Reunion Special Thursday at 8/7c
Mila Hermanovski Blog
Category: "episode 6"
When I first heard Tim begin to announce this challenge, I thought, “They had better give the designers more than ONE day to make a wedding look!” Of course they didn’t. Perhaps the producers think it’s *easier* to work in teams of two?? Hardly. And when you ask someone to make a gown, let alone a wedding gown, in one day (and a $400 budget), it’s NOT going to be very pretty. Case in point: the winning team. Not to cut to the chase (I will revisit this later), but the clear winners of this challenge made a couple of outfits which frankly seem more a bit more reasonable to complete in one day, and don’t necessarily read as wedding looks. Seems the “trick” in this challenge is to leverage the fact that there are no boundaries or rules, that it just has to be “believable” and the designers can sell it. The fact that Tim used the words, “alternative wedding DRESS” could (and did) throw some people off as they got caught up in the word “dress”, i.e., gown.
While I like the concept of having to design a ceremony look with a companion reception look, I would have preferred (as I’m sure many of the designers would have, too) that they had two days to come up with both looks on their own. Why not go Old School and deliver the challenge for the wedding look, and then pull a good ol' “twist” and tell the designers at the end of the day that they must create a second look for the reception? This would showcase the individual designer so much more and still be just as challenging. It feels like the team aspect was gratuitous and just designed to create more stress, hence more drama. And hey producers, I see right through you with that velvet bag! The episode opens with the “drama” between Amanda, Korina, and Char. Amanda is shocked and hurt (yet somehow still comes across as flippant) that Korina would just tell her to her face that she seems insincere and phony; apparently Char concurs. And then -— shocker -— the two of them end up together as a team. Come on! I want to see names on buttons and I want to see them NOW!
That said, it appears Amanda and Korina took the high road and worked fine together. So there, producers: no drama! That’s not to say they produced very good work, but at least there weren’t any catfights. Still, I felt for them. A similar thing happened to me during my season when I was “stuck” with Jay; it was obvious that we were set up that way, and everyone knew we really weren’t fans of one another. It was tense the whole time, and neither one of us wanted to communicate with each other. We just kind of kept our heads down and did our own thing, and the only real thread of cohesion in our looks was a pop of red. Hmmm, I see a similarity between us and these two.
I knew Char was going to get the auf from the get-go. When she described the fabrics she would be using -- “lace, leather, and chiffon” -- it made my head hurt to imagine them ALL in the same garment, ALL in vibrant citrus! My suspicions about Char’s fate were validated that much more when she was asked in confessional, “How would winning 'Project Runway' change your life?” Historically, the kiss of death in the show via editing is either when the designer answers that question, or if they get to Skype with their loved one on camera. When I did "All Stars" there had been a video phone call scheduled between me and my fiancé right before I was eliminated. It never happened, but still. There is a pattern!
Last week I was wondering where all the style icon judges are for "Project Runway." Well, at least I got what I asked for in Dita Von Teese. Who doesn’t love to watch her? And I quite enjoyed listening to her, too, hearing her opinions on the designs; I thought for the most part she was spot on. I am not sure why there was a need for an additional judge, especially a blogger, but I’m not going to lie, I also got a kick out of listening to Chiara Ferragni’s Italian inflections. They were simultaneously endearing and annoying. I know she’s a big deal (over 200,000 Twitter followers), but is she really as important as Dita? Oh well. Maybe I should send her a pair of leggings. :)
Kini and Sean - The clear winners. The judges almost always reward designers for (a) thinking outside the box, and (b) making separates. I know from experience when I won a challenge for designing an alternative tuxedo when everyone else made gowns. When I saw Sean’s look, I literally said out loud, “I would wear that!” something I rarely say while watching "Project Runway." Kini’s dress was as usual very well executed and fit. I just don’t believe that the two looks would be work by the same woman. I do, however, believe that these two women make a GREAT couple, and it sounds like the guys had that in their minds the whole time. At any rate, they sold it to the judges, but it wasn’t a very hard sell because the looks were so well done. As much as I like Sean and his aesthetic, I think it’s a little messed up that Kini was not awarded the win because he actually made the blouse (AFTER he finished his dress), which was the show-stopping piece in Sean’s outfit. Even if Sean did design the blouse, it’s a shame the judges did not know this (COME ON TIM, isn’t that YOUR job?) because it seems that little piece of information is all it would have taken to tip the scales. Hopefully Kini will win soon, because he deserves it. I am calling these two in the top four.
