I really fell off the recap wagon this season (yes, AGAIN) because it was just not good enough to write about. Although it was a better season that we’ve seen in a long time, I just couldn’t muster up the snarky comments and the will to CARE enough to recap the rather boring (or downright ridiculous) challenges.
Instead, I offer up to you a concise little recap of the Season (picking up where I left off after Episode 6), with my feelings about the finale/winner/decoys.
Episode 7: The Lord and Taylor PR Capsule Collection
Another nod to the ‘omg-its-season-10-of-PR!’ crap they’ve been slinging at us all season, this challenge had the designers compete to join 9 other looks representing each of the prior 9 seasons in a capsule collection for Lord and Taylor. Actually this was a good challenge as it forced them to work within constraints that are realistic for most designers: budget, price point, manufacturability and fitting your own aesthetic into a larger brand. WINNER: Christoper Palau, who wasn’t yet annoying me at this point. OUT: No one.
Episode 8: Sell crap on the street that has nothing to do with the 2 Fall looks including outerwear that you will make in teams of 3. (Even typing that description makes me mad.)
In this episode they made the designers go out and embarrass themselves on the street for money, which they made surprisingly large amounts of in a short time – smells like Producer influence as I cannot imagine anyone being willing to pay 20.00 for even a fraction of the stuff the teams had made. Anyways, it seems designed to set up whichever team made the ‘most’ money to fall from grace when they didn’t produce a good mini-collection compared to teams with less money. Smell that? Yeah, me too. WINNER: Sonjia Williams (for her adorable coat, a well deserved win.) OUT: Alicia
Episode 9: Design your Own Print
Ahhh, the product placement episode! Oh, wait, they’re all product placement episodes now aren’t they. Le Sigh. Anyways, its always fun to see the designers get really artistic with the prints – except so many of them were totally uninspired for this challenge that the prints ended up being rather sad. WINNER: Dmitry, and lets face it, mostly for the awesomeness of his jacket and not the print itself. OUT: Gunnar (should have been Ven in my opinion.)
Episode 10: Design for the Rockettes
This, like the ‘Wrestling Outfit’ challenge or the ‘Drag Queen’ challenge of past seasons, is designed to create some potentially TACKY ASS clothing from designers who have no experience with (or desire to) design with spandex, sequins and glitter. Elena’s effort in this ep was a prime example: over-embellished to the point of insanity. And she recognized it way too late to fix it. WINNER: Christopher Palau (beautiful concept, but I bet you anything it was changed for actual use as the skyline wouldn’t be visible from the 10th row, much the less the back of the Theatre.) OUT: Ven. (and a collective ‘yes!’ is heard from bloggers far and wide)
Episode 11: Babysit Robot Infants while Sewing Baby Clothes for Heidi’s Sweatshop!
UGH. I don’t even want to dignify this challenge with a recap, however short. It was exactly what the headline above says – I’m not exaggerating. WINNERS: Christopher and Sonjia. OUT: Elena (psst, Fabio should have won)
Episode 12: Avante Garde My Ass!
Oh the (unsubtle) irony that Elena was eliminated before the Avante Garde challenge. Too bad because she was the only person besides Fabio who could have turned out something even remotely Avant Garde. Producers, you screwed that one up big time. Basically it was the MAKEUP challenge (design a look based on the makeup palette/character you are given) and calling it anything other than that is a painfully bad joke. WINNER: Dmitry. OUT: No one.
Episode 13/14: Finale, of sorts.
The finale was especially dissatisfying to me this year. I think the Producers of this show must not have computers, or the internet, or even assistants with freaking iPhones, because it just doesn’t make any sense to me why they keep up this 10 decoys thing season after season. The whole point of making it to Final 3 is that you get to show at Fashion Week. When they basically give that opportunity to everyone? It cheapens the entire show, and the finale especially. “Everyone’s a winner” does not make good television. And if that isn’t enough, Part 1 of the finale episode ended with no one being eliminated and everyone getting to show at Fashion Week… so BORING. Personally I think that its because Melissa was the clear ‘auf-ee’ and the Producers didn’t want to eliminate their only female finalist on a LIFETIME show. Too bad because Elena’s collection could have easily put her in Top 2, and perhaps even won. (Really, check it out – its AWESOME.)
