Friday, July 30, 2010

PR: Fashion Crimes' Order of Magnitude

Imagine you're the judge in two cases of burglary. In one, the thief was dressed up as the Hamburglar, and made off with 1000 bucks from the bank. In the other, the burglar was dressed like an average man, and made off with 1000 bucks from the bank. Whom do you punish more harshly?
It's a trick question, of course. The way the crime was carried out doesn't matter--the actual damage done is equal. Would you give a lesser penalty to the Hamburglar man because he was zany, and you think he might be a fun guy out on the streets? No. He's a criminal, and all must be treated equally by the law.
It doesn't work that way in reality TV, of course, and I'll bet some of you spotted in this week's Project Runway judging comments a definite acknowledgment of "voting for TV"--keeping people on just for personality, even if their fashion crimes were far more egregious than those of someone who was auf'd. This is why McKell was sent home, and Jason and Casanova were kept, even though their fashion crimes were more unforgivable than hers (in my own opinion, naturally.)

I did do a little homework pre-show, and checked out the portfolios on mylifetime's PR website. Portfolios I liked: Gretchen, Ivy. Portfolios I didn't like: Casanova, Mondo. Then, as the show began, I could see personalities and aesthetics emerging, many that I instantly responded to, positively and negatively. Ivy's conceit was obvious, for instance (though of course they were setting up a fall for her in the editing). I also wondered if Casanova might actually be a bit of an idiot--when Project Runway tells you to take a garment out of your bag right before a challenge, wouldn't you assume it's going to be ripped up? Why choose D & G pants? Was he going to be okay with destroying them himself?

We see some changes in the workspace. I'm not sure how I feel about the Touchpads. I was glad to see some designers eschewing them; did anyone notice that the sketches some were doing on the Touchpads seemed, I don't know, soulless? They weren't as human, personable, or beautiful, and in fact struck me as generic. I'm all for advances in technology, but I'm not sure if this is really going to be a good value for some designers. I'm also curious as to how the Mood annex works, and how it was set up. If anyone has seen any discussion of this anywhere, please let me know.

Beyond this, it's business as usual.
AJ--80s goth and tinsel. That's not a bad thing, it just didn't strike me as all that special. Safely wearable, however.
Andy--The shoulders of Andy's garment reminded me of a PhD graduation gown. In fact, the whole cape was like "graduates gone wild." The back of the top was a nice surprise, though.
April--Gracious. Messy in a distracting, Mad Max way. Sometimes deconstructed is just destroyed. While I hated hearing so many of them playing the time card, I am actually interested to see if April is too much into one thing or if she has a bag of tricks ready.
Casanova--Speaking of disaster. This is my WTF dress of the week. It has a beachy quality to it, but when he said it wasn't vulgar, I did a double take. Really? But if you look in his portfolio, you'll see this is kind of par for hiscourse. Funny story--once, my dance friends and I wore Renaissanceish dresses, and M. had one with a jewel at the end of a V bodice. We called it the "pubic zirconia." And, looking at the photo of Casanova's garment, I can't help thinking the same thing. Anyway. I was intrigued with the translations going on with Nina Garcia. That was nice, I thought--but then Casanova's response was so insipid it seemed like he still didn't understand. How bad is his English really, I wonder?
Christopher--I'm not a big fan of halter dresses, which are severely overexposed right now, but I also thought the fabric here looked like drapes. I really didn't care for this look.
Gretchen--I was a little surprised that Gretchen won. I thought her top was a touch too blousy, and the neckline a bit dull, but at the same time I admired the drape and movement of the dress and I liked her little sleeve choice. Someone in the comments of Rate the Runway identified it as sophisticated, and that it was; I think it ultimately won for polish. I was actually glad to see a garment like this win--not short or tawdry, no cleavage, but still feminine.
Ivy--I liked Ivy's blouse; it was too short, yes, and not quite the right shape, but I completely disagreed with Kors' comment about it looking mangled. I enjoyed the structure of those ruffles. The pants though. I never did see the original pants, but I do concur that the pants were not fashion-forward.
Jason--Jason should have gone home. I didn't have a WTF moment with his dress because I could see where he was going from the get-go, and ultimately it just looked like a trash bag. No No NO. I totally agreed with the judges about this garment, but was astounded that they didn't find this criminal enough to oust. And he wasn't even that interesting. I am completely baffled, and I cry foul.
Kristin--I had a hard time seeing Kristin's garment, because her model's walk was crazy. But now, looking at the picture, I still don't understand it. Seriously. Someone explain this garment to me.
McKell--Poor McKell. I think she got kind of blindsided by the judges. When I first saw this garment, I thought it had a cute bottom half, and contrary to her opinion, I thought a fuller skirt was better for so short a garment. When I got a better look at it, I didn't like the denim top, finding the fabric to be cheap- and retro-looking (which was exacerbated by the hair). I thought Heidi overplayed it, though--the dress was not butt-ugly, and I can't really call this a fashion crime. Nor, it seems, can the commenters, and Tim. No one will ever be able to justify the judges' decision to me.
Michael C--Boring is the only thing I wrote on my notes. The pink blousy top and pleather skirt actually seemed kind of tarty to me.
Michael D--If you know anything about me at all, you can probably guess that I liked this satiny, blousy wrap dress in earthy shades. This was actually my favorite garment, though it wasn't as sophisticated as Gretchen's. It looked super comfy, and I would totally wear that.
Mondo--I hated this garment. I can't exactly explain why, and I didn't see what he originally had to work with, but in generaly I just don't like Mondo's aesthetic. It's garish and actually makes me feel unhappy to look at it.
Nicholas--I didn't realize until the judging commenced that the top of the gown was ribbing. That's when I said, "Oh dear." The shape of the gown had glamour, but the whole thing didn't move well and I had a flashback to someone's gown last season. The fit of the bodice was not well-constructed, and it looked a bit like he'd used heavy home decor fabric instead of occasional wear taffeta or whatever.
Peach--I thought this garment was kind of cute and simple, though I also thought there was too much going on with that knot in the back. I am a little concerned about Peach's fabric choices; I can see her going a little too chintzy. Her portfolio shows many cute little dresses, and I also wonder about her range. Her work looks a little homesewn (though since I'm a homesewer, I have a hard time using that as an epithet).
Sarah--I wrote down, "Garage couture." Exactly like an America's Next Top Model mechanic's outfit. Where would a real person wear this? It looked well constructed (and the collar looked like brocade, which I support), but it didn't look like a real person's garment. At the same time, I'm not sure that's an important consideration.
Valerie--I noticed fit issues with Valerie's outfit. It was also garish and rumpled.

