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Mila Hermanovski Blog
Category: "episode 10"
Ah, memories. I remember during "Project Runway All Stars" when we had the “Clothes Off Your Back” challenge and had to approach strangers in the park to ask them if we could basically take their clothes from them and cut them up. This was almost harder in a way than asking someone if they want a makeover. Then again, money talks and we were offering them cash. Either way, for some designers, approaching strangers comes easy, and for others, not so much. I dreaded that challenge because I tend to be more shy when it comes to situations like that. The rejection, too, can start to become frustrating. Many people run away from cameras, are on their way to work or an appointment, or simply don’t want an invasion of privacy and personal space.
This time, the designers must find someone to make over, including making them an outfit. It was a good way to combine the makeup sponsor challenge that happens each season with the token “real person” challenge. I am sure many of the designers looked for women who were closer to model-size, and how about Sean who found a potential candidate but didn’t want to use her because she was too short?! Let’s face it, you can’t be overly picky here. When there are seven designers running through the park who must find victims in a short amount of time, they cannot be overly selective. When you don’t find someone after several queries, at a certain point you have to just accept whoever agrees to do it!
They have two days for this challenge...but not so fast. Don’t forget, they have just spent all morning trying to find someone in the park, then have to sketch, and then must go to Mood and shop. By the time they get back to the workroom, it will be afternoon. Just so you understand that even when they say its a two-day challenge, it isn’t even a full two days; sometimes they have to make it two days purely for logistic purposes (e.g., location). For example, the amount of time the park scene took to shoot was purely based on how long it took the designers to find their “muses," which could either happen quickly or take longer than expected. Typically if it is a one-day challenge, the designers need to have at least 11 hours in the workroom. On occasion on "All Stars" we had 9-10! And then of course we had that challenge in which we had the runway on the same day. Ugh, I would not be sad if I never had to do that again.
Kini is having creative block in this episode. I’ve talked about this a lot in previous blogs. It sucks when that happens. He seems to work it out though by harkening back to his audition roots via choosing denim. When in doubt and when having a creative block, my advice is definitely to pull something out of your sleeve that is comfortable or familiar. To some viewers, this may sound like the easy way out, but you have no idea what it’s like to come up with new ideas every other day, while being sleep deprived, stressed, eating poorly, and having cameras following your every move all day long.
In the workroom, Tim gives what could be the harshest critique in the history of "Project Runway" to Alexander. I am not sure why he had such a vehement reaction to his design. Sure, it was kooky and artsy, but I’ve certainly seen worse come out of some very established design houses. I thought the mix of dots with check was great; the design in general made a strong statement and felt like what he was going for. It was risky but I don’t think it was in poor taste. I was not a fan of the amoeba shapes but that could have been an easy fix. In his revised sketch he had a more simple, geometric panel of the dots and I was disappointed he did not go through with it. Perhaps it was his muse’s reaction to the dots. This combination of patterns and textures could have been straight out of a Marni collection.
Did anyone else have to google Asha Leo, one of the guest judges? I guess it's because I don’t watch "Access Hollywood." But hey, I learned that she attended the same college in the UK as Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and Matthew Williamson. At least we have a judge who had a fashion-centric major, hooray!
Emily made a slightly odd (if not great-fitting) and memorable look this week. It really suited her muse, one of the main points of this challenge. She earned high scores, but the judges were left polarized on the pleated ruffles on the bodice. I felt this feature was what made the dress unique and dramatic. The model seemed to love it; she was beaming. It was even more perfect for her when she said she’d wear it to an art opening, which it would be perfect for. I think I would have preferred a different skirt with all that detail up top; the asymmetric flamenco could have been turned down a notch by simply making it a circle skirt, and it would still have the same overall effect.
Amanda...not sure where to begin on this one. The length and proportions were janky and not flattering; I felt like I was going to see cheek as she walked! The striped dress and leather vest felt like two different girls. Where is she going in this outfit? As Zac said, it looked like an “outlet mall” outfit. I kept thinking the dress was so poorly executed that it looked like a sophomore fashion student’s work. On a positive note, the muse looked great. Her hair and makeup were super pretty.
