Sunday, March 3, 2013

Project Runway, Season 11, Episode 6: Senior Moments

Greetings, Project Runway Fans!

[Can you hear me?  Are you still with me?  Is this thing on?]

Last week the teams were split up into partnerships and this week, those partnerships carried on with Michelle joining Layana and Patricia.  This week was also the first week that the team element of the competition had a direct influence on the final result and Heidi helpfully called it out.  I appreciate her candor here--the designer in question needed to know.  But the designer who left had a complete right to feel really cheated out.  You'll see in a minute.

This week, the designers met a group of vivacious elderly women.  They were active, funny, feisty and opinionated.  They all had really good hearts and were very good sports about their Project Runway experience.  In turn, the designers were very supportive of their clients and worked hard to please them.  However good their intentions might have been, the results fell short.

If you've watched more than one Project Runway, you know that the producers like to heighten the tension with the "real woman" challenge.  Bring the mothers of designers in and watch the sparks fly.  Bring women who used to be heavy with serious body image issues in who will argue with designers over hem length and shape.   This time, the challenge was time.  They only had a day to produce a dress and only one fitting.  There was no time to work out issues of fit or appropriateness--things you can usually fudge when working with super thin runway models.

The designers faced an interesting panel of judges this week.  Rachel Roy subbed for Zac Posen and Joan and Melissa Rivers were the guest judges.  Withering criticism abounded.

The designers gave them plenty of opportunity.

First things first--the safe team....

Michelle, Layana and Patricia

"I am totally not going to make you look fat and matronly."
"I am, however, capable of making you look flat-out ridiculous."

Poor woman!  She reminds me of a young Ella Fitzgerald.  Ella would have cold cocked a designer who dared to dress her in frayed hunks of fabric.  This was a lazy, tacked-on mess and, as Heidi pointed out, it got the lowest score.

The. Lowest. Score.

So low, it dragged two strong designs down into "safe," not that they ever would have contended....  It gave Layana and Michelle an excuse to feel put-upon.  They should have felt sorry for the designer who got kicked off instead!

Patricia lumbered off into the back room and gave us her thousand-mile stare.  Perhaps it sunk in.  She's been coasting along throughout this competition on everyone else's coat-tails.  She's a marked woman for the next competition.

 Layana continued her streak of producing another fashionable garment.  Rachel Roy called out another design as being "youthful."  I'll have my thoughts on that later.  This, to me, was a very youthful design but never crossed over into juvenile. The fit in the bodice could have been a bit more precise, but   the sophisticated print and the piping in the midsection helped to elevate the design.

 Michelle's model shimmied down the runway, clearly having the most fun with her dress and her experience.  While the dress was very well fitted and perfect for a woman who dances, that print was giving me an ice-cream headache.  I think the waist could have been either a little lower or a little wider, too.

Tu and Samantha

Tu would have been in contention for the heave ho this week had it not been for Samantha's strong design.

The back has some clever seaming but it appears that he ran out of time when he got to the front. It looks like he only had time to stitch the front and wrap a belt around everything to keep it together.  He didn't even have time to hem the front. 

Kate's look was highly praised by the judges.  What you don't see is that the skirt is boned and fitted to her midsection, girdling her in subtly.  The top also has seams to tuck her in the torso.  The double girdling in the midsection seemed a bit too heavy handed to me.
In every "real woman" challenge on Project Runway, a disturbing trend has emerged: the designer who picks the person who has the body closest to that of a model wins the challenge. It makes sense because that designer does not have to spend time on fit and can concentrate on style.  This time, there was more than one woman with a perfect body and it did come down to skill level here.  Still, my dream is that someone wins this challenge with a model who is less than perfect.  I will give them a Siriano for their troubles....

The next three designers had close to perfect models.  How did they do?

Samantha and Daniel

Could designers look anymore awkward and overpowering with their clients?  Who staged this shot?
Samantha's model had a rockin' body and killer personal style.  She sports a tattoo on her ankle and a hipster haircut.  Unfortunately, Samantha squandered her chances at a win by choosing such a shiny satin for the top.  The punch of color was completely appropriate, but that fabric exposed every bad seam.  The finish around the neckline was incredibly sloppy.  The pouffy sleeves were too juvenile--as both Heidi and Nina pointed out.  Joan stuck up for the beautiful animal print skirt.  Why not, when one has such strong, personal style?  If the top had been in a bright jersey, Samantha could have been in strong contention for the win....instead of...

