Mila Hermanovski Blog
Category: "episode 14"
When we left off, it had been whittled down to four finalists after the elimination of Helen. Now, with two days until the finale at Lincoln Center, the final four must edit one look out of their collection and replace it with a new "washable" look, sponsored by Tide Pods. I think I'd be pretty annoyed at that, because it's difficult enough make a cohesive collection with less than 10 looks, but then after all that hard work making these collections at home, having to 86 one of them would be super frustrating. It involves new fabric (i.e. finding something that works in the collection), which would be used in only the one look, unless someone bought their original fabrics at Mood. Not to mention the designer could be omitting a look which potentially took several days or even a week to make, and substituting it with one that must be made in a day or two. Then again I suppose for some people it could be a bonus if they were not happy with one of their looks.
The beautiful and articulate Kerry Washington is the guest judge this week. I don't think I'm alone when I say that usually I find the choice of some of the celebrity judges very annoying. I'd love to see a powerhouse fashion designer a la Donna Karan or Narciso Rodriguez, not another actress. However, Kerry seems to know quite a bit about fashion, definitely had some opinions, and made some valid points. Plus she is just straight up eye candy!
Judging from Bradon's collection, I am not sure I know who his customer is. Where does one wear some of those looks? I'm not into all the gold (particularly the shorts and pants). The Tide washable look is not cohesive with the rest of the collection. Though the prints are pretty and have a painterly quality about them, the addition of the gold, along with the very average proportions, make the looks rather mature, and therefore they don't seem fresh. All I could think of when I saw look one was "Gone With the Wind" skirt with meringue hem! I can't understand what the judges liked about that, and again who wears it. Bradon's muse look was the one I responded to the most, when the camera started panning low.....then it reached the top and there was this giant gold caterpillar thing on one side and it ruined the gown for me. Bradon came in fourth place.
Dom was awarded the win with her print-heavy collection, which I felt was very overpraised. I think she is great at her prints, but the gown looks were questionable for me. The colors of the three solid gowns, in that shiny charmeuse (?), looked cheap and like the silhouettes I've seen department store "occasion dress" areas, and while I like a good clear plastic trench, this was a bit too referential to "Blade Runner" and went a bit costumey. I did love the printed jumpsuit, Tide Pods look, and the unconventional look.
My favorite collection was Alexandria's "Neo Nomadic Punk." Like the female judges, I responded to many of the looks with, "I want that." She really understands what the modern contemporary look is about right now. It looked professional and well made, the fit and proportions were great, and it had a relaxed, luxe vibe. The oddball look, however, was the full skirt with vest. I have a feeling Alexandria is a lot like me in that she doesn't wear many skirts or design them, which is why perhaps it was a head-scratcher. She was very smart to open with her unconventional look to grab the judges' attention, although I didn't feel it fit with the rest of the collection. Apart from that, the collection overall was extremely focused and well styled (though I could've done without the headdresses). I'd always been rooting for Alexandria, even though she had some misses through the competition. I think itʼs because I relate to her aesthetic a lot as a designer, and it's refreshing to see someone whose work is very relevant to what's happening in fashion now. I hope she is able to get her line going, because she makes great clothes.
Justin's sleek, futuristic collection made a very powerful statement with its thoughtful autobiographical story behind it. The 3D-printed accessories were such an innovative, fabulous addition; the collection made me recall the work of Claude Montana or Thierry Mugler in the '80s, but in a good way, softened and brought into this decade. I love how he explained some of the looks representing different pieces of his life and how they related to his hearing. My favorite look was his muse look, which I liked but then LOVED when I saw the cut of the vest and how it cleverly plays into the tank to create the back opening shape. My other favorite was the taupe dress with soundwave print. Look 2 and Look 3 were a bit too similar, though; I felt like there are a few that needed amplifying, or at least more variation. And though I am a big fan of white and monochromatic, dare I say I was wishing for some sort of POP? Maybe it didn't need to be color, but just something with more contrast. When the entire collection walked, it was all white with only a couple of taupe looks, and I felt it needed a little something else. Fortunately he worked out the hair to much improvement, so the styling overall felt more complimentary and cohesive.
What an emotional season, right up to the end! All the designers were teary-eyed in front of the judges, and with good reason. As you know, they have to wake up at 2 a.m. to go to Lincoln Center, on top of the stress of knowing their collections are about to walk the BIG runway and be seen by millions of people, and then be judged to determine who will be the winner. It's a hell of a day. The whole experience is at once surreal and exhilarating. For those of you who don't know, the finalists must say goodbye forever to their collections that day at Lincoln Center. I will never forget that moment after I'd put my blood, sweat, and tears into a collection I was so proud of, only to never touch it again. That's right, it's the property of the show. It's like walking away from a baby after you've just given birth to it! Imagine how Justin felt!
Until next season, bloglings! Thank you for reading and commenting. Who do you feel should have won this season? How are we feeling about the new "All Stars" airing next week? I'm a little dubious. I'm also a little put off that there are three winners competing again; are you?
