, the bottom just destroyed it for me.
Jay: I liked this outfit the least. I really don't like pants in that shape, and never have. The tank top was a total throwaway. The colors in combination were just not there for me, either. I couldn't find anything I liked about this look.
Jonathan: I liked the idea of this dress more than its finished product. The top part of the dress was really pretty. There was just too much of the cutwork. It ended up looking like tattooesque lingerie (eg Victoria's Secret 2-3 years ago). If the top had been left alone, with a sleek black bottom, I think that would have been more attractive. Less challenging, perhaps, but more likeable.
Maya: Maya's work this week was well put together. Kind of understated, but that's not always bad. That being said, my evident absence of really "modern" color sense comes into play here. The peeks of red in the skirt really didn't make sense with the top; in fact, while I like those pieces individually, I don't think they go together. They're two parts to different outfits.
Mila: Mila had a good collected piece this week. But ask yourself--without the red tights, would you have been as interested in this look? I wouldn't. It would just be another of Mila's black and white outfits. The styling made the garments become more than they were. I didn't think this look was all that rawk either, as the model seemed to think, but it did fit the East Village. I might even wear that jacket. I just would sure like Mila to do something that would sustain her more than one season in the fashion industry. Is she literally going to do black and white casual separates from the 60s her entire career?
Seth Aaron: There is no question that Seth Aaron is a great tailor. He did a really great job on that jacket. That being said, this is decidedly not my style, and in a way it was almost a caricature of Harlem. That tam was a travesty...though, to be fair, I've seen hats like it (and have thought of them as travesties).

So, not the best week on the runway. I was kind of bored and disappointed in some construction issues on otherwise solid garments. As we get down to the small group, I always hope for better, more intriguing looks. That does not seem to be happening.

Friday, March 12, 2010

PR: Elemental, my dear Watson.

Who would have thought that four elements would produce so many gray and black garments? Is this Project Monochrome? Project Achromatic? All the designers professed to want to go outside "the" box this week, but evidently that sent them straight into another box--the same one as everyone else. As Mila, herself using the dark gray/brown region, said, so many designers picked gray it's hard to tell who has what element. I found that disappointing. Okay, so you decide not to pick scarlet or orange for fire. But how can six of nine designers make something black, gray, and brown when they have the whole of the elemental earth to draw from? Are these the Apocalyptic elements?

Amy: I feared for Amy's safety this week. Hearing her describe her concept, then seeing her project in gear, I immediately sensed a disconnect. Having failed project attempts many times myself, I could feel for her. It's hard to imagine that she put the final look, including the hair, together without at some point stepping back and asking, "Does this look ridiculous?" but I guess I've been there. At the same time, before I saw the look on the runway, I realized how much I tend to trust Amy--I wasn't questioning her ability to pull it off magically, until it was finished. I think I now understand how Tim feels. Black equals fire? To be continued...
Anthony: Did anyone else notice that Anthony was using the folded strips of fabric to build up the bodice again? It was very similar to the turquoise dress he made for Heidi. I didn't mind that Anthony went all ash for his look, and I liked the gray and the pinkish shade that he chose, but there was also too much black. The black became dominant and looked plain. I was not surprised that Anthony was safe, but this wasn't a winner.
Ben: The pants were pretty bad. The jacket I'm assuming had construction issues I can't see, since the judges panned it so badly. The look doesn't really say shark to me. The high collar said danger, so that was a good move, but the color connection was neither watery nor sharky, unless it's about the shark's innards. This was another instance where the concept itself seemed sound, but once the project got underway, I couldn't figure the choices out. Unlike Amy, though, I don't have a trust built up with Ben, and I sense that the judges didn't, either, and that's why he was let go--Even though Amy has been more up and down in the past, Ben hasn't really challenged the judges or intrigued them.
Emilio: I didn't care for this dress. It looked kind of haphazard to me. Seeing it now on the websites pictures, I appreciate it a little more, and I do like the coloring of the fabric with the model. The dress reminds me of moss. I still can't decide whether in a good way or a bad way.
Jay: File under WTF. First of all, Jay is much too in love with the flyaway dress. I liked the bodice of this dress, and the fabric choice for the flyaway part, though I hated its look with the lighter fabric in the front. But were those pants? Or leggings? Striped? With a tornado head? What IS this garment? Everyone in the web comments, and Tim, likes this look, but personally I thought it was a disaster. Pun intended. Awful.
Jonathan: When this look first started to go down the runway, I thought, in a girlish fashion, "ooh, pink and pretty" and then, regretfully, "the judges are going to hate it." Imagine my surprise when they loved this look. I am not even sure what I like about it, except that I give mad props for making something creamy white that looks good on a pale girl. Love the textile and the shape of the skirt. A little tired of the typical PR dramatic collar, but it wasn't obtrusive to my eye. The one strap across the back looked a little yokelish, and the look was short, but having just bought a short shirtdress I can't really complain about that. I can't get over the textile. I just really responded positively to this look. It didn't make me think of laughter so much as a seraph. He should have sent her down barefoot. Anyway, I was glad the judges liked it, though I secretly bet that it was at least partly because it used a bit of color.
Maya: The only other look I liked, even if it is gray. I didn't agree with the judges about Maya's "inspired by." After all, all of these challenges are "inspired by," and it isn't like she's mimicking people. She's just capturing styles and merging them with her aesthetic, just as designers do for their whole shows. I really think they were just looking for an excuse to pick on her. I liked the idea of the dress; spotted a few construction issues, but on the whole it was pleasing and made sense. The styling on the other hand--that hair. Yick. Very 80s.
Mila: Wow, so the judges didn't go for Mila this week. I didn't care for the bulkiness of that vest. I could see Mila's earth inspiration, and on the whole I feel there were worse looks this week, but I also think the focal piece looked amateurish. That being said, even if it was "boring" I liked the mock turtleneck. I liked that color and its sleeves.
Seth Aaron: Seriously? Leatha? Where's Stella? I understood the whole midnight wind thing. I can even get behind that, since I love a breeze on a hot summer night. But leather? Practically any other black fabric would have been more convincing. Seth Aaron wanted to be structural, and that's fine, and his shape was intriguing, but it did not say air. It was too heavy! It slugged along when the model walked. It looked heavy while stationary, too, which for me means it did not fulfill its purpose. It was almost too heavy to hold the structure. I'm just not buying what SA is selling this week. I even tried to think of it as sort of a graphic novel thing, like the coat of a gritty superhero billowing around him. But it was just. too. heavy.

