Sunday, September 28, 2014

Project Runway, Season 13, Episode 10, Oh Make Me Over...

I'm all I want to be.

Sorry, I'm having a Courtney Love moment.

Seriously. I think she would have been a fantastic judge for this challenge. Unlike the model and the actress who were featured on the judges' panel this week, she is not a conventional beauty. Yet, she underwent one of the most amazing transformations in her career. I bet she has a lot to say about the whole concept.

This week, everyone missed the whole point of the challenge.

"Please, don't be tempted to go for the pretty woman who looks like a model."
So what did the designers do? Alexander literally pushed a woman who was interested away because she was TOO SHORT. Amanda chose her woman because she "looked like a model." The makeover part turned out to be an afterthought. The designers were more fixated on their outfits and the most dramatic transformations involved the Phillip B hair people. Poor Mary Kay guy! He didn't even get to sit on the judges' panel.

So off to Washington Square Park went our designers to search for their muses.

Like every park in New York, Washington Square has quite a storied past. 

Along with many other parks in the city, it was embroiled in a tug of war between Robert Moses, New York Parks Commissioner, and New Yorkers who used the parks every day. Moses' makeover for the park included extending 5th Avenue right through the center.  It took a coalition of citizen activists, including Jane Jacobs, Shirley Hayes and even Eleanor Roosevelt to stop it.

A second makeover ended up tied up in litigation for the past ten years.  Finally, the Parks Commission undertook their plan to align the fountain with the Washington Arch, cutting down a number of mature elms in the process, much to the chagrin of local residents.

Most of the park is now open to the public.  In the middle of the summer, without any tree shade, some of the granite benches that were installed heat up to 125 degrees.

Not the best makeover.

I'd like to think that producers had all of these transformations in mind when they picked the park as a location for the muse search, but I'm not sure they did. 


After some difficulty and a pep talk from Tim, Sean found his model.

She was just the right size and shape to wear one of his standard issue evening gowns. I hope she has somewhere nice to go!

All you need to know about that garment was that he was safe this week.


Who knew Amanda was so shallow?

She chose her model because she was so pretty. Words like "young" and "funky" were tossed about. Her inspiration, however, came from her trip to Mood where she fell in love with some striped fabric and thought it would be clever to piece something together.

It didn't exactly work very well.

The judges all pointed out that the vest was too long and the skirt was too short. If one thing had to be changed, I'd lower the hem. The hem hits her leg at the widest part of her thigh and defeats the purpose of having a flare. This is not a dress for a windy day. A little more length would have solved one of the worst problems with the dress.

She added a panel to the back to give it more volume so that it would fit around her model's waist. She didn't give it enough length to hang gracefully all the way around. This was poorly constructed and designed and it almost ended her run on the show.


Char's muse is a pre-school teacher whose husband performs in a rock band. She commented that she never has anything to wear when she goes to see him play.

I'm not sure Char has a solid handle on a rock and roll aesthetic, because this is what she designed.

While the tomato red is very flattering, the peplum jacket is completely unnecessary. The shorts are uneven and poorly constructed. To make matters worse, Char held up the entire runway show when her model accidentally ripped the zipper off.

If I were a Project Runway model, I'd be insisting that I get to wear underwear under the garment. I don't care if it busts your zipper. You measured me with underwear on, after all. But this poor woman busted a zipper without underwear underneath. Char knew she wasn't dressing a professional model and should have taken that under consideration when she constructed the garment. At the very least, have some spare velcro tape on hand.

Other designers had issues with broken zippers at the last minute and solved the problem by sewing the model into the garment. For some reason not completely explained, this couldn't be done and Tim had to ask the designers if they would agree to more time for Char FOR THE FIRST TIME IN PROJECT RUNWAY HISTORY.

"Where are the designers? Why are they so late?"

Despite the fact that Char pulled out all of her usual stops, including the back cut-out, this was remarkable only for how unflattering it was on the model. She was spared this week, but her reward is the collective disdain of her fellow models for not being able to stick to her time and for relying on Tim Gunn to save her once again.


You know someone like this. I know a bunch of people like this. These are women who have a very strong personal style. Her hair is cut distinctively. Her make-up is already attention-getting. She has eyebrows for days. She likes swingy skirts and 1950's style. She probably shops at thrift stores, consignment shops and scours estate sales for vintage clothing. Wait, that's me...well not the make-up and eyebrow part.

Thing is, Alexander thinks he understands her but he really only understands himself.

He goes to Mood and chooses two of the ugliest houndstooth fabrics I've ever seen--in two colors: yellow and green. One side of the fabric has plain houndstooth and the other has houndstooth with large dots.

I'm not making this up.

"My model loves vintage clothing and I wanted to give her a modern version of that."
"That is the most hideous garment I've ever seen."
There are so many things wrong with this outfit.  For starters, why do a two-piece, sleeveless, midriff baring garment in suiting material?  Second, why choose such unusual patterns for your pieced-together, "melting dress" look?  Why choose a "melting dress" motif at all? This isn't an avant garde challenge (although, hasn't the time come for a "real woman avant garde challenge?")

The top is too loose. The skirt is completely uneven. Despite having two days and $200, this looks like an Etsy upcycle. There was nothing well designed about this garment and Alexander was shown the door this week.

He gets to go to Fashion Week as one of the decoys so not all is lost. Anyway, he's only 21 and still in design school. He has years (and Project Runway All-Stars)  to work things out. 


In a park filled with hundreds of people, Kini managed to find the "anti-Kini." She has a boho-hippie style and doesn't like dressing up. This flustered Kini for awhile until he decided to make a dress in denim. But just to hedge bets, he made one in white as well.

In the end, the dress/jacket combination was perfect for his model. Using demin allowed him to present something that satisfied her casual nature while giving him a platform to showcase his finishing skills.

He almost got the win this week.  This was not without problems, however. Kini continues to finish fast and not go back and fix the details.

That was one wonky hem.


Emily has taken several doses of "Bore no More" and now that she's found her aesthetic voice, hear her ROAR!

"You like Theirry Mugler?  I like Theirry Mugler!"
Theirry Mugler was the real muse this week, not Emily's lovely model

Theirry Mugler
They both like Mugler's "out there" style, so Emily swung for the fences.

It was exuberant and beautifully detailed.

But why pull out all the stops for the muse model challenge?  It's not the model who is your muse, but the judges who are musing about where your ordinary woman would ever wear an outfit like this.

Correct answer: "I have tickets to the Met Ball, bitches!"

"And I'll be a hit at the Tango competition."
Had it been just a little more believable as a wearable dress, Emily would have had this wrapped up.


Korina can sew a jacket out of anything for anybody in no time flat.

Shelby is a ballerina.  Of course she is. But her style is rather bland.  Hers was one of the most dramatic transformations.

From ballerina to bad-ass in three days.

What looks like fringe in the picture is actually silk chiffon, pleated and stitched together. In many ways, leather and suiting materials are very easy to work with and hide a lot of seaming problems. But to be able to produce a well constructed garment in leather AND chiffon is quite a feat. When your sewing mindset is on one material, it's often hard to switch gears and go to another. Most people would take a day off to clear their heads. She only had two days, so she had to switch gears (and needles and thread and machine settings) fast.  She was the winner this week.

So we're down to six.  Next week's challenge features two-person teams, lots of drama and huge twist that makes everyone drop their jaws.  See you then!

1 comment:

  1. An earlier version mis-identified the park. Corrections have been made.