Alexander was so close to making a cute and appropriate outfit for his model. Unfortunately, Tim scared him away from his original vision, and his client had an aversion to the dots. At that point he had a rather stripped-down design, but I think it was still very suitable for his muse/the challenge. The problem is, his look was rather simple but not executed well enough. He added volume to the circle skirt but didn't true up the hemline so it ended up looking wavy. The crop top was gaping and needed to be closer fitting to the body. The waistband of the skirt which was seen front and center was not fitting well and gaping too. Poor Alexander. I think if it had been up to me I may have eliminated Amanda before him though.
Char did not make over her client. She made her “under." She did not do this gorgeous woman any justice (except to show off her great legs, and in a flattering color). First off, you all know how I feel about peplums. Well this was an EXTREME peplum disaster; it made her look thick. Second, who wears this and to where does she wear it? It was odd and age-inappropriate. She might have been able to save this somewhat if she had made it a dress (and lowered the peplum or did away with it), but the shorts were just strange and did not fit that week anyway. Tim let her have 10 extra minutes to fix the zipper, but maybe it would not have busted if the shorts fit better or she had secured the zipper. I mean, accidents happen. I think the only reason she was granted those 10 extra minutes is because her model was a regular person and not a model paid to walk the runway in anything she is asked to wear.
Kini ends up on top again. He had a model who was probably the most curvy of all of them and he made an incredibly flattering look for her. This look was all about proportion and fit, and he nailed both. Was it the most innovative? Hardly, but it felt like something she would wear, and very “real." I feel he could have used a more interesting fabric (print, perhaps?) for the dress because it was a bit blah. I also very much disliked the boho jewelry, and thought that it was overstyled in that way.
Sean, the only one safe this episode, is clearly fringe-obsessed now. This design was safe, and that is where it landed him. It fit pretty well but there was no “wow” factor and not a whole lot of design. That said, I’m sure his client would happily wear that gown to her next black tie affair.
Korina wins for another moto jacket. I like the mix of boucle tweed with leather, but the shoulders fit weird. It was nice that there was an entire dress underneath that could stand on its own. Like Heidi, I was thrown by the ankle boots, which made it feel '80s, and not in a good way. I wasn’t blown away, yet at the same time it’s very commendable that she turned out a dress AND jacket.
For the LʼOreal Paris challenge, "Project Runway" superfans competed to be selected as one of 8 clients/models to be made over. Behold, the "Project Runway"/Lifetime TV majority demographic: housewives and suburban moms! But seriously, I am sure these women were all beyond giddy to see "Project Runway" from the inside. Iʼd love to read a blog from their side, about how eye-opening their experiences were!
From the perspective of the contestant, though, while it feels good to try to make a woman feel better about herself through transforming her and making her something new to wear, at this point in the competition everyone is exhausted. It is that much more arduous to deal with a "real" body (i.e. not a model) and the specifics of what the client wants in such a short time, and I feel this was evident. Then there is the added pressure of the superfan tagging along to Mood, which makes the already-challenging 30-minute fabric search that much more stressful (the producers should have given them more time). At least the designers had two days for this challenge. Even still, it was obvious to me that they are tired, because much of the work was underwhelming and seemed labored. When you have to come up with new ideas every other day, on very little sleep, the pressure of cameras following your every move, and none of your creature comforts, the work starts to suffer.
The Ken drama continues. At the end of day 1, Alexander and Braden must move into Ken and Justinʼs room. The producers ask the designers to "consolidate" like this as more of them are eliminated so that (a) they only have to shoot in one room and (b) there is more potential dialogue and interaction to film. Hmm....foreshadowing...perhaps they also already knew a male would be eliminated this episode? Alexander attempts to enter Kenʼs room but apparently Ken is too consumed with his beauty treatment and ironing his cut-offs. His blatant disregard for Alexander really sets him off, so all hell breaks loose as he barges in, throws the iron on the floor, and we see Kenʼs temper flare yet again, big time! Donʼt poke the bear! This guy really does have an anger management problem. The outcome? Ken gets his way, because the producers (by way of Tim) intervene and determine Ken will be staying in his own room after all!
Heidi must have been feeling the housewife vibe because she sure did dress down this week! From the waist up she looked like she was running to the market in her stripey tee. Zanna Roberts Rassi filled in for Nina this week, and the guest judge Erin Fetherston, a somewhat indie designer, didnʼt have a whole lot to say; she seems an odd choice of judge for the challenge.