Anyways, on to Part 2, where all of the designers make adjustments to their presentation or garments for the runway – wouldn’t it be easier for the designers to just have a consultation with MKors or Nina in the workroom about styling prior to the show? It would make it feel more like they were getting some kind of mentorship instead of being trashed on the runway for 4 hours and then told, “Sooo.. to sum up, change everything in 2 days, cuz we’re still letting you show at Fashion Week! lolz!” Ugh. Anyways, Christopher panicked, Melissa just did exactly what she was told, Dmitry stayed calm and Fabio absorbed the critique and used it the way a real artist/designer does – he interpreted it to make his work better. WINNER: Dmitry
Although 95% of her comments were not useful at all, Jennifer Hudson made one comment during judging that cemented (for me) who should have won. She said, “Maybe Fabio deserves the push a little more than Dmitry does – his stuff is so conceptual that he needs the backing, for someone else to say yes, this work is really something.” And I think she was right. Since 99% of us regular people weren’t at the actual show, we have to trust the ones who were there who say that Fabio’s fabrics were much more luxurious in person. But more than that, his collection was the only one with any surprises in it. I was shocked that Dmitry was never called out for doing things he did on the show (which the judges usually do) such as the floating cut outs and the exaggerated sleeves. Personally I think Fabio deserved the win.
Come back soon as I intend to TRY TRY TRY and blog recaps for PR AllStars. At least Uli is on the show. I freaking love her – she’ll make it bearable to watch (and hopefully recap) for awhile at least.
I know, I know. I promised I was going to be all on top of things this season. I’ve just found that I’ve been wanting to blog more about other subjects lately so most of my blogging efforts have been going elsewhere.
Anyways, this will be a mega-super-update (see the three posts below) with a spicy little rant on top about this week’s episode.
Episode 6: Fix my Friend
Ohhhh. The dreaded makeover challenge! The dreaded ‘real woman’ challenge! Every designer’s nightmare! Oh the horror! They’re not model-sized! What can possibly I do with this fat frumpy client!!
I actually thought that the producers found a much better way of getting around the whole “designers pick the thin clients first until all that’s left is the fat ones” problem of previous seasons. Randomly assigning them and not even allowing the designers to see their client until the workroom was an excellent solution – except of course for the problem of Ven being a complete an utter ASS and totally insensitive to his client. Regardless of her size, any girl getting a makeover is going to have some insecurities that need to be handled deftly.
I’m sure the Internet is already exploding with outrage over Ven and his attitude. I am very tempted to raise my own voice and tear him down for his words and actions too, but I’m going to take a different tactic here.
I’m in NO WAY defending Ven’s statements when I say this, but the ‘problem’ of designing for real woman sizes in the fashion industry is not limited to Ven or any one designer. It’s a problem with the entire industry. How many times have you walked into a department store or really ANY store and seen even a mannequin that reflects your proportions? Clothes, in general, are designed to look good on that one size and shape. As soon as you pull that cute dress or skirt or top off the rack in a larger size, the proportions are lost and nothing will make you look like that mannequin, whether you’re a size 8 or 12 or 24. Its pretty basic people – the only people who look good in model-sized clothes are duh, models.
There are plenty of arguments for why this is: samples are sewn in small sizes to use the least amount of fabric, blah blah blah. Basically they are designing clothes that look good on a hanger – a human hanger called a model – that provides no real shape that will affect or change the silhouette that the designer has in mind.
You know what would be a really great challenge? Have all the designers design something for the SAME CLIENT who is of normal proportions or plus-sized proportions. Then you’d really see what each of them is capable of. It’s fine and dandy to say that you understand silhouette and proportion and design and construction when you basically don’t have to deal with any kind of real shape underneath the clothes. Put a little booty under there, a large bust, a pear or hourglass shape, a boxy shape, some muscular shoulders and that’s when the real designers are going to shine.
What shocks me more than anything in this episode is not Ven’s comments. If you’re an asshole, you’re going to say asshole things. What I’m surprised by is that NONE of the female designers said anything to him. There are some very strong women in that room. They all commented about his actions in interviews…but NONE of them confronted him about it. None of them said what needed to be said. Finally, his client’s friend said something to him but I feel like the other designers (male and female) kind of had a responsibility to take him to task for it.
This is a bit of a tangent, but one of the biggest problems with feminism in our modern era is that so many young women seem to think that they aren’t feminists at all…or that its somehow a dirty word.
I have, on countless occasions, witnessed firsthand a classroom of women in a university openly declare that they are NOT feminists. Um, hello? You are taking classes in a UNIVERSITY. Do you believe you have a right to be there? Then you are a feminist. Full Stop.
