After five seasons of "Project Runway," and all of those Klum/Seal pregnancies, we are finally getting the maternity challenge! This week, our designers set out to create a pregnancy ensemble for "sophisticated mama" Rebecca Romijn, who is pregnant with twins! They are given the charge to design for an occasion of their choice, but they still have to achieve a look that is chic, and that flatters Romijn’s "new shape."
As is often the case, these designs fall into the age-old fashion debate between the dressmakers and the tailors.
To add some intrigue, Shirin, Epperson and Gordana successfully raise the stakes of this battle, combining both traditions by embracing sportswear separates for their creations. In the end, it becomes a "Ladies’ Night," and "the feelin’s right" as Heidi, Nina, Rebecca and guest judge Monique Lhuillier identify Shirin, Louise and Althea as the front-runners. Ra’mon, Mitchell and Malvin come in at the bottom. Shirin Askari wins the challenge for her innovative use of lattice smocking (see photo) and her design’s general wearability, while Malvin Vien goes to the guillotine for a concept that is "too bizarre." Oh, what a night!
Now, if you are not watching (or setting your TiVo to catch) "Models of the Runway" right after "Project Runway," you need to start doing so, because the models are all watching the show just like we are, and it’s very satisfying to see them articulate all the questions that you are probably yelling at the screen, like, "How can they send Malvin home? Mitchell can’t sew!" And it’s true — considering all of the shirring he’s done so far, I wonder if his tailoring skills are not as strong as the other designers in the cast, or if he’s never sewn on an industrial machine before. We do know that he is returning to fashion after a two-year hiatus in retail, so I wonder if it’s been that long since he has done any concentrated sewing. The "Project Runway" judges have always had a low tolerance for poor construction, and this season is no different than any of the others. Heidi says, "Just because we sit [all the way over] here, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a good eye."
Also, this year I think it’s possible that we could have three women in the final show at Bryant Park. Of the weaker sewers, it appears that at least five of them are males. Shirin, Louise, Gordana, Irina, Carol and Althea all possess rather strong technical skills, and if they can avoid boring the judges, they all have a likely chance of carrying the day.
Finally, if Mitchell’s outfit was just sewn poorly, what is it exactly about Ra’mon’s outfit that put him in the bottom three? Frankly, both Malvin and Ra’mon committed an unpardonable design sin of the maternity market, because both of these designers created garments that exaggerated the size of their model’s belly.
Basic color theory reminds us that warmer colors advance toward the viewers, while cooler colors recede away from them, into the distance. This is why it seemed to Nina during judging that Ra’mon’s dress had arrows pointing out at the viewers to tell them where the baby was. (See photo.) Similarly, if Malvin had perhaps considered suggesting a white silk organza chicken, sitting atop his egg, his creme sling might not have protruded from the body with such vehemence, making it look like the baby had already been delivered.