Alexander and Samantha - I was actually hopeful when I saw the beautiful lace these two selected. I thought the oxblood color was unique and rich and could actually see it appealing to many clients. What they should have thought out a bit more was how to better differentiate the two dresses, because as Tim said, in the workroom they looked virtually the same. His feedback, no doubt, made them panic a bit and likely was the catalyst for Alexander to cover up all that beautiful lace with cumbersome ivory appliqués; he completely ruined the gown by doing so and made it extremely top-heavy. He should have stayed on track with the initial design (perhaps a few of those appliqués placed in a thoughtful way would have been interesting), and Samantha should have then used more solid fabric in her design or...something. There were other problems with her design, such as the unflattering armscye which shows that part of a woman’s armpit that is attractive on .06% of women in the world. The results of these two gave me “Real Housewives of New Jersey” for BOTH. In other words, of very questionable taste. But hey, at least they were cohesive!
Korina and Amanda - Miraculously this pair was safe; they were lucky there were more catastrophic designs from other designers. Korina’s outfit suffered from being “too simple” again. I am beginning to wonder who she is as a designer. It was a bit more apparent in earlier challenges, drawing more upon her Native American roots, as she said, but I haven't seen that, or any signature at all, for several challenges now. I can empathize with her due to there being essentially two “occasion” challenges in a row which could be throwing her, for she is more of a ready-to-wear designer like me. But she needs to step up her game. Amanda...I don’t have a lot of words. To me this dress was just odd (again) and not special enough. And what was UP with the STYLING?! If she had been in the bottom Nina would have had a field day with that. Here is a mod 1960s quirky black and white dress and she throws on an armful of gypsy-like gold bangles and rings. The black and white color palette was the only element tying these two designs together.
Emily and Fade - I felt these two looks weren’t abominable on their own, but they were not cohesive in the least. The two looks would not be worn by the same woman. Fade’s dress was very nice and I do appreciate his textile creations; however he focused so much on the textile that the silhouette ended up being very basic. Understandably, one must balance the two, but I’d like to see him do more like his design last week. As for Emily’s look, I LOVED her choice of textiles and thought the unexpected combination of the lace with the graphic cut-out felt was really intriguing and actually worked. However, she took the goth a little too far. I hated the bell sleeve and hood, and agree with Dita that it was contrived. Heck, I could have even lived with the hood as a veil alternative had she made a sleeker top, either sleeveless or with fitted sleeve with her full skirt a la Geoffrey Beene. Even better, how about no hood but a cowl instead, and then long skinny sleeves with thumb holes or an elastic loop so they stay long on the hand? Oh Emily, I had such high hopes for this.
Sandhya and Char - As I mentioned earlier, I knew it would be Char’s auf. There was also foreshadowing when she mentioned how Sandhya was very insistent on using this extremely bright acid yellow. There needed to be a LOT of editing here. You can’t use a color like that and then embellishment, multiple textiles, AND volume. Poor Char lost her way big time and produced a look which was sloppy and irregular on top of all the aforementioned elements. The draping was really bad; it looked like she’d been caught in a cyclone on the way to the party. Sandhya’s gown was also poorly draped, and she again relied to heavily on the textile fabrication she spent hours making. It backfired on her because not only was the texture too much, but she was left with no time to properly execute the gown.
Glamping. Glamorous camping. For fashionistas who wouldnʼt typically be caught dead in the woods. But letʼs call a spade a spade. The designers didnʼt really go glamping...they went on a retreat for the day, sponsored by Resource Natural Spring Water. How nice for them to be able to escape the city and get some inspiration from nature, but the indisious thing about this is that it is still a competition and there are always cameras and producers directing them and following them around. Can they really decompress, feel inspired and have fun? Itʼs not always how it looks. I know I would have pulled an Alexandria, and cherished the opportunity to go off and be "alone" for a few minutes, a rare thing while in the competition! Viewers probably donʼt realize that the only time a designer is truly able to have privacy or be alone is in the bathroom; you are either being filmed, chaperoned or with roommates.
