Thursday, November 12, 2009

Runway in Review: Irina Shabayeva

Okay, let's hang this shit up before the Finale tonight, shall we?

We didn't hear too much from Irina at first.  She talked about being inspired by her floofy little dog.  She made some pretty decent entries.  Mostly, she was in the background as the early-aufer dramas played out, with Mitchell TOGWIDA and Chicken Man and Q and Epperson, while Nicolas took the role of Bitchy Villain.

Then, almost out of nowhere, Irina became the hugest bitch on the planet.  If I recall correctly, it was the week before Nicolas was auf'ed, when suddenly he seemed kind of funny and cool so we knew he was doomed, that the producers pulled out some Jekyll & Hyde shit with Irina.  Rawr, she'll claw your face off to get what she wants!  Yawn.  She wasn't fun enough to be a good villainess.

There's no doubt that Irina is one of the season's strongest contenders.  Unfortunately, that gives her the honor of being one of the strongest contenders in the lamest-ever season of Project Runway.  Yeah.

Let's have a look back, shall we?

There was a bit of controversy amongst blog commenters about this first-challenge red carpet dress:

Some thought it was reminiscent of Laura Bennett, some thought it looked like lingerie, some liked the belt, some thought the belt was twee.  I'm not a fan of that particular kind of contrast between the two fabrics, but this was a good start for Princess.  It's got a sexy-not-slutty thing going on.

I didn't think as much of the look she put together for the maternity challenge:


The only thing I liked about this was the color.  The front rises up, the hem reminds me of those satin-edged waffled bedspreads, and that whatever-it-is stuck to the belt isn't helping anything.

The Worst Challenge, aka the Surfwear Challenge, saw Irina, in partnership with Cueball, created this outfit, which had a summer camp potholder thingy in the back:

Actually, the potholder wasn't as bad as it sounds, and overall this is a good look, casual and fun with an interesting (if not flattering to non-models) skirt.

Time to Make Your Model a Pretty Dress!

This got props from a lot of people, including the judges, but I'm sorry, I hated it.  I think it ages the model ten years.  The fabric is pretty barfy and there's another belt with a Garanimal on it.  If the goal was to make the model look chic, youthful, and fresh, this is a big fail.

Things got better for the Unconventional Materials challenge, where Irina took a chance on making a really time-consuming collar and cuffs for a trench coat, a brave choice:

Unfortunately,  with all the time it took to do the collar, cuffs, and hand details like trompe-l'oeil stitches, the bottom half of this garment was totally neglected.  It's absolutely brilliant from the waist up, though.  This look was Irina's first win, and though I still think Althea's was better, it's hard to begrudge her this one.

Up next, Irina's Film Noir look for the 6th challenge:

Ho-dress with a shower curtain?  We got em!

For the Macy's/INC challenge in ep 7, Irina managed to win with this dastardly dress:

Can I just ask, who the hell would this look good on?  It makes the model look like the side of a barn.  I do appreciate that it took a ton of work to make that pattern.

As her prize, Irina got to design a holiday dress for INC.  It was a little black dress with a big sparkly butterfly.  Yep.

For the Re-Fashion a Wedding Dress challenge, we got a mother-of-the-bride dress:

The judges loved this, and I was amazed that Kors didn't pull out the "M.O.B."  Irina's POV is becoming more apparent at this point, with this dress being an echo of her first dress.  It's a bit funny that Nicolas went on and on about lace, but Irina actually used more of it.

For the Mackie/Aguilera challenge, Irina gave us... an ice-skating stripper dress.


The 10th challenge saw Irina score another win with her Aspen-inspired look.

This would have been lovely, except for a triangular cutout in the back that looked like the model had been savaged by some other Aspen socialite's rabid little Shih-Tzu.  Not everyone loved the gigantic cowl, but the 80's girl in me finds it appealing.  The pants were really well-done.  Looking askance at that tied belt, though.  That'd be the fifth one she's done so far.

By this point in the season, the lack of color from the designers was becoming depressing.  I was wondering what happened to that beautiful blue that Irina used in the second challenge.  Everything since has been so... neutral.

Irina carried on the brown motif to make a companion to her Aspen look in the next episode:

The fabric she used in this dress was a beautiful color, much nicer than it comes across in the photo.  The dress suffered from awful construction.  It got praise from the judges, though.

Finally (Finally!), the last challenge, inspired by the Getty Museum:

I really think TLo summed it up best: "What is this "Fiddler on the Roof of Studio 54" bullshit?"  With a grandma hemline and her seventh tied belt, to boot!

It's almost time for the ep!  I'm sort of looking forward to seeing who takes it.  I think I know who it's going to be, based on seeing the final collections, but I'm always happy to be wrong.  About this, at least.


desertwind said...

I don't know whether to thank you for doing this -- or to cry!

Dear Lord.

The sad thing is, I don't think anybody else's collected output was any better!

But, thank you very much for covering this season. I've enjoyed your posts & they (and PRGay & BPR & others) keep me going until the episode is online. Take care --

watch me boogie said...

Thanks, I'm glad you've enjoyed reading!