BRAVO to makeup and hair leaders Scott and Johnny, because honestly the most interesting and impressive things about all these makeovers was their metamorphoses! You guys really did an amazing job!
HELEN was the clear winner; it helps that her superfan was the MOST transformed physically. Her navy gown made Jamie feel truly glamorous, was very well done, and had design interest and a signature. Also in the top was BRADON with an ensemble which fit well and absolutely helped his client, Jennifer, feel empowered as she requested. The epaulet detailing shows that he really listened to her needs. The shiny patent trim on the dress was necessary, because it was quite basic otherwise. Both Jenniferʼs and Jamieʼs hair styles were fabulous! JUSTIN, also a top scorer, clearly made his client feel confident and glowing, and she may have been one of the more challenging ones as she needed a more conservative look due to her religion. The clever use of her signature as an abstract embellishment was wonderful and the dress fit her very well, imperative as it was a rather simple design.
It was a toss-up for me between KENʼs and ALEXANDERʼs designs at first, mainly because Alexander did not finish. But as I looked at Kenʼs, I couldnʼt get beyond that strangely hideous split-pea soup fabric. He kept saying he would never choose it, so why did he allow it to happen? The style lines of the leather pieces were so unflattering as well. When there are such bold lines, their placement is everything; he did not place them well. On top of it, the dress was ill-fitting, and the hem was awful. Alexanderʼs suit, even if he HAD finished, was not without issues. The skirt was an odd shape, and I donʼt like the random flap/patch thingy on the right shoulder. Organza was not the right fabric choice for those accents anyway. And where are the sleeves? ALEXANDRIA had a 20 year-old client who works in the arts, a seemingly perfect pairing, but somehow she managed to make her look like a 30 year-old bank teller or real estate agent. This hum-drum outfit was a big disappointment from Alexandria, who is typically a more edgy designer.
KATE and DOM were safe, Kateʼs top had potential but whatʼs with all the handkerchief hems this season?? Why donʼt these designers know handkerchief hems end up on the clearance rack? Dom is lucky there were other designs that were worse than hers, because this dress looks like it was plucked off the rack from an average department store in Anytown, USA. The combination of the length, print, and style made for a pedestrian look, and the little jacket was devoid of any signature as well.
Thank goodness we donʼt have to listen to Ken anymore. And now production doesnʼt have to pay for an extra room for him! Unless, of course, he was truly sequestered from the other eliminated designers because he was deemed threatening. If that was not the case, I feel bad for the previously eliminated designers whoʼve now inherited him as their roomie!
I love the avant-garde and super artsy challenges because ideally they really separate the creative from the mediocre. Letʼs face it, to be a successful designer, you need to be able to push the boundaries sometimes. Often we see the judges deliberating between two designersʼ elimination, and one has no innovation while the other has questionable taste and/or the inability to edit or too many ideas. Nine times out of ten the designer who has too many ideas is spared because usually someone with no creativity never really becomes more creative; however someone who cannot edit can sometimes be reigned in.
Woohoo! Itʼs about freaking time there was a cash prize on "Project Runway"! Thank you, HP and Intel! Now why wasnʼt this on my season? We see it all the time on "certain other reality competition shows" (sensitive subject): in many challenges, there is a cash prize from a sponsor. All it would take is more work on the producersʼ or executivesʼ part to make that happen. Sponsors would pay more money and have the brand featured on the show; itʼs that simple. Instead, even in cases where the designerʼs look is for a specific retailer (or uniform for a restaurant, etc), that poor designer sees none of the profit, and only receives "exposure." Contrary to what one would think, this really doesnʼt do a whole lot for them in the longrun. And since no one gets paid to be on "Project Runway," a cash prize is kinda nice.
The challenge is for each team of two to create an innovative "wearable art" look, and a companion ready-to-wear look, incorporating their original print created with the new HP Envy tablet. The designers are in one of the most inspiring places they could be, the fabulous Guggenheim museum. Wait...they only have a HALF HOUR to seek inspiration and sketch? Is that even enough time to walk up the ramp? So sad. So the designers run around snapping photos of things that interest them, and as usual, everything is rushed so they are then whisked back to the workroom to design the textile, where they find a Romper-Room-like array of crafty items like bubble wrap, popsicle sticks and the ubiquitous glue guns. They will be allowed a trip to Mood, thank god, to supplement the craft items and the printed fabric.