Tim is too cute in a camo-print blazer: his nod to the outdoors. He instructs the designers they are to create a high-end, editorial look inspired by nature and/or their activities (you know, like ziplining...how inspirational!). Sometimes the challenges which are very open to interpretation are the most difficult to execute in a short amount of time. Typically it takes more than a few hours (or even a day) to develop and execute a truly inspired design, not only through the initial brainstorming/sketch process but also in the workroom, for the design often evolves and can even change drastically as it is being executed. There are many factors which can affect it: fabric selection/availability, the ability to construct and actualize the sketch and unexpected sewing issues are just a few. The designers have a suggested budget of $300 for this challenge.
In the workroom, there are quite a number of interesting techniques and POVs developing. I was curious as to why Justin bought glue guns at Mood; then in the workroom I see this beautiful "lace" he is creating with the glue, and thought it was brilliant, albeit a bit ironic as the glue is so very synthetic. Braden is using the sewing machine to create an embroidery of sorts, which appears almost like hand-scribbled colored pencils. Jeremy is hand-painting a love letter onto silk. Alexandria is making separates, and while she seems confident about her drop-crotch pants (which apparently no one else likes), this entire episode so far she seems sad and defeated after being in the bottom last time.
HELEN's nude gown, inspired by a dying moth, is safe. The bodice looks completely forgotten and bare, as if she ran out of time. It needed to be covered in the same treatment as the skirt (which, incidentally...can she do anything else? Iʼm getting tired of seeing this raw-edge thing that she does over and over). Even a different color top would have been more interesting.
BRADON's gown looks like a maternity dress. Itʼs not flattering at all to the model, and the colors are more Maypole than nature-inspired. I was really hoping he would have made it more about the treated fabric he made. If he wasnʼt such a judgesʼ darling, he may have been in the bottom for this; it just looks very student-y to me.
MIRANDA finally stepped out of her box a bit. While there is still nothing earth-shattering about her embellished gown, it fit well and had some interest to it, which is more than one can say about her designs up til now. Nevertheless it was safe and I wonder how much longer she will "just be getting by."
KEN was worried that his day dress was "too simple." Not only was it too simple, it was top-heavy and slightly conservative. For most women at any age, the decolleté and collarbone are some of their most favorable features; hardly any woman wants to cover them completely, or add bulk. It was a very odd choice to add all those layers of heavy wool at the chest. He could have paneled/blocked the different colorways of the print and it could have been a much more interesting and successful look. The styling was awful as well. And so Ken was in the bottom, which must have made Alexandria pleased, and Ken humbled (if thatʼs possible). As much as the dress was a blunder, I would not be shocked to know that the producers put him in the bottom instead of Braden, for example, just to continue the storyline of tension between him and Alexandria.
ALEXANDRIA WINS for her edgy sportswear look which all her peers seemed to snub (at least it was edited that way). The judges love separates, and often reward designers for taking a risk in this way, when all the others are making gowns. I have seen it so many times, and won a challenge myself for doing that. I personally was happy to see this, as I think her look is the most fashion forward and editorial. I would have rather seen a different material used in the jacket, thoughmaybe leather or a heavier denimsomething stiffer in the front. The chambray/soft denim fell short and looked a bit cheap in my opinion. I wasnʼt crazy about the hair and makeup styling, but I suppose one canʼt argue it was editorial, which no doubt Nina appreciated.
ALEXANDER finally managed to turn down the volume enough from his usual overdone style to achieve a top-scoring design, his navy and black painted gown with black leather "pool." I am not crazy about the actual painted design, but the fit is perfect and I like the strength and simplicity of the cut, and I really love the black leather at the bottom and trimming the armhole and neckline.
JUSTIN is eliminated for his unfortunate mess of a gown. Oh Justin, what happened? The glue gun lace was a great idea but the use of it and overall design was awful. The lace near looked to me like grey pubic hair. There was nothing fresh or modern about the cut of the gown and the sheer panels. Justin brings everyone to tears backstage, including Tim, who is so verklempt that he uses the "Tim Gunn Save" to give Justin another chance. While I think Justin is a sweet guy and has some potential, I donʼt see him winning the whole competition. What happened to the "Project Runway" mantra, "One day youʼre in and the next day youʼre out"? His design was worthy of being eliminated; Iʼm not convinced it was worthy of being saved.
