Monday, August 20, 2012

Project Runway Season 10 Episode 5: Shark Week

It's that time again when we watch fierce creatures of the deep demonstrate their true fury.

"Shark Week, right?"

Gee, Mike...there's no dirtier job in reality television than the Project Runway Team Challenge.

Right, Heidi?

Dirty girl...still showing your fishwhistle this week.

So far this Project Runway season, we've promoted Ralph Lauren's daughter's business, luxury cars, and a new flagship store for Michael Kors....this week, it was Nina Garcia's turn.

"Designers, clothes for working women is one of the fastest growing areas in the fashion market.
"So even though women have been participating in the workforce for decades, we also know they just haven't been fashionable.  So we launched 'Marie Claire @ Work.'"
I don't know about you, but nothing says, "meeting with the board of directors" more than a gold bondage belt and a low cut tank top.  That's why I laughed and laughed at the judging in this week's challenge.

Garcia, Kors and Klum were joined by Joanna Coles, who is one of my favorite judges.  She's sensible and aware of what ordinary women have and need in their wardrobe, yet, she is always trying to push the design and artistic vision forward. is clear that these four folks are pretty out-of-touch with what most working women need.  And our designers....well, they had such good intentions...

But before we dive into the intentions, we have to contend with another challenge with confusing elements.  The designers were to make clothes appropriate for work, then, they were to dress and arrange a photo shoot with one of Marie Claire's photographers.   It was unclear if the photos were part of the judging score.  Sometimes, they were mentioned, other times they weren't.  It was clear, however, that they became a very convenient way to reward a very unworthy dress.

Before you think we could get away scott free without drama this week....

"Hi!  I'm Mike Rowe.  Here are some more fun facts about sharks. When they swim alone, they are practically harmless.  When they swim in schools, however, they become competitive for prey and are more prone to attack.
"The rare, black Ukrainian bear shark, seen on the left, looks calm now.  But when presented with less than ideal conditions for feeding
"she becomes out-of-control and prone to attack."
Oh Elena....nothing pleased her this week.  She hated everything.  She hated her teammates designs, her own designs, the way her teammates dressed the set...she even called Dmitry 'stupid!'  Nevertheless, she did sing the best line of the week...

"Silk chiffonzies!"

"Silk Chiffonzies" was the nickname the gals came up for Christopher, Nathan and Gunnar because when presented with a world of fabrics, they'll make a beeline for the silk chiffon.

"Aaaayyy...what this outfit needs is a little silk chiffon."
And sometimes, they called them the "Silk Chiffonies," which reminded me of a 1960's girl group.   If they had been a 1960's girl group....

Chris would have been the lead singer.
And no episode would be complete without a tale of woe.  This week's tale was of the recently returned Raul, who was picked last of all the designers for the teams.

He faced rejection and ridicule at every turn.  The producer's hand was very heavy this week.  So were the opinions of the designers.  More about that in a minute.
"Every week, this blog organizes the clothes by designer, but this week's challenge was a complicated team challenge.  We at "Dirty Jobs" "Shark Week" thought it would be fun to describe them by the sort of job or firm the model would work at."
But wait...only "Team Six" mixed up their designs.  In "Team Five," each designer contributed their own look....

We lost him again.....

Frank Gehry's Architectural Firm
Design by Ven

If I have to tell you that Ven designed this, you simply haven't been paying attention this season.  It's becoming a repeat performance of Ven Folds Five, which is why I think he didn't win this week.  It was my favorite look and should have won, hands down.

Andy Cohen's "Real Housewives" Casting Director
Design by Nathan

Because what American women are clamoring for is a top that exposes one shoulder to go with those pants that make them look like a drag queen who forgot to tuck up the package.

"Next up on 'Deadliest Crotch,' designers outfit the entire crew of the Time Bandit in neoprene."

Real Estate Agent for Donald Trump
Design by Gunnar

This isn't as bad as the judges made it out to be.
"What are you talking about?  Her boobs droop like a deflated souffle and if there's anything worse than a deflated souffle, it's an outfit that makes your boobs droop."
Well, maybe so...but maybe the model wasn't wearing a bra.  I mean, if you don't wear a bra, sometimes your boobs droop.

"Mine don't!"

Heidi's Divorce Attorney
Top by Elena, Pants by Alicia

Joanna could envision a lawyer or investment banker wearing this jacket and pants combination.  Heidi said she would be too scared of a lawyer wearing this outfit....but isn't the ability to strike fear in the heart the sort of quality you want in a lawyer?

Elena struggled with the shoulders and at the advice of Alicia, softened them up a bit from her armor-like silhouette.  It would have been nice to have a peplum in the front to match the peplum in the back and maybe the armadillo shoulders didn't have to be so puffy.

Presidential Campaign Coordinator
Design by Alicia, Jacket, with assistance by Elena

Alicia's streamlined jacket, with leather embellishments from Elena, would be a hit on any campaign trail.  The slim pants are very modern.  It was my second favorite look of the competition.  The judges did mention that Alicia had an positive editing effect on Elena.  The trademark shoulders are there as a leather embellishment, but the jacket is easy and comfortable.

