Are you familiar with Xuxa? You should be--because most of the outfits put out on PR last night looked very much like what Xuxa would have worn during her kids' show here in the States in the 90s. Xuxa is a former Brazilian model-turned singer and kids' star. On her kids' shows, she's known for bright and wacky outfits, often including exaggerated coats. Thus, during the runway show last night, I was mightily distracted by thoughts that I was seeing repeats of things I'd seen in the early 90s as I was getting ready for school.
I also thought last night offered an interesting opportunity for psychological analysis. The designers were shown a variety of acts, yet four of them chose to fixate on the ringmaster. I couldn't help wondering if that was an expression of narcissism. They all chose the figure with a voice, the figure that controls everything. It seemed like they were all identifying themselves with that ringmaster. At the same time, it struck me as an uncreative choice: A dominant figure, with a fairly obvious choice of wardrobe, one that wouldn't require any effort to make into actual fashion, because everyone already wears coats. And yet, in my viewpoint most of them failed miserably.
Anthony: Anthony sure does love his flowy dresses, eh? Ordinarily I love a flowy dress, but I was disappointed in what Anthony turned out this week. I really didn't care for that sort of winged shoulder, and I spotted some hemming issues. The dress didn't look well made. I was excited that he chose something other than a coat to make, but I couldn't get behind such a floppy look. I was not surprised when Anthony was cut.
Emilio: How annoying. Emilio, one of the designers I now can't stand, put out the only outfit I actually liked this week. He took his inspiration and made a new creature out of it, which was the point of the challenge. I really liked that bodice on his dress and, for once, it wasn't too small. I did not care for the back of the look, which looked a bit like a circus tent bag, but I liked the shape and movement of the dress as a whole and he styled this model (the one who is usually overly made up) well. It was a look that was balanced. (Interestingly, Chris March hated this look with equal passion to my hatred of some others. Carol Hannah liked it. I can't get Tim's Take to work to tell you how he feels.)
Jay: I was glad that, for once, he was busted for making one standout piece and the rest just regular garments. Especially because, once again, he made pants in a shape I dislike. All in all I got more lion tamer than ringmaster out of this garment, and I thought the jacket too exaggerated. The placards were too big and it kind of reminded me of a dance costume for the Rockettes or the Nutcracker. Small fixes could have made this wearable (a darker color, less obvious placards and buttons), but I'm not sure I'd want to.
Mila: My mother and sister and I have been heard to lament each spring the arrival of lime green and hot pink as the only colors available in some clothing stores, and that's what I thought of when I saw this look. It takes skill to make a coat of this type, to be sure, but the look all together was hideous. Were those pink stretch pants? I want to like Mila, as the only female representative left, but even given the circus inspiration I couldn't get behind this.
Seth Aaron: SA committed one of my cardinal rules of fashion--in a wearable garment challenge, don't make things no woman ever would wear. My friends, I give you the impossible sleeves. A couple of designers have made sleeves like this before, and I HATE it. I mean, I literally detest it. It reminded me of the film Beetlejuice, when his arms stretch out to grab people. Seth Aaron has big ideas and usually impeccable creation skills, but when I see particularly the back of this look, which looks like a striped puffy parka somehow, my eyes want to scream. Too costumey by far.
In order to survive, Project Runway is going to have to come up with some way to ameliorate what seems to be the last-challenge blahs. In most previous seasons, they've had the same problem--the designers are so tired and so deprived of the outside world, they're pretty tapped out by the end and we end up getting either ridiculous or boring designs that speak well for nobody. Even giving the designers two days and 300 bucks for this challenge didn't help. When nearly everyone in every season is having the same problem, it's time to shake things up.