Saturday, September 8, 2012

Project Runway Season 10, Episode 8: Occupy 5th Avenue

Greetings, Project Runway fans!

"I LOVE Project Runway!"
Nine contestants.  Three teams.  Two parts to the challenge.  Less than 10,000 viewers tuning in because everyone was watching President Obama's acceptance speech.  You do the math.

Last spring, when Project Runway was filming it's 10th season, New Yorkers were entranced by a fledgling movement that took to the streets.

Occupy 5th Avenue
They called themselves "Occupy 5th Avenue" and sold t-shirts that they manufactured in their studio to passerby.

It's time to make the t-shirts!
Then, one day, a savvy campaign manager came along and told them that to be successful, they needed to organize themselves.
"Organization is key to making it work in the Fashion Industry and in political campaigns.  Organization and...perhaps a bath every once in a while.  Just a suggestion..."
After much discussion, he talked them into organizing into three groups.

The first group was Ven, Fabio and Melissa.  They raised $800....clearly up there with the 1%.

"Let's go to Mood and buy some silk chiffon."
The second group was Dmitry, Elena and Alicia.  They only raised $500.  They would need to exercise some fiscal the rest of the 99%.

"Dammit...the dumpster diver guy is on the team with all the money."

The last group was Gunnar, Sonjia and Christopher, three strong designers with strong points of view.  They raised a little over $600.

Once the teams came together, the savvy campaign manager made an announcement.
"Designers, Americans want to know more about your movement, so we're going to have a convention."

Dmitry: "Americans Coming Together?  I'm Russian."
Elena: "In the Ukraine, conventions mean kill or be killed."
That's the spirit of coming together, designers!

So the savvy campaign manager got on the phone with the guy who was high up in convention planning.

"I usually defer to my wife on these matters...she is plate in the family, if you will.  She would like to see two looks for fall, perfect for Election Day.  One of the looks should feature outerwear because some of the cities where our supporters live are pretty cold in November."
And so, our three teams embarked on their mission.

As is custom with this crew, there was drama.

Dmitry set about making a dress.

"Hah! Another dress.  That's all you make are dresses."

While the other team looked on with amusement.

"Dmitry and Elena are like Boris and Natasha."
"Boris and Natasha crack me up!"
Meanwhile, the savvy campaign manager returned to counsel one of the teams.

"I'm not seeing the cohesiveness in your pieces.  If it's anything the conventioneers are expecting, it's cohesiveness."
"Draping, draping, draping...then we come to that skirt, which doesn't fit in."
"It belongs in another collection."
Ven: "For the good of the team, I'll scrap the skirt."
Melissa: "Why are you being nice all of a sudden?"
Meanwhile, back in the Eastern European war zone....the third member of the team soldiered on...

"I don't care...I don't teammates could kill each other, I don't care...."
"Honey badger don't care!"
"I'm Wolf Blitzer, here with the CNN Convention Team...what do you think the chances are that Occupy 5th Avenue can win over their base?
"Well, from what the conventioneers are wearing, I'd say their message will be a tough sell."
Ven, Fabio and Melissa

Melissa's jacket was the only stylish piece in this outfit.  Ven worked on the jacket and the skirt with Melissa.  The long drindl skirt takes this outfit to Frumpyland.   The top, sewn by Fabio, is completely unmemorable.  

When the judges made them switch the jacket and the coat, you could begin to see the youthful look they were going for...sort of.
Fabio: "I used mohair for my coat because, well, this is fall and mohair is light, yet warm...perfect for fall."

Michael: "That mohair coat looks like Grandma's robe."
"Wolf, it appears that the convention has been thrown into confusion over the party platform this year.  Let's see if we can hear what they are saying."
"No Mohair!  No Mohair!"
Three-fourth length sleeves always indicate to me that someone ran out of fabric...time...or struggled with a cuff hem (which is usually my excuse!)  The pants are ok.  The tunic...meh.

But the question on everyone's lips was...

"Where was Ven?"
Michael: "Yeah, I don't see you at all in this collection.  We expected more tailoring."
Heidi: "No roses, either."
Nina: "Shhh, Heidi!"
"I sacrificed my vision for the good of the team."
" could have designed Heidi's dress this week.  Slacker."
It's true....

They had the most money, the best tailor and each had won a challenge.  They should have been the dream team.  Instead, proportions were off, the styling was amateur and the entire collection looked cheap and thrown together. In the end, Melissa was safe because of her white jacket, Ven because of his magnanimity and Fabio was in the hot seat for producing a boring top and a frumpy coat.

Dmitry, Elena, Alicia

This was completely Dmitry's outfit.  While the dress was interesting and fit well, the shawl looked like a throw blanket and there was nothing overwhelmingly remarkable about the outfit.  The judges seemed a little upset with him because he didn't work as part of the team.

The judges didn't understand the contrasts with Elena's coat and expected to see better tailoring.  My theory is that Elena is completely psyched out because of previous critiques on her warrior princess shoulders. Turns out, warrior princesses are exactly on trend for Fall 2012!  She either left the inner facing out accidentally or their limited budget prevented them from getting the understructure needed to produce a well-tailored coat.  

Alicia's insouciance began to wear off once the outfit hit the runway.  Suddenly, she was concerned that the judges wouldn't see her outfit underneath the coat.  When the judges got a closer look, Michael found flaws in the fit of her pants.  The top was unremarkable.  She was was on the chopping block.

Gunnar, Sonjia, Christopher

Add Sonjia's jacket to that fantasy wardrobe of things that she's sewn that I wish I had in my closet.  From back to front, it fit perfectly and had modern and distinctive detailing.

Add to that fantasy wardrobe both of Gunnar's dresses, although I thought the brown dress was a little long and the collar on the cream dress was a little bit too much.

That is not a trench, Christopher.  I don't care how you describe's not a trench.  But what I really want to know is...what were the judges smoking before the runway show?

Michael: "Every woman needs a camel trench."
Nina: "But the contrasting sleeves give it an edge."
Nina, you realized that those weren't contrasting sleeves, don't you?  This was a SLEEVELESS... COAT-type thingy with a weird hem.  What's with all the asymmetrical hems this season, anyway?

"Let's go to the floor of the convention where, I believe, the Congressional Women's Caucus is staging a protest."
"Women need coats with sleeves and we will take our fight for sleeves to the highest office in the land!"

Fabio got to stay and this week, we said goodbye to Alicia.  Sonjia was the winner, but gets no immunity.

"Congratulations, Son-Gee...that's how we pronounce your name, right?  I'm sorry you don't get immunity, but everyone left after this week's challenge does get to show at Fashion Week.  Good luck going forward!"
Yes, the Project Runway Fashion Week show was last Friday, which meant that all eight designers left this week got to show at Lincoln Center.  Pictures are all over the Internet. Feel free to look at them if you like spoilers.  I'll be providing a full critique closer to the finale.  See you next week!

"Does anyone on my staff know how to download pictures from Fashion Week?"


  1. I agree, a sleeveless coat is completely useless. Still, the right team won the challenge.

  2. Chris has immunity and was on the best team. Clearly, the luckiest designer on the planet that particular day.