Saturday, September 14, 2013

Project Runway, Season 12, Episodes 8 & the Sweatshop!

Greetings, Project Runway fans!

I took a week off from blogging, so I need to catch up.  Since I last blogged, we celebrated a big 50 year anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

So how far have we come?

Fifty years later, people compete to be on a show where they design clothes for other people to sell in their stores.

That's real progress, don't you think?

Let's look at the first sweatshop show....

Tim Gunn needs to ask for a raise.  Seriously.

Taking a look at Heidi Klum's workout wear line for New Balance, you can see why she asked the designers for a bit of help.

The task was to produce a garment that could be added into the line.  The designers really struggled with this.

Kate seemed to think the brief was to design a new uniform for the Boston Red Sox.
I liked the jacket and the little thumb thingies in the shirt, but the tights and cowl were overdesigned.

Ken: "Where I come from, everyone wears clothes like this to work out."
Ken, same here, which is why you didn't win.  Next....

Jeremy says that women are tired of wearing black tights to work out.  No we're not.  We do not like having droopy crotches. Speaking of droopy crotches...

Alexandria tried to repeat her "droopy crotch" win with another droopy crotch look.  Thing is, her model couldn't spread her legs more than 6 inches apart.  Forget running sprints or downward dog.

Michael Kors: "Poopy pants!"
Heidi Klum: "But I like the 'poopy pants.'"

She really does.

But would she wear them to a workout?

When your model is in a hurry to rip off the jacket and wad it up into a ball, you're in a spot of trouble.  Sorry Alexander.
Bradon was designing for the Hungarian women's track team. It looked nice, but no way was Heidi going to be able to talk her third world supplier into sewing all that piping.  
Justin thoughtfully designed for the woman who is too hot for her sleeveless jacket.
Karen gave up and designed cropped sweats.  Goodbye, Karen.
Helen: "So that leaves me?  Really?"
Yes, Helen is the big winner this week with hooded, mesh jacket that covers the butt, cinches at the waist and can be produced cheaply in the third world.
That makes two in a row for Helen!

On to this week's sweatshop challenge.

"Hi.  I'm the head buyer for Belk Department Store.  We're the department store that serves the modern, Southern woman.  This week, the free laborers designers are to produce a look that I can sell and make a tidy profit.  It's an honor for these designers to have me make a tidy profit off of their hard work."
Before we dive in, I just want you to know that this week, I actually met a real, live, modern Southern woman.

Janie Bryant is the costume designer for AMC's Mad Men.  I made a special note of what she wore: very high heel pumps and a red dress with peplum and sequins.  Her favorite thing is a pair of Prada boots with Swarovski crystals.

So these designers have quite a challenge on their hands.

Swatch: "Hey Tim, buddy...I chewed up all the florals.  We only have plaids in stock now."
Swatch!  You're such a scamp!
This was another week where Project Runway proves that old adage that you get what you pay for.  When you don't pay the designers, this is what results.....

Alexander: "When I walked into Mood, this was the only fabric that wasn't chewed up.  I thought I'd make it modern by not using straps and making the hem uneven."
Alexandria: "No, that was MY idea! Only I used straps because a modern, Southern woman needs straps.  And because you didn't want to see another dropped crotch."
Bradon: "In the hands of a master, like myself, the plaid dress that the modern, Southern woman is craving has not only straps, but a collar and a placket with buttons, using the latest couture techniques."
Bradon is the big winner this week.  Hooray for Bradon!  

Wait, we're only three designers in.  This means there's more....

By the time the "modern, Southern woman" idea got to Justin, all that was left was the asymmetrical hem.

Helen knows that the modern, Southern woman secretly yearns for 1967, a much simpler time.  Right?
And Kate knows that modern, Southern women secretly yearn to go back to 1971.
These designers were safe.  The ones that weren't were given a second chance....for the first time in Project Runway history.... Actually, I think Project Runway could use an historian.  Designers have been sent back before.

Ken, helpfully, thought the modern, Southern woman needed a prom dress with an asymmetrical hem. The judges didn't agree. 
Belk Guy: "It reads 'bridesmaid' to me."

Oh, that's not good.  Ken is already being edited as the angry, Black man this season. we're 50 years from the March on Washington.  Can't a designer of color simply stew in his own juices for a moment without something being read into it?

They gave him a second chance.  And Kate, that judges' favorite, helped him out.

Is she helping or trying to sabotage?  We'll never know....
Hoo-chee-coo!  Way too short, which means that Heidi loved it.  Actually, in a weird turn of events, Heidi thought it was too short and Nina thought it was better than the first dress.
Zac Posen and the Belk Guy didn't get any of the judges' secret hallucinogen stash this week.
Dom: "The modern, Southern woman needs a two-toned gown with a slit up the thigh!"
Dom was also sent back to re-work her outfit.  She chose Helen to help out. 

She used the fabric she had originally wanted to use.  The look is ok...with that mullet hem that everyone seems to love so much.  The bodice is a bit too misshapen for my tastes.  Maybe modern, Southern women would like it.  Belk Guy?

Belk Guy: "They would like it and I love it!  I'm picking this as the second winner this week! And yes, I found that secret stash..."
Oh, I'll leave it to you to debate amongst yourselves over whether or not there should be two winners.  Just keep this in mind: the only thing Bradon and Dom won this week was the privilege of having someone else make money off of their work.  There was a time, once, when winning a challenge on Project Runway meant that you got a free trip somewhere, maybe a computer, maybe the use of a car for a year.  Now, all you get is to walk past the store and see your garment on the rack.  Maybe you'll stand there and point, "Hey everyone, I designed that!"

Your bank account is still as empty as it was when you started.  Yay!

The big loser this week was Jeremy.

Jeremy: "A modern, Southern woman needs a proper suit."
Perhaps.  In fact, I thought the idea was spot-on.  The judges mumbled about "matronlyness."  What.  Ever.  The real problem with the outfit was that the jacket was poorly designed and downright sloppy.  The color and texture of the fabric were a bit too heavy.  It's too bad he didn't have any more of the dress material.  I would have suggested a cardigan jacket out of the dress material to go with the dress.

But he had Alexander helping him and not me.

Alexander: "The asymmetrical hem worked for me..."

It ended up being the simplest of the three second chances and Jeremy was out.

I didn't have any of the judges' secret stash, so I think Ken should have been the one out this week.  But in the end, all of our designers after the eighth challenge end up being the big winners because they were all able to show at Fashion Week, this past week in New York.

Until next challenge....

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