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Mila Hermanovski Blog

Number Ten

By kim_messina Fri., Aug. 31, 2012 ,5:04 am EDT

There have been quite a few "real" challenges this season on "Project Runway." Mind you, this is not a complaint from my point of view, as a designer who frankly was sick of all the "red carpet" or fantasy/costumey/gimmicky challenges I participated in on both Season 7 and All Stars. But the public love gowns. To many, they are quintessential fashion. But the reality is that hardly anyone wears gowns anymore. They are so specific to events, and unless youʼre talking prom or a wedding, gowns are for the generally for an elite or celebrity clientele (And most of time, borrowed — in other words, there is no money in the gown biz). That said, they are usually what is most entertaining to viewers.

This weekʼs show exemplifies an "industry" challenge, in which designers must consider mass market, price point, client image and must use certain fabrics within the budget. It also happens to be a big deal for the designers, as the winning design will join the other nine dresses (Each of which was designed by a "Project Runway" designer, each representing one of the nine seasons of "PR"), and the dresses will be manufactured by and sold at Lord & Taylor, which means great exposure to the public without the headaches and financial chunk normally required to produce hundreds of dresses for a retail account. I happen to know from my fellow "PR" alum colleagues that they received a small design fee for the dress and each one will then receive a microscopic royalty for each dress sold.

I must say, the work produced on many of the "real" challenges until now has left much to be desired. But this episode some of the designers stepped it up a bit. Itʼs not easy to design within set parameters, like price, fabrics, etc., and with the nine other "Project Runway" alum designs as part of their inspiration. Letʼs just say I personally was underwhelmed by many of those. Some of them were just fugly, and most didnʼt have any sort of "signature" which would indicate who created them. I was glad to see some of the Season 10 designers using a "signature" element in their design.

Fabio

A really nice twist on a modern black dress. This was a clean design with just enough details to make it stand out from a sea of black dresses: the asymmetric hem with sheer bit, the back shoulder detail, the back zip. From a consumer standpoint, Iʼd rework the back, though, so a woman can wear a bra (even a racerback). Because you know we always think about that.

Melissa

While I appreciate her design, I feel it is too difficult to wear for the masses, especially the L&T customer. This looks more Barneys or Neiman Marcus to me than Lord & Taylor. There was major side boob as well, which of course would be corrected before the dress would go into production. I do love the fabric, but could do without the "tail." It was also distractingly tight (no wonder Heidi loved it).

Gunnar

A really simple yet classic silhouette. This would probably sell well in L&T (though the lace makes it less versatile, though more interesting). Itʼs true, weʼve all seen this in a store at some point already, but I donʼt quite understand why the judges were so hard on it.

Elena

See, Elena? You can tone your aesthetic down. All that fuss over how difficult it will be to take her "edgy avant garde" point of view and "water it down," and she made a great little dress. The only thing is (like Melissaʼs), I can see it more in Barneys COOP than Lord and Taylor. (Thatʼs a compliment in my book.) On a personal note, Elena should chill on the false eyelashes!

Christopher

He again defaulted on his now-signature shredded chiffon technique. Iʼm not sure Iʼm on board with this (Because after all, you want your dress in L&T to have a signature), or feel itʼs a bit tired. In any event, itʼs a very pretty dress, but Iʼm surprised the win went to his design. (What was I saying about how everyone loves a gown? Itʼs the drama.)

Alicia

Oof. Just an odd dress, and reminded me of the one she and Raul made for me in a way. I think it was the "Amish" neckline. It was just a head-scratcher in terms of who the client is and where sheʼd wear this. Sorry Alicia, this one wasnʼt up to par with your colleaguesʼ designs.

Sonjia

Not much to say about this one except: 86 the peplum, girl! Itʼs dated and just not a great idea to bring back unless itʼs in a very modern way. Sonjia was in the weeds in the workroom, and although she pulled it off and made it through, it was not great. Itʼs a relatively simple dress with a peplum, in a fabric which also looks dated.

Ven

Ven also relied on his "signature" technique. However the exploding rose on the chest is strange. I donʼt think it would work on a variety of bust sizes, either. Aside from the exploding black rose, itʼs got nothing else.

Dmitry

Dmitry fits his clothes really well. This is no exception, and is a great twist on a classic, sheath dress and would likely sell a ton. The fabric is a terrific choice and makes the dress look expensive, and the seaming and neckline give it a modernity. I would have chosen Dmitry as a top scorer (again).

What was up with all the crying again?