When we had our HP print challenge, we had about an hour to create it, not much when you consider the learning curve for some who are not so computer-graphics-savvy, or donʼt use PCs. Think about all the elements: the main graphic, the repeat, the colors. Not a lot of time, so itʼs no wonder the prints arenʼt great. Iʼm a wee bit scared by Michelleʼs disturbing face print. Not a fan of the color, and the face is just fug. You know Stanley likely gave her full license on this one since Iʼm willing to bet he falls under the category of "not computer graphics savvy," since back when we studied fashion design, we didnʼt learn that. I love that Michelle has a contemporary outlook but sometimes I really see the "Keep Portland Weird" in her (famous bumper sticker you see up there...and it speaks volumes). This is one of those times. Overall, though, it seems Michelle and Stanley are getting on famously as a team.
Patricia and Richard. Oh dear. I feel so bad for Patricia because she is a true artisan, who probably feels excited and right at home in this challenge, and she has been teamed with someone who has zero creativity. At first youʼd think that it could be good, right? She takes the reigns and makes the super over-the-top piece, while he makes the watered-down, ready-to- wear piece inspired by hers. Well, Richard was a deer in headlights at the museum, finding nothing inspiring in a building full of inspiration. Oh dear. I lovelovelove Patriciaʼs bold, painterly, large scale print. Richard is simply paralyzed again by Patriciaʼs creation, not knowing what to do partially because she canʼt articulate what she is making...and partially because he canʼt use jersey! So, he spends the entire first day making a bracelet. And the quote of the week goes to Patricia: "You scared of my piece? GOOD! If I instill fear in you, at least you FELT something!" Suddenly I really love Patricia. Watch out for that bus, though, Patricia.
Layana and Daniel...another rough team. Layana is being her narcissistic self again and making the challenge all about her. She belittles Daniel and tries to control everything: "Iʼm going to make sure he makes something sexy..." While he does need some youthful spirit, he does not need to be patronized and bossed around. She then has a meltdown due to creative block. This is definitely the time (towards the end of the competition) when those blocks creep in. Clearly, she reallllly wants that prize, and is her own enemy right now. But everyone is so sleep-deprived and stressed out at this point that itʼs all starting to take its toll. Reality TV gold (Thereʼs a reason we are under such stressful conditions)! Apparently, though, Layana thinks she is all alone, since Daniel (in her eyes) is worthless. She cries it out and starts over.
Michelle and Stanley have high scores. Michelle designed the wearable art look which was a waistcoat with a fantastic hand painted train, painted bubble wrap petticoat (which Stanley executed), and Dr. Seuss (Keep Portland Weird) headpiece. The overall effect of this look was very artsy and avant-garde, so it succeeded there. I happen to like the fact that it had little of the scary face print, but perhaps that detracted from her score? Stanley designed a tiered tent dress out of the majority of the scary face fabric. Anyone out there whoʼd really buy and wear that? Just curious. I sure wouldnʼt. Iʼm dumbfounded that Stanley won for this. One thing Iʼve realized from my experience on the show (and the perspective it has given me): judging can be spun any which way. Tim always used to tell us that too. It must be the earbud judging again. I couldnʼt help but imagine the judgesʼ spin if it had gone the other way:
Nina: "That print is just SO depressing."
Heidi: "I would never wear that. It looks like a maternity dress. But even if I were pregnant again, it would scare my baby."
Rachel: "Trapeze dresses are so KMart."
Daniel and Layana are basically safe. However let it go on the record that little Miss MeMeMe got bitten in the ass. What a brat! What do you MEAN you feel BETRAYED? Daniel stuck up for himself just as you would have if the tables were turned. In the end Layana produced a hot mess of a dress that may be suited for Helena Bonham Carter....it was cray cray. The print she designed looked like it was from the home furnishings department of Jo-Ann, and was completely wrong for the period-looking gown she designed. Then she haphazardly threw a bunch of tulle over it, and has meltdown #2 backstage. Daniel designed an acceptable ensemble of a well-executed black cocktail jacket with a bubble skirt out of the pillow print. I cannot understand how the judges so wildly praised this look, even though the jacket was well made. It simply looked odd together as an outfit, mainly because the skirt cheapened it.
