Friday, September 23, 2011

PR: Rock It?

Oh, goodness.
The challenge for this week's Project Runway was a great idea--each designer was assigned a band member to make a look for, and worked with a stylist to make him look good. The band is an unsigned one, so there aren't any real preconceived notions to live up to. And, for the runway, the band would play in its garb, one team at a time.
Sure, they're men, and that's where the panic sets in. But I really liked the challenge and I really felt it was a step up for Project Runway this season.
The results...well, I think we all could have predicted, based on past performance, that the final designs would be less than exciting.
Anythony Ryan basically made a sleeveless top and cream pants...for himself. His print, though, was one of the least offensive.
Anya's pants were falling apart, and her shirt looked like a home ec project
Bert's striped pants were kind of rockerish, and therefore acceptable, but the shirts were muddy-looking and decidedly not rockerish. I dug the braids, though.
I could not believe the judges went so gaga over Josh M's look. The pants without the pockets might have been acceptable, but that vest was ridiculous. It had slit puffed sleeves of fringe.
Whoever compared Kimberly's look to Scooby Doo was right on--the only one-liner I could tolerate in the judging. The idea of the shirt was there, but it really didn't fit.
Say what you will about Laura, I liked the pants and the jacket and scarf on her guy. Without the fringe, though. Fringe was completely unnecessary. I liked her color-scheme, though, and her pieces were the most modern.
My tribe is in complete agreement that Olivier needed to go. Anyone who has such a ludicrous idea of what a designer's job is and what a person should be needs not to be in the industry and given no more attention.
Viktor won for his jacket. Sure, his jeans fit, but their upper fit was still pretty feminine, and the shirt--well, I'm pretty sure I've seen fabric like that sold for dresses. I wasn't a big fan on the headband. On the whole, not surprised Viktor won.
I could NOT tolerate Kors this week. He needs to be replaced. I seriously wondered if he was going senile or on medication or something. Is he there for (unfunny) comic relief or to make incisive comments about design? He has no purpose any longer and I've lost all respect for him at this point.
In fact, I'd kind of like Kors and Nina both to be replaced. I don't have any real beef with Nina except that it feels like she's said all she could. She bores me.

So--feeling flat from this week? Why not head on over to and look at some of the spring Ready-to-Wear lines? I watched Burberry's Prorsum show on their website last night, and looked at the pictures on nymag. Some of the coats and clothes are to die for, and they have this great belts with the trenches. But what stole my heart was the pink trenchcoat. It is so perfect I seriously almost started weeping. It was a fashion epiphany.
Go on...have a look at the shows. And then tell me what you like!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

PR: What Size Is Your Wife?