As I said, poor McKell. Her dress was not a winner, but I was glad to hear Tim tacitly calling out the judges for their bad decision (unfortunately, mylifetime seems to have gone with video of Tim's critiques rather than having him blog--certainly hope they reconsider that, since his reaction to the judging is always interesting). I did wonder, if Casanova had been ousted, would it not have been his worst day ever, getting cut, and losing his expensive pants? But then, I also thought, anyone who spends over a thousand bucks on pants does NOT need money from PR to make a fashion line (a sentiment echoed by Nick Verreos--I swear I wrote it down first!). That's not a good investment for them. One final note, from Laura Bennett's blog: "Styling is the new sewing."

And while we're at it, let's talk about Austin and Santino--I hope you looked in your TV Guides and decided to DVR this, or stuck around to watch it. This is the type of realilty show I usually hate, except that it's about sewing, and it's more funny than dramatic. This episode was hilarious and involved a mercantile. How can you not love it? The mom's hair alone was worth the whole half hour. Oh, Texas.
Quick--without thinking, tell me who Austin Scarlett reminds me of. Especially with his precious hand gestures at the beginning. I can't figure it out.
I love Santino's laugh, and I have to say he looks well--not so gaunt as he once did.
The family seemed really accepting of the designers, as flamboyant as they are. It was nice to see Austin and Santino being so gracious. The show had a feel-good vibe that I appreciate. Fashionwise, I liked Austin's starter look better; his innovation of the lace combind with the straps was intriguing, and I'd have loved to see that finished look. For Santino's gingham look, well, the top looked messy, too unfinished, and the bottom a bit too poofy. That being said, the girl looked happy, and the dress was event-appropriate. Maybe a little too gimmicky? But appropriate.
I am definitely looking forward to this show, almost more than PR itself. I hope they can keep it up.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Austin & Santino. Austin and his personal styling reminded me of someone -- or multiple someones -- too. Immediately, Richie Rich of Heatherette came to mind. I'm can't think of who else, except perhaps Andy Warhol. Austin in the huge cowboy gear store -- priceless. How did that quote go... something like, "This makeup is for the horses! Excellent."

Thank goodness for the fun, charming potential of this followup show. I couldn't stand the repetitive vapid cooing affections and petty yet somehow expressionless dramas of Models of the Runway.

I thought Jason should have gone home, too. Ugh. Not just the dress, but his slightly creepy passion for his model's breasts.

Was thinking the same thing about Casanova's thousand dollar slacks: don't pull them from your suitcase if you don't expect them to be cut up -- by you or by someone else! I wondered if there was a suitcase clause in the contestants' contracts. Like, don't bring *anything* that you wouldn't mind having destroyed. We cannot be held accountable for your personal belongings being incorporated into challenges.

Gretchen's frock was classy but boring. Agin, I'm tired of Little Black Dresses.

I liked Michael D's silky colorful wrap, too. I'd have let it win for sensual, not tarty drape on the body, and visual interest.

Tudor Rose said...

I love that Cleveland is being represented, but I'm not sure how I feel about Valerie's outfit. Thing is, I like the stuff on her website, so I'm hoping that vision will show up when she's given more than 5 hours to complete a look.

It seems they are doing viewing parties for her here in town, I might have to go sometime.

Abs said...

There was something about the way Austin clasped his hands together next to his cheek, and the look of his face, that made my mind immediately fixate on it. But why? Who was that *like*? I can't figure it out. It's making me crazy!
I totally agree with you about Models of the Runway--and Jason's boob fetish. You're a designer. Models get naked. How can you not know this?
If you ever go to a viewing party, you must spill it on what it's like!
Hilariously, my word verification is "trite."