Sunday, November 18, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars Season Deux, Episode 3: American Graffiti

Greetings, Project Runway All-Stars Fans!

How many of you are there left?

I'm a bit behind in the blogs, so I'm racing to catch up.  This week's episode wasn't all that bad.  The Project Runway franchise is at its best when it's love affair with New York is in full bloom.  This week, we were introduced to a New York institution that is unknown to a lot of people and is threatened with demolition.

This is 5 Pointz, in Long Island City.  It is an abandoned site of buildings whose owner allowed graffiti taggers aerosol artists take over and practice their craft.  The site is the brainchild of a tagger aerosol artist named Meres 1.

These days, the place has become a mecca for hip hop artists, designers, and anyone who wants to get a dose of the urban aesthetic and see some incredible artwork.

Meres 1
So imagine the collective buzzkill when Carolyn walked onto the street.

"Hi guys!  Let's pick up a can of spray paint and do a fashion show!"
So the challenge this week was to use spray paint in the style of a graffiti artist and make an outfit suitable for a runway show OR an art gallery display.  Not everyone heard that last part.

With regards to the first part, Meres 1 was on hand to give the students tips and tricks on painting with aerosol cans.

"Let us spray."
The denizens of the Thursday night chatroom have not warmed up to Carolyn Murphy.  She talks as if she were a kindergarten teacher who learned English from a Rosetta Stone DVD.  In fact, somewhere, she is still explaining the instructions for this challenge.  We love her, however, for wearing strange and wonderful outfits on the show.  Nevertheless, she laid a big goose egg with this number.

Let's wear a shirt that looks painted for a challenge with spray paint!  Why didn't she wear the amazing outfit she wore to 5 Pointz?

Meet Tom and Ray Magliozzi Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra.  They're fashion designers.  Note the cute flannel shirt and vest combination.  I don't believe in Santa anymore, but if I did, he would look just like them...and don't you think the role of Santa should be played by two people anyway?
I guess Carolyn didn't want to overdress for the runway show.  Let's see how our designers did with this challenge.

Laura Kathleen

I really liked Laura Kathleen during her season, despite the fact that she was a big ditz most of the time.  This year, however....

I am not impressed at all.  The spray paint effect looks like a bad dye accident. The hem detail that intrigued Joanna Coles so much in judging, on a skirt that hikes practically up to the crotch, looks cheap.  The high neck and sleeves are not flattering and the dress bunches up under the bust.  It's not LK's best work.  The judges hated it and she was in the bottom, but not dead last.


Why is he even in this competition?

What is going on with that hideous bow?  I can't get past it and the hair, which is really excessive for no good reason.  As for the spray paint, Meres 1 instructed the designers to hold the can closer to the surface so that you could get the maximum effect from the spray media.  It looks like Andre held back and the result looks more tie tied or batiked than anything.


Old Tacky Josh from his season occasionally shows up for this week...

I see what he's trying to do here with the buildings and street, but the peplum makes it busy and the skirt belongs to a different outfit.  Still, the proportions are fine, so he's safe.


Casanova, in his season, was a total joke.  This time out, however, he's turned into a real contender and one of my surprise favorites.

The spray paint effects were subtle and the design was easy and effortless.  The look was quite flattering.  It was not assertive enough to catch the judges' eyes, however, so he was safe this week.


Design-wise, Uli's dress was a real departure from what we saw from her in her season.  Still, from a distance, this looked dyed and not really spray painted.  The uniqueness of the medium is not showing through with this outfit, so Uli was safe.


Didn't we all want to like this outfit when he first put it on the dress form?

That was before he put the velvet ribbon on it, which sent it straight to Tackyland.  I thought it was so cute when the Santa twinz said that the lines terminating at the model's navel made them uneasy.  It's way to close to parts of the model they'd rather not think about.  Nobody likes a dirty Santa!

I disagree with that point.  Where this dress goes horribly wrong is just above the knee.  If he could have lost that gather and simply flared the bottom out naturally--or better yet--on the bias--it would have been spectacular and in the running for the win.  It would have taken a TON of fabric and I'm not sure they rationed out that much.  It was one of the better hemmed dresses out there.

Ivy made it to judging for being close, but not quite.

Ivy's vision was of a superhero woman, dressed in a power suit with a chiffon skirt that could be used as a cape, if needed.  She would wear her superpowers on her sleeves...and jacket...and skirt...

You do get the effect of the spray painting here.  Carolyn and Georgina loved the outfit.  Everyone loved the cut-out in the back.  However, Isaac was put off by the words...literally...and the Santa twins were NOT fond of the chiffon skirt/cape thingy.  Ivy missed it by that much!

So, which is better...bold or graphic?

Anthony Ryan

Anthony Ryan went for a graphic look, using the spray paint to make a clear, repeatable pattern.

The dress is super cute, but did anyone get flashbacks to the painting challenge in Anthony Ryan's season?  The "brushstroke" theme was exactly what he used in that competition, too, albeit with a totally different design.  It was very well done...almost perfect, had it not been for someone who used to kick it old school on the streets of Brooklyn and likely knew a tagger or two...


Go back and look at the picture of the designers spray painting.  If you watched the episode, you saw that right way, AR and Emilio looked at this as a pattern competition and went about creating a bold pattern with the spray paint.  Emilio decided to go for a bold drip effect rather than a graphic motif.  In the end, the drips, colors and strong design gave him the win.  The wide collar and peplum provided more surfaces on which to display the colors.  Showing the drips going up gave it some visual tension.  It was one of the strongest looks so far this season.


Suede grew up in Seven Hills, a modest suburb of Cleveland, Ohio.  My uncle lived there, so I know it well.  Street after street of manicured lawns with mid-century modern ranch houses.  My aunt and uncle's living room looked like a museum exhibit for 1959, where time seemed to stop for them.  I'm sure Suede's parents updated their ranch house to 1980's standards and maybe their galley kitchen got a fresh, new granite top in the 90's.  I digress like this because somehow, Suede never hung out with the degenerates I grew up with in Cleveland, who were quite familiar with the workings of a can of spray paint.  

So Suede was doomed from the start in this challenge. 

Let's be honest.  This was a craft project.  The paillettes were unnecessary.  Up close, you could see how uneven they were.  The Santa twinz tried so hard to like this outfit.  They suggested that maybe the paillettes could have emanated from the skirt, or been more integrated into the body of the skirt....

Whatever.  The effect was to cover up the pattern that Suede sprayed onto the fabric.  I wanted to rip off every single one of them.  He chose chiffon, as did many of the designers who ended up with dye effects, rather than spray paint effects.  The skirt ended up looking like camouflage and reminded me of the outfit that offed him in his season.

It's sad to see Suede go.  He was a real character.  He's got an interesting career making patterns and encouraging people to sew.  You'll keep hearing from him in the future, I'm sure.  

I'll have next week's show up in bit.  Thanks for your patience!

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