Tonight I thought I'd do a PR live blog, because I have a laptop and I can do hip things like that now!
The Challenge:
So--the challenge is for the designers to make garments for women based on their significant others' suggestions. Couples as clients. Because that's going to go well.
Olivier just said he doesn't like women to have boobs, because they mess up the line of designs. So, he's completely off my interest list. I guess I would fit his aesthetic, but complaining about a woman because her body doesn't fit his designs is just ridiculous. Dude. Clothes are for people. People come with different shapes. Women are not hangers.
Also, some of these guys are kind of nuts. You're really going to talk about motorboating your wife's bust on national TV? I don't know if this is a sign of discomfort being in a design room, like they have to assert their masculinity, or if it's discomfort being on camera, or if they really are just brutish.
Enter Tim Gunn.
Wait--is Viktor done? His look is done. I like the shape. Not so much the color of that yellow.
Olivier and Bryce are clearly in trouble. I'm not sure what's up with Anya, and I didn't get a good look at anyone else's.
It's interesting to see Bert working so well with his client. He also seems more cheerful generally.
I don't know what's up with Anthony Ryan. (edited: Later I learned I was looking at the woman's actual clothes, not the clothes AR made. That explains it.)
Josh M is done, too, and he really brought it. I guess we figured out how to tame him. The black dress is sweet, and I love the back. I'd totally wear that. Laura may not be impressed, but I think it's lovely. Get that woman some pearls and a birdcage veil.
I told my students to use their handbook thoughtfully the other day.
Piperlime jewelry for the ladies! That must be to make them less angry that their men are talking about their bits and pieces on national TV.
Wow. Olivier's inexperience is really showing right now. Granted, his clients don't seem to be the easiest to work with, but he really seems to be incapable of making clothes for actual clients. People who aren't orderly and silent. People with, you know, needs. It reminds me of Worf's reaction to Keiko's labor on Star Trek: The Next Generation's episode "Disaster."
The Runway:
Laura--Pretty color for the lady. The dress is a little conventional to me, though. I'm not surprised that it was deemed safe. It had design features, but features that are not that uncommon.
Anthony Ryan's look is better on the runway, but still a little too simple.
Bert's look seems a little trashy to me. I guess that fits the husband's motorboating needs.
Josh M's look is Perfect. So darling.
Bryce--Remaking the dress was probably wise, but it's not great. The back adds a little interest, I guess, but it's not that unusual a back.
Kimberly's skirt is too short. The top is cute, but I'd rather see a pant on the lady, just to balance out the high collar and give her a more svelte silhouette. I am against cramming a curvy lady into a too-short, trashy skirt. (Sister, maybe I've been letting Stacy and Clinton into my head after all.)
Olivier-- The top is shaped similarly to another top we've seen this season isn't it? Oh...the top of his dress in the avant garde challenge. What is that about? And Kimberly's top for Nina. Same fold theory.
Anya--What the heck? That midsection is crazy. I don't understand this outfit. I'm okay with the shape, and even the sleeve, but that's distracting.
Viktor's look is very complete. I still am not a big fan of that mustard color, but I do like the blouse quite a lot, and the shape as a whole. I wear that kind of silhouette myself.
On to the judging..Bert, Bryce, and Anthony Ryan on the bottom. Viktor, Josh M, and Anya on the top.
My favorite is Josh's dress. Sure, it's not the sassiest look out there, but it is beautiful and her eyes and smile show that she really loves that dress.
I would not be upset, though, if Viktor won. I like the pieces, and I like the fun.
Here we finally have some great clothes this week! At last!
I am not in favor of Anya winning. Sure, the look is original, but it's not as polished as the other two.
Our guest judge kind of hit the nail on the head hinting that the husband's desires drove the design, as far as Bert's look goes. I don't know that I'd trust a man to make a fashion decision for me that way.
Bryce was on to something with the pockets. I agree with Nina that the dress is overworked. I disagree with Heidi about the pocket size--I think that actually adds some edge. It would be less noticeable if the top was better fitted and a different style. It could have been made sassier.
I would hate Anthony Ryan to be kicked out for this look. However, the dress is lacking some charm for the client. There is something reminiscent of some 40s tennis dresses, but it didn't quite have the proportion right.
The Results:
Joshua M. is the winner, and I am glad. I'm not a Josh fan, BUT that dress is incredibly right.
Bryce is out. I am not surprised. He has struggled so much. He seems like a nice guy, but like Fallene, he was sort of having a crisis of confidence piling up over weeks.
Shoot. Another team challenge next week? And menswear. *sigh*
And finally, a PSA--if you are ever thinking of watching Dance Moms, the show after Project Runway, DON'T. It will kill your soul. Even ten seconds of the show made my heart hurt. Children should NEVER EVER be in a dance environment like that.

Friday, September 09, 2011

PR: There's no f, u, or n in TEAM

Oh, brother. It's a little hard to write the blog this week. I started watching PR, then put it on mute. I saw the collections from the teams of 5, and saw some things I liked and most that I didn't. I really couldn't get behind the prints the designers made--all were black and white, and they lacked anything really special. I liked the clock idea of the Nuts & Bolts team, and the Rorshach idea of the Chaos team, but ultimately felt very little inspiration from either side. I know they have very little time to do this, and I also know that groupthink can water ideas down in the efforts toward compromise. But I just don't get how the make-your-own-print challenges keep turning out such lackluster or even anemic fabrics. And why writing on the prints? It's too easy, just like the patterns of lines are.
I liked:
Viktor's dress. I think he managed to keep it from looking like a cow print, and I liked the fluidity of the skirt.
Anthony Ryan's skirt. It was perky and had some visual appeal.
Becky's jacket. I liked it better than Josh's. In fact, Becky's outfit seemed to have the most practical usage. It wasn't very exciting, but I liked it better than, say, Bryce's look.
Josh's jacket, with reservations. I have to admit I liked it better on the mannequin.
I did not like:
The flatness of Olivier's pieces. Again. I admire that he puts everything into crafting a garment, but he also tends to fixate too much, I think, and his palette once again was dull.
Kimberly's weird skirt and boring blouse. The shortness of the skirt was not the problem. It looked like she was wearing a bowling bag. Such a peculiar silhouette.
Josh's pants. Period.
Bryce's shorts and slouchy top. There is no fashion here at all. Boring pieces in a lazy-looking style.
Anthony Ryan's top. There was something sort of touristy about a stewardess or a wrangler. Those things are very different and I can't defend why the top reminded me of both of them, but it did.
Laura's jumpsuit. I don't care for jumpsuits, and I didn't see any connection between a blue jumpsuit and a clock dress. It seemed very Laura, but also seemed like jumpsuits we've seen before.
I don't really have an opinion about Bert's clock dress. I liked the zipper idea, but something about the dress as a whole was kind of dull.
I also thought Anya's dress was okay, but not very exciting. It was certainly wearable, but it wasn't breathtaking or unique.
I have to say, and I've hinted at this before, that I think sportswear is killing Project Runway. Kors gets so excited about it, but honestly, the show has been too focused on it, and it's not hard to understand why so much of what has been produced this season, and perhaps the last, has fallen flat.
Contestants used to tell us that so many garments didn't have sleeves because sleeves take time. Yet many of these designers were producing exciting looks. Now, contestants are making pants and tailored jackets and sleeved tops. They're taking so much time doing so that nothing really interesting or inspired takes place. When you're making a tailored jacket and a pair of pants, it's really hard to change direction midstream, or to change your design to fit a new idea. The actual design part of Project Runway is very short. Far more time is spent on actually making the pieces.
I do think sportswear is important. But it's not that interesting to look at, and I think it's hard to do anything really new in its design. Sure, Olivier made a nice jacket this week. But is that jacket really any different from jackets we've seen in fashion for years? It was well made, but it wasn't innovative in design. No one this week made anything that one could obsess over.
No one told the designers this week to make so much sportswear. Nor have they done so any other week. But separates have gotten the praise from the judges, and presumably they were in the portfolios of the contestants selected. Thus, it's become a part of the culture of the show. There are all kinds of other reasons why PR has been struggling, but I think this week was a great example of boring sportswear separates that we have seen over and over.