....Daniel's "first wife" suit.  Thank you, Joan Rivers!  He attempted to produce an interesting collar and closure treatment for his almost-model body client.   I'm all for innovative jackets, but this one is a mess.  The pleating just expanded her midsection and the collar looks uneven and sloppy, not asymmetrical.  Furthermore, if you're going to do all this work, why do it in black and have it lost on the poorly lit Project Runway catwalk?  This woman had gorgeous coloring and could have handled more color in the fabric.   The pants are just a bit too tight, too.

Let's see how a stronger designer attacked this challenge...

Stanley and Richard

What's left to say?  This look is more sophisticated than any other outfit on the runway.  It's steel grey, so you can see all the work that went into it--good and bad, for what it's worth.  Heidi would have liked to see a longer pant and Nina wasn't pleased with the fit in the crotch.  Still, Rachel pointed out that the back was fitted perfectly and Joan scored the ultimate compliment by saying, "This is a second wife's outfit."  Congratulations, Stanley!

"Hmm....32 inch do I fit that?  I know, drawstring!"

From the Richard Hallmarq collection for Lane Bryant....
This woman started off with a normal body, no?  How did she end up looking like the Hindenburg with a racing stripe?

"Oh my God, that's fugly....but we're not ready to toss him this week. Judges, we need to say something nice about it."
"We call it, 'youthful.'  That word polled well with the focus group."
"'Effortless polled well too.  Use that!"

Heidi: "I like how...effortless this is."
Rachel: "It's the most youthful outfit on the runway."
Joan: "It's chic, easy and shows off her legs."
Nina: "I'm not fond of the silhouette.  Why did you use a drawstring?  You're not designing for a toddler!"[EDITED]
My theory is that the judges wanted to give Stanley a clear win this week, so they scored Richard's look a little higher.  I would have loved to see Richard standing there for the possible auf, but I guess you can't do that when you're paired with the winning look.

Amanda and Benjamin


Amanda's dress has way too much going on...keyhole neckline, winged sleeves, way too much skirt...  Melissa pin-pointed the problem when she said that the keyhole neckline was just too much design for a flowing dress.  Furthermore a full skirt wasn't the best idea for her body type, either.

And then, there was the tack in the back.  "It look like she sat in some glue," Nina said.  Clearly, it was an effort to tame the fullness of the skirt at the last minute.  It ended up making the hem completely uneven and a little hiked up in the back.  Amanda's been skirting with elimination week after week.  She came very close this week.  Maybe this should have been her week.  Since the judges were "forced" to keep Patricia on, Amanda was very lucky she got to stay.

 What is worse, a bad design or a good design with bad ideas?  

The judges choose the latter this week.  Ben just couldn't compensate for his model's huge bustline that overpowered the rest of her body.  On a taller woman, there's room to work with proportions but she is not that tall.  It's hard to see exactly what he had planned to do.  It looks as if he wanted to give her an empire waist, but on a short-waisted woman, that is not a good look.  If the waistband had been just a little longer and the bust a little looser....oh, who are we kidding?  With one day and one fitting, Ben was doomed.   He picked the wrong fabric.  Something this shiny is way too unforgiving of bad seaming and there's no stretch to accommodate a fuller figure.  It's a completely wrinkled mess, too.  The collar looks like something Mamie Eisenhower would have worn.   This woman probably remembers Mamie Eisenhower.  Why give her a throw-back collar?  Why is the hem on the bottom so wide?  What cinched the auf for Ben this week was choosing to add some tulle under the skirt to make it fuller.  Perhaps the idea was to have it balance out the top, but this woman did not need more inches.

"She looks like she's hiding the Liberty Bell," said Joan Rivers, thus sealing the deal.  Good bye, Gentle Ben.  We'll miss your fabulous hair and dapper bow ties.  

See you next week!

No comments:

Post a Comment