Sunday, February 24, 2013

Project Runway, Season 11, Episode 5: Fringe Benefits

Greetings, Project Runway fans!

This week started off with a tragedy that it will take some time to get over.

"Oh, tell me about it..."
No, no, not THAT tragedy.  The OTHER one.

"Designers, we've tired of the teams.  We're breaking you up....into partners!"
And this week, the designers had a very special client.

"We have this crazy cousin who doesn't know how to dress.  She is such a disgrace...these young people today."
"Who are you calling 'crazy'?"

No, no, not THAT one.

"Our cousin, Miranda, is a....singer.  We're not happy about that, but what can we do?  She simply doesn't wear clothes that are flattering...."

"At award shows....she makes the most dreadful choices.  On stage...."

"It's even worse."

"Her wardrobe is bringing dishonor to the Crawley family.  Yes, she is a Lambert, but anyone who dresses like that is a scandal to us all.  Surely you can help us, can't you? Maybe you could use that modern styling detail all the young people love so much....fringe."
Miranda Lambert is an award winning country music star.  Her personal style is less Dolly Parton and more Lita Ford.  Her figure is quite curvy and her weight fluctuates, which poses some challenges for our design teams, each of which must produce a performance look and a red carpet look.  Let's see how our teams of two did this week.

Layana and Patricia

When the going gets tough, the tough make fringe.
Patricia went on and on about how her Native American family had to make their own clothes for pow wows.  "They don't sell this stuff in stores."  So she managed to whip out some fringe for an onstage look....

...which would turn Miranda into Pocahantas.  The cross straps have little holsters for bullets, so maybe she's really Pancho Villa.  I realize that Miranda had a big hit with "Gunpowder and Lead" but the protagonist of that song didn't need more than one or two bullets.  This is overkill in so many ways.

Layana made a mullet dress.

Tight around the torso, flaring out at the thighs....did she take a close look at the woman for which she was designing?

Daniel and Samantha

"You realize I have immunity this week, so chances are, I'm going to slack off.  Don't pick this week to make a fugly outfit."

While not exactly "slacking off," this outfit did not impress the judges.  They found the skirt too cutesy and vest rather dull.  

I, on the other hand, thought this outfit was completely in Miranda's wheelhouse.  The skirt could have been a bit longer, however.  All the protestations about the ruffles making her bottom look bigger...please refer to the blue and orange performance dresses above.  This would be a huge improvement.  Also, note, this is how you extend a garment to lengthen the torso for a big gal.  Don't wrap the butt completely in leather.  Just extend down toward it.  I think it was a very smart design.

Daniel, on the other way too impressed with his own technical skill.

The bodice is finished with soutache, which is a braided, ruffled treatment of strips of fabric.
He ran around telling everyone about his amazing soutache finish.

"I'm doing a 'soutache'!"
I don't know about you, but 'soutache' reminds me of something Ethel tried to make for Lady Isobel.

"Ethel, it is to be a simple picnic luncheon.  It hardly calls for something as complex as a soutache.  Perhaps a nice salad and some sliced cheese, instead."
Perhaps Daniel should have spent a little bit of that time making sure that the shape of the skirt wasn't so unsightly.  The fit in the hips was too tight and the skirt flared out at an awkward position.  He distressed and fringed the slit and hem of the skirt in an attempt to give it texture and ended up just making it look cheap.

Kate and Tu

"I don't know any country music.  Why don't we just dress her up like Lady Gaga?"
I loved the idea of Kate's red carpet look way more than I loved the execution.  The front is fine...but the back?  Could you imagine what Miranda's bottom would look like in this dress?  The corset look was the right way to go, but please, for the love of all that is holy, don't continue on to the keister.  This is an outfit designed to make anyone, even an emaciated Jessica Chastain look-alike, look fat.
Also, the skirt puddles aukwardly.

Tu toned down the Gaga elements after Tim expressed concern.  He originally had fins on the chest and hips.  Tim was concerned about how it would look on Miranda.  I was thinking that Miranda has to strap on a guitar.  You don't want to make that too difficult.  Gaga sits at a piano and can do that in all sorts of get-ups.

Ben and Amanda

"Last week, we were both in the bottom.  We've got to step it up!"  "I know...let's use FRINGE!"
And they did just that this week. 

Amanda's dress was black with a chevron-patterned, leather fringe all around.  The dress moved beautifully.  Somehow, she managed to make it look funky without making it look like a flapper dress.  She also designed it so that YOU COULD WEAR A REGULAR BRA!  Miranda loved the dress.

In an effort to be cohesive, Ben added a fringe element to the bodice.  I thought it was completely unnecessary, but the judges seemed to understand why it was there.  This week, unlike two weeks ago, he carefully made an effective understructure for the dress so the bodice was supported appropriately.
"I don't know if I could wear such a flimsy dress.  Look at me."
"Oh no.  We beg to differ.  Miranda should be wearing more dresses like these."
I agree.  When she's in a flowing dress that does not add volume, she looks spectacular.

The key is good bodice support.

Stanley and Richard

What a team they made.

"Let's see...what crazy thing can I do to make Stanley completely nervous.  Oh yeah...FRINGE!"
"See, this is the dress you really want, Miranda. My fringe has chains!"
"We can't decide which fringe dress we like best."
"When I have a tough decision to make, I simply inform the staff and they consult their Ouija board."
"R-I-C....You're moving it!"  "No I'm not!"
So Richard's dress won the battle of the fringe.  Not everyone is happy with this decision, however.

"You are NOT going to wear a fringed dress with chains when you play me!  How dare you even think of scratching me up like that?"
In case you thought I forgot about Stan....I did not, nor did the judges.  Stan's dress lacked support in the bodice and flared out much too much at the hips.   Just a bit more attention to the details on his garment and a little less worrying about Richard's crazy ideas could have put him in contention this week.
Melissa and Matt

There were so many bad decisions here, it's hard to know where to start.  Melissa knew the fringed necklace was a bad idea.  She made fun of it for being a bad idea.  But still, she included it.  Then, despite protestations of everyone in the room, including Tim, she soldiered on with a denim skirt for the red carpet.  The skirt was heavy and hard for the emaciated model to walk in.  Let's not even begin to think of what this would look like on Miranda Lambert.  Still, the vest was a gorgeous piece of workmanship, which she covered up with a pointless piece of jewelry.  She was nearly given the boot this week for letting her styling get in the way of her workmanship.  

Which turned out to be better than having no style at all.

This is not a bad dress.  It's certainly not the worst dress to walk the runway this week, in my opinion.  It was weakly justified, however, and all you could see was Matt's insecurities.  The judges really hate that.  It does look a little too much like a "goth cheerleader."  If the skirt had been a tad longer and the top had had some visual interest of some sort, coupled with a stronger point of view he would have been safe.  But poor, meek Matt was given the heave ho this week.

"Well, thanks for the opportunity to showcase my work."
"That's the spirit, old chap!  The sun is shining.  You have your whole life before you.  Let's go for a drive, shall we?"
See you next week for more team drama.

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