Saturday, July 20, 2013

Project Runway Season 12, Episode 1: What Color is Your Parachute?

Greetings, Project Runway Fans.  You'll note from my Season 11 experience that I pretty much petered out there at the end of the competition.  I hated the team aspect last season but really loved Michelle Lesniak Franklin and I'm so happy for her win. 

What's done is done, however and it's time to move on to a more NORMAL season of Project Runway.

This week, we were introduced to our new contestants.

There are so many in the beginning, it's hard to keep them all straight.

I'm going to resist calling you "Nicole Kidman."

I'll try not to call you Freddy Mercury.
And I'll try real hard not to call you Douchebag....however....

Before we dive in, I have to say that this

is all sorts of awesome.  Having a close look at some of the garments, considering how little time the designers usually get to make them, could be a game changer.  It also appears that the folks at Bunim-Murray paid the light bill so now we can really see the outfits on the runway.

 Our challenge this week was heaven sent.

Parachuters landing everywhere.  It gave Timmeh flashbacks to Hiroshima, where he lived a past life and there were no paratroopers whatsoever.

 Some of the landings were a little too close for Tim Gunn's comfort.

 The parachutes themselves were to be the materials for this challenge.  Designers scrambled for the chutes....

and my mind kept turning to Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute?  

"I'm quoted in What Color is Your Parachute. 'Know then thyself, Do not the Market scan, Until you've surveyed all You are, Then you will have your plan.'" 
That's not you, you bottle-dyed, devil-eyebrowed, nymph.  That's the 18th century poet.

In his book, Mr. Bolles takes would-be job seekers through a series of quizzes known that are designed to help them hone their interests, skills and needs into a practical plan for finding a job.  The whole thing culminates in something called "The Flower Diagram."  I suppose a typical Project Runway contestant's flower diagram would look like this:

So now that our contestants have diagrammed their pathway to success, let's see how they did!

Helen Castillo

She took the top of the parachute and cut a dress out of it.  Or she cut the dress out and fit the top of the parachute into it.  Either way, the seams puckered and the skirt was weirdly billowy.  The star motif was strong, but bordering on folk art.  From the "meet the designers" show, it appears that she prefers to work with meshes and overlays.  This does not reflect her design aesthetic at all.

Alexander Pope
Our 18th Century bachelor poet produced a cross between jockey colors and a target.  The front skirt was way too short and clingy.

Dom Streater

The jacket is very sporty, commercial and intricate.  It was a gorgeous piece and completely out of character with the rest of the outfit, which was an afterthought.  This would have been better paired with a nice pair of shorts and a top.  I don't think she had enough material to do both a jacket and pants.

Alexandra Von Bromssen

Much like Alexandra herself, this has an icy coolness to it.  Very architectural.  It's a solid contribution.

Ken Lawrence

Although it was barely noticed by the judges, this piece was plastered all over the Lifetime Network's website this week.  Something about it is highly editorial, despite what Nina may have thought.   Still, it's just got one over-the-top element to it.  The rest is just basic and not enough for the win.

Karen Batts

The graphic elements are very vibrant and interesting, however the silhouette is a bit shapeless and tenty.

Kate Penkoke

Returning from Season 11, where she was booted off, Kate made a lovely dress.  It just wasn't outstanding enough to rank higher.  I don't understand why she felt the need to put little flowerettes onto the shoulders.

Justin LeBlanc

Justin is the FIRST DEAF CONTESTANT IN PROJECT RUNWAY HISTORY.  As you regular blog readers know, the caps are for Lifetime Network hyperbole, not because Justin is hearing disabled.  His offering this week was very commercial, which, for someone who considers himself to be a conceptual designer, is a bit too safe and standard.

Kahindo Mateene

Prints and African motifs are in her wheelhouse.  Given materials like a standard parachute, however, forced her to go with a technical approach.  The pleats in the skirt were flawless.  The fit was perfect and so were all the seams.  It just wasn't the sort of challenge where you'd expect her to shine.

Jeremy Brandrick

This was one of my favorites, even though it didn't make the finalists.  I thought those pants were brilliant.  Maybe the hardware hanging off was a bit excessive and the teeshirt was a bit too baisc.

Timothy Westbrook

What's a vegan, sustainable, green designer to do when he is forced to work with nylon?

Burn it!  I think he may be exhausting some fossil fuels, too.

Timmeh took the burned material and used ti as an overlay.  This was to be conceptual, with origami paper crane on the back--to symbolize the paratrooper suffering that didn't occur at Hiroshima.  He wanted the model to walk out barefoot with no hair and make up.  Without high heels, hair and make-up, the model lost all her superpowers.

He wanted his model to walk down the runway as if she were being dragged.  And to make matters worse, he wore those stupid glitter shoes from the Lola Falana collection at Belk Department store.  Not in the history of Project Runway has one designer made everyone hate him simultaneously.

Miranda Levy

For a woman who spent so many years in the Army, you'd think she would be able to follow the rules.  Instead, she took the supplementary material, made that her base and used the parachute material as an accent.  Heidi instructed everyone not to do that.

The back featured some of the buckles from the chute.

Sue Waller

She started off trying to machine ruche this fabric and ended up ruching by hand, which turned out to be a good idea.  The judges loved the detailing.

Bradon McDonald

Old McDonald had a winner this week.  It was a gorgeous gown and completely reflected the parachute concept.  In the front, it hugged close to the body and cording was attached to the front of the skirt mimicked the lines of the chute.

The skirt was spectacular.  Bradon has the win and immunity for the next challenge.

Sandro Masmandi

Oh, you little, Russian, kookala...  Those shorts sure were cute on the mannequin.  If only the mannequin were more lifelike, you would have realized that when the inseam is too short...

Lifetime is forced to edit the offending image to protect their viewer's tender sensibilities.

In other news, Sandro has been picked to be the new costume designer for "The Client List."

Despite the X-rated display, the judges understood what Sandro was trying to do, but explained to him that he piled on too many design elements.  If only some of that parade float he wrapped around his model's top could have been used to cover up her hoohah.

Angela Bacskocky

Alas, poor Angela, we hardly knew ye!  Her intention was to make a raincoat...without arms because arms are hard.  The front was really simple and the back featured a box pleat that was really the only good design element.

So that's it for this week.  I think we're off to a good start and it should be an exciting season.  See you next week!


  1. Hmmm Timothy in heels is not as tall as his model. Perhaps that's why he sent her down barefoot and he wore the heels?

  2. it's a wonderful show,Project Runway Seasons 1-9 DVD is mainly about Heidi Klum hosts a reality series where aspiring fashion designers compete for a chance to break into the industry. You can watch the perfect show in each season.