Friday, September 02, 2011

PR: Avant Garde and Young People

The Avant Garde Project Runway challenge is hit or miss. Sometimes it's intriguing and educational, and sometimes it's a mess. This year, for whatever reason, I got engaged when I heard it was the AG challenge, because I thought maybe we'd finally get some fashion, some risk-taking. We didn't, always, but this was on the whole a less frustrating episode than last week.
I enjoy having the designers collaborate creatively with young people. Sure, they don't always like kids, these designers, but it was fun to hear kids articulate their artistic process and vision. I think this was meant to be a feel-good episode, as edited, anyway, and I'm okay with that. Others have noticed how much better designers got along this week, though it seems we're in an explosion again next week.

Anthony Ryan--I liked the idea of brush stroke translation, and I liked AR's look the best, I think. It wasn't really Avant Garde so much, unless the sheer fabric of the underdress was to count as the experimental part, but it did have a point of view. I'm pleased that he won
Anya--Half a costume from CATS, half a hiked up Renaissance skirt...and I kind of dig that. It was definitely a little weird, in the sense that it seemed to have multiple personalities, but sometimes that's the point of avant garde.
Becky--Denim with blocks, squares, and holes. That pretty much summed up the dress. It was safe, better than some of the other looks out there, but definitely not a contender for an avant garde winner.
Bert--Raise your hands, people who predicted that Heidi would like this. As much as I hated this Tweedledee nightmare, I knew Heidi would be okay with it. This is the type of thing that people do send down runways sometimes, things which make me laugh at the fashion industry. Go on. Go to Google Image and type in avant garde fashion. I'll wait. And I think the fact that it is sort of like some of those disasters is what saved Bert. I'm wondering if Heidi's experience as a model kicked in here. I'm sure she's worn equally foolish things.
Bryce--Bryce was my least favorite this week. Much like last week, the construction was horrifying. Sure, a straightjacket mermaid dress is pretty avant garde, but the cut and fit were bad, the movement droopy, and as a result I was sure he would be out. And yet...not.
Josh C.--I secretly think Josh was onto something better with his first idea. While more literal, it was a bit more interesting to try to translate a wolf into fashion. I liked the idea of leaving the heart bare, just like the painting. I can't help wondering what would have happened if we'd gotten an over-the-top faux fur skirt. Also...I quite liked the blouse. It had an interesting shape and neat pleats.
Josh M.--Ok. Take a minute, go to Rate the Runway, and look at the picture of Josh M's design. Does his model not look like a drag queen? There's nothing wrong with being a drag queen, but it's not really indicative of avant garde fashion. I thought this outfit belonged squarely in the middle. It wasn't really that engaging to me. Just very voluminous.
Kimberly--Okay. Let's take that furryfeathery stuff and make a skirt out of it for Josh C's outfit...Now. I wasn't excited by Kimberly's look, but I didn't dislike it either. It wasn't terribly memorable, I guess that's my problem for an avant garde challenge. It was a dark version of a party dress.
Laura--This dress kind of reminded me of my Peaches and Cream Barbie doll for some reason. I'm not really buying the visible boning versus the chiffon as being avant garde. That being said, I thought the dress was fun to look at, and would make an interesting component of a runway show with a similar stripe running through it. In that regard it was successful, and more memorable than other runway looks.
Olivier--Olivier survived this week. Barely. I think it's because the judges recognize that he does have skills. And for once I agreed with Kors when he exhorted Olivier not to be afraid to be powerful. His dress this week really was just a whirlwind of fabric tacked together. Very disappointing.
Viktor--There are elements I liked about Viktor's blue and white swirled confection, and elements I didn't care for. But I could easily see a singer wearing this outfit at the VMAs or onstage, which tends to be a little funky if not avant garde.