There is so much going on today that I hardly know where to begin. I will just first get in a public Congratulatory Shout-Out to my dear friends Carrie and Paul, who are new parents as of this morning!
On to the Runway.
I have to admit, I'm not really a big fan of the L'Oreal make-up challenges or the Garnier hair challenges. This one had big stakes ($20,000 is a lot of cash, and an advert is huge), but it seems like the designers' skills and styles really didn't coordinate with the demands.
Am I alone in feeling like none of the designers this year really have truly high-fashion, couturieresque skills? Maybe I have an inflated idea of high fashion, but it seems like this season everyone has either a casual style of some sort, or middle-end evening (hence some of the pageanty/prommy results). There isn't anyone with the Daniel V. craftsmanship and taste, or Kara Saun's razor-sharp tailoring with lush fabrics, or even Christian Siriano's slickness. Part of what made those contestants exciting is that, sure, they made blunders, but they could rise to the challenge of grandeur. And this disparity isn't a disparagement of the current designers; some have made truly unique pieces, and many wearable pieces. But their points of view don't seem to mesh with this challenge. Is it any wonder we had such anemic results?
As far as "step two" goes, did anyone else notice how half of the designers composed a ready-to-wear that was a basic dress with a strip of varying widths in the middle? Andy, April, Christopher, and Mondo. It was a little repetitive.
Andy--His high-fashion look was high-fashion. It was also very costumey--creative, but costumey. It reminded me of a Borg fashion show. I did appreciate the fabric choices, though. The ready-to-wear dress was a little dull. While I like the layering of the textiles, the sleeves seemed kind of juniory. It didn't seem like a grown-up dress.
April--Very black and pointy. I was intrigued that she choose to add a little faux (hopefully) fur to give the look more texture. The back, though, with the pick-up bustle, was kind of messy. The fabric of the ready-to-wear dress was nice, but I hated the zipper up the side. From the front, the chiffon jacket looked all right, but from the back not so much--too much like wings. April certainly has an aesthetic, but I am so very tired of black jaggedyness, the same way I was with Siriano's black pants all the time.
Christopher--The high-fashion look was a mess. I thought I would like the appliqued lace, but the effect ended up being kind of 80s. The sleeve poof and the giant poof around the middle were entirely unflattering. It looked like he just hurled a bunch of things at the dress form and called it a day. The ready-to-wear was, by comparison, dull. It was daywear, so it had that going for it, but the fit of the top was questionable.
Gretchen--Her look was not very high fashion to me. I did like the back, and didn't mind the fabrication, but it said kind of boudoir robe rather than high-fashion clothing. The inset at the front was also very dull. I didn't dislike the look, could even see myself in it, but I thought she was going to get creamed, especially when the ready-to-wear came out. The relation between the looks wasn't very clear. The drape of the top of the skirt was nice, but the top of the top was unflattering. I don't know. I'm not sure what happened here.
Ivy--I actually liked Ivy's colors, as the designers seemed to, even if the judges hated it. I didn't mind the bottom part of the skirt of the high-fashion look and thought it flowy, but the top of the ready-to-wear would have been better with the skirt of the high-fashion, with some adjustments. The pieces were unfinished, and the skirt of the ready-to-wear was bunchy, just like Christopher's. As is, the first piece did look like a prom dress and the second looked like what it was--a dress with no time to construct it.
Michael C--He sure does love the weird hip shapes and extensions, doesn't he? I didn't see until the judges pointed it out that the high-fashion hem was wired. I don't think that quite worked. If you look at the picture of the garment, with the little magnifier circle over it, you notice other weird inconsistencies. For example, the dress is pretty grand in shape, but the bodice has a very strange and hasty-looking cup construction, and the sweetheart is very obviously and poorly pinched. The ready-to-wear was awful. Hip extentions, overly tight and bunchy bodice.
Mondo--Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice! Okay, just kidding (although Carol Hannah picked up the same thing in her blog). I also thought of Jeffrey Sebelia's tartan number from the couture challenge and his striped dress with zippers, like a combination of the two. And no, I'm not accusing him of copying, that's just what went through my mind (and as Laura Bennett remarked on this, too, in her blog, I am not alone). For once, Kors' snarky comments interested me, when he mentioned the Kentucky derby. It was a little jockey chic, but in a fun way. I didn't like the dress so much as I could see how it appealed to the judges. The ready-to-wear, on the other hand, I really liked. It was the most successful of the stripe-in-the-middle dresses.
Valerie--I actually liked the flow of Valerie's high-fashion, but recognized it as "too pretty," which the judges aren't that into. I liked the diamante, but not in a weird loop sticking out. With the ready-to-wear, I really didn't see much relation beyond a vague sort of angel/hellraiser thing. It certainly wasn't very crystalline.
That's it for this week.