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
Episode 3: Welcome Back (or not) to the Runway
Challenge: The designers work in teams of two to design an Emmy’s dress for a former Project Runway contestant*.
(*After this episode aired I was really concerned that the entire season was going to be one big incestuous Project Runway lovefest where every challenge had to revolve somehow around the ‘history’ of PR and its ‘legacy.’ Thank goodness it was not the case. As a viewer I am not interested in them just rehashing old territory over and over again.)
The teams and their clients:
- Christopher & Andrea designing for Anya
- Buffi & Elena designing for Laura
- Sonjia & Nathan designing for Valerie
- Ven & Fabio designing for Kenley
- Gunnar & Kooan designing for Irena
- Dmitry & Melissa designing for April
- Raoul and Alicia designing for Mila
Now I’ve said this before… but if I was going to go on a reality TV show, I would literally do everything in my power to learn everything I could about it – watch all the previous seasons, read about the designers, and even check out the alums blogs (if they have them) to see what their experience was and what they’ve done after the show. So I am always surprised when the designers complain about having to design certain types of garments, work in teams, and work with clients, as if they don’t know anything about the show. “I hate evening wear” and “I don’t do gowns” are just, in my opinion, RIDICULOUS statements to make if you are a contestant on Project Runway. If you’ve watched even ONE season you know there is always a red carpet challenge and often there is more than one. Some designers can get through the entire competition making nothing but dresses! If you can’t sew a dress then you probably shouldn’t be on the show.
Anyways, as with every single episode of Project Runway in which there are teams, there is drama. At first, everyone is ok, tiptoeing around and being respectful but as soon as the time starts to crunch or there is a disagreement between the designers or a designer starts carrying the team.. that’s when the swearing, tears and arguments start. I really respected Christopher’s attitude going into the challenge about being paired with Andrea. I mean, her designs are definitely a bit odd – and not really the same aesthetic as his, so I could see there being some potential tensions – but he looked at it like, “I can learn so much from this woman – she’s being working in this industry forever, she’s a teacher – what a great opportunity.” Unfortunately she failed to live up to that potential. Even though I know the events were edited, I’m still shocked at how things developed. After incorrectly cutting the skirt, re-sewing it, and all the while being very la-dee-da about the time limits and the amount of work left to do, I would be pretty peeved at my team-mate as well. And then when she said she’d almost be relieved to go home and then took it back and said she didn’t say that on the runway – I could feel Christopher’s frustration through the screen. Whenever someone says they didn’t say or do something they did do, its stressful and to be put on the spot defending yourself and it basically being your word against theirs – I felt for him.
Guest Judge : Krysten Ritter (who has never been to the Emmys – wtf!)
- Laura – a bit bedroom nightgown-y
- Anya – bad slit, awkward construction, makes her look bigger
- Kenley – cute…love the texture on the top, good proportions, is it evening though?
- April – waistline is a bit weird, back is nice, cool fabric
- Mila – kind of a nothing design
- Irena – dramatic look, but the details were shoddy
- Valerie – fun and flirty, looks very professional and red carpet, but seen it before.
And in the middle of the night.. Andrea disappeared!
Episode 1 & 2
Hello hello! Its been awhile. Apparently for all of us – 10 seasons!
I’m going to do a catch up post here and then attempt to recap regularly for this season. Last season I was so frustrated with the contestants and challenges that this ended up becoming an arduous, thankless task and I quickly abandoned it. This time I am hoping there are enough really talented people and interesting challenges to keep me going. I make no promises though.
The 16 contestants and my take on them:
Beatrice Guapo: Knit wear people just never do well on a SEWING show – they just work in a material that is not conducive to the time constraints. Her work is pretty subtle and with these other designers in the room, I don’t think she will last long.
Lantie Foster: Her “I re-purpose vintage clothes and make them new” aesthetic worried me as soon as I heard it. She has not convinced me otherwise in the challenges.
Alicia Hardesty: I like her tomboy aesthetic but I foresee problems when it comes time to dress celebrities or do evening wear – she can’t send Natalie Portman out to a premiere wearing a boxy, dropped-crotch coverall.
Andrea Katz: She seems quirky and cool – but I don’t love what I’ve seen of her silhouettes so far. She could be a Mila – too stuck in her own aesthetic to truly adapt to the challenges, but still producing some really memorable pieces.
Buffi Jashanmal: Nope. I just don’t get it. She’s hilarious and I want to be her friend like, yesterday – but her clothes are pretty hideous.
Christopher Palu: TLo have nicknamed him “Costello-lite” and now I can’t see anything else. I will be interested to see what he does, if he and Gunnar can keep their claws sheathed long enough to make some fucking clothes.
Dmitry Sholokhov: reminds me a bit of Malan, but a LOT more confident. Malan had a fragility to him that this guy doesn’t. I like his clothes – we’ll see if he can rise above the category of elegant/pretty though.
Elena Slivnyak: I am already obsessed with her clothes! Those portfolio images they kept showing were works of art. Cra-mazing! Her avant garde thing might not work for every challenge so I can see her being eliminated before final 3, but not until after producing some kick ass garments.