Congratulations, Michelle! It was no contest.
Iʼm not saying the other two designers had nothing to offer, but they really had no chance; it was a case of one designer who sabotaged himself, and another who frankly doesnʼt quite have the fashion designer "toolbox" required. I think by now I have a good idea (after having lived through two seasons of Runway as a designer) of how much of what we see is real and how much is editing. This finale didnʼt need much creative editing because of this.
Stanley seemed to have disappointed everyone by showing clothes that were not fashion-forward or modern; he likely disappointed himself the most, though, by not completing more work before his collection was taken from him and sent to New York (more than four looks, apparently). The way it works is all the finalists must stop all work simultaneously; the production company sends a courier to each oneʼs house at roughly the same time on a particular day, approximately a week before they head to New York, to be reunited with their collections at the 1407 Broadway workroom. This is so that the time allowed to work is the same for all.
I reflect on what is was like to make my collection, and I could not imagine leaving it in such an incomplete state. Iʼd much rather pull as many all-nighters as required at HOME to in order to make it as complete as possible before NYC, because you never know what sorts of tricks they have up their sleeves! What was Stanley thinking? Also, he claims that he paid Russian women for 800 hours of work to do the beading on his designs. Wait a minute, how much were those women making hourly?? If he paid them $10/hour (hard to find anyone in the US, let alone Los Angeles, to work for that rate doing a specialty skill), then he spent $8K out of $10K on beadwork?! So what did he do during that time? Iʼm confused why so much was incomplete. Backstage, if Iʼd been in his shoes, I surely would have had either a total meltdown or full on heart attack. Why put yourself through that?
From a critique point of view, Stanleyʼs collection, which he stated as "Urban Opulence" was not at all urban, but could be described as luxurious because of the materials and embellishment used. He mentioned it was for a "working woman" who also lives the Park Avenue life. There was absolutely nothing in that collection that a woman would wear to work! This collection speaks to the well-kept lady-who-lunches on Park Avenue, who is likely over 45 (and circa 1958). It was cohesive in that respect: he knows who he wants his customer to be.
Patricia, on the other hand, has much of her work completed, but as evident in her home visit and in the runway show, she is not enough of a "fashion designer" as she is an artisan and textile designer. Her collection was not cohesive, as predicted. There were times when it channeled Chicoʼs, like if Chicoʼs had a "luxe" range. If you take away the interesting textiles, there is not a whole lot left. Patricia seems like a lovely person, but her disorganization in the workroom does oddly reflect the lack of "organization" in the collection.
In general, I am not a huge fan of the horsehair headpieces, but I think itʼs because the collection as a whole needed to be more avant-garde to be able to really justify them. If the entire collection had truly been pushed creatively and made a strong statement, I could see perhaps even more of the headpieces. For example, the plaid shirt with black pant seemed too sporty and out of place to be in the same collection as the turquoise mica paillette dress and the breezy painted silks. Some of those silk pieces remind me of Donna Karan from the 90s (not a bad thing), but then I donʼt think they relate to the turquoise dress OR the graphic black and white looks like the feather dress and the horsehair cape. The first look, which was pink, also seemed odd (There was nothing else tying in that color). Again, though, I appreciate Patriciaʼs craft, and the way she incorporates her heritage into everything she does, and that clearly pulls at the judgesʼ heartstrings as well. But thereʼs no way she could have won "Project Runway." QUOTE OF THE SEASON: "The art teacherʼs on an acid trip." Oh, how I missed Michael!
As I said before, Michelle is the only designer who showed a cohesive, modern collection that felt fresh. I could see all the work she had done, and I could see her concept in virtually every look. The styling was still a bit too "tricky" (as Nina said) at times, even though Michelle said she was simplifying, and some of the volume could have been more balanced. One of my favorite looks was the yellow/nude/black dress. I also like the opening look but would have preferred that the sleeves had been short and sculpted like the bodice, or long and skinny, since the dress itself had so much volume. I have to say I agree with Heidiʼs desire for perhaps a couple of looks to be more "hip-friendly," for while they look dramatic on the runway, there is only a tiny percentage of women who can actually wear them, and they were dangerously close to making the models look big. One of the highlights of the collection was the use of knitwear. It was so clever for Michelle to hire Joe to make her sweaters. I saw his signature in them, especially in the fabulous bleeding heart sweater. In fact, when I had seen photos of the collections after they had walked at Lincoln Center in February, this one threw me because I identified the sweaters with Joeʼs work, yet the collection overall felt more sophisticated than that which he would design as a whole. Two other looks which I felt could have benefitted from some tweaking were the yellow peplum top which Michelle had added, and the red felt gown. I agree with Michael that she didnʼt need a gown and that it would have been more successful as a dress, but my biggest peeve was the neckline on both. I kept wanting to close that giant gap down the front; it was too wide. But overall, Michelleʼs collection blew the other two out of the water. So congrats to the FOURTH Portland designer to win "Project Runway"!
