Friday, December 7, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars, Season Deux: It's Not Easy Being Green

Greetings, Project Runway All-Stars Fans!

The stars and planets have aligned for me to do a timely blog post this week.   Let Carolyn Murphy explain this week's challenge.

"Designers, this week, we meet on New York's High Line, an abandoned elevated transit line that was recycled into an urban park.  Our challenge is to use green fabrics that use very little water in the manufacturing and have a small carbon footprint.  And to bring the recycling element in, we've saved all your spare trim so that you can use it on this garment."

"This glo-ball warming is making Ca-za-no-va preety steenky."
Speaking of preety steenky....let's talk about this so-called, green fabric for a minute.  Either the fabric makers are horrible at print designs or those pesky puppet masters at Bunim-Murray are at it again with their behind-the-scenes manipulation.*  Let's break it down, shall we?

Step 1: March the designers in formation during the heat of the day so that their reasoning skills are compromised.

You know that's what happened before they came to....

Step 2: Make them choose from deceptively tiny swatches.

Suckers!  So you go for the gorgeous solid color.  That fabric is very thin (Emilio) and you won't have enough for a lining.  Or you go for a pattern (Casanova).  Do you think the ENTIRE pattern is going to be like that?
What if it turns out that your swatch was just a square of a PATCHWORK OF PATTERNS DESIGNED BY A CRAZY PERSON?
Seriously.  You never saw too many close-ups of the fabrics.  Why?  Because the patterns were hideous.

3. Kicker-- Host will wear the dress at some red carpet event, which she tells you after you've chosen hideous fabric she would never get caught dead wearing.

Then again....she did wear this outfit....

which looks like it's from Simplicity's "Sister Wife" Collection.

Just for good measure, this week, we had the queen of all guest judges....

Diane Von Furstenberg.  No other guest judge gets a huggy from Isaac.  The rest of us unhugged are left to wonder whether Carolyn Murphy is wearing a dress made out of green fabric.  When she walked out onto the runway, the sound you heard was seven designers slapping their foreheads saying, "So THAT'S the dress I should have made!"  Let's examine what they actually did send down the runway.


Poor Joshua...always the bridesmaid and never the bride.

He made the best of a horrible fabric pattern choice by using the reverse side and letting the pattern peek through.  This is not a bad design...just not the most flattering or attention-getting, which is what you want at a red carpet event.  Still, I'm glad he wasn't critiqued for this outfit because the judges would have said it was kind of boring and that would have given him permission to do what Uli did this week which is something only she can get away with....


"It's time for an Uli Ex-plo-shun!"
This was a phrase coined by Laura Bennett during their season after Uli chose a particularly garish fabric print that only a mental patient...or Uli...could work with.  She has a way of matching up prints on the bias that creates a whole different print altogether.  She tried that technique with this muddled mess of a print and threw everything but Joshua's bedazzler at it in order to jazz it up.

Isaac uttered my favorite words of the night.  "This is everything I want to hate which is why it surprises me that I love it so much."  Isaac, allow me to mix up my movie metaphors to inform you that the power of Uli compels you.  Resistance is futile.

Anthony Ryan

He had the best fabric.  He could have pulled out the old horizontal line trick that everyone loves so much, but to his credit, he actually designed a different dress than anything he's ever produced for Runway.  Brownie points for that....but....

it overwhelmed the model everywhere but where her underwear showed on the side.  What's the point of all that fabric if it doesn't cover up your undergarments?  If you want to show off your undergarments, chances are, you're a woman who wants to show off your form as well.  Diane was spot on when she said, "Too much fabric."  It could have been a winner had Anthony Ryan just edited some of the drape on the sides.  At least Isaac called him "Darling."  He'll always have that.

Laura Kathleen

I'm rather shocked to be saying this, but goodness, gracious, Laura Kathleen won the challenge.

Let's break down how she did this.

First, her print, while hideous, was not tremendously hideous.  So she got lucky there.
Second, she went with a jumper instead of a gown.

