Saturday, November 7, 2009

Project Runway Season 6 Episode 12: The Final Insult

Previously on Project Runway:  The designers had to create a complimentary piece to their "best" look.  Collar-Gate!  Sweater-Gate!  Under-Bus-Throwing!  Lots of Runway Fug!  Althea won for some baggy-butted Big Girl Pants, Gordana managed to save herself, Chris was saved despite yet another butt-ugly bed-cover dress, and Logan, despite wearing the Magical Shiny Pants, got the auf.

This week brings us to the Last Challenge Before Bryant Park: a field trip to the Getty Center to use one of its features or displays as inspiration, with their models serving as muses.

All photos courtesy of 

 The Getty Center is freaking beautiful.  From the grounds, to the building itself, to all of the beautiful displays within, there's plenty of inspiration to be found.  The designers get about an hour to take a tour, get inspired and make sketches, and are allowed a relatively generous $300- at Mood and two whole days! to put together their looks.

With only five designers left, there's a scramble to amp up the drama as much as possible to fill the hour.  I don't know why the producers don't see fit to actually show us more than 3 seconds of the actual freaking CLOTHES, you know, given the show is supposed to be about clothes and not how clueless Irina is about being nice to people or how golly-gosh-shucks-cute Chris is or how ready Gordana is to cut some of these junior-high bitches already.  But let's just go with it.  Is there a choice?

Poor Chris is the lone boy left in the guys' apartment.  He notes that he thought for sure that Nicolas and Unnecessary Apostrophe would still be there.  Which leads to This Episode's Thoughts (scroll down if you don't give a crap and just want to see the clothes):

Whether he knows it or not, Chris's offhand comment pretty much puts many of the problems with Season 6 in a nutshell.  The ins and aufs this season illustrate perhaps more than any other how different being a designer on Project Runway is from being a real-world designer.  Improvisation is not a natural talent for everyone, even when they're not constantly on camera and jamming sewing needles through their fingers.  There are some incredibly talented designers out there who need to take time to put together their vision, do revisions, etc.  This season, the designers almost never even got to "sleep on it."   Usually, I feel it's a cop-out when an auf'ed designer says "I wish I could have shown you what I can do."  This season, I actually am wishing I could see what these designers can do, because I don't think any of them really got a chance.  One-day challenges, tiny budgets, too little time to sketch and shop, an ever-changing judging panel, and not even having access to the full Mood inventory:  it all adds up to a lot of unfulfilled potential.

(Without giving anything away, I have seen the Final Collections already and can tell you that the restrictive nature of the season is glaringly obvious, and I'm pleasantly surprised at how good all three collections are.  Maybe not everyone would have shown an excellent collection at Fashion Week; for example, I love Epperson, but I recently saw his post-show collection and was sadly underwhelmed.  But at least we might have seen something interesting if these designers hadn't been so damn shortchanged by the clusterfuck that was the lawsuit and resulting production problems.)

Okay, glad to get that out of my system.  Seriously, I'm hoping we can get the full behind-the-scenes scoop on exactly how cracked-out this entire season was, because that has got to be one interesting story. More interesting than any of the uncomfortable little dramas in this episode, anyway.

What's not uncomfortable at all is Gordana telling us about how important it is for her to do this last challenge for all of the people she loves.  She's so doomed. 

Oh my god, I know why Althea is doing so well: Heidi presents the challenge to the designers while wearing a dress that looks like Althea might have made it.  Heidi sends through what she would like to wear, rather than what constitutes good fashion, which is one frustration I've seen echoed throughout blog comments the last few eps: make it short, tight, and shiny, and you'll stay in the competition.  After what she wore to judging last week, I frankly think this woman has no freaking business judging fashion. I like Heidi generally, but geez.

At the Getty Center, the designers meet with Tim and, holy crap, the Mayor of LA, Antonio Villaraigosa, who tells them all that LA is certainly not a cesspit of excess and crime and smog and earthquakes and mudslides and wildfires.  The models come out and pair up with their designers for a tromp through the museum.  I'll try a slightly different format this week, breaking things down by designer, then reconvening at judging time.

Gordana:  Gordana shares with us that she is very spiritual, and wants to create "my angel."  Her inspiration is a Monet painting, the bluest one of his Rouen Cathedral series; its colors remind her very much of her home in Europe.  I mostly love the dress she created, but have a couple of issues with it:

Her use of colors to evoke the cathedral was moderately successful, but the whole dress made us immediately say "labia!"  And there are some execution issues in the back.  But it's probably my favorite look this week, even with the vaginosity.

Chris:  Of all the things in this entire incredible complex, Chris is inspired by the algae on the rocks in this fountain:

You know, sometimes this kid just makes it too fucking easy.  He's so self-conscious while being so unself-aware, but he's so darn nice that I feel bad rolling my eyes at him.  Something that's also been widely echoed throughout various blogs is that Chris has potential, but really really needs an education, more experience, and some time to mature and be able to take critiques well.  I couldn't agree more.  I mean, let's say he managed to take this inspiration and create something appropriate.  It would most definitely not have been this look:

The fact that he used that fabric to make that skirt shows his lack of experience with textiles.  It was so heavy-looking, and moved so poorly.  The top is one that he has already shown us, with trim at the sides that looked like seaweed.  And here is yet another poorly-executed Waist Thing that is neither a cincher nor corset, but merely serves to add bulk to the waistline.  Will someone please clue this kid in that women do not want extra bulk at their waistlines?  Then there was this detail on the skirt:

"It looks like the model sat on a gigantic praying mantis!" snarked my other half.  Was that on the fabric when he bought it?  Ugh.  Anway, this is just another example of why Chris needs more experience. He doesn't understand what women actually want to wear or how use fabrics properly on a body.  I really think he could do better with some education.

Irina:  Irina is inspired by a painting of some semi-nakey old-timey ladies in diaphanous gowns.   She wants to carry over the diaphanousness (totally a real word) and bring in some fur. What is it with this woman and fur?  It's so fucking gross to use real fur, I'm sorry.  Actually, I'm not sorry.  It's gross.  Though there is a funny moment at Mood where she guesses the skin she's got might have come from a rabbit, and Tim, who is anti-fur and does some work for PeTA, says there's no way that big skin came from a rabbit unless "it's a giant, giant Scandanavian rabbit."

As it turns out, the fur was wasted anyway because she decided not to do a wrap after Tim told her it was looking like "roadkill."  Good thing, because it would not have helped this look:

I can see exactly where she was going with this, but am not thrilled with the result.  The styling is awful, and it's too long.  The stomach area bags a bit in the wrong way.  I can't make up my mind about the back:  I like it, but there's something about it I really don't like, and I can't figure out what that is.  So it just sort of bugs me.

Althea: Althea's inspired by the architecture of the Getty Center itself, musing to Tanisha that the look will need to be very tailored.  What a surprise!  Sorry, sorry.  I hope her idea of tailoring includes bust support, this time.  Sorry!  Let's see what she came up with:

Oh.  Oh, dear.  Oh, dear, this is not good.  While I applaud her for finally making sure Tanisha's boobies did not look like two ferrets fighting in a sack, and I appreciate all the thinking that went into constructing this dress, the result just sucks.  It's puckery, gappy, and bulges in weird places.  And it's got the same damn neckline again.  This one gets a thumbs-down.

Carol Hannah:  We at Chez Boogie were not at all surprised that this was CH's inspiration:

This is a girl that likes her draping.  However, she didn't end up going quite where I thought she would...

I'm sort of disappointed in the color:  it doesn't evoke the original inspiration.  I also expected her to do more draping, and maybe include some discreet feather accents.  As much as I dislike "wrapped the drapes around myself" gowns, she did an excellent job with the angles on this, and I love how the straps at the shoulder cross each other (those straps are the biggest nod to her inspiration).  But the back has a really odd butt-dimple and I hate it when dresses are all crease-y around the hips.

Wow, is that all?  Apparently so.  Everyone gathers on the runway for judging.  No Kors for the last challenge?!  I absolutely, completely do not understand the judging this year.  Sitting in for our Orange Princess is Cythia Rowley, and the guest judge is Cindy Crawford, whom Heidi introduces as a "style icon" but I'm pretty sure she's just a model who actually wears a lot of jeans and t-shirts IRL.

They talk to Althea first.  She explains her architecture inspiration.  Both Cindy and Cynthia note that the idea was a bit too ambitious; Cindy says that pleating is hard to wear, and Cynthia thinks it looks like Althea spent so much time on the skirt that she had to just throw together the top.  Nina echoes the sentiments.  Heidi calls it a "mess fest."  Yeah, pretty much.

Irina's idea was to juxtapose the very soft and girly dress with some edgier styling.  The judges basically tell her to take all the excess crap off the model, even her shoes, and there, doesn't she look better now?  Hee, I love when they do that.  Nina likes the back, but thinks the length is "old lady."  Cindy likes the color.

Gordana gets a bit emotional when describing her inspiration.  The judges love it:  Heidi can absolutely see the connection to the painting.  Nina says it's "perfectly made" but still doesn't see Gordana taking any chances.  I dunno, she took the chance of totally making a labia dress.  Cindy can see herself wearing it.  But uh-oh, the back is a problem.  "Not so great from the back, but beautiful from the front," says Nina.

Cynthia thinks the fit is beautiful on CH's dress.  Cindy says it was well-executed, but she doesn't see the connetion to the inspiration.  Nina says some crap about how it's "perfect, but it's almost a safe perfection."  WTF does that even mean?

Chris definitely used the wrong fabric for his very long skirt.  No one points out that he's done the same top before.  Heidi asks Chris if he's confident in this look for the Final Challenge.  He starts to cry and says that this look says more about him as a designer than anything else he's made.  Well then, I hate to say it, but you are fucked, my friend.

After a torturous grilling of each designer about why they think they deserve to go to Fashion Week, it's time to make the decisions.  Irina is in.  Chris is out.  CH is in.  Gordana is out?!  WTF?  Althea is in after that crapfest of a dress, while Gordana's lovely gown gets her sent home?  The judges seemed to like Gordana's dress the best, at first.  Ugh, why am I surprised?  This whole season has had "producer manipulation" written all over it.   Gordana, I hope you thrive and prosper in your career.  Chris, please please please go to school, or intern with some design houses, and get some learning and experience under your belt.

Next time: Bryant Park!  Three anonymous collections are presented.  More manufactured drama., blah blah blah.  Looking forward to seeing the whole thing wrap up.  See you then!

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