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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something ... Ugly

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Sep. 3, 2010 ,5:55 am EDT

Wow — this week is right up my alley! Since launching my wedding line this year, the idea of making a bridesmaid dress into something you actually want to wear is a challenge I face every day! (It’s a little ironic that this episode aired this week actually, because I watched it in San Francisco where I met with the owners of the Bella Bridesmaid stores. My bridesmaid line will be debuting in Bella Bridesmaid stores across the country in December!)

Rate your favorite designs!What I liked:
1. Michael Costello: It’s sharp, edgy, and well proportioned. All drama aside, this is a beautiful, very current dress.
2. Casanova: Dude can make some pants! Love the color combination, the ease, and the detail on the motorcycle pant.
3. Gretchen: Love the ombre, love the casual cool feel. I also loved that she maintained the actual weird, bad embroidery and used it as a rather cool texture instead of doing away with it altogether.
4. April: This was actually really fun. Great silhouette and detail. My favorite thing from April so far.

What I didn’t like:
1. Michael Drummond: I feel like he just got lost in this one. It’s definitely still yelling bridesmaid at the top of its lungs! You can’t win them all. It’s okay, buddy. You can try again next week.
2. Peach: Drab and sad. Pretty much the opposite of Peach herself.
3. Valerie: It’s just too busy, and the seams are not in the best places. Looks a bit overworked and just not like something you’d pick out to wear. Whoomp whooooomp.
4. Ivy’s stinker attitude. Michael C. had the character to try to settle whatever happened during the presentation, but she certainly wasn’t receptive. Even if Michael isn’t the best sewer/patternmaker, etc, he certainly hasn’t done anything immoral, as Ivy refers to in his “track record.”

Certainly some great quotes this week!
Tim: “These are terrifying garments. What’s wrong with the bridesmaids dress industry, I ask you?” Well Tim, I’m only one woman. ;)
Tim: “Make her a thong and call it a day!” Is it just me, or is Tim getting sassier by the day? And I love it!
Casanova: “Exahaaahhhhhcttttly. Exhaaaaaactly” Oh Casanova, you are so suave! And you are growing on me.

The whole Michael C. can’t sew well, make patterns well, etc thing really puts the focus on one aspect of the show that you don’t always think about. There’s obviously a difference between a seamstress and a designer, and there are different views as to how important it is to be highly skilled versus having the big picture, innovative vision.

View more of Michael Costello's workIn the real world, there are plenty of people designing lines who can’t necessarily sew well, drape well, make production patterns, etc, but who can sketch out great designs. There are lots of highly skilled patternmakers and samplemakers out there for hire that can fill in the rest of the process. I personally think it is über important to have the understanding of the construction and patterns, but there are many ways to skin a cat.

It also depends on what you want to do with your career. Do you want to make couture quality gowns on a client by client basis? If yes, you’d better have those skills. But if not, then you can get away with less construction knowledge if you can afford to hire others to do it for you. Either way, in "Project Runway" you can’t always see what’s really going on with the garments. I remember the judges lauding the construction of pieces that we (the other designers) KNEW were horribly made because we had seen them up close five minutes before. There’s a certain amount of… well, to be cliché, “making it work.” That said, I think that if Michael winning with a poorly made garment insults all the designers, then there must be truth in what they’re saying. I remember feeling the same way at certain points, but when it comes to the judges, this is a DESIGN competition, not a sewing one.

So Peach makes a graceful exit this week, and I’m not worried about her. Peach doesn’t actually need to show at Fashion Week. In reality, the vast majority of what you actually see in stores isn’t shown at Fashion Week. Peach’s aesthetic is very specific to a particular market, which from a business standpoint is fantastic. Her “ladies who lunch” looks really don’t require such a show, so all she needs to do is produce her line and get into stores. Combine her exposure on "PR" with her spunky personality and she’s going to be just fine.

I can’t wait to see the finale show at Lincoln Center this coming week! My favorite part!!