"Please don't call it a jumper.  They're just very wide pants."
"Actually my dear...these take me back to 1966 when I was dating that Italian prince who took me to the couturiers in Rome and introduced me to palazzo pajamas...."
Anytime you can get Diane Von Furstenberg to say "palazzo pajamas" and start reminiscing about Rome in the 60's...well...declare yourself a winner right then and there.


Usually I put my safe designers together, but for purposes of this analysis, I put Casanova here because I actually think he was robbed this week.  The guy needs a win and this would have bolstered his flagging spirits.  And by rights, it was the best design...he just got stuck with some fugly fabric.

It's just too cheap, K-mart bedspread.  Again, Casanova got a square of the fabric to make the decision and that square very likely matched one of the fake-o patchwork squares of the fabric.  You can see the red orange on the reverse.  Perhaps you're thinking to yourself that he should have done the dress in the reverse.  I think he was worried that it would look too much like Emilio's dress, so he made the best of a very bad situation.  I know that choosing was part of the challenge, but I resent it when the designers do not have all the information to make a good choice.  Give them all the information so that when they choose poorly, we can mock them mercilessly for not knowing any better.  This sort of manipulation just makes viewers angry.  There were a lot of folks in the chatroom and on various message boards saying that Casanova should have won this one.  I would have loved to have seen an intelligent debate between this dress and Laura Kathleen's on their design merits alone without silly consideration of butt-ugly fabric.


Emilio: "I've got the best fabric and the best design.  I've got this one."
Joanna: "Hmmm....but is it too simple?"
Joanna's constant admonition to "push yourself" pushed Emilio past the point at which he could control the outfit.  And while he may have had the best color, he also had very sheer fabric.  Alas, he spent too much time constructing the dress and no time figuring out how to line it.

Nor did he have enough time to hem it.  It was sloppy, too simple and the trim strap did nothing to enhance the outfit.


You might not like Ivy, but you have to admit, she sweats each challenge.  She chose a pretty color without really getting a feel for the fabric, which was one of the thicker fabrics on the ring.

She started out spending most of her time putting together a pattern, but when that didn't work out, she just draped the fabric.  When that didn't work out, she cut off the bottom quite unceremoniously, cobbled together a too-tight skirt and wrestled with the bodice for the next three hours.  It took a village to produce this dress.

First of all, the world doesn't need another too-tight, too-short skirt with a train dragging along the side. Whatever possessed her to think that was runway-worthy is beyond me.  She couldn't let go of her "asymmetrical skirt."  To make matters worse, the bodice looks stapled and glued together and the whole thing is wrinkled and puckered into oblivion.  I think she should have gone home for this travesty.  I don't how how she stayed in, frankly...except to say that...


Althea's dress left a lot to be desired, yet nothing to the imagination....

The girls are right out there for all to see...not that a Sports Illustrated supermodel would find anything wrong with that....

This is what lost the challenge.
In the end, it was the end that spelled the end for Althea.  Its as if the model has no skirt in the back at all.  Who wants to wear a skirt that bunches up to your fudlibacke while walking down a red carpet?

I think this was the part of the dress that Isaac was talking about when he said that she should have continued her idea all the way with the dress.  Diane was spot-on again when she said that it looked like a design school project, not a finished garment that someone was expected to wear.

So sorry, Althea, you crashed and burned this week all on account of some crappy, cheap, earth-friendly fabric.  At least you didn't destroy the ozone layer when you flamed out.

That's it for this week's challenge.  Next week, our designers face an UNCONVENTIONAL MATERIALS CHALLENGE!  We love those!  This time: Christmas!

Who hasn't wanted to make a dress out of Christmas?

Haven't you?

See you next week!

* Postscript:

AirDye Corporation deserved a better showcase than Project Runway All-Stars.  When you look up their company website, they don't even mention their appearance on All-Stars.  Why would they?  It was embarrassing.  For a better idea of how gorgeous AirDye fabrics can look on the runway, check this out.

1 comment:

  1. I loved the idea of Carolyn's recycled dress, but why did it have to be so ugly?