Despite what the propagandists of the 70’s and 80’s would have you believe, feminism is NOT about hating men, or advocating that we deserve more than they do. It’s about equality. It’s about fair treatment regardless of gender. It’s about realistic representation of women. It’s about freedom regarding our bodies, our choices and our lifestyles. And when we stop standing up for those rights, which are basic and kind of laughable that we have to fight for in the first place, we are doing ourselves a disservice.
Every time someone tells a joke about a girl needing to eat a sandwich (or alternatively to eat a salad), every time someone tells a rape joke (or justifies rape), every time someone says something sexist or demeaning to ANY other gender or culture, its our responsibility to say something. That is the only way things are going to change. That’s the only reason things DID change. I applaud the other designers for treating their clients more humanely than Ven did, but I shake my head at them for not making him accountable for his actions. In the preview for next episode, Ven issues another decree about how “men make better designers than women.” Speak up designers! Make your voices heard beyond the interview room and put them right in his face where he can’t defend himself.
The judges too, had an opportunity to make a statement about acceptable behaviour towards women and clients in general and although they teased around it (“One, OR MORE OF YOU, will be out.”) they didn’t follow through. Ven is safe to wage his reign of misogynistic crap another day. Nathan, the human being, was eliminated instead.
“It’s My Way on the Runway”
Challenge: In two teams, design a mini collection for a woman at work to be photographed for a spread in ‘Marie Claire @ Work.’
The designers are split into two teams: Team 6 and Team 5, producing 6 and 5 garments respectively. Another team challenge leads inevitably to more drama. Elena shows just how much of a bitch she can be, Gunnar is ignored and turned into a ‘tailor’ and Raoul spends so much time worrying about being in the bottom, that he ends up in the bottom.
Honestly, the most notable thing about this episode was Elena’s insane behavior. Dmitry called it her ‘work ethic’ but what he meant is that she basically has no respect for any one else – whether its their opinion, aesthetic or shared workspace. She curses and yells and does not seem to understand just how rude it is to impose your angry working style onto others forced to share the room with you.
- “Its pink its so cliché”
- “I think its very tacky”
- “This is fucking stupid”
- “This is so fucking ugly”
- “Fuck, this is so not me”
- “We all hate the navy blue you have”
- “Fuck off. Stupid.”
- “Eddie Munster, the vest he made, is shit.”
- “That looks bad.”
- “That curtain is hideous”
- “She looks like she is taking a shit.”
- “Don’t fucking talk to me like that!”
I would have tried to provoke some of that from her on the runway so the judges could see for themselves how rude she was.
In a PR first, it was a tie between the two teams – usually there is a clear top and a clear bottom but obviously each collection had strengths and weaknesses. As evidenced by the fact that the winner and the auf-ee both came from the same team.
WINNER: Melissa (although it is laughable to me that anyone could consider this to be ‘work appropriate’
My favorite line (and design) of the episode: “Ven is a one way monkey.” Oh Dmitry, you are awesome both in your designs and your comments.
“Women on the Go”
The morning is full of drama as the news of Andrea’s departure makes its way around the room. But it’s another day, another vague challenge. After meeting with Michael Kors, the designers have 1 day to design an all day look for a ‘Woman on the Go.’ Versatility, sophistication, easiness – your own aesthetic for ‘your’ woman.
The designers are all very critical of Andrea – unprofessional, cowardly, treating this like a joke, disrespectful of the opportunity etc. I totally agree that sneaking out in the middle of the night is odd, but on the other hand on some level I can understand wanting to leave. There is really no way to know what its going to be like to be in a competition like this, followed around by cameras everywhere you go, no down time, no privacy.. and then to be embarrassed like she was during elimination – I can imagine that leaving seems like the easiest way out of something that you really didn’t comprehend how hard it was going to be.
Now, like I said, I would prepare myself as best as I could if I was going to be on a show like this, but some people…I guess they think they know what to expect, or that they’ll be able to handle anything no matter what it is… and sometimes people are surprised by their own limits. Like Kooan, for example, he realized that this type of competition was not for him, not the way he wanted to move forward in his evolution as a designer. And I can respect that.
Anyways, after the bomb drop of losing two designers, they bring back Raoul to make everyone feel better and the challenge really gets underway. Buffi struggles and Christopher tries to nudge her away from doing something that will get her eliminated…but she reacts kind of badly to it. She would ‘rather go out on something she believes in’ and unfortunately…she does.
Personally I think that if you have someone eliminated who is brought back and then immediately ends up in the bottom again, that person is probably supposed to be out of the competition and should be eliminated again. I get the feeling sometimes that the producers don’t want to do that “you’re out, no wait you’re in, nope sorry you’re out again!” in one episode even though they probably should. So Raoul stays another week and Buffi goes home.
