Thursday, October 23, 2014

Project Runway Season 13, Korina Emmerich, Decoy Collection

Greetings, Project Runway fans!

We are now on our third decoy designer, Korina Emmerich. Her elimination seemed surprising to many viewers, but I suspect that if you asked the judges, the runoff she had with Charkeeta Glover would seem rather indicative of how they addressed her contribution this season.

Like Char, Korina seemed hamstrung by her personal style. As a Native American, she often wore her culture on her sleeve. But as a designer, she drew a less literal inspiration from that culture. Case in point was her design for the American Girl challenge.

The doll she was assigned was Mexican-American and one could argue that Mexican ethnicity is native American. She could have gone more literal with the cultural affectations we associate with native Mexican fashion: ruffles, bright colors, flouncy skirts, embroidered flowers, etc... Instead, she went with a more modern, updated design that honed in on the doll's backstory: a girl who kept a secret box of objects that reminded her of her mother.  In this way, Korina tapped into some very personal feelings and emotions in this design, while at the same time updating it for a modern girl.

But I think that complex point of view confused the judges.  From her as a person, they saw her culture.  From her as a designer, they saw someone who could make an incredible leather jacket.  Nina spent three challenges telling her that they didn't see her point of view.  Finally, when she did start to show it, the judges were more receptive...until they weren't.  I refuse to dwell on that grasping critique of her last challenge.  That was not the judges' final and most articulate hour.  I believe, if we are to give her runway show the critique it deserves, we have to step off from the above challenge, which I think expressed Korina's true designer sensibilities.  

Leather dominated the collection, as did jackets and pants.  This was a sportswear collection separates.

Her jackets feature clever detailing in the sleeves and pockets.

This outfit has one of my favorite quick and easy dress-up options: a tunic and pencil skirt.  If I had to quibble it would be that the sleeves are just a little too long and wide.

The color blocking and piecing are very smart and of the moment.

Thing is, with so much leather and suit after suit, the collection becomes kind of monotonous after a few looks.

The idea of this piece is more interesting than the execution.  The shirt is made from strips of material that are woven at the chest area.  How do you get through the day (or night) without snagging everything you walk past?

There was no dramatic arc. No "show" aspect. Could this have won? I think the judges would have had some strong things to say about her range, variety and dramatic impact. Some of the looks were awkward on the models. Still, I think it's very clear after this show how strongly she feels about her design vision.

There's no doubt that Korina has the technical skills to produce some high quality outfits. I'm sure her designs will be quite marketable and she has a bright future. Her website isn't equipped to sell pieces just yet, but that's certainly the goal.  You can visit her website to find out more about her collections (and see details of the looks) and you can see her entire Fashion Week runway collection at Blogging Project Runway.

Next up, Emily!

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