Saturday, August 13, 2011

Project Runway: Business Casual for Stilt Walkers

Yes, I said all sorts of horrible things about Project Runway judges, and how they pander to the lowest common denominator as they imagine it to be. And no, I am not taking this back. Because this week's challenge was great, in theory -- outfits for stilt walkers! Crazy proportions! Circus! Open air runway! Exciting guest judge! (Well, I lied about the last one.)

Instead, designs were criticized for being too costumey. The biggest compliment Michael Kors gave was that the outfit would look just as good on someone not wearing the stilts -- which is the opposite of the point of this challenge! It's like having a couture challenge and then praising the winning design because it would totally fit at Talbot's.

Thankfully, there was plenty of drama. Fallene got bossed around by the baby-faced Bryce who kept hissing at her because her bodice was not cut on grain. Fallene is fragile, so she cried and complained of the black cloud hanging over her.

In fact, the black cloud was the awful tutu Bryce made. See?

So Fallene cried, and we all knew it was over for her, because even though she made a quirky feather fascinator, it was abundantly clear that she is not cut out for reality TV. I hope she opens an Etsy shop real soon, because I do dig her designs. Just not this!


Then we had Anya and Olivier, who were adorable and made a mediocre but not particularly offensive outfit, and were waved through:

The menswearish bodice had potential, but the outfit was meh. Anya and Olivier actually collaborated though, which is so rare in these team challenges. So thumbs up, carry on with your adorable selves.

In less adorable, there was Viktor, who was a snot, and Bert, who was insufferable. Last week he declared that he has immunity and doesn't care, and sent a half-assed outfit down the runway. This week, he was once again above the challenge but no immunity, so he acted even worse than Viktor. So Viktor discovered Simon Doonan's rule of flattering adjacency. That is, if you want to be a snot and yet come across as a decent human being, stand next to Bert.

No flattering adjacency could save this though:

Actually, I take it back. The guest judge, Kim Kardashian, had this to say about this look: "It reminds me of the movie The Sound of Music, where they had to cut curtains to make their clothes... like something in Marie Antoinette times." Suddenly, the dress looked more refined.

Then there was something for the business casual stilt-walker:

This is by Danielle and Cecilia, both my early picks. They can tailor, and the blouse is actually lovely. The pants are well-made. It's just such a conservative look -- I would totally wear this to work if pants were wool. For a stilt-walker, I expect something with a little pizazz:

This is by Julie and Joshua. The proportion is weird, because of the tiny cape which makes the model look like she has T.rex arms. But really, a bigger cape, and you have a great matador/circus look! Totally appropriate for someone on stilts! The judges hated it for being too costumey. I... don't even.

There was one costumey look they did like:

This was by Kim and Becky. They worked well together -- without drama! They just assessed their strength, split the work, and did it, like actual adults. Kim impressed me with her mad tailoring skills (she made the pants). Becky FINALLY showed what I've seen in her portfolio: sharp tailoring, nice jacket. Nina of course complained about the collar being too circusy. I didn't mind it -- in fact, it channeled Vivienne Westwood and reminded me a tad of Seth Aaron, without being a knockoff of these too. It is possible!

Someone tell Anthony Ryan, because after he knocked off McQueen's collar dress last week, this week he went for Gucci Fall 2011.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B (Gucci):

Nina Garcia politely called him "referential". Still, it won -- actually, he graciously gave the win to Laura, which was sweet.

I'm still pleased with Cecilia and Danielle, really happy that Becky started to show what she can do with tailoring, and now I'm impressed with Kim's sewing. She flew under the radar so far, but this week, I liked her a lot.

Also, next week's challenge? Designing for Nina Garcia! This is one challenge where sharp tailoring will pay off, and taste levels will be questioned. Bryce, Joshua, or Viktor -- who will be aufed?


Lev AC Rosen said...

Yes! I loved that Becky's look looked like the amazing stuff from her portfolio. They should have won. Collar and all - it was the right combination of costume-y without being an outright costume. I thought that the matador outfit would have been great with better proportions and just a bit less bling. It didn't need all that bling on top of the amazing pants. It felt like the top was fighting the bottom for attention.

Fish Monkey said...

Becky&Kim's look was my favorite too. I hear you about bedazzled top, but honestly, I liked it as a circus costume. BECAUSE IT WAS WORN BY SOMEONE ON STILTS. And let's face it, neither Joshua's nor Julie's middle name is "Refined Elegance". This was one challenge where taste levels shouldn't have been mentioned. Also, I want Simon Doonan as a guest judge so he can tell them all what's what. He was so great on the Fashion Show!