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Mila Hermanovski Blog

No Crying in Fashion!

By kim_messina Fri., Aug. 10, 2012 ,5:11 am EDT

Youʼve been watching Season 10 for 4 weeks. What you probably donʼt realize is that the designers have been in New York competing for less than 2. Thatʼs right: they get NO time off in between challenges. Can you imagine having 4 challenges in just over a week? Not to mention they have no communication outside the "Project Runway" "bubble," they canʼt listen to music, read books or magazines or eat whatever they want. They have to sleep (What little they get) on crappy twin mattresses and share an apartment with 3 other roommates. And everyone wants to win.

This might help you understand why some of the designers can crack. The "bubble" really is that intense (And even more than you could ever fathom until youʼve been there). People do things they might not ordinarily do and might behave differently because the pressure is so great. You have to be tough to survive the fashion industry, and certainly "Project Runway." It was one of the hardest things Iʼve ever done in my life, but I never once thought about quitting. Maybe it was a combination of my Taurean determination and designer pride.

All that said, I felt like Andreaʼs resignation was lame. Certainly as a teacher she would not advise a student to quit. And certainly she must have had some inkling of how strenuous the show is from watching it. I have maybe a *bit* more respect for Kooanʼs departure, only because he explained how he realized the platform of the show was not for him, and he wanted to do his thing on his own terms; but again, was the way the show is really that much of a surprise? Itʼs a major process casting the show, and whittling down to 16 people from thousands. There are a lot of people who would love an opportunity to be on the show, so really anyone who doesnʼt want to be there, shouldnʼt. When several of the other designers started crying when Kooan left, I thought, "Thereʼs no crying! You should be glad! There are two less competitors! Youʼre that much closer to winning!" But I know itʼs unsettling and the designers are already stretched thin physically, emotionally and mentally.

The designersʼ departures and Raulʼs return made me recall when Maya left the show on my season, though we were much farther along (Top 6). I was shocked that she waited so long and left after making it that far. Not only was she a good designer, but she was my roommate and kind of like a little sister. Everyone was rattled by her departure and Anthonyʼs return — I had a hard time focusing that day and my work suffered. I feel no one in that challenge (We had to make a red carpet look for Heidi in one day) really did *great*, and we all looked at each other after we saw our looks walk the runway and said, "We did it ... barely." I donʼt know that anyone was completely satisfied with their designs, except maybe Emilio, who won the challenge. I felt like this is what happened to the remaining designers in this challenge.

Overall, I was disappointed in the designs in this episode. Perhaps the designers were rattled, and freaked out, as I mentioned. They had gone to the Michael Kors boutique to receive their assignment my Kors himself, which I recall from the hardware store challenge in my season. He and Tim tell the designers to create a versatile look for a "woman on the go." While this is not described as a "sportswear" challenge per se, one of the keys to a versatile look is separates, otherwise, the versatility is in the styling. I was really expecting to see more sportswear from the designers, and yet the top three made dresses. Read my thoughts on each designer after the jump!

Sonjia

This dress reminded me of one that would be in Diane Von Furstenbergʼs collection, because she makes extremely versatile dresses. Sonjia was smart to use jersey, and this design bridges nicely from the office to dinner. I particularly like the asymmetric "knot" on the bodice, which created a little slit at the shoulder. I could have done with less draping, though, and some of it looked a little sloppy (The model looked like she had one sagging boob).

Alicia

While I appreciate that Alicia approached this challenge with more of a sportswear mentality and made pants, I donʼt feel the look as a whole is all that versatile. I also feel the proportions are off — that the shirt, or perhaps the shirttail in the back, should have been a little longer. Not a fan of the elbow patches either, but she gets an "E" for effort in trying to add details that make it her signature.

Melissa

When Melissa said in the workroom that she was making all these pieces, I had high hopes. To me, a layered look is the most versatile if done right because the wearer can change the look in more ways than simply a dress. The result, however, was rather "blah" and had too many draped necklines. I couldnʼt see beyond them, and it felt like nothing new.

Buffi

Strike three. Buffi consistently produced looks which were of questionable taste, and this one was perhaps the most so. Not only was it poorly executed, but the concept was bizarre and odd, not in a good way. And the textile choices were poor as well. Who wears that? And how is it versatile: from beach to club?

Fabio

This guy has such amazing personal style, from his clothing to his accessories to his tattoos. When I look at him, I am very intrigued by what kind of design he does. But where is his point of view? This look was sadly mediocre and looks like it could come from Any Mall, USA. I hope Fabio takes the judgesʼ critique to heart and steps it up.

Gunnar

Not horrible, but not knocking my socks off either. Something about the dress is off. Maybe itʼs the color combination, or the proportion.

Nathan

Kudos for making two pieces. Again this outfit has versatility because of that. Doesnʼt make me mad. A fine entry and merits being safe this week.

Dmitry

Very well made and executed, this dress is definitely versatile. Like Sonjiaʼs, it go perfectly from office to dinner. But again it relies on the styling (shoes, jewelry, etc...) to transform it. Without the bodice detailing, it would definitely fall flat though.

Ven

Sigh. Another dress. I usually like asymmetry but in this case Iʼm not a fan of the snakelike seam. It somehow looks a bit sloppy (unusual for Ven), and like a dress Iʼve seen before at Cache or Bebe.

Raul

Wow, a suit! Separates! Too bad itʼs a total train wreck. For me one of the most versatile outfits is a suit or pants and a blazer. Perhaps Raul was trying to make a strong comeback after being told he should have made a suit for me last week (and was eliminated). When I saw those trousers in the workroom (and then the final look on the runway), I shuddered at the thought of possibly having to wear something like THAT last week! The pants speak for themselves, and the jacket was just wrong ... this was student work at best! Raul is lucky Buffi made a slightly more tragic look than his.

Elena

I give Elena props for making a jacket, but what is this fixation she has with giving women football shoulders? I wonder if she sees this. The outfit has a lot of versatility, but the style of the coat is very similar to one she did before, and not in a good way. I hope she steps it up because sheʼs got such a great portfolio and point of view.

Christopher

The best of the top three in my opinion, this was a look Iʼd wear. Plus who doesnʼt love a little black leather jacket? While I wish the dress underneath was sleeker, and perhaps not a turtleneck, which would make it that much more versatile, itʼs a great look and showed more ambition than some of his competitors by having a jacket. The ultimate version of this outfit would have been separates underneath, like a pencil skirt and top, perhaps in a color or texture or a metallic.