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Mila Hermanovski Blog

Tie One On For Equality

By kim_messina Fri., Aug. 9, 2013 ,4:16 am EDT

When I saw the teaser that Jesse Tyler Ferguson would be the guest judge this week, my initial reaction was, "What the heck does he know about fashion?” I do often find it annoying when there is a guest judge who is more celebrity and less fashion designer. While Jesse is not a fashion designer, he and his fiancé have a line of bow ties called Tie The Knot, a trendy menʼs accessory right now, which uses proceeds to support marriage equality, so I can respect not only the whimsical theme but also the cause. I was fully expecting the winning design to be part of a campaign, or at least auctioned to benefit marriage equality!

The challenge sounds fairly straightforward, but sometimes designers tend to either be too literal, or to obscure. In this case, the tie really needed to be represented. It symbolizes not only the literal product itself, but also the marriage equality message. Since Jesse is essentially sponsoring the challenge and will be a judge, I donʼt understand how some designers paid so little attention to it. Itʼs kind of a big "duh" that youʼll get more points for using more ties. There were a surprising number of designs that fell short in that respect.

DOM: Admittedly, Iʼm a sucker for stripes, so I thought this graphic dress was fantastic. It was really well thought out in its use of directional panels, and also carefully picking out all the striped ties in various colors. When she announced her initial concept and mentioned "origami" I knew right away I would like the outcome. The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the silhouette; I wish she had pushed it a bit more with proportion or shape. But it was a happy dress for a happy cause, very cleverly done.

JEREMY: I was worried when he said he would be inspired by his Gran who just passed; his work already has a tendency to go matronly or slightly marmy, and while I feel compassionate towards the fact that he is grieving, he did not do himself any favors with that inspiration. There is a time and place for that and he needed to stay on course. But believe me, it is much easier said than done; in the pressure cooker of "Project Runway" there is simply no room for anything other than staying focused on the competition, for that in itself is so draining. Not only was the outfit extremely mature (it aged his model) and not fashionable, but he did not represent the tie. The color combination was not great and the trousers were even less so.

BRADON: This guy was so smart to use only the ties for his woven bustier top. Another smart move was to make that top the star piece and use the haberdashery tweed fabric which so well complemented the ties as the suiting. The overall look was clever, fresh, youthful, and very suitable for the challenge. He kept saying he hadnʼt made the jacket yet; does that mean he finished it in 2 hours?? In a touching "TV Gold" moment, after being awarded the win, Bradon then proposed to his boyfriend of 18 years, right on the runway! Heidi tells Josh he needs to say yes! Cut to: Los Angeles, six months from now: Heidi and Nina are bridesmaids, Top Gunn is the best man, Jesse presides over the union, and Zac is the ring bearer, petal sprinkler! And Bradon and Josh can be married at last!

KEN: The dress was "fine," but not only lacked a signature but also the key element. Using the ties as trim only was way too subtle.

MIRANDA: Channeling Seth Aaron a bit, her houndstooth look is another one which did not utilize the bow tie enough. There were so many problems with this outfit, and more than ever showed her lack of experience and skill. The jacket was particularly ill-fitting, way too tight in the sleeve and looking like it is going to fall off the shoulders. Can she do anything other than a pencil skirt (the easiest garment to fabricate)? Also the shiny green crop top really ruined it.

HELEN: She was realllly lucky she had immunity, because her gown was very poorly executed. It was difficult to even see the design elements because the look was so sloppy. As many others, her use of the ties seemed to be an afterthought.

ALEXANDER: All I could think was "gay pride clown collar." While Alexander used a lot of ties, the way he placed them, the fact that he used a plain black ground, and the fact that they were rainbow bright colors made me think I was looking at a retail display mannequin in the bow tie department of Macyʼs.

SANDRO: As usual, this frothy pink asymmetric look was overdone and of questionable taste. Sandroʼs behavior, however, trumped all, as he was eliminated from the show based on his tantrum in which he was verbally aggressive towards the other designers and then ripped off his mic (could be $5k right there) and stormed out of the building onto 7th Avenue. Good riddance! This action, however, saved all the other designers who were on the chopping block. I canʼt help but wonder what Sandroʼs pre-casting psycho-evaluation looked like!

SUE: Spent over $400 and then only came up with a black jersey foundation dress and simply tied some of the same patterned ties together to make what she describes as an "exoskeleton"—and a sad one at that. I get her concept, but it needed to be pushed a lot further to be avant garde; it was merely crafty boho-eclectic.

JUSTIN: Just "safe." Yet again (I feel redundant!), not enough use of the ties and not a great representation. That said, it was a perfectly nice dress with some seaming interest.

KATE: Her wildly overpraised design was just ok for me. It was nice to see separates, but again I felt that her interpretation wasnʼt as clever as Kate (and the judges) thought it was.

KAREN: This navy-and-white pattern mix look was oddly secretarial and the trousers were illfitting. Mary Tyler Moore would have loved it though.

ALEXANDRIA: While still a subtle use of the tie, this modern, cool look felt very "now" and makes me look forward to see what she does in future challenges.