Goldman-Sacs Public Relations Spokesperson
Design by Christopher

The dog days of August are a great time to hold that press conference about how the company lost hundreds of millions of dollars in bad investments.  When the heat is on, a smart executive turns to short sleeves.  It's hard to make short sleeves look chic, however.  Working with an elbow length sleeve, Christopher almost manages to do that.  Some sort of sleeve treatment like a v-shaped vent, button detail, or cuff would have helped as would a better fit in the back.

You can see the subtle striping effect in the skirt that was created by sewing strips of chiffon together, a signature for him.  Unfortunately, in the photo shoot, the model wearing his skirt was sitting down.

PowerPoint Presentation Presenter
Design by Sonjia, Assistance on top from Raul

I don't know about you, but when I give presentations I'm constantly misplacing my laser pointer and my remote control.  Well, this dress solves that problem.  Amazingly, it's not an unattractive dress, mostly because the model wearing it has practically no hips or tummy whatsoever.  However, the folds probably bunch up in funny ways when you sit and you better have a large napkin on your lap at lunch when you eat your sandwich.

I bet that Ven was seething when this walked the runway.  Only Ven was supposed to have draping super powers.  He medaled in it at F.I.T., for goodness sakes.

Raul made the leather top with a distinctive exposed zipper in the back, but as everyone fashionable knows, today's chic working woman has long, flowing hair that covers up all the interesting details of her outfit.  Why would you let someone suggest styling hair to cover your hard work on the runway?  Just wondering....

Don Draper's Secretary
Design by Dmitry

Sometimes, you need that perfect dress that takes you from work to evening because your evening will be spent with someone for whom you work.  When you find yourself in that situation, Dmitry has the dress for you.

"That cut-out in the back is a little vulgar, no?"
"Just borrow a jacket from Elena and you'll be fine."
In actuality, Joanna is right.  There's nothing wrong with the dress that a jacket can't fix.  The fit in incredible and there are those moments when you have tickets to a show or a happy hour after work that you wish your work clothes were just a little bit more hip.

Intern for Michael Kors
Design by Fabio

 This dress...and critique... made me laugh out loud.

Michael: This dress could be worn by anyone to do anything...such a versatile dress. I can really see your style in this dress.

Fabio: Really?  last week you said you didn't see my style at all.

Michael: No, I finally get it.  You make clothes that are versatile and flexible for every situation.  I just don't understand that thing on her head.

Fabio: Last week, you told me to inject more of my personal style into the outfit.

Remember, Michael?  Fabio was just following your instructions...
Michael: I've decided that I hate your personal style and prefer your regular style.

I dont understand the high praise for this dress.  The way the top is designed, it makes the shoulders droopy.  The idea of it is clever, although the execution, to me, falls just a bit short.

Model for Marie Claire @ Work
Design by Melissa

I can't, for the life of me, understand how this could be the winning dress.

Heidi: It is so refreshing to see a dress in color.

Joanna: The neckline and the diagonal zipper make it very fashion forward.

Nina: It photographed the best.

I suspect Nina's answer was the one that carried the day.   How else would the producers and Nina justify tossing a photography session in with a runway show with a challenge to produce a dress for a working woman?  So, working women of the world, dress in color.  Wear a big, oversized, uncomfortable neckline and a funky exposed zipper.  Accessorize with a leather cuff because everyone knows that leather cuffs = power.  At least they do on the pages of a glossy fashion magazine.

Customer Service Representative at
Design by Raul, skirt by Sonjia

The losing design this week had nothing to do with appropriateness for work.  It had very little to do with the quality of the picture.  It had nothing to do with fashion forwardness.

It had everything to do with a major personality clash between Raul and the other designers.

Whatever vision Raul has appears to fall victim to his weak sewing skills.  So his teammates felt they couldn't trust him with pants or a skirt and left him to do two tops.  The top he made for Sonjia wasn't bad.  The top he made for his look has an unfortunate bib of ruffles.  It's not my style, that's for sure, but you can't say it isn't IN style.  Look around, there are ruffles everywhere.

Kate Spade, Fall 2012 

Anne Klein, Fall 2012

Mod Cloth
My working theory....Raul was mesmorized by the ruffles on Sonjia's own shirt and couldn't think of a better idea.
"Oh my gosh...I think you're right!  My shirt totally sabotaged Raul!"

I don't know...criticize him for not making a big design contribution for the runway.  Criticize him for poor construction skills, but you can't criticize him for making something that working women don't wear.  They might not be the best looking ruffles out there, but it wasn't as overwhelmingly bad as the judges made it out to be.

"Next on 'After the Runway,' defeated designer, Raul, gives Elena a piece of his mind.

"I love you all and hate you, Elena."
And that pretty much sums up another week of Project Runway.  Next week, the designers take on REAL PEOPLE, which means that Ven will be attempting to origami fold fabric onto someone with real life curves.  WHAT could POSSIBLY go wrong?

See you next week!

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