DOM is safe as well...not inspired to say much about this look except that I like the print. The neck treatment was unnecessary and excessive. But then if you take that away, youʼve just got a rather straightforward silk print dress.
KAREN's dress is nowhere near editorial enough. The brown leather strapping is so very Kors circa-2005. The first thing I thought when I saw the dress was "clearance rack at Ross." And the styling was godawful, from the country-western singer hair to the odd ankle boots she paired with it. The gown had way too much volume, again looking maternity.
KATE was trying to have a Vera Wang moment with all the tulle, and while I like the concept in theory, she did not execute it well as it made the model look like a pregnant hunchbackno bueno. I do like the contrast of cutout patent leather with airy tulle, but it needed more construction finessing.
JEREMY. wooed his husband and the judges with his love-letter-painted silk gown. Thank goodness he 86ed the primary colors! Can you imagine? I winced when he mentioned that in the workroom. While it is impressive that he handled that bias silk well in a short amount of time, and the gown was well executed, I still take issue with Jeremyʼs rather matronly style and styling.
Itʼs the "real people" challenge. I love these because they really show the designersʼ true skills of problem solving and ability to think "outside the dressform," meaning adapt to real bodies and not just mannequins and models. I love the twist this time: designing for seniors! Tim welcomes the designers to Midtown Loft Dance Hall, where we see a slew of spry senior ladies dancing up a storm. The designer teams of two (and one team of three) have been "randomly assigned" (another thing I never believed, just like the button bag) their new clients. Tim instructs the designers to each make a look that not only pleases the client but also showcases their own point of view; "No cohesion is necessary," so, again, how is this a team challenge? I mean I get it, the team mates are supposed to support one another...but honestly no one has time for that! You barely have time to get your own look done. Timʼs words of advice: "good fashion is ageless and timeless."
There is only one team of three: "Lone Wolf" Michelle, having lost her team mate Matt last week, is teamed up with Patricia and Layana....poor thing. Apparently Michelle has been placed with her most loathed and dreaded team mate (Patricia). No coincidence there. If I were her, Iʼd be dreading hearing Layanaʼs whiny complaints and unwarranted opinions! The other teams remain the same. They all seem to be ﬁne with it, but I wonder how they really feel....? Amidst a group of designers, where there are always egos, Iʼm sure someone else in there is less than thrilled with his/her partner.
We soon discover that indeed Benjamin is less than thrilled with his partner Amanda, who is having a bit of a design meltdown due to choosing the wrong fabric in Mood for her design. Oy vey, Iʼve been there...not a good feeling. You feel incredibly helpless and blocked, because time is so precious and once youʼve sketched your design (in 15 minutes or so), selected your fabric (30 minutes), and are back in the workroom, itʼs GO time. Itʼs hard, once you think youʼve got it sorted out, to go back to the HP tablet and start over. However....this is problem solving, and itʼs imperative on "Project Runway" and in "real life." Only thing is on "Project Runway" youʼve got this pressure to perform QUICKLY. And sometimes you simply get blocked. This is when the ubiquitous expression which has been made famous by our own Tim Gunn is so appropriate: MAKE IT WORK.
I could have sworn that either Patricia or Michelle was getting a total loser edit. We have Michelle talking about how awful Patricia is, and that everything she does sucks. Then we have Patricia struggling in the workroom and decides to start over with her look. You know, either Michelleʼs ranting is going to bite her in the bum, or Patricia is going to go down, simply because Michelle is feeling like every team she ends up on is cursed and ends up in the bottom. However, as we will see, this is not the case....
In the judging panel this week, Zac is absent, which I have to say doesnʼt make me all that sad. In his place is Rachel Roy, who has been a guest judge several times. While she is not all that interesting, Iʼve always felt her critiques are fair and honest. The two guest judges are none other than the hilarious Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa, whom I thought had some really astute things to say actually! I do love me a little Joan Rivers. If nothing else she is just fascinating to look at, you know, in that Cat Woman kind of way!