Patricia and Richard have low scores, which is again due to one extremely weak designer bringing down a strong look. Patriciaʼs unique design was truly avant-garde and reminded me of a high fashion European runway look. I thought the veil was a great addition, but wish it had been executed a bit better, perhaps out of stiffer fabric. But that is just splitting hairs. It was highly conceptual and as looked as if the model was wearing a hand-painted gown. Itʼs such a drag that Richardʼs sad, inexpensive looking creation brought them so far down. He clearly lacks creativity, which is essential for a successful designer. The skirt was very unflattering, and the added belt cheapened it further. I honestly thought Patricia could win for this look. Her textile design was far superior to Michelle and Danielʼs, but unfortunately itʼs still a "team" challenge.
Even though I make a living partially as a costume designer, Iʼm not always a fan of costume challenges on "Project Runway," because I feel the competition is about awarding the best FASHION designer. However, this is a great challenge. The designers are kickinʼ it with the Rockettes, and challenged to design a uniform for 36 ladies with great gams to wear on stage. The Rockettes are so iconic to New York and what designer wouldnʼt want to see their designs on stage at Radio City?
Now that the number of designers has been whittled down, there seems to be more camaraderie. There is everything from money to labor being volunteered to help a designer in peril! I canʼt say we had much of that on my season. And I admit I was one of those competitors whoʼs "not here to make friends" (I had to stay very focused when I was there), but Iʼve found that after the hazing that is "Project Runway," there is a bond between those who have been through it. No matter what anyone hears about the experience, nothing compares to living through it. Itʼs truly one of the hardest things Iʼve ever done in my life!
My very first thoughts while I was watching the beginning of this episode (before I saw any designs) were:
-Dmitry should NAIL this
-Elena will not!
-Heidi as a Rockette freaks me out (and the dress sure was an icky shade of green)
And then later: WTF is with a second shopping trip to Mood?? I sense producers trying to save someone ... but who?
Fabulous! Another impeccable look from him. I love that this is a modern and graphic interpretation for the Rockettes. It does everything it needs to do (i.e. functionality) with the fringe and short skirt (which is the perfect length for them), yet also makes a statement and looks sophisticated. Dmitry shows his technical prowess in dancewear with impressive use of nude mesh. In addition, he styled his model perfectly love the hair.Melissa
Iʼm not surprised Melissa struggled with this one, and yet Melissa has been surprising me lately. The most bizarre thing, though, is that she received one of the higher scores. The dress is odd. It looks like an 80s cigarette girl, and the graphic layout of her black blocks is unsuccessful. I wonder if 36 ladies all in a row wearing that design would create a new pattern? If she had not embellished her design with black sequins (from her second trip to Mood), her score likely would have been lower.Ven
Mr. Origami Roseʼs creation is way underdesigned. I couldnʼt help chuckle to myself, though, when he said he thought the fabric was really "loud" and glitzy...because this fabric, while it is sparkly, is actually quite subtle and Ven was not imagining how it would look from the balcony. This dress was definitely more cocktail than costume. It has no impact.Elena
Oh Elena! We are seeing your inner Ukrainian figure skater come out! How bizarre is this coming from a badass architectural minimalist designer? I do think the cutouts have some impact, but the colors are (as Elena said) too "high school band" or really bad figure skater. And she just couldnʼt stop bedazzling! Perhaps it was like therapy to her?Christopher
Hands down, a well-deserved win. This dress is absolutely perfect for this challenge. Itʼs chic, innovative and clever. It will look amazing when all 36 dancers wear it ... like a continuous Manhattan skyline! I really love the way he punctuated the buildings, and the scattered "stars" he used on the nude mesh. You could tell all the other designers knew when they saw his dress that it was a slam dunk.Sonjia
She got lost in this challenge as well. Her design ended up looking too much like a cocktail dress, and feathers are simply not practical for a dance costume. It lacks impact and is not dynamic. It also most definitely would not be successful repeated times 36.Fabio
The only one who was "safe." I really liked what I was seeing in the workroom, but somehow it fell a bit short on the runway. I like the silver zigzag, but it looks heavy and armor- like, which is opposite from the way a Rockette looks and dances. The additional trim doesnʼt add to the design at all, and the fabric he used for the top of the bodice is too opaque.