Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Project Runway Episode 1

Ahhh…. Like a fresh tall one, Project Runway is so refreshing.

The new season promises to be fraught with drama, cattiness, and a whole lot of ugly… just the way I like it.

The premiere was absolutely great, despite the lack of Innovation Challenge. After watching, however, I’m glad they opted to do a Show-Us-Who-You-Are-As-A-Designer challenge first, because this way we really get a feel for each designer and what they’re going to bring to the runway. Based on their first creations, I can honestly say I’m excited to see what they’ll pull out, from dazzlingly sophisticated and glamorous, all the way to Uber-Fug.

I loved the fact that the show didn’t feel like a premiere. Trust me, after watching the first three seasons in about one week, I can honestly say that this episode felt like all the others. It was all: Hey Heidi, Hey Tim Gunn, Hey group of crazies that signed up to be tortured on National Television, let’s get started! I’m glad that the producers are brave enough to just stick to the formula. If it ain’t baroque, as they say.

I have no intention of doing consistent recaps this season, but since this is the premiere, and thus, a special occasion, I thought I would take a moment and rehash all of the looks that came down the runway, mostly so I can keep all these bitches straight.

Rami is already a successful stylist and designer, and he is so gracious about it, too. Wait, he designed for Jessica Alba? Really? I didn’t hear it the first 40 times he said it. I’m being hard on him actually, because he comes across more confident than arrogant, but we’ll have to see how long that lasts. Also? He’s unbelievably hot. Ya’ll know I have a thing for those ethnic types. Aaaaaanyway… I like this dress, and I have no problem with it winning the challenge, but I’m not sure how original it is. The solid color draped look has been making the rounds in Hollywood a lot recently, and I wasn’t the only one that thought, “This is sooo last season” when I saw it. Of course, this was filmed a few months ago, so maybe, again, I’m being hard on him. The positives are the color and the elegant fit; both are well chosen and well executed. And to be fair, it looked a lot less like a toga on the runway than it does in this picture. And by the way, I totally agreed with La Kors… the flower is maybe a bit overkill for this look.

This is the losing look, and frankly… yikes! Even the model looks ashamed. Poor Simone, she was going for a modern-historical-romance kind of look, and instead landed in a Harlequin Nightmare. The show made a big deal about her horrible execution, but I think the look was doomed from the start. That yellow band on the waist is glaring and totally out-of-context, and the jacket is out of proportion. The jacket made me look twice, and I’ll say here that I don’t hate it, but it’s poorly made and not suitable for the overall look. Unfortunately for Simone, the only thing she told us about herself as a designer is she’s colorblind and can’t sew. AUF!

Next is Christian, or the one with the dangerous looking hair. This garment was a close second to Rami’s, and I have to give it to him… this is definitely different. I love the jacket because of the shape it makes, although I will confess that if I saw it coming down the street I’d choke on my apple juice. You can’t see the back in the picture, but the construction of the jacket is exquisite. Tim Gunn didn’t like the fact that the middle of the jacket was symmetrical while the sleeves were not, but… I honestly can’t see how it matters. Luckily, the judges didn’t harass him because of asymmetrical sleeves, so kudos to Christian for not wasting time on something like that. I’m not crazy about the skirt, mostly because the jacked up hem looks accidental, but the judges must have understood that anyone who can make a jacket like that wouldn’t possibly be able to screw up a hem. The lesson learned here is that a designer has to prove their sewing mettle before attempting really risky designs. I have to agree with La Nina on the color choices (not the best), but I think the design speaks for itself. My jury is still out on whether I like this kid personally. I’ll need to see him in action a little longer.

P.S. Someone please tell his model to stop shaving her legs in the dark. I mean, OUCH!

Next is Victorya… henceforth to be known as the girl that unnecessarily spells her name with a y. She had the third highest score for her black baby doll dress, and honestly… I don’t get it. It’s a black baby doll dress with a giant flower slapped on it. Is it really possible that the judges rewarded her for strapping the model’s arms to her body? Because that’s the only thing that stands out as original or interesting to me. Besides, isn’t function supposed to be a factor in fashion design? Well, that shows how much I know. I don’t hate the look at all, I guess I just don’t see what all the fuss is about. Moving on…

Here comes Ricky. He took the challenge literally and decided to construct a lingerie-reminiscent baby doll dress, because he designs lingerie for a living. It’s cute, but, like the judges said, not all that exciting. For the record, I got pissed that Victorya’s baby doll dressed was praised and worshiped while Ricky’s was scorned and stoned, but we’ve already covered that. I’m not thrilled about the lace around the neck, and the horizontal striped pattern was a tad risky, but all in all, Ricky totally deserved to stay.

This fistful of crazy is the brainchild of this season’s resident loon, Elisa. She’s the one that rubbed her fabric all over Central Park to imbue it with organic goodness. I wonder if her model was happy to be draped in essence of dog poo and homelessness? The sick thing is that the dress is completely and out-of-this-world fabulous, from the color to the silhouette to the fit. Why she decided to attach a monstrous multi-colored train to the back of it is a mystery. If she had just let go of the crazy and let the dress speak for itself, it might have won the challenge. Seriously! Well, the boots might have knocked a couple of points off, but hey, whatever. The point is, I’m actually excited to see what else Elisa comes up with. It will be entertaining, I’m sure.