A team challenge next week. My favorite. Did I say favorite? I meant Yuck.

Friday, March 05, 2010

PR: Buckets of Bolts

I am usually a diehard fan of the everyday/unusual materials challenges. While they are not terribly realistic, they are, naturally, challenging. We get to see who can put up and who needs to shut up (looking at you, Emilio). After all, the show investors are not going to want to give money to someone who can't get creative when the proverbial chips are down, or someone who will crash and burn when encountering an obstacle. These challenges are less about design skills and more about good business. That is why I hate it when the designers complain, "This isn't really my thing" when clearly it's not anybody's thing. You're being tested. Live with it. This year, it seems like fewer designers were up in arms about it, though, which pleased me.

Amy: I liked the pattern that Amy did with the sandpaper. Up close it wasn't as pleasing, but from a distance the fans were striking. I liked the fun spirit of Amy's work this week, in much the way I liked her response to the potato sack challenge. I also love that she just seems happy to be designing, no matter what the challenge.
Anthony: Oh, Michael Kors. What planet are you on that this looked like a prom dress? Anyway, the judges' response to this look reminded me of their response to Gordana's newspaper look--they didn't like that you couldn't tell at least a little that it was an unusual material, so it didn't have the wow they wanted. It was an attractive garment, and I liked the leaf detail, but it didn't look difficult, nor like an advancement of Anthony's style, and the accessory component was weak. Bonus: I think it was this garment for which Nina seemed to be searching for a word and then she said, "Boring." It's like she suddenly forgot her favorite word.
Ben: "I like that the dress doesn't touch her body." Seriously? What part of that is impressive? It doesn't look like it's levitating, it looks like it doesn't fit. I didn't respond positively to this look--it looked like it was crumpled foil, like an oven bag, only in copper. The silhouette was flat as well, much like the little girl dress from the last episode. It was just ... boring.
Emilio: Don't you love it when a designer straightup lies on the runway? His little story about wanting to make a bathing suit because everyone else was making a dress made me want to toss him then and there. And did my ears desceive me or did I actually hear Nina say she didn't think this was that bad? I'd love to hear how the editing team made that happen. This look was hideous, but in his defense I've seen swimsuits almost as bad in the Victoria's Secret swim catalog. Still, I would have chucked him. Tim has also brought it to my attention that there was no accessory with this look.
Jay: I hated his reaction after he won. His attitude rubs me the wrong way. Still, I liked his outfit (although, once again, he committed the PR sin of barely covering his model's bosom). Mad props for the pants with the patterning on them. I knew his materials, and I saw them going together, but I'm still not sure how he did it, and I respect that. He very clearly transformed his materials.
Jesse: You all know how I feel about bubble skirts. This was an extreme version, and naturally I disliked it. However, I still feel like the top of this garment included more design than Emilio's train wreck. It was something that made me want to look closer, and made me say, well, huh, whereas Emilio's made me want to look away and never speak of it again. Poor Jesse.
Jonathan: Johnathan was at least something of a contender this week, with that luxe russet color and a distinctive point of view. Elements of his design were a little messy, especially involving that slit, but it was at least fun and intriguing to look at.
Maya: Legend fans out there? How much did that string jacket remind you of the evil Lily's dress? Just me? OK. Anyway, I liked that, and I was cool with the accessory. The dress was kind of flat. It literally looked like it was made of normal fabric. The jacket was clearly the most interesting piece. On the subject of Maya's model: What is it about her that bothers me? I don't think they've been making this poor girl up to her best advantage. She kind of reminds me of old school Bowie.
Mila: Mila is Mila, right? This week, at least her look was young. A throwback, yes, but youthful. Props for using plastic and still having a garment that fits the model. Something about this made me want to tap dance in it, maybe with the rattling of the plastic pieces around me.
Seth Aaron: Kind of an updated version of Rosie, the Jetson's maid. Definitely a robot influence. The back was sort of sassy, but there were a LOT of sharp edges on this garment and I would be terrified of opening an artery. I didn't like this look on the runway and now am merely meh about it. Maybe if those top bits had "peeled" down further? Give some definition?

In all, this was a fun challenge to see the results for. It successfully rested my brain while I was grading essays, which seems to be taking me forever this round.