Guest Judge: Hayden Panettiere
Dear New Balance,
I want to personally thank you on behalf of the Project Runway Audience. You’ve done so much for Project Runway this season and taught us so much I don’t know where to begin.
You’ve created challenges that, for the first time in Project Runway history, have significantly lowered the bar two seasons in a row with a ‘design’ challenge.
You’ve shown us that getting contestants to produce designs for your company for free is not only profitable but a way to generate tons of juicy drama.
You demonstrated how to take advantage of the reality TV format by convincing the designers that the production of their garments by you for your own profit is a prize.
You taught us that Heidi Klum is now a ‘designer.’
You’ve been a part of the first episode to select team leaders in a completely ‘unbiased’ way.
You redefined the criteria for a design competition while simultaneously benefitting from product placement.
You’ve rewarded a designer for NOT designing or making a garment for the first time in Project Runway history.
You forced Tim Gunn to wear jogging shoes.
Your Ultimate Fans,
No, really, we mean it,
The Viewing Public
Bonjour mes fashionistas!
I have been away on vacation for the past month so I was not able to even view the current PR season much less recap it during that time. This will be a short catch-up post and then I hope to be recapping in earnest for the next episode onward.
So far my impressions of this season are meh. I haven’t fallen in love with any of the designer’s aesthetics yet. So far there are no Mondos or Jay McCarrolls. The challenges have only been so-so. Mostly they just feel like re-fried challenges from other seasons. Nothing so far seems entirely original.
Come as You Are was really the same challenge as the S2 Clothes Off Your Back challenge – complete with scarf drama.
The Pet Store Challenge was really just another Party Glitters, Manhattan Supermarket, Hershey’s Factory… etc.
The Stilts challenge, while admittedly a new idea was just plain ridiculous! NONE of those outfits had much merit. Even the winning look was so incredibly derivative of Gucci’s Fall 2011 work as to be insulting.
The Nina Garcia challenge was of course just another ‘celebrity client’ challenge, which we’ve seen every season, sometimes more than once. BORE.ING.
In addition to the challenges being been-there-done-that, I haven’t seen anything truly inspiring or omg-i-gotta-have-it go down the runway. I liked Olivier’s Pet Store look but its more a matter of being the best of the mediocre than being the best of the best.
Sooooooo yeah, I’m still waiting for this season to blow me away with something innovative in the challenge and something exciting on the runway.
I hear Episode 5 is another New Balance challenge. Oh goody. Wake me up when this season gets interesting.
I’ve been at a real loss for what to blog about now that Project Runway is over. Although I watch America’s Next Top Model, I have to admit that even with the crazy awesome prizes this
season cycle, I just don’t care about it enough to blog about it the way I did PR.
Project Runway just had more going for it I guess. As an artist I think what I loved most about the whole idea of Project Runway is that its a show about creative people MAKING things. Getting to witness people being creative is definitely what makes the show unique. If you look at shows like ANTM or American Idol, just for example – there is a specific ‘type’ of person that its geared for. ANTM is for models. As a viewer it might be interesting to us but not ultimately attainable for us. American Idol is about performing. If you are a shy person, this is likely not something you could ever see yourself doing.
Project Runway shows us all types – ages, ethnicities, sizes, unique visions.. and it doesn’t even have to try that hard…because artists really are that diverse. I would actually argue that there is an artist inside everyone, which is why it is something so many people can relate to. While there may not be a model or a singer in all of us, there IS something creative trying to get out and make its mark. Watching other people do it is as close as some people get whether because of fear or feeling like they can’t draw or whatever. If you are a PR viewer but you don’t think you are creative, I challenge you to rethink that. Art isn’t about how well you can draw. its about expressing an idea that you have in a form that allows you to communicate that idea. Sometimes it is a ‘concept’ but just as often it is about beauty. Art is something uniquely human and everyone should be encouraged to flex that muscle inside themselves.
So you ‘can’t’ draw or sing, or paint? Go buy a disposable camera and try taking pictures of things you normally wouldn’t (i.e. don’t just take pictures of your friends – go for a walk and only take pictures of things that are below your knees or that you have to crane your neck to photograph.) Look at things from a different angle. Start a blog! Find your voice in a the comforting anonymity of the internet. Pick a topic that interests you and challenge yourself to write something that you think about it once a week. Heck, pick a TV show and blog about what you like about it to start.. that’s what got me going on this blog! Take baby steps – visit this site and just play around for 10 minutes.. you’ll be surprised how fun it is.