Lone Wolf, Layana, and Patricia were the safe team. I could have seen this going either way to be honest. The judges and producers could have put any spin they wanted on it, because I felt like Michelle did a good job in the end. Sure, it wasnʼt ground-breaking, and in my opinion, did not have any signature of Michelle in the design....however it the print was really fun, and the dress was super complimentary to the client. Patricia "made it work" (unlike Amanda), by scrapping the mu-mu she had going on and making a jacket which had a lovely collar but unfortunately looked rather unharmonious in its colors and raggedy in ﬁnishing. I could not understand what Heidi was praising Layana for. I think this was all producer ﬂuff to escalate the drama and tension between the three ladies, by making it seem that Patricia bogged them down. To me her design looked ill-ﬁtting and frankly I did not care for that print. When I saw her client, I thought she had a fabulous, dramatic look with her platinum hair and that she could pull off a livelier or bolder look. Besides that, I still donʼt know who Layana is as a designer.
Richard and Stanley are high scorers again. This was another case where I think one designer outshines the other, but since they are a "team," the judges praise both looks, even if one is far inferior or even just "meh." Stanley produced a tres chic navy pantsuit which was fabulous on his client. Yes, the crotch has major issues, but the back view was ﬂawless and the look in general was elegant, expensive looking, and fashionable rather than marmy. Richard, on the other hand, produced a sack which required a fraction of the work that Richardʼs look did. I hated the mint green and black combo; it brought me to a KMart place, like when Iʼve had to shop for a housedress for a plus sized character. What was that odd "mini drawstring" in the front? I found it distracting. The fabric looked cheap somehow, like a poly or acrylic jersey...perhaps it was just the color I could not get beyond. But the judges wildly praised it for some reason.
Tu and Kate received low scores, due to Tuʼs mess of a dress. Why he would choose wool (and not even wool jersey) is beyond me. The color was the only thing going for that dress. You can tell it was a wreck with ﬁt, and as seen in the workroom, the belt (which was not great styling anyway) was the only thing holding it together. We saw how Tu really struggled with anything outside of a model ﬁgure; in my opinion, he should have been in the bottom two with Amanda. Clearly his client was disappointed as well. Kate, on the other hand, produced an incredibly chic and ﬂirty ensemble for her client. If this was an individual challenge, she should have been a top scorer, far and away better than Richard. The print was so lovely and the look was very appropriate for her client. One of my favorites!
Samantha and Moustache received high scores. Neither of their looks were thrilling to me. Itʼs funny, Samantha embraced her clients spunkiness, and the dress ﬁt well. However, out of context, one would question the taste level here. I hated the "Gaga Lite" shoulders and yellow satin with leopard combo. But OF COURSE "animal print" Joan liked it!! Moustache fulﬁlled his clientʼs request for an elegant black suit, and itʼs good that he put his own details and twist into it, because otherwise it would have looked like any old black suit off a department store rack. It did ﬁt well though. Again, had this been an individual challenge, I could see both these looks being safe.
Amanda and Benjamin are low scorers, which we all saw coming. I am shocked that Amanda was saved. She did not "make it work" in the least...there are so many better ways she could have resolved this dress. The print was fantastic, so it was sad to see the outcome. Where to begin....? It was just a complete mess. Benjamin chose a great color, and made his client happy, but the dress did look like it was suffocating her, and was very marmy, like what you expect to see a little old lady wearing to a wedding. A different fabric selection could have helped, as satin is oneʼs worst enemy for TV, not to mention for hiding construction ﬂaws, which there were. Nevertheless, it was a tough call as to whom should have been eliminated. What do you think?
The "real woman" challenge: when we see the designersʼ true colors. I must say, I know they are different, but I was kind of surprised to see another "non-model" challenge so soon after the one in which designers had to design for other "PR" alum designers. The premise of a makeover challenge (sponsored by LʼOreal) is interesting, but while designed to make women feel better about themselves, it can have the opposite effect when dealing with designers who have never made clothes for anyone other than a mannequin or model.
