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Avant-Glue Gun!

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Sep. 2, 2011 ,5:01 am EDT

Happy Times ...
Last night, on Season 9 “Project Runway,” the contestants were done with their bitchfest of last week, and as those introductory scenes from their Atlas Apartments proved, it was all “Kumbaya”/happy times/let’s just all get along with each other. As Queen Mean Girl said, “I’m done bitching, now I’m going to be nice.” Yes, GURL, you keep telling yourself that. Even Bert “I-Can’t-Stand-All-These-Kids Keeter wants to make amends ...We’ll see how long that will last.

Avant-garde challengeArt Class Is in Session
They all meet Monsieur Gunn at the Harlem School of the Arts to get their next challenge: to create an avant-garde look inspired by artwork from students of the school. Go Nicki Minaj at the MTV VMA’s or GO HOME. The “Project Runway” contestants meet their student artists and have a design “powwow” where the young kids (the Harlem School of the Arts students, in case you were confused) draw a painting that the designers will be inspired by. The one thing I got out of this was that somehow these young kids can DRAW better than the fashion designers on this season’s “Project Runway”! As an instructor of sketching (as well as draping and pattern-making), I am bit embarrassed that most (save for Bert) of these season’s contestants can barely sketch a proper croquis! Yes, I know it’s not a requirement to know how to draw as a fashion designer, but being that it is one of the more essential tools to communicate your vision, it seems absurd to not develop that skill.

Too Much Workroom
Afterward, they head to Mood Fabrics to shop, and then its back to the Parsons workroom. Speaking of the workroom; those segments were WAAAY too long for me this week. I know that they got extra time, but there wasn’t much going on, really. Miss Josh “I-Get-a-Second-Chance” Christensen picked faux fur (his student’s artwork featured a wolf) at Mood but is thinking twice about using it. Becky is having problems making little fabric-covered cubes reminiscent of a Jean-Charles de Castelbajac creation I’ve seen before. Olivier thinks that by using chiffon — a fabric he’s not accustomed to — it will instantly translate the garment into something avant-garde. Not so much! He’s also having time management issues. And we get a glimpse that Josh M. actually has a heart — in that the editors conveniently (after such a HATEFUL Josh M. episode last week) decide to tell us about his mother passing away from ovarian cancer not too long ago and how he’s been inspired by her. Oh, and the other thing I notice is that several of these designers LOVE the glue gun. If you are given two days for a challenge, you should NOT be using a glue gun. I think this says something about the level of talent.

Runway Day ... Almost
Let’s just get to Runway Day, because the Parsons workroom was a snoozefest and the everyone-is-getting-along and PLEASE-feel-bad-for-Josh M. thing is really getting on my last FASHION reality show editing nerve! Before the actual runway/judging, Tim walks in and “schools” Olivier, who seems to be GLUEING his model into his design. He is, but he tells Tim — in his faux Ohio-British accent — that since the glue didn’t actually stick to her skin, he’s not. Somehow, it’s all OK. Should it be?

Kenneth Cole for Avant-Garde?
Now, on to the runway. Kors and Klum are there, and Nina is missing. But the lovely Zanna Roberts Rossi (my L.A. casting co-judge) was on hand as her replacement. Kenneth Cole is the Guest Judge. At first, I said to myself: “Kenneth Cole for an Avant-Garde Challenge?” He subsequently proves me wrong, in that his insightful comments are actually very good. His multi-billion-dollar brand of clothing, shoes, accessories may be “basic” (by fashionista standards), but his marketing strategy has always been far from it.

Avant-garde challengeGlue-Gun Winners!!!
The Top 3: Joshua M. did a FAB ensemble featuring a hand-painted skirt as well as a “Fire Blazing” blouse, and Laura hot-glued her way into a structured-and-soft gown that was WAAAY too close to a Christian Siriano knockoff. But my favorite was Anthony Ryan, who was able to mesh the art with the fashion together the best, with a gown that featured “brushstroke” appliqué. With one eye on his students’ artwork and the other on his dress, you could see the connection, in a very “fashion” way. Judge Kenneth Cole thought it was a bit sloppy in terms of its execution, and there definitely was no denying that sloppy, raw hem. Also, I have to say, this gown — as much as I liked it — was still very much like his “Bird Seed Dress” from the Make a Dress From the Pet Store Challenge. In other words, he took a very basic base, and piled stuff on top of it. But he still won, after being in the Top 3 so many times.

Valium Clothes vs. Hooker in a Mall?
The Worst and NOT-so-Avant-Garde included Olivier, who is majorly FAILING for me. His students’ artwork was full of life and vibrant with color. His design, alas, was not. As Michael Kors said, “They’re like Valium clothes.” Gray and sad, kind of like the designer himself. La Kors also called Bert’s design — which was very Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011 — “something a Teletubby would wear to a party.” Cole said it was too “outside the box,” yet Miss Klum kind of liked it, and so did I. He was safe. Unfortunately, it was Josh C. who was once again sent packing, with his Hooker in a Mall/Victorian Cocktail Waitress creation that was far from avant-garde. The Project Runway Lesson of the Day: If you get a second chance, better go BIG or go home!!! Auf Wiedersehen, Joshy!

Posted in: episode 6