Here we are, running through a garden and around a castle. We get to make an avant garde piece, with $400.
Oh, yeah, and it's the makeup challenge, and we each get a muse:
Enchanted queen (Fabio, and Christopher)
Seductive temptress (Sonjia)
Wise mystic (Dmitry)
Artsy muse (Melissa)
"Artsy muse"? Really? You have these grand archetypes and you can't come up with a more distinctive muse name than that? If you're following some traditions, the fourth figure should be the faerie anyway. That being said, I'm also disappointed that these are all sort of typically girly figures. Where is the warrior? The huntress? At least a faerie would have the potential for different interpretations, rather than just "artsy."
I was therefore annoyed with the challenge on two levels: The fact that this lush scenery was subverted in a challenge that was actually about makeup, and the lack of any balance in the figures presented, figures that are representative of stereoptypical male desires and gaze. I know--Project Runway is probably not the first place someone should go to look for a balanced view of women, but they (and L'Oreal Paris) had an opportunity here and they missed it.
Melissa--I'm intrigued by the skirt on Melissa's look. The vest is kind of ho-hum, and I definitely don't respond to a leather shirt.. Her pieces were kind of flat, dimensionally. It reminded me of modern furniture, which I'm not that big a fan of generally.
Fabio--I could see what he was after, and there was some avant garde quality to it. The big floofy hip, though, on that jacket, was kind of odd; I know it's meant to be reversible vertically, but it didn't thrill me. The way the bodice of the dress came out didn't live up to the original drawing. It looked more craft than art.
Dmitry--His suit does have structure, it's true. The slits in the sides were interesting, but the back one was ridiculous. I was also disappointed that, to him, wise mystic evidently meant all black. There were some dramatic, deep colors in the makeup palette, a lovely green, a blue, a lavender....why not bring that in somehow? And the judges didn't say a word about it.
Sonjia--Her color is great, that apple green. The dress is definitely daring. I really thought she was onto something with that upper shoulder piece when it was on the mannequin, but then it went awry with that midsection piece, which wasn't integrated as smoothly as I'd hoped.
Chris--Chris's look is very him. I'm into the feather arm decor, unlike Kors. Again with the big hip, though, which in contrast to the bust, seemed even more odd. I agreed with the judges who said the top of the dress was unflattering.
Now, what was interesting about the runway was not so much the clothes (as it should have been), but the judges' responses. I have never seen them disagree so much, to be so absolutely polarized by the looks. Zoe Saldana was a harsh judge, and Kors was grating as usual. I was confused at first, but then I decided I kind of like it when the judges disagree. It is more realistic, there is less "peer pressure" going on, and it gives the designers themselves more useful feedback.
So, they (just as I did) went to the designers' other looks through the season, and their strengths that would make one want to see a collection, which is really what the whole final challenge is about.
Looking at the five, Dmitry and Melissa are tops on my list to go to Fashion Week. Then I sort of fall apart. I reviewed my fashion opinions from past weeks, and I realize that the garments were kind of all over the place. I liked several of Christopher's pieces, but there were some real clunkers. Fabio's aesthetic I don't usually like, but I like that he is "thoughtful," as Heidi said, and he surprised me a few times. Sonjia's colors have often been a blessing, but she sometimes has some really basic looks.
I'm not surprised they cut Sonjia, but I do wish I could see what her full collection would have looked like.
But wait...I can! And you can, too. That is what decoy collections are for. You can check out all of the Project Runway designers at nymag.com. Watch out, though...there are some awfully ugly looks in there, and some particularly ugly styling. They aren't divided by designer, either, so go and have some fun guessing whose collection is whose!