Fabio Costa: I was apprehensive about his ‘freegan’ thing – I thought “Oh no, an arrogant self-important hippy, GREAT.” but he has actually appeared to be more friendly and down to earth than I originally anticipated, and his clothes are beautiful, no doubt.
Gunnar Deatherage: WTF. Go Home Already.
Kooan Kosuke: What a hilarious little character. And I mean every word of that. He is definitely a CHARACTER – like out of a video game or something. I like his quirk – adds something fun to every challenge…we’ll see if he lasts though.
Melissa Fleis: Goth Girl. Yawn. or.. maybe not? I wasn’t all that impressed with her initially but one thing I have since noticed is that although she is doing the leather thing – its soft and still kind of feminine and organic..which I can appreciate. If she makes anything that is not black though, I’ll be surprised.
Nathan Paul: I’ve kind of forgotten about him already. Not a good sign.
Raul Osorio: I can relate to his ‘I just got out of a relationship that consumed me’ story but I’m not sure I know what his aesthetic is yet.
Sonjia Williams: Middle of the road for me.. we’ll see what she makes on the show. PS. The shark jellies were awesome.
Ven Budhu: Cross between Burt and Laura. I like his glamour – will be interesting to see how he copes with unconventional challenges.
So far I have completely agreed with both eliminations. In fact, I thought they maybe could have been reversed but the outcome would probably still have been the same. Beatrice seemed SUPER in over her head and Lantie had taste issues. So does Buffi, but her time will come.
I’ve also generally agreed with the top 3/winners in both challenges. That dress by Christopher was beautiful, even though the companion piece wasn’t, and Ven was very smart about his approach to the candy dress. I thought Sonjia should have won but at least she was recognized for her ingenuity.
What I CANNOT STAND is Gunnar. I don’t even care about his clothes. I’m not even looking at them.. and if I am, all I am seeing is the ugly little troll who made them. He needs a good smack and a harsh harsh crit from the judges and then elimination. He is equal parts totally fake and a total dick. Go home.
See you next ep – where Project Runway appears to be getting all incestuous for its 10 yYear Anniversary season by re-hashing some old designers from past seasons yet AGAIN. They do remember that they just did an All Stars season right? Le Sigh.
The Challenge: Create a beautiful dress inspired by a flavor (and color) of gelato in 6 hours.
Yep. SIX. HOURS.
Most of the designers are freaking out right about now.
Some of them criticize others who choose simpler designs to execute. If you can make it gorgeous in 6 hours and its simple vs. poorly constructed and intricate.. what would you choose to show Diane Von Furstenberg?
Anyways, the designers get to shop at “Mini Mood” a room full of fabrics that they’ve brought into the workroom so the designers don’t have to waste any of their precious 6 hours on a trip there. This is unfortunate for some of the designers because given a wider choice of fabric, they may have been better able to execute their designs.
What it comes down to is that a 6-hour challenge is not all that great an idea. The designers don’t have time to show the judges their most creative work but rather what they can grind out in a short amount of time. Most of the designers insist that it is impossible to make anything in 6 hours including leggings. Hmmm.. I don’t buy that one. Michael is unfazed because he ‘frequently works with clients who want garments in 45 minutes.’ I don’t know if I buy that one either BUT he does manage to get something happening on the dress form quickly, amidst more barbs from the haters in the workroom.
I expect a rather awful and awkward team challenge pairing of Jerrel and Michael in the near future….
When Joanna arrives she brings a little cup of gelato to each designer so they get a reminder of their flavor (and a well-deserved treat!) Her visits with each designer seem more like tests of their potential as guest editor of Marie Claire than insights into the designs they are working on.
Mondo -“Cantaloupe” fresh fruity colors and a smart choice for the amount of time they had to execute.
Anthony – “Green Tea” interesting concept of hard and soft, nice skirt, too complicated on top?
Kenley – “Passionfruit” girly, summery, simple.
Rami – “Kiwi” overly complicated and garish, skirt is wobbly on the bottom.
Mila – “Milk and Sour Cherries” breezy, a bit sloppy, poor styling, like the use of color.
Jerrell – “Fruits of the Forest” chic hippy?, I like the straps and the print.
Kara – “Chocolate Cayenne” pregnant! and where does the white come in?
Michael – “Grapefruit” luxe, flowy, nightgownish?
April – “Blueberry” sad accessorizing, too short.
Austin – “Vanilla Madagascar” interesting details.
The Bottom 3:
- Anthony’s green tea gown looks more like a head of lettuce. Too complicated for the amount of time he had.
- April’s blueberry dress looks like another costume from a Tim Burton film. Poorly made, though they like the color.
- Kara’s ruffly chocolate cayenne dress looks like “a pregnant cupcake” The judges get her explanation but they don’t see it.
The Top 3:
- Mondo’s caftan, “a loose interpretation of the cantaloupe,” has everyone enthralled. Cantaloupe Magazine! Too literal?
- MIchael’s grapefruit kimono/nightgown, effortless but safe?
- Mila’s sloppy checkerboard dress inspired by ‘milk and sour cherries’-flavored gelato. Styling is killing the look. Judges are divided.
THE WINNER IS… MICHAEL.
April is OUT.