We discover early on that while most designers have the right attitude and feel compassionate towards their "real life" subjects, others (or more specifically, Ven) do not. There is absolutely no excuse for his attitude and embarrassing behavior towards his client. A legit designer should be able to apply his/her aesthetic and skills to any body. It may be challenging, and no one said it was easy, but you have to figure it out and make it work. I was appalled at the things he said not only in interviews, but in front of and directly to his client (who by the way is not plus-sized). Who does he think will be buying his clothes one day? Not just size 5ʼ10” size 4 women!
It was not surprising to see some of the designers struggling in the workroom. There was a lot of problem solving going on for sure. The editing lead me to believe certain designers (Alicia) would have been in the bottom and others (Christopher) would have been in the top. This was not the case ... so good job this time, editors.Nathan
Poor Nathan. He was a bit doomed from the start, being assigned a that client who obviously has bad taste and is asking him to make something questionable. He obviously got caught up in trying to give her something that would make her happy without baring her midriff. The way he used the < a href="http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway/season-10/rate-the-runway/episode-6#id=8">sheer fabric seemed like it could have been a good solution, but unfortunately, the result looks like a cheap mall dress for a "Jersey Shore" character.Elena
I thought Elena did a good job. She went outside her "box" (Although her client said she likes color and it would have been nice to see a different color on top; the pale peach was not the best for her). The fit is flattering. But the hem on the bodice is a bit of a roller coaster and itʼs difficult to tell if that was intentional or not.Melissa
Unfortunately there is not much to go on here, because the client was covering the dress with the wrap. I really like the use of the printed wrap, and Melissa succeeded in transforming her client and making her look very chic. Really great call on the hair color.Gunnar
Another "meh" entry from Gunnar. Iʼm shocked the judges gave him a top score. The bodice makes her bust look smooshed, and both the neckline and empire line are too high. It certainly isnʼt a disaster, but I think his clientʼs attitude and walk totally sold it to the judges.?Alicia
Again not a catastrophe, but this is a dress that is very basic aside from the sheer details. Because it was so simple, the construction flaws were glaring. Her client was not particularly challenging fit-wise, but kudos to her for really going outside of her wheelhouse and pulling it off.Christopher
What a shame the client whipped that jacket off so quickly, because Christopher had a great concept here of making two versatile pieces for her. Itʼs always impressive when someone makes a jacket (as well as a dress) in one day; however without it, itʼs a dress weʼve all seen before. If the judges had seen more of the jacket, I wonder if heʼd have been in the top instead of Gunnar or Dmitry. The other thing I noticed (which was for the most part edited out) was that the dress was riding up in the back, big time. But maybe that happened when she was sitting backstage.Ven
Cheap looking color and fabric. Matronly design. Itʼs like he had no respect for his client from the start. He and his attitude should have been eliminated this week.Dmitry
The dress fits well, and the styling is hip and contemporary. But the design is so basic and he has made another sleeveless dress out of ponte jersey. The neckline is too conservative. Iʼm underwhelmed.Fabio
Hooray for Fabio, at last stepping it up and showing more of the creativity we know he has. I love the graphic element of the dress, and that he pieced the three greys together to make an artsy composition. His client was transformed wonderfully, from the hair to the outfit, and it was still very believable. My criticisms are the length of the dress (needs to be a couple inches shorter) and the styling. The red belt isnʼt nearly as bad as the red boots.Sonjia
The first thing I thought was that she was relying on her "tricks" from the design she made when she won. She made a rather simple twisted jersey dress again: safe. As simple as it is, it needs to be perfect it was way too short and the proportions were off. The whole thing needs a good yank down as the knot is falling in an unflattering place.Random Thoughts:
-I wonder if the producers saw the sad state of the clothes in the workroom when the designers left the first night and decided to give them an extra hour, to make certain the "real women" were fully clothed. (This has been known to happen.)
-The way Gunnar holds his pencil (like a 5 year old) is very odd and really bothers me.
-I didnʼt think it was possible to trump the last episode, but the majority of the looks produced in this challenge pretty much amounted to a big lump of mediocrity.
-I want Heidiʼs striped dress. Badly. One of my favorite looks on her ever, especially as this season I havenʼt been a fan of any of them.