Saturday, September 17, 2016

Project Runway 15, Episode 1: Glitter On the Runway

Welcome back, Project Runway Fans!

It's so good to be back blogging Project Runway. Can you believe it's been fifteen seasons? Why just the other day, it seems as though I was finishing up a quilt while watching Season one. How time flies. 

"This really is my favorite first runway show ever!"
I don't know if I'd go that far, but I have to say that the designers seem to have good skills, the challenges look interesting and exciting and the season shows a lot of promise.

I'm all in!

Not much has changed since last year...Mary Kay makeup, Sally Beauty hair salon, Just Fab accessory wall. It's good to see Luis Casco return. Also nice that no one went out of business or filed Chapter 11....thanks Obama! 

The prize package is about the same last year's. The winner gets $25,000 in cash plus free lodging at Best Westerns around the world (I wonder where they're going this year...), a Lexus (I'm assuming a year's lease), a Brother sewing and embroidery studio, and a spread in Marie Claire. No Hewlett Packard in the mix. Thanks, Carly Fiorina!

The show continues its tradition of casting contestants diverse in age, race, nationality, and geography. One of the contestants defines herself as "half Mormon." I'm curious to find out what that means. The models,too, are more diverse than your average fashion runway and that's always a good thing. Project Runway models don't get paid. They take the gig for the exposure and the producers have always cast diverse models. The show really does launch some careers.

The inaugural challenge involved unconventional materials from the decorations at the launch party. Pillows, balloons, paper lanterns, backpacks, Mood bags, Polaroid pictures......really? The crew must have been enchanted by them last year....

Cue the mad dash scramble....

It's always tough to blog the first few challenges. There are too many designers to track. For those designers who leave early, you'd like to give them their moment in the sun. So I'll be using complete names and keeping the descriptions and storyline straightforward.

Alex Snyder

Alex immediately cast himself as the Obi Wan Kenobi to our fashion Jedi.

"These aren't the unconventional materials you're looking for."
"Use the force furry rug, Dexter."
For all the good advice he was bestowing on others, perhaps he should have spent a little more time focusing on his piece.

The colors are exuberant, which really jazzed Tim during the critique. Between the placements, the ruffled skirt and the delicate top, there are too many bold, competing ideas in this outfit. Alex's construction is impeccable, which is what saved him from getting called out while the herd was big.  

"I'm the mentor on this show, Alex. Why not just do you, ok?"
Kimber Richardson

I see placemats and a lampshade. None of these are very transformed. The dress is stiff, unflattering and uninspiring. What's with the white straps in the back? Not a great dress and I would have put it toward the bottom instead of the one that ended up almost eliminated.

Laurence Basse

Laurence ignored Tim's advice not to use the beads like beads. This is a big nothing of a dress--basically muslin with matchsticks applied to the sleeves and waist. She sweat bullets during the show and the initial announcement. She was likely too relieved to be safe that she doesn't remember anything else that happened after that.

On the plus side, the construction is good. That's about it.

Jenni Riccetti

Yes Jenni did three pieces. Yes she hand painted the backpack fabric. Yes, it fit well. Should I be impressed by her ability to sew feather boas together to create a shrug? Because I'm not sure that's really impressive. What's with the Teva sandals for what should have been a party outfit? This was always going to be safe. I could see that going in.   

Cornelius Ortiz

It's my blog and I'm going to say this was one of my favorite pieces. I love how he used the plates to create texture and movement. The flowers cascade down the back. I didn't think it was too derivative. Maybe,if it had one little issue, perhaps it was too expected. This would have been one of my top picks.

Linda Marcus

The skirt looked way better on the runway than it does in these pictures. The top doesn't really compliment the skirt enough. They look like two different outfits put together because both pieces are white.

Rik Villa

Up until now, there has only been one Rik on television...

I really miss Rik Mayall.... But now, we have a new Rik.

Polaroid pictures. All white. I liked the back more than the front. I can understand why it was safe, but it's not a bad look at all. 

Sarah Donofrio

There's way too much going on here. Too much fuss at the neckline. While the pop of color is appreciated, this looks like separates from two different outfits that were put together.

Nathalie JMag

Disco yeti? I dunno....I have to admit that I thought either she or Dexter would be in trouble when they both pulled out the yeti rugs. Shows you how wrong I was...

Mah-Jing Wong

Mah-Jing took a lot of guff for his collage dress. Yes, we've seen it before, but it ended up being the perfect strategy for sliding under the radar.

Tasha Henderson

Anyone who makes pants for an unconventional materials challenge deserves to come up before the judges if for no other reason than to hear their amazement that you managed to produce pants for the challenge. And Tasha upped the difficulty factor with a high waist, dropped crotch, and pegged legs. This could have been a disaster. The pants were amazing. The top...not so much. I would have loved to see her use the Mood bag in a different way for the top. The color, for me, was disjointed. The Tim/Heidi bag, made from the backs of their directors chairs, was a nice, whimsical touch.

And at this point, I must ask the question....WHY DIDN'T ANYONE USE THE PROJECT RUNWAY LOGO???? Hello? 

Brik Allen

The designer whose name sounds like an MST3K nickname for Dave Ryder from Space Mutiny also made pants and made his acquaintance with glitter. Lots of glitter.

The top is made and detailed with the bills of golf caps. The pants are muslin covered with glitter. Lots of glitter. So much glitter that it took him an entire day to glue the glitter on. After half of it fell off when the model tried the pants on, he enlisted her to glue more glitter back on the pants....which elicited this comment about glitter:

It just spreads.

There was nothing really wrong with this outfit that wasn't wrong with Tasha's, but the judges decided to list the grievances anyway--at the very least--to create the illusion that more than one designer was in trouble. The model's braids looked to "prairie girl." The pants were cut a hair too short. The pants didn't go with the top...blah, blah, blah.

You leave Brik McGlitterGlue alone! Kimber and Laurence wouldn't have been the least bit surprised to get the almost auf this week. Neither one of them made pants, either.

But let's go to the two highest scores before we go to the loser this week.

Roberti Parra

Roberti took the paper lanterns apart and began playing with their shapes. In many places, the lantern pieces were woven together with others.

"We've seen this before."
We have? If we have, who remembers? Come on. The last thing I need is a bunch of middle aged judges argue about whether we've seen something before.

Erin Robertson

In true Project Runway fashion, she started out with questionable materials and we never thought she'd finish. 

Gumballs, wigs...wait...wigs at a launch party? Who decorates with wigs?

It was audacious, fun, risky...all those things judges like. It was also neat and well constructed.

Ian Hargrove

I wonder if Ian could hear us yelling at our TVs...

"Don't argue with Tim!"
Tim's suggestion was to take this idea and go more over the top with it--more volume, more something. Ian insisted on being minimalist.

Minimalist? there's nothing minimalist about this dress. If he wanted to be minimalist, he should have taken one type of material and worked with that. Instead, this ended up looking like the model was wearing the notions rack at Mood.

If you're going to insist on using one motif, it has to be impeccably applied. This was sloppy and all over the place. I think Ian truly thought he was standing up for himself and his vision. In reality, he came off whiny and petulant. 

It didn't have to be this way. He could have leaned into Tim's critique to figure out how to translate his aesthetic into something the judges would like. 

Well, no matter how we feel about how Ian comported himself on the show, he is the first auf and in our tradition, we will give him the proper send off.

Ian is a native of Chicago and you can read more about him and his design philosophy here. And visit his website, Against all Odds, where you will find this luscious number....

Perfect for a blustery, Chicago day, no?  Best of luck to you, Ian.

Until next week, when I think we're going to have a "non-model woman" challenge, be well!