Sunday, October 2, 2016

Project Runway Season 15 Episode 2: An Army of Women

Greetings, Project Runway fans! Three weeks in and I'm already playing catch-up. This doesn't bode well for the season.

Excuse the crappy pics this week. I had to snap shots from the TV because the show pics at weren't very revealing of the challenge. Our designers were paraded to somewhere in Brooklyn for that stunning view of the east side of Manhattan, with the UN building in the background....when all of a sudden...
Women started walking in from everywhere. An "army of women," as one designer put it. It was like one of Donald Trump's nightmares....dozens of ordinary, everyday women.
For a minute, I think most viewers thought there will be some sort of conjured up lottery for the designers to choose models from these women. That would have been a wild twist--just the second show of the season and...boom...a non-model challenge!

But no. They were just props. 

It was the Just Fab challenge. Just Fab sponsors the accessory wall and the challenge was to design an outfit that any woman of any size could wear. It would be sold on the Just Fab website.
On the bright side, we ended up back at Mood. So while it wasn't a "real woman" challenge, it did involve "real fabric." 
And the real "Swatch." Which is always good. '

Let's look at the designs the judges passed on this week.

Cornelius Ortiz

For the challenge, it's always a risk to make multiple pieces when the client wants just one thing to sell. These are separates.The top has interesting shapes and the print is used well. The skirt is simply basic. The strength of this outfit is the combination of two seemingly disparate looks. Offered separately, most women would not pair them together. Few would choose those shoes. So Cornelius was always going to be safe, in a challenge like this.

Rik Villa

It is a fresh take on a shirtdress, but once you expose the midriff, you remove the outfit from a wide range of buyers. Age-wise, it skews young. It would be hard for a fuller figured woman to wear this comfortably.

Roberti Parra
There's nothing special here in terms of separates. The three pieces go together because Roberti put them together. The strength of the top is the fabric, not necessarily. 

Mah-Jing Wong

The front of the top is pouchy around the bust. In the back, it's uneven and the way it bubbles around the butt is awkward. 

Sarah Donofrio

I'm pretty sure Just Fab already has these two pieces. I seriously thought she was going to be called up for more critique this week for that very reason.

Tasha Henderson

Again, the exposed midriff excludes a lot of women from this look. It's a shame that she didn't pull this look out for a challenge that required a very strong point of view.

Nathalia JMag

The shoes and the leggings give off an athletic vibe. In that context, the oversized jacket looks a little like a robe that a prize fighter wears to the ring. I'm not sure if that was what Nathalia was going for. It's too early to know what anyone is going for. Way too over-the-top for Just Fab.

Dexter Simmons
From the front, there's some potential, but there's way too much volume in the sleeves and the back is shapeless and bunchy. the color is strange. The zipper is completely impractical. Is this supposed to be outerwear? the styling with the boots gives me that impression. I think it would have been more successful, just a little shorter, paired with a simple sheath dress. Whatever his intention, I he needed a bit more time to work on a silhouette. I'm a little surprised this was completely safe.

Alex Snyder
The judges were split on this. Heidi loved the bow. Zac didn't understand it. I'm with Zac. The sheer blouse with the bow paired with those pants doesn't quite work for me. There's nothing wrong with pairing a dressy top with casual pants, but again, this outfit is contrived. If these separates were sold on Just Fab, women would probably not put these two pieces together. And the bare midriff....sorry to belabor a point...but some of that army of women had muffin tops. And stretch marks.

Jenni Riccetti
There is nothing I should like about this outfit. A dropped crotch? Bath mat material for the jacket? A cropped top? I'm convinced that I'd look ridiculous in this outfit. And you probably would to.
So why did the judges love it so much? Why do I love it so much? Everything fits the model so well. The colors are delicious.
It looks great standing still. Then again, when the model walks away, I'm sorry...dropped crotch pants just don't walk well. Sorry, M.J. Hammer

Erin Richardson
That modern miracle fabric brought to us by DuPont laboratories in the 1930's...a favorite of divers, a protector of laptops everywhere. It's what Erin chose for her dress for the masses. For Just Fab.


And everyone loved it. It was, indeed, cartoon cute. Oh, it had TABS TO CINCH IN THE WAIST! It was RUNWAY READY. Hello? Remember the army of women? I dunno. I just don't see this as a practical, everyday dress. Even a special occasion dress. Not sure I'd want to wear a dress all day that could begin to disintegrate upon contact with oils, acids...even hydrogen peroxide. If this had won, I rather doubt that Just Fab would have manufactured it with neoprene fabric.

Really, Erin knew she had immunity. She just wanted to get the attention of the judges again. Look at me! I can design a cute dress made out of neoprene!

Teacher's pet. Everyone is starting to hate her. :)

Laurence Basse
The winner.
Because our army of women needs a jumpsuit. In olive drab green. I'm not sure this was the outfit for a wide range of women...but it did fit the brief in so many ways:
  - One piece that could be produced;
  - An outfit that could be sized up;
  - Versatile for a number of different activities. I'm ok with it.
The orange stripe down the back is cute. I'm not that keen on the back pockets--although Nina loved them. Other pet peeves...I would have preferred longer sleeves and the high collar looks a little....Soviet?

On the other hand, my oldest son was wondering if Laurence was available to work on my son's Fallout costume for Halloween.

Brik Allen
"All of America is saying, 'Step it up, Brik!'"
All of Tim's "make it work" pep talks just couldn't coax greatness out of this poor guy. This is what we got...

I can't put my finger on what the problem is here. He can sew. So that's not it. Is it a lack of imagination? Insufficient time? Not sure. The biggest problem with this were those pants. The jacket was promising. Paired up with something a little more stylish than those pants, he would have at least been safe.

Kimber Richardson
"I can't make the fabrics do what I want!"
It wasn't the worst thing.

Those pants were killer. She had the right idea with the top, but she had the wrong fabric and she needed just a bit more length in the back and a wee bit of shaping. All these things take time, which she didn't have because she had to manufacture the textile on the top. With a little more time to design and the right fabric, this could have been a killer look. So much potential.

Linda Marcus

Zac was right. That knit fabric was awful. I have a vintage dress dummy that is covered in that material. It's stretchy and every bump and bulge shows through. That's ok for dress dummies. Not ok for our army of women.
And it's a shame because I love a good, knit dress. Linda continued to make bad fabric choices. That's not a garbage bag the model is carrying. It's a jacket.

Her instincts were right. Who wouldn't love a kimono jacket and a sheath dress. I was all over that until I saw the fabric--a stiff, sheer, taffeta-like fabric. And the raw edges....

But take a look at what Lisa is wearing....
That's the look she was going for. If only she had chosen better fabric. 

Anyway, Linda has been designing handbags for years. Perhaps she'll now branch out into apparel. Visit her website, Linda Marcus Designs.

Bear with me while I catch up on the episodes! Later!


  1. Any more posts coming? It's never too late to catch up and I really enjoy your opinions, especially as it gets to fewer designers.

  2. where are you? :( i miss your posts