Friday, November 30, 2007

Blogging Project Runway: PR with Fresh, New Eyes

I just switched my cable providers to satellite and I am subscribing to Bravo tomorrow so I can watch the show. I actually can get it off my taxes because it is educational and occupational.

But I already went to the website and checked out all of the looks from the premiere show.

And ladies and gentlemen, as far as contestants, I usually have at least three front runners from the first episode and among them is the winner.

In previous seasons, my criteria was not only influenced by my personnal taste and aesthetic, but also by the designer's background. Like the academic geek/ snob I am, I saw a certain amount of promise because of the designer's academic and professional credentials.

In the last installment, one of my first three picks was Robert Best. The man went to Parson's, had already showed at the tents in Bryant Park, interned with Isaac Mizrahi and I had SEEN his sketches and dolls previous to the show. I am a former Barbie collector. That was a hard habit to break. But when you travel so much as I did, you tend to give up on things that take space. Robert has an impressive pedigree. And lots of talent. But when it came time to design for a real, regular woman and a plus size woman at that, Robert just fell apart and went for trite. I was disappointed and I told him so in person. Designing for plus is hard. Much harder than for skinny chicks. But if I can do it, he should have been able to kick royal ass. I could have taken the same direction and come up with 5 better options. He said I would have kicked all of their asses in that challenge and I thought to myself: " With my hands tied behind my back, lounging on a lazyboy, while drinking a six-pack of Boreale, and getting a lap dance from pubescent English men in eyewear and boxer briefs!" But I said "Aw, shucks" and just giggled...

Another one of my off- the-bat choices was the winner, Jeff Sebellia. Why? Because we have similar aesthetics. And people who learn at community colleges and vocational programs, well, we are in it for the love. We put our SOUL in our clothes. And Jeffrey has a soul. And life experience and pain and genius and he is real. And that comes through on whatever you create. His stuff was not always perfect, but it was never boring. Except for the same plus-size challenge when he basically created a muumuu. Well, all the people who got plus-ladies did... Me sorry for them.

My third choice was Laura Bennett. And she placed in the top 4. So I did really good from day one.

This year, I am AVOIDING looking at the designers background because I am judging exclusively on the clothes, construction, execution and on how well they met the challenges.

Speaking on challenges, they got off EASY as pie on that first one this season... I mean next to making clothes off of what you are wearing or hotel furnishings or supermarket goods, making something that expressed your point of view is a cakewalk. Our end of semester assignment for apparel construction was rougher than that.

And what I have to say is out of ALL the clothes, Two looks were remakable from a CONSTRUCTION perspective, and NONE were immediate WOWs or presented a distinct and innovative point of view.

I have taken tailoring. I KNOW my stuff now. Of all of the judges, only The Duchess ( Michael Kors as he is known in the rag biz) can sew and cut and pattern-make and drape ( I hope). The rest have taste, can talk smack, yada, yada, yada.. But until you have to rip the stitches out a dart 15 times to get it right and you have hand slip stitched an entire sun to the back of a jacket or have had to sew a curve so sharp it's a half circle into a straight line, you do not know SHIT about clothes.

So to me Nina's, Heidi's and to an extent, even Tim Gunn's opinions, are valid but not truly objective since they are only based on feel, not truly on a 100% erudite eye.

I make the clothes, I wear the clothes, I read and write the clothes and I buy the clothes. At all price ranges. And I dissect them to a clinical level and with the eye of what I am. A scientist and someone who was a microbiologist and one of the best dissectionists is my class. I look at seams and grain lines and buttons and lines with the same attention to detail I used to look at slides of Gram-stained bacteria or at tissue on which I had performed immunohistochemical procedures ... I am SICK. I can spot a well made garnment the minute I cross the treshold of a store. Geezus, I can even pick one blinfolded by touching the seams and the fabric.

