...you start feeling every emotional nuance of people you don't even know.
Example: Long before Tim started getting choked up, early in the show, I noticed that he sounded very shaky indeed. As he was explaining the textile design elements, I just kept wondering, "What on earth is wrong with Tim?" Even given the family photos, I didn't see any obvious reason for him to be shaken. Then, of course, much later on, he did indeed break down a little, which is also uncharacteristic of the show editing.
I still have a creeping feeling in the back of my mind that there is something we don't know.
Then, of course, the whole episode was an emotional train wreck. I'll be straightforward here: Just now, I'm particularly emotional myself. I know a lot of people who are hurting. So, tissue usage was a big factor of my evening last night, as I cried partly because the designers were crying, but also because I probably just needed to cry, too (which is also why I watch "If You Really Knew Me" on MTV). I know how I'd feel if I were in the midst of a crucible-style competition, exhausted, drained, out of ideas, and my mother showed up. No dry eyes here. I know I'm being emotionally manipulated to keep me watching, and really, I just don't care. Not on this occasion.
What's interesting is that this was really a pretty straightforward challenge--make a look with a textile you designed. The textile should be personally resonant. I love this, because I would love to design my own textiles.
Yet it became clear that not all the designers were able to apportion their energies in a helpful fashion. Nina is bored, people--watch out! I think Heidi said it best while complaining that the outfits were not memorable. And the sheer fact that the judges disagreed so heartily about many of the outfits, which should be encouraging (chacun a son gout) was actually distressing--they couldn't really decide what they disliked most. Most disappointing, though, was the way many of the prints were hidden in the garments. Very few designers showcased them effectively.
Andy: I liked Andy's print. I thought it was sort of stained-glass like from afar, and up close it was pretty. I liked the idea of the bubbles. The otufit, though, was dull and flat. It didn't look well composed, and it was baffling in its shape, unflattering to say the least. I honestly thought Andy was a goner.
April: April's print rocked. I loved it. The dress she made struck me as a little party dressish, and it was messy, but it was also urban, which the judges favor. I also noticed on the runway that the model did it no favors by the way she was standing, slouching and dejected looking. I know the runway time is long and arduous, but that was a moment where she was caught out big time. I would have liked a different skirt with this dress. Again, though, mad props to the print, which was organic rather than graphic, as most of the designers did. I actually, in retrospect, might wear this outfit, given the opportunity.
Christopher: The print was all right, but it looked a little wishy-washy as delivered. What is it with designers and water inspiration this year? The pieces here were well made and wearable, but the choice did not show off the print well. Wouldn't it be better to highlight the print with, say, a beautiful dress or skirt? Rather than sending down yet another pair of pants? There have been SOOO many pants this season. Pants are hard to make, it's true, especially quickly, but when they are constantly in the same colors and types of fabrics, it all becomes a blur. I think a beautiful dress design could have made this print pop. Perhaps they weren't given enough of the fabric, I don't know. I feel like Christopher just doesn't want to be impressive, and I'm not sure why.
Gretchen--The top was like any number of Gretchen's other tops--sleeveless, loose in the front, minimal. It didn't look that well constructetd I agreed with Tim about the yoke of the pants, rather than Heidi. I felt fine about the print and its size, which was a point of contention, but as with Christopher I don't feel it was shown off very well, and I didn't care for the look as a whole. The pants were really unflattering.
Michael C--Michael's print made me think of a handbag or a coat. I actually kind of liked the binding and edging component of it, and his comment on his family, "They have a bunch of secrets," really seemed to gel with the dress. It's a dress for a woman with secrets. It was interesting, but here again I was distressed that the print was basically hidden. Was not the print meant to be showcased?
Mondo--I really don't like high-waisted pants. I think I've probably said that before. I do understand that they're "fashion forward" right now, even if I dislike them. I do like Mondo's top, as small as it was. Seeing the various garments go down the runway, didn't you know Mondo would win? His pieces were well constructed, and he established a vibrant look. It was the most interesting of the garments. Actually--I just noticed in the picture that the shoulders of that jacket are sort of matadorish, just like one of his pictures. That makes me like the outfit more, as a non-literal homage. I would definitely wear the top and jacket.
Valerie--I liked Valerie's inspiration a lot...blueprints and drawings remind me of my own dad. I was disappointed, though, that the print was almost completely hidden. I actually kind of liked the idea of the skirt, but the silhouette of it wasn't quite right. The top is so very 80s, and I was worried for Valerie when I saw it in the workroom. The two halves don't really match. That being said, I still found her garment more wearable than Andy's.