Unless We Like You
As I was watching the runway portion of this episode, I was thinking, "I don't even want to hear about anyone but Viktor winning this episode." He had it in the bag. Everything was right: the inspiration, the execution and the elusive modernization.
Viktor's inspiration was clearly from the work of Yves Saint Laurent, who in the late sixties marked a revolution in fashion that introduced the androgynous fashions of the seventies. First in 1966 when he showed the tuxedo for women, Le Smoking, then in 1968 with his African-inspired Safari Collection. No other single designer had more influence on the next 10 years in fashion, and Viktor wisely went right to the source. (Bert's reference to Studio 54 was a close second.)
Viktor's execution was, simply stated, impressive. I have a knack for putting a garment together, but even I would have trouble pulling off the construction of a jacket like that in such a short time frame. I loved the authentic safari details of the vented back and pockets. These are time-consuming fine points that were pulled off flawlessly. The fit and cut of both the jacket and the pants were skillful.
Not only were Viktor's references and construction enough to earn him the win, but also the most difficult element of all, the modernization, was spot-on. Emulating the past is easy; taking it to the present requires creativity. From the rough edges on the hem and lapel to the updated color palette (even YSL did his safari jackets in the traditional khaki), nothing about this outfit felt retro. The snakeskin separates were the icing on the cake. They were fresh and modern; I loved the detail of adding the black sleeve to the T-shirt. These small decisions make the difference between "clothes" and "fashion."
True, Viktor may have offended some viewers when he didn't want to help Anya with fabric donations because "this is a competition," but unlike some contestants, who create drama and then don't deliver (can you say J O S H U A?), the delivery of Viktor's garments absolved him of all sins in my mind, an example of good fashion overcoming drama. As I've said before, on "Project Runway" the drama is tolerable when we get our fabulous fashion.
Of course, none of the judges picked up the red phone to the Laura Hotline to get my opinion, and without me they decided to give the win to Anya, apparently impressed by her $11.50 pants and yet another print jumpsuit, which were both too full to be flattering on anyone but a model. Maybe all the Piperlime shoppers are models. Whatever.
Trust me when I tell you that the Anya-over-Viktor win isn't the thing that pissed me off the most about this episode. In what universe really, IN WHAT UNIVERSE were Joshua's optical-illusion ass-widening plaid pants and built-in lobster-bib blouse better than Anthony Ryan's maxi dress? A maxi dress that looked damn similar to Anya's winning maxi dress. Of all the designers ever to be on "PR," only Mondo has successfully been able to pull off pants in such a bold plaid, and you, my friend, are no Mondo. How did Anthony Ryan get sent home when Joshua showed what was nothing more than a clown costume?
This season the judges have been guilty numerous times of making runway decisions based on a designer's entire body of work instead of the garment in front of them at the moment, and this was clearly a glaring example of the practice a practice that is against the premise of "Project Runway." How many times have we heard Heidi utter the now iconic phrase, "In Fashion, one day you're in, and the next day you're out." I understand the tendency to let a talented kid slide for one mistake. When my son, generally a hardworking student, brought home a science quiz with a less than stellar grade, I let it slide and saw it as a bump in the road, but if this is the way "Project Runway" is going to work, Heidi's catch phrase has got to change.
In Fashion, one day you're in, and the next day you're out unless we like you.