Season 15 Premieres September 15 at 9/8c

Mila Hermanovski's Blog

Champagne Wishes and Couturier Dreams

By kim_messina 07/26/2013 04:38AM GMT

This is a pretty straight-up, classic "Project Runway" challenge: design and construct and evening gown in one day. The spin here is to showcase the fine jewel ensembles on loan from the New York Diamond District. Easy, right? It takes me right back to Season 7 when Heidi asked us to design a red carpet look for her in a day. It was much later in the season and we were all just so exhausted. Not to mention I so rarely if ever make gowns; it was not something in my wheelhouse, so I felt handicapped compared to some of the other designers who were more versed in eveningwear. That said, we were a tad more "practiced" in the art of making clothes in a day—not that you ever really get comfortable with it. Itʼs just that in the beginning, for me at least, it was very difficult to get a grip on how to utilize shortcuts and manage time. With every challenge, I feel I got a little better at that, learning both from my mistakes, and othersʼ. In fact even now in my life I occasionally feel like Iʼve been given a "Project Runway" challenge (Recently a stylist friend asked me to make a custom, futuristic white catsuit for his client, Ciara...OVERNIGHT), and inevitably I partially credit the experience I had on the show with my ability to turn such assignments around fast.

This is where we see Kate having an advantage. She has been through a season of "Project Runway" before, and has her "legs," if you will. In addition, she is a gown designer, so she has an added advantage. I give her major props, though, for creating her Vivienne Westwood inspired winning look, which to me, a sportswear designer, is super impressive just based on the fact alone that she was able to handle ALL_THAT_FABRIC in such a short amount of time. I was also amazed that ALL_THAT_FABRIC was less than $300! I must say however that I agree with Alexanderʼs comment about the look being extremely derivative of Westwood. I was shocked that this was not brought up in the critique, especially by Nina; but for all we know, it was mentioned but did not make it to the edit. You all do realize that you only see about 40 percent of the critiques, right? Itʼs amazing how much longer we are standing up on that runway, sweating under the lights, feet swelling.

Overall this episode was fairly straightforward, but not without drama in the workroom and some tears on the runway. Havenʼt we all been wondering how long it would take for Sandro to get in someoneʼs face about something? But what an emotional roller coaster he was on, in just 24 hours! First he gets on Ken about using his machine (which admittedly is annoying, but also inevitable when there are still so many designers in the running), and then he has a total meltdown because the steamer isnʼt working...complete with tears! And then he is in the top three! Then we have Helen, who feels she must constantly remind us that she is an amazing gown designer, totally tank and have what Iʼd consider one of the top 5 meltdowns in the history of "Project Runway," right on the runway. Usually people donʼt cry when they see their looks walk. Squirm, shudder, yes...but not completely lose it. Thereʼs no CRYING IN FASHION! And from such a tough chick, no less! As Tim said, it was a misstep; everyone has them. But maybe that gave her a little serving of humble pie; if thereʼs one thing being on the show does, itʼs that. She is a perfect example of what I am talking about with not having her "legs" yet in terms of time management. It is truly one of the hardest elements of being on the show. You have to make something amazing and "glamorous" in just a day. How?

On the runway, there is quite a bit of “meh”. I do wish this challenge had come along later, or had been two days, when the looks perhaps could have been executed better. Or is it simply a case of a lack of talent?

DOM: I donʼt agree at all with the over-praise of this green and white design. The print is charming, but the execution ended up looking sloppy to me. The waist was crooked and wonky and sitting too high on the model, so the fit was unflattering. She likely ended up in the top because it was refreshing to see something livelier than many of the basic black looks which other designers made.

JUSTIN: Completely safe black gown devoid of any signature. However it was well executed and I loved his styling; the modelʼs hair and makeup made her look like she stepped out of aFlemish painting.

KEN: The color was not a WOW at all. Perhaps in person it was more interesting but to me it was a rather dull green. The gown is something weʼve seen before from any number of pedestrian eveningwear lines.

KAHINDO: Like others, I thought the print was interesting; what she did with it, however, was not. She tried to save it by taking Timʼs advice of layering the darker organza over it, but it was not enough to save her boring design. The one detail which was supposed to be the focal point of the dress, the odd circle opening on the back, was poorly executed as well. She admittedly had not worked with charmeuse before, and sadly did not use the fabric in an appropriate and complimentary way. So it was AUF for her.

ALEXANDRIA: A well done bias-cut dress. Thatʼs about it. Again, lacked any signature.

MIRANDA: Clearly she is obsessed with this midriff-baring silhouette. Is she going to use it every time? I think her days are numbered, because her lack of skill is becoming more and more evident. The neckline is godawful and looks like a beginning home sewer.

ALEXANDER: The look walked very dramatically down the runway, which is always a good thing; but he really needed to turn down the volume on those sleeves, which were way too goth-70s. He was saved by the flowing, sheer skirt which balanced the sleeve misstep.

TIMOTHY: Just weird and amateur. But did we expect anything less? I love how he tried to justify using remnants and some velvet that "used to belong to someone else" (who supposedly was Zac)! I have news for you: virtually EVERYTHING in Mood used to belong to someone else! They take unwanted fabric off the hands of designers! So when you are shopping in Mood, you will often see "Marc Jacobs," "Vera Wang," etc on the tags, indicating where it came from. His days are numbered, too. In fact he really should have been eliminated this round.

KAREN: Spent $160 and it looks it. If Mirandaʼs looks home-sewn, this looks like a high school student sewed it in home-ec. The bodice is ill-fitting and unflattering, particularly in the gaping bust/armpit area, the design is (again, like many others) super-basic, and there is nothing glamorous about it.

JEREMY: Pretty colors of tulle at the bottom. While again there was nothing ground-breaking about this, it was well executed and elegant and tasteful. It looked expensive, which is more than I can say for Domʼs or Sandroʼs dress, so I may have put him in the top three over one of those two.

SANDRO: Dated and borderline vulgar. Dolce & Gabbana for H&M. It had some interesting points, but needed editing. I canʼt understand why this was in the top though; perhaps it was because there were so many weak entries...and because the Kluminator loved it.

HELEN: Why would she try bust cups for the first time while competing on "Project Runway"? She set herself up for failure, but was spared. She had some good ideas, but simply was too ambitious and unable to manage her time. She made an emotional plea to the judges to save her because she is so passionate about being a designer, and wants to practice couture. But her breakdown runway-side which caused Tim to run to her aide makes me think she is a bit unstable!

SUE: OK, so if Mirandaʼs schtick is the fitted midriff-look, Sueʼs is the hand-pintuck. Her look was OK...but I sure hope we donʼt see those tucks in every single challenge. Iʼm not even going to go off on the fact that she canʼt thread a sewing machine.

BRADON: Chic, elegant, modern. A good entry and impressive that he made an inexpensive furnishing fabric look rich. It was nice to see something metallic as well.

Food for thought: who else is happy about another change this season: the absence of filming in the apartments? I noticed it in the first episode, and was hoping it would continue throughout the season. I love that this episode opened with the armored truck and cut right to the challenge! Itʼs great to see more workroom and less gratuitous "getting ready in the morning."