This frock comes to us courtesy of Jillian, who seems to have a dance recital sort of aesthetic, based on this and what she wore in the episode. I think this dress is cute, but the color is very daring, almost to the point of inappropriate. And confidentially, the tutu is reminding me a little too much of something SJP would wear on Sex in the City, and that is usually not a good thing. I’ll probably enjoy Jillian’s stuff, provided she tones things down just a bit.

The sad news is I need to look up who did this, because I don’t even remember it from the episode. Oh, it’s Kevin. The only face time this guy got was dedicated to reassuring us that he’s straight. And you know, at this point, does something like that even matter? At first glance, this look is sort of boring, but upon closer inspection, I like the fabric choice for the corset and the balance between hard and soft. Granted, it looks like she’s wearing a corset made of armor, but for some reason, it works for me. The burgundy detailing on the top and bottom is a nice touch.

This is the fine work of Jack, our resident stud. They really wanted to ram that point home, so they took the time to edit in a good shot of him in his underwear. Oh, and they mentioned he has good abs. I’m glad he’s hot, because I doubt he’s long for this show. I’ve seen this dress a thousand times… at Target. It’s pretty, it’s feminine, it fits nicely, but there is zero originality. I also have a feeling he’s the type of designer that relies on prints to make a statement. Ulli from last season had the sewing chops and a great aesthetic to supplement her print-love, but the judges still gave her trouble for it.

I can’t believe they found a guy that designs for drag queens! This dress is by Chris, who works for the stage, specifically the stage in your neighborhood gay bar. He had a rough first episode, mostly because reality TV loves to pick on the fat guy. And seriously, why did we start the first challenge with a foot-race? If Chris wanted to be on the Amazing Race he would have called up his hag and signed up for it. As luck would have it, he seemed happy with the slim pickings left over from the frenzy and created this little number. It definitely looks like a stage outfit… colorful and dramatic. I like it, but I’m sure the judges are going to rail on him for his taste levels further on in the competition. Funny story, he mentioned in his confessional that he once made a dress out of salad ingredients. At least we know he’s a shoe-in for the innovation challenges. There’s no doubt he’s creative, but creative isn’t far from fugly in this competition.

I hated this one. First of all, I can see the hem issues from here. Second, the skirt looks like he tied the upholstery from his car around the poor girl’s waist and cinched it with a telephone cable. I do not understand the cords connecting the skirt to her shoulders… I mean, what are they? Suspenders? Oh, by the way, this disgrace is by Marion, the flower shop owner. I cannot believe the judges let this one slip past them, and in my heart of hearts, I want to believe they did not, we just didn’t get it see it.

Don’t yell at me, but I actually like this dress from a purely visual perspective. The print of the dress is really engaging, not to mention a little unconventional, so that shows she’s not scared to try different prints. The red ‘thing’ is appealing because it’s this hard, sharp element juxtaposed with the simple background of a black dress. This is one of those garments that I would really struggle with if my best friend was trying to wear it out to the mall, but on the runway, I thought it had impact. Kit, the designer, fancies herself a designer with a Rock/Punk aesthetic, so I was surprised to see something so put together and quasi-sophisticated from her.

The designer of this number is Steven, and he works in a museum. Is that why his model looks like a librarian? Albeit a sexy librarian? I think this look is great and all, but it is sooo 80’s working woman. I swear there are shoulder pads in that thing. She’s totally about to untie her hair, strip down to a bikini, and lip-synch to Hair Metal. The upside is it’s incredibly well made, so it isn’t the execution forcing him to be so derivative.

Speaking of derivative, Carmen’s work just smacks of… well… so many things. I can’t put my finger on any of them, but I’m not sure that changes how I feel. I mean, Ok, there’s something distinctly Asian about it, and there’s something elfish about it, too. Ah, got it. It reminds me of some of the costumes the elves wear in Lord of the Rings (and I unfortunately cannot find a picture to back myself up) but there’s also an inkling of the stone soldiers of China (and this time I CAN!). Basically, I can’t support this particular look, maybe because of the hair, or possibly because of the giant shoulder thingees, or perhaps because she’s wearing genie pants (is she too legit to quit?). Seriously, if it wasn’t for the giant orange ribbon chocking the model, I would have taken her for Aladdin’s understudy in Disney on Ice.

We close with our third baby doll dress, the second of which did not get barfed on by the judges (BOO!). This is Sweet P’s (really? Sweet P? alrighty then…) version of the perennial favorite, accented with a red ribbon. Is it just me, or is the fit a little off. I feel like it’s making the model look thick at the waist. Bottom line, I think this is one of the more home-made looking ones in the bunch… the design is unoriginal, the fabrics are pretty but put together in an uninspired way, and the fit is sort of maybe not quite right.

Yay! That was fun. See ya’ll next week!

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