Sunday, August 25, 2013

Project Runway, Season 12, Episode 6: Zip Line to Nowhere

Greetings, Project Runway Fans!

This week, our designers got out of the workroom for some much needed R&R.

"Let's go 'glamping!'"
What the hell is 'glamping?'  I'm not exactly sure.

I looks like tent camping with fancy decorations hung in the trees.
Maybe cots instead of sleeping pads?  Gourmet dinners served on china instead of canned chile in plastic bowls?

I mean, I know from camping.  I do.

These were my accommodations at my son's Scout Camp this year. 
When I think of luxury camping, I don't think about tents at all...

This is how we roll.
I'm not kidding you.  The last RV park we stayed at in our little trailer had cable TV hook-ups.

So our intrepid designer contestants had some fun in the great outdoors.


Zip line
Roasting marshmallows and plotting their escape....
Whatever they did out in the woods of New Jersey, it really improved the runway by leaps.  This was some of the designers' best work.  I know...most of you in flyover country didn't even realize that New Jersey has woods, but it's nickname IS "The Garden State" and yes, there are trees.  Nice ones, too.


Note the subtle veining of the black tree branches on top of the navy gown, meant to mimic the trees in the woods at night.  The effect, at least from the ankles up, on the runway was breathtaking.  The fit was impeccable.  It was the best thing he's produced to date.

However... with everyone producing their best work and Tim cajoling everyone to push themselves, Alexander felt the dress needed some edge.  So he tacked on a black, leather train.

"The train 'grounds' the dress like roots ground a tree."
Maybe not so long, however.  Maybe those raw edges could have been trimmed up a bit, too.  I know Alexander was going for a contrast between perfect tailoring and organic finishing, but the organic finish looked like a tacked-on afterthought.  Contrast that with the very neat and precise leather trim work on the neck and shoulders.  Even the branch detailing was very neat and precise.


This was a conventionally beautiful dress that any woman would want to wear.

Bias fit, beautifully tailored, yet conservative.  Well done.  Jeremy upped the emotional ante, as he is often wont to do, by writing a love letter as a fabric pattern all over the white silk.


Bradon was due for a design meltdown and his occurred this week.  He just couldn't dig out any clear inspiration from the challenge or his fabrics.   He began by machine embroidering a trim in aqua and gold that he had planned to use on the neckline and, perhaps, the waist.

"It looks juvenile, Bradon."
The consensus in the chatroom, however, was that it looked too much like 1960's upholstery.  Frankly, there are times when Tim's critiques are helpful and then, there are times when Tim's critiques can completely derail a designer.  This was the latter.  The attempt on the dress model was not the worst thing being conceived in the workroom that week.  A simple caution to Bradon to mind the proportions and to remember that he is known for his fit and styling would have sufficed.  Tim clearly concentrated on the wrong trim work this week, as we will see later.  

Bradon: "I thought it flowed nicely on the runway."
Toilet paper on the heel of a model's shoe would flow nicely.  Nice flow is nice, however, the dress looks like it is exploding above her knees.  Luckily for Bradon, there were far worse things on the runway this week.


Ken talks a good game.  In fact, Ken simply talks too much.  A lot of what he has to say is very mean.  Meanness would be one thing if he could follow through with a winning design and nail a challenge.  But to date, he has fallen short every time.

His instincts were right to go short where everyone else was going long.  However, he decided to develop a sculptural dress, choosing bullet-stopping fabric.

Sophia Loren called and wants her 1969 hair back.


Kate's idea of 'glamping' would be a tent of tulle with a rain fly made out of shiny, patent leather.

The ideas here are all good, just not all put together in one garment.  The patent leather overlay could be better fitted.


Dom continues to be a solid sender, week after week.  The print was clearly evocative of water.  The neck covering gave it a stylish edge.  The fit was beautiful.


No pencil skirts this week!

Had she managed to work the leafy appliques further up the skirt of the dress, maybe in a spiral pattern, this might have been given more consideration.  All in all, it's a dress with a lot of potential.


Even Helen stepped up to the plate and started to show us a little bit more of what she was capable of doing.  She tried the strip technique in an earlier challenge but seemed to do better with it this time.  However, I'm beginning to think she's shot her wad.


Karen needs a waistline intervention.  Look at her.

She can't even accentuate her own waist.  To date, she has yet to present a garment on a model that accentuates the model's waist, either.  I'm beginning to think she has serious waist issues.

This was supposed to be an homage to a camping tent in the morning sunlight.  It was successful on that score, but not attractive in any other way.


You may disagree with the judges this week, but you have to admit that it was very satisfying to see Alexandria win after the drubbing she took from Ken last week.

Yes, that's a dropped crotch pant.

Zac: "Poopy pants!"

"Tummy eye?"  "Poopy pants?"  Can we talk like an adult and not a three-year-old, Zac?

"I was re-invisioning camping wear for a modern age." 
Chambray and spandex are always on MY camp packing list!

Seriously, what a load of bull crap.  It was different, however, I'll grant her that.  I will also say that the droopy pants worked particularly because she used a jersey material that, when at rest, looked like a skirt with leggings.

I think the top was way over-designed.  There was just too much going on with the back.  But the judges loved it and thought it was fresh and clever.

There you go.


Poor Justin.  He had what seemed like a great idea.

"The Popeil Glue-Trim Factory, only $12.99..."
And he produced yards and yards of glue gun trim.

Justin: "Look at my glue gun trim!"
Tim: "Normally, I tell designers to stay away from the glue gun, but in this case, I'm intrigued!"
Tim should have asked some basic questions, like, how will you affix this to the garment?  To what kind of garment will you be affixing this?

The answers to both of those questions bolloxed Justin this week.  For some reason, he could not easily sew the trim onto the garment without it completely disintegrating.   It's a shame.  I liked the idea, too, and kept wracking my brain to find some way he could have affixed the trim.

This was the dress, which was sort of a split corset with a chiffon skirt that had a side slit.  It looked one of the Pussycat Dolls tried to glue gun a skirt to one of her spare corsets.   Perhaps he spent so much time trying to get the trim on the dress that he didn't have adequate time to put the dress together in an attractive way.

It was horrible.  It and Justin deserved the auf this week, but he didn't leave. Tim executed his Tim Gunn Save and Justin gets to stay.


Tim used his Tim Gunn Save this week because:

         A.  Justin is the first deaf contestant in Project Runway history.

         B.  Tim felt guilty about telling Justin to carry on with his glue gun trim.

         C. The producers told him that it doesn't matter how many people are in the next challenge so this week is a good one for a save.

         D. The producers ran each designer past a focus group and Justin scored the highest.

It is clear from Lifetime's Rate the Runway page that America likes this dress better than Karen's.  Producers can smell a fan favorite when they see one and Justin is a fan favorite, so he gets to stay until he clearly embarrasses himself.

Just note that he hasn't come close to winning any challenge yet.

Nice guy, to be sure...he's just not shining in this competition for me.