And examine and dissect I did. And here is the diagnosis:

1) Christian's

By far the best offering of the night from both a design and a contruction perspective. That blouse is silk. It's tailored. It is a pattern (which by the way is NOT matched on all seams like it should be in a fine garment) and it has set in sleeves. A BITCH to get right. EVEN cutting that fabric is HARD.

The skirt on the other hand is pleated ( very hard), draped and has very interesting lines. A cross between a tulip skirt and an japanese-influenced origami piece that Issey Miyake makes.

For the time alloted quite good but I want original too. I have seen this before.

2) Jack's

Cute, but I have seen that dress as part of the Isaac Mizrahi collection at Target.

My ladybug dress for apparel construction was harder than that. NEXT!


I like the colour, the fit is horrible (could she not add 2 darts on the bust line for the love of everything that is holy? It would have taken 10 minutes and made a WORLD of difference). It does not stink terribly, but it is not great either.

4) Kevin's:

The taste level is dismal. Onyx Nites Prom Collection , 2005. The waist treatment and the bodice are interesting but all around, BLAH :-P. And the model needs to be put on parentelar nutrition YESTERDAY. She is PAINFUL to look at. I have seen chunkier people in photos of concentation camps.

5) Chris's:

Nice color combination and lame is HIDEOUS to sew, don't I know it... But too prom-y too. The idea is not too challenging either.

6) Marion's

I like the contrast in fabrics and textures and the colour palette. But that criss-cross trim around the neckline blows. That is a cope out.

7) Kit's

What can I say? Do I need to say anything? This hurts my eyes. NEXT!

8) Steven's

Big props to the dude for doing a tailored piece with inset sleeves. From a design perspective I am going... Account manager or flight attendant? I LOVE the model though. That girl is exquisite.

9) Carmen's:

I love the hell out of harem pants. I do. But with the lame vest, the airstyle, the beaded heels and the scarf , I am thinking that I am looking at one of the costumes from the Disneyland Theatre's production of "Aladdin". Construction? She gets a 3 thimbles up for sewing on lame and the pants look right.

10) Sweet's

Tracy Reese or wannabe Von Furstenberg. And not particulraly hard to make but I like the material.

See? This is DVF for this season:

Diane von Furstenberg 'Elicia' Dress

11) Ricki's

Are you fucking kidding me? This looks like a Very Easy Vogue pattern.That is not really trying. That dress seriously has 7 pieces to it... Come the hell on....

As I said... Very Easy Vogue V8381...

image of V8381

backview for V8381

12) Victoria's

Safe but elegant and two thimbles up on the chiffon.

13) Elisa's

Who the hell styled this look? They need to be paddled. HARD. The boots are out of proportion and it looks VILE. The dress is nice and I like the colour. They tried on construction because of the draping.

14) Simone's

Who told this person they could design? NEXT!

15) Rami's:

The draping work is exquisite. The colour I could live without (putty? why putty?) and the model looking almost healthy, I love. But I have seen this dress before too. It's called:

Mme. Gres

Jean Desses:


and Madeleine Vionnet:

Madeleine Vionnet

The styling leaves a lot to be desired because the shoes are satanic. They just went to Capezio, picked a pair of ballroom dancing practice shoes

and slapped them on the girl who could have used a beautiful, jeweled sapphire strappy heel to inject color into the look. The lenght of the dress is awkward. He should have extended his hem lenght all the way to the ankle and the proportion would have been much more graceful. Just saying...

As I said. two stood out from the contruction perspective. The same two are heads up winners as far as design (Christian and Rami) with Steven coming third.

And I have not seen who got voted off, what the judges said or the contestant's background.

This is Milla K. reporting from her studio/office/appartment. Mesieurs et Mesdames, les jeux sont faits, the house bets on Rami, Christian, Jillian and Steven to make it to NY Fashion Week.

The next one eliminated is Elisa. We are taking bets for each week's winners and eliminated contestants, of course in edibles. Either cookies or candy.

And I am out!


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