Sunday, October 23, 2011

Project Runway Season 9, Episode 13: Braggin ah hall nottin ah chamber

Bonjou, Project Runway fans!  We're in the home stretch.  The road to Fashion Week traditionally starts with Tim's visits to each of the four finalists.

I'm dedicating this week's recap to the Trinis who invaded our Blogging Project Runway chatroom this week to cheer on their homegirl, Anya.  Bonjou!

It's that time in every season when Tim visits the designers on their home turf and breaks bread, raises a glass, and looks completely out of his element with the designers family and friends.  In the past, we've seen Tim's pasty, white feet (with Uli), Tim on a bike (with Leanne) and Tim with turtle poo (thanks Laura Bennett!)

We also get a sneak peak at the designers collections before the head off to Fashion Week.  And all that's fine and good, but....

In a season of twists and turns, we didn't need another collective psych-out of a competition for three places at Fashion Week.  In the end (spoiler alert) all four designers are going.

I know, Josh.  I'm pretty disgusted, too.

"Are you?  Are you, really?  I mean, I put real sweat and tears into finding the three outfits that would showcase the best of my collection.  Have you any idea how hard that was?"
I can only imagine that it was hard for everybody, Josh.  Oh, the mighty hands of Bunim-Murray are all over this.

Kimmy from the Block

First up, Tim visits MY homegirl, Kimberly Goldson, who lives in White Plains, MD, which might as well be Bowie, MD.  For those of you from Trinidad, no, Bowie, MD is not pronounced like the Bowie in David Bowie.  It is pronounced 'BOO-ee.'

Kimberly drew her inspirations from growing up in a rough part of New York and then moving to Maryland.  It's a mix of urban sophistication with sunny colors that match her personality.  She also planned to add lots of blingy hoop earrings and an armful of bangle bracelets.  Tim worried a bit about cohesion.  Perhaps he should have warned her about styling.  And maybe he should have turned around to see the pink dress that was behind him the whole time and beg her to run that in the mini show.

This is what it's all about, people.
If there was one running theme through the show this season, it was death.  Every one of the designers who showed at Fashion Week (decoy and non-decoy) suffered some sort of profound, life-altering loss.  For Kim, it was losing her mother at a very young age.  Her mother imprinted on her a strong sense of style.  Considering that her mother probably came of age in the 70's and 80's, those nostalgia challenges were probably pretty bittersweet for Kim.  Kim clearly has the support of her extended family.

So once in New York, it was clear that Tim's critique had not been addressed.  "Show me a mini-collection" is a trap.  And designers trip themselves up all the time.  As a whole, her collection was probably cohesive enough, with each piece referencing some part of at least one other piece.  However, if you pull three pieces out, are they cohesive together?  Maybe not.  So how do you show the judges your range if the cohesion, collection-wide, is subtle?  Perhaps she should have thought of that back at the home office.  But designers often get very caught up in the details of producing all these garments, that they're not as focused on the mini challenge.

But that wasn't the worst of it.

While you could give points to Kim for a little creativity--fastening a skirt with metal rings is pretty edgy and unique--the final shape is not very flattering from the front.

And it's a disaster from the back.

The skirt could be saved, but, alas, it would be very short as a result.  Create a similar, larger panel in the back to mimic the one in the front.  Save the gathers for the sides.  Keep them flat so that they don't add additional bulk and keep them the same length as the panel so that the panel doesn't stick out.  This would be easy to do if she were home with weeks of time.  She's in New York now with less than a few days to go.  I'm not sure she can pull off a major alteration like this.  Her choice is to alter it or scrap it.  We'll see what she does next week.

On a lime...

This expression is Trini for "goofing around" or "having a good time."  Tim certainly had a good time!

Doesn't he look right at home?

Perhaps Anya should have spent her prep time in New York just looking at pictures of Trinidad.  Instead...

"First, I had a big party, then I went to Tobago, then I went scuba diving, and after that, I purchased some really cool batik."'re going to get anything done with this beckoning?

In this house?

I would be spending all my time on the front porch doing stuff like this.

So it was no surprise to me that when Tim visited the studio, all he saw was this.

She didn't even have drawings.  There was nothing for Tim to critique.  So Anya proceeded on her own instincts.  Back at New York, Anya pulled out her collection and there was nary a sleeve in sight.  Every dress was a variation on the pleated, sleeveless dresses she had been producing all season.

Anya's customer goes from the beach in her suit with an impossibly long cover up that would track sand all over the place to a party in a short dress.  Maybe she'll win an award and need the long gown to wear to the gala dinner.

I'm not going to pull punches.  I really think that Anya was confused about her vision for the final show and deeply distracted when she returned home.  As a result, she squandered her time--and she was the one designer who did not have time to squander.  The fabrics she showed Tim were gorgeous.  You couldn't want for better inspiration.   In the end, her inexperience really tripped her up.  It's not a matter of whether she could be a good designer in the future or not.  It is whether she can show her vision effectively now and I think she failed that test.  I do not see the purpose in having the producers keep her in the challenge at this point....unless she wins the final challenge.  If she doesn't, this whole dragging her along, challenge after challenge becomes trifling folderol that drags this season down.   If she does, I predict Project Runway Armageddon.

That said, she, too, has a few days to pull something together.  I'm just unconvinced she is capable of turning her entire collection around.

All the Pretty Colors

Somewhere in Queens, walks a woman named McKenzie McKinley.  Please be kind to her, should you meet her.  Her brother is Joshua McKinley.

"Don't even THINK about making a 'Mount McKinley' joke!"
Josh has had a few hurdles along his way to a fashion career.

"What is with the crazy ponytail?"
That Nina, always a critic....

Out of everyone, Josh got the most benefit out of Tim's critique.

Josh showed Tim his colorful, vintage fabric.
"It's horrendous."
"And this neon green lenticular fabric?"
"It's seizure inducing."

"And this?"
"Please, let us never speak of this again."
That was brutal, but effective.

Somehow, Josh managed to cull together three presentable pieces for his mini-collection.  In fact, not one to let anything go to waste, note that the eye-searing vintage fabric is now shown, under mesh, in the top under the slit jacket of the pants outfit.  Not everything was perfect, however.  Michael Kors obsessed over the "modesty tab" on the black dress and the back of the evening gown/legging outfit...

well, let's just say that could have been better executed.

"Women everywhere are clamoring for a gown with leggings!  Why hasn't someone thought of it before?" 

New York State of Mind...

Viktor stayed in NYC, where his home base is.

"This studio is amazing.  Much bigger than my tiny, New York apartment...."
 Immediately, Tim zeroed in on the most amazing piece

and the most questionable.

Viktor, somehow, felt compelled to present complicated, layered looks in his mini collection in order to show how well rounded his collection was.

Nina loved the white jacket, just as Tim did.

But the gown was lost underneath it.  So too was the dress, which was lost under the zipped leather overskirt.  Nina, Heidi and Michael ended up re-arranging the three looks and possibly, his entire collection.

And so, in the end, after all the twits and turns, after all the drama and the challenges, we have four designers of varying readiness.  And still, after the last garment walks down the runway, we have to wonder if this season was the one where the show failed to present the best final designers.  Each designer has so much pride in his or her work, but when compared to previous seasons, it seems to be a lot of talk with very little to back it up.  Or as my Trini friends would say, "braggin ah hall nottin ah chamber."

I hope to get to the decoy collections this week, which should help me prove my point.

Until next post, be well!

1 comment:

  1. Re: Kimberly.

    I feel like her outfits were J.J. Fad/early Mary J. Blige from the waist up and Nikki Minaj from the waist down. And they simply looked silly on caucasian girls. Which didn't help.