When we left off last week, all four designers had been asked to submit three looks from their collections, which would be judged and which would determine the three designers who would actually show at Fashion Week. Except...a very anti-climactic Finale Part 1 ended with no one being eliminated. I'm not quite sure why this decision was made, but it certainly waters things down. In my opinion, Christopher should have been eliminated. Part of the challenge is indeed figuring out which three looks will “wow” the judges and pique their interest enough to want to see the entire collection, and he failed at this. I think he chose the three looks that were the least interesting (or, as I call them, “filler” looks).
Now that Christopher has made it through, all we hear from him is attitude and lack of focus. He almost seems to have given up, yet he is completely sassy, making fun of Nina's critique of him and coming across very ungrateful. Christopher, this is not very becoming. He doesn't understand how “nothing fits” (whose fault is that?), doesn't understand why he received the critique he did, and makes fun of his fellow designers' work. Mind you, some constructive criticism is fine, but let's lose the attitude! I found it all to be quite off-putting.
Fabio, Melissa and Dmitry, on the other hand, handle the judges' critiques thoughtfully, and do whatever they can to work on the elements that they were told have room for improvement. Fabio is trying to make his collection a bit more “luxe,” Melissa is adding color (“blood orange” leather, to be exact, which Chris thought sounded pretentious or something; for the record, I would also describe that shade of red as “blood orange”—so there!), and Dmitry is trying to improve his styling by attempting to make his Ivana Trump looks more youthful and hip. To help the designers out, they are given one last shopping trip to Mood. I believe this is the first time this has happened. You know....all this would be unnecessary if they had just had more time to make the collections. After Season 7 (mine), the time to build a collection has diminished significantly. I feel the work suffers because of it.
CHRISTOPHER: So Christopher wasn't given a whole lot of advice in terms of changing his collection; he had selected three rather boring looks (nice, but boring), so the judges were fixated on that for the most part. In the end, I thought his collection was quite nice in person (I saw the finale show live). In fact, knowing he was a bit of a “judges' pet,” I thought he stood a good chance at winning at the time when I saw it live. The collection was sharp and fit well, and his styling was good. But there was nothing that really made it a WOW. The gown at the end seemed gratuitous and not cohesive, even though we've seen him use that technique before. It just didn't fit this collection. He thought he'd nailed it, but also came across as a little kid throwing a tantrum because not everything was going his way. Christopher has a bright future as a designer, but needs to mature a bit more.
MELISSA: Melissa definitely listened to the judges and made major improvements. She drastically improved her models' hair and makeup, for one thing. The white leather jacket also was drastically improved by removing the oversized pirate cuffs and showing it zipped. Her choice to add the blood orange leather dress was very smart and added some zing. However, the collection overall lacked “wow.” Some of the proportions were off and looked pedestrian. Nina stated what I was already thinking, that while a lot of women would likely wear her designs, there is nothing “fresh” and innovative about them. They look derivative of Rick Owens and Helmut Lang; she could have more of a signature. All that said, Melissa's collection looks like it could be rolled right into Barneys New York or a hip-girl boutique in any major city. I personally love her modern style and know she has a great future.
DMITRY: It's funny, I see Dmitry's hand in every look in his collection, but somehow there is a slight lack of cohesiveness. I personally feel there was too much going on; it desperately needed editing. Yet there were looks that have been seen before. However, his collection had more “wow” than others. I don't know that I would select any of those pieces for myself, but I see how there is a market for some of them. It felt very European to me, and expensive in the fabrication, except for the last gown, which looked cheap. The ballroom dancer in Dmitry was evidenced in that gown and also the jacket with fringed sleeves. I still don't get why the judges were so cuckoo over that. All I could think of was the first time I'd seen a male Latin-ballroom costume when I worked on “Dancing With the Stars”! While I loved the silver leaf in the hair (contrary to Tim), I was not a fan of the monobrow happening makeup-wise. The judges selected Dmitry as the Season 10 winner, likely trumping Fabio for his “showmanship,” consistency and well-made collection. Dmitry is a great designer and a great guy, and I wish him the best. Congratulations, Dmitry!
FABIO: As others have said, and as the consensus seemed to be in the tent that day, Fabio's collection was a breath of fresh air. There is something about Fabio that has had me rooting for him from early on, even though his designs were lackluster earlier in the competition. He really stepped it up, and in the finale listened to the judges' advice and made his arty, thoughtful collection a bit more luxe. It delivered a message and a story, unlike the others. It was rounded, innovative and downright mesmerizing when seen in person. I love his color palette. I am not a pastel girl, and it made me want to wear pastels! While his looks are less commercial and not for everyone, there is no doubt that this is the most cohesive and innovative collection. Not every successful fashion designer appeals to everyone; the great thing about fashion is that it IS subjective. It would have been nice to see the producers and judges reward the designer with the most creativity and not the one who is most commercially appealing. However, I understand why, in ProjectRunwayLand, Dmitry was awarded the win and not Fabio. It was wonderful to see Fabio evolve as a designer while on the show, and he is a lovely person. I would think this experience will only inspire him to push forward with his career as a fashion designer. Good luck, Fabio!