Friday, August 15, 2014

Project Runway S13 E4: "A Suitable Twist"


1. not fair; not conforming to approved standards, as of justice, honesty, or ethics:

an unfair law; an unfair wage policy.

2. disproportionate; undue; beyond what is proper or fitting:

an unfair share.

Someone should remind the producers of Project Runway of this fact.  Because nothing screams unfair more than an undeserving designer picking fabric for everyone else in the competition. Is my selective memory acting up, or is this the first time we've ever done that on this show? It's also possible that my extreme hatred of Sandy plays a part in my anger over this development, but I find this to be horribly problematic. In their defense, pretty much every suit to choose from was equally unappealing, but in a challenge where a significant part of the expectation is to be "inspired" by the fabric you're choosing, how does it make any sense whatsoever to have someone else choosing your suit? Speaking as an artist, it's not easy to get inspired by something you have no say in. You can't just pop up with an image and ask me to get inspired to write a story about it over the course of one day. Maybe this would have worked better with more than one day; give the designers a little more time to mull over the looks they've been unfairly assigned and find something within it they can be passionate about. But under these circumstance? I think this left the deck unfairly stacked against some designers and it left a bad taste in my mouth. 

Now that we've got the rant out of the way; welcome back Runaways! The designers start with a trip to Red Robin, Yawn Yum! I don't know if it's simply because we don't have Red Robin's here in Florida, but I couldn't bring myself to be excited about this particular piece of product placement.

We're introduced to Jason Rusk who is someone with Red Robin. I wasn't paying much attention because I was too busy cooing over how little he is. At 6'1", I tend to really like short men (who am I kidding, I like tall men too, I really don't have a "type"), and as such I just found him so adorable. I wanted to put him in my pocket... ok things just got weird, let's get back to the challenge. Jason says something about putting a spin on something "as classic as a burger," so there's that, plus men in horrible suits which have to serve as inspiration and fabric, and the finished look has to be high fashion, and Sandy gets to choose everyone's suit because she won last week, and probably about 100 other things. Has anyone else noticed how convoluted the challenges have been lately? It feels like they all have multiple layers which tend not to have anything to do with each other, and never combine to make any sense.
Anyway, that's when the man candy comes out in horrible suits. Sandy chooses suits for everyone "based on their specific design aesthetics," and then everyone goes inside to sketch and eat free fries.  Much to my disappointment, the men didn't hang around the restaurant in their underwear after having the suites ripped off of them. Talk about missed opportunities. Then it's off to Mood for Swatch! Or I mean supplemental fabric. But really, are we even watching the show for any reason other than Swatch and HMG at this point?

I normally love Tim Gunn forever, and to be honest I still do, but I have a bone to pick with him over his workroom visit this go around: I feel like he's giving very bad advice. Admittedly, the first moment of bad advice proves to be my not having a full vision of what the finished product would be. But when he tells Amanda that the increase of fringe towards the bottom was a good idea, all I could think was Car Wash Crotch." Which shouldn't be the goal for anyone. But Amanda certainly pulls it out by the end and I had to eat my words. On the other hand, however, when he meets with Sean, and sees the tragic mistakes he's making, never once does he offer any real advice that could potentially save the outfit. He tells him to go with the unfinