Friday, April 02, 2010

PR: Weirdest. Episode. Ever.

I allowed myself to watch (or semi-watch) Project Runway last night, since I was doing pretty well with essays, and I did a few short ones during commerical breaks. It's surprising that I got anything done, given the madness that ensued. It's like everything went crazy in one episode, and the producers just shrugged and said, "What else can we do to weird everyone out?"

First, I want to speak up in defense of Maya. I'm sure a lot of people will be down on her for abandoning her dream, giving up ("Quitters never win!" Thanks, Emilio.), not having enough self-confidence, whatever. Sure, many of us may have acted differently or made a different decision. But I think I know how she feels. I have been looking around at job listings lately, seeing what's out there, and I see lots of jobs that are interesting, and at which I might do very well, but for which I know I am completely unqualified without further training. This made me feel for her. Maya made a choice based on her growing knowledge of the industry that she learned she wasn't ready for. I can't fault her for that. She really could have gotten to Fashion Week. Maybe she wouldn't win, but she might have gotten all kinds of offers and accolades...and then what? If she wasn't ready, she might have had a meltdown and destroyed her career another way. I admire that she knows her limits, and refused to give in to pressure not to recognize them, even if she was one of my favorites. We all have to make our own way.

On another note, I have to pat myself on the back. I'm not that great at predicting what will happen in TV shows, but I totally knew the "red carpet client" was Heidi. Maybe that's not such a big deal, but the fact that I knew it last week during previews made me feel special when she popped in the door. For once, I got it right.

Here's something about the challenge, though--did anyone catch them actually saying which red carpet it was going to be? I didn't hear it, and I thought that would really change the challenge. Neither did anyone actually say which carpet they were designing for, which I thought was weird. That actually weirded me out more than many of the other blips. It was like we were missing a crucial anchor.

On to the fashion. I was disappointed that so few designers seemed to understand this challenge, or care about its parameters, though as I said, knowing what type of red carpet was meant might have been helpful. On the other hand, it made it easy to split up top and bottom designers:

Anthony: Anthony returns, and spins out a pretty nice dress. I liked the simplicity of it, and the drape, which, while it can look sloppy, was understated enough up top to be merely glamorous. That sort of drape is actually pretty popular, and coincidentally (since no one knew Jessica Alba would be on and be producing a co-win situation) in keeping with Jessica Alba's style. It wasn't, perhaps, chic enough for the Oscars, but it would be suitable for the Globes, I should think, or something similar.
Emilio: I used to like Emilio, and now I can't stand him. I didn't want to like his dress this week, but I have to admit it was well constructed. I think it might be a little dark for Heidi, but it was svelte, which is certainly appropriate. It also had the structure to be red carpet at a high level--you know those dresses are often built like wedding dresses, with a lot of hidden understructure. Emilio had the know-how to produce such a structure. This was my number 2 look this week. I preferred the winsomeness of Anthony's design.
Jay: Huh? Grammys maybe, or Kid's Choice awards. I thought it was awfully rich of the judges to comment on the shortness of Jonathan's design and not the tiny bust and shortness of Jay's. Whatever. It was too short and the bust was too tiny. The treatment of the textiles was pretty, but this is not a red carpet look. Also, Jay said he wanted to use color this time, and yet he chose gray and taupe and beige. It wasn't a bad dress, it just didn't seem to fit the challenge.
Jonathan: As much as I stick up for Jonathan, I have to say it--trainwreck. I didn't really like most elements of any of Jonathan's three dresses, and the main color of the final dress...that drab sort of dingy beige or whatever it is...was awful. It was pretty clear that he lost his way, that the confusion of responding to the judges got to him. I feel bad, because I think he has some good ideas, but he's very much in and out--sometimes bang on the money, sometimes trying to use Martian money. I'll miss him, though.
Mila: Another huh? moment. This looks like the kind of dress girls wore to the Winter Ball at my school, or even Homecoming--it's not as big a deal as prom, and all classes can go; you don't spend as much money on the dresses, they aren't as well constructed, and short, sportier ones are more popular. The textiles had potential, and it's a wearable dress, but not for a celebrity at a red carpet event. This was a bottom two look.
Seth Aaron: Someone on the web comments totally agreed with me--loved the back, hated the front. The back was nicely draped and pretty. The front looked bunchy and ill-fitting in the top. It didn't have a nice shape for the bust area. It's another wearable dress, more "expensive" than Mila's, but I still can't see it on the red carpet. Seth Aaron usually does a good job adapting his aesthetic to the task at hand, but it didn't work out this week. He didn't go far enough.

That's all this week. Next week, the final 4.


Anonymous said...

I don't know what to think about Maya's decision. Okay, she's very young, and doesn't want to be stuck doing a full collection when she feels she hasn't found her vision yet. But what a huge opportunity to discard, and I'm afraid she'll have a reputation as a quitter when things get a little stressful.

Some rest, some coffee, and a few peaceful days to think and draw could have led to a great collection. She wouldn't have to define her style for the rest of her life with this collection.

I think she took the judges' "referential" comments too much to heart. I hope she isn't haunted by them, doomed to worry that any unique creations of her own in the future have drawn too much from old films or other designers. Seriously, _everyone_'s work is referential in some way. They're thinking, at various brain levels, about Jackie O, Audrey Hepburn, Farrah Fawcett, goth and punk, historic costume, science fiction, H.R. Giger, rock and roll, whatever.


I actually really liked Anthony's dress. "That looks comfortable, airy, and goddessy -- somehow sexy without being too revealing." I was sure the judges would rip into him for such a different, simple, less structured look. Glad they appreciated it.

I was wowed by the precision and "expensive" shimmer of Emilio's dress, although that shoulder embellishment made me think of the hanging loop on an oven mitt.

Seth Aaron's dress was okay, but not for Heidi. I could see it on an edgier, darker-haired girl. Imagine it, with more careful fitting, on Dita von Teese.

I don't believe they did specify the red carpet event. I suspect this was a safety net in case none of the looks were appropriate for a high-visibility red carpet walk. This reminded me of the Iman challenge: they didn't specify her red carpet event, either. I believe she wore the winning gown to a mere publicity photo shoot. She hadn't been really happy with any of the dresses, so it's good they made no promises about where the winning creation would appear.

I'm sure it will be something commercial with which Heidi is affiliated, like an ad shoot for next season to run in Marie Claire, or a cocktail party for Project Runway stars and fashion people. If it has a red carpet and some glitterati, it's a red carpet event.


Abs said...

I agree with you about the nature of the referential comments. It's one of those things that the judges decide to pick on because they need to pick on something. It's like saying something is derivative in poetry. Some things truly are, but most are not.
You are probably right about the nature of the red carpet event. I remember Jay McCarroll was commissioned by Heidi to do a dress for a particular show, and then she decided to wear something different. Embarassing all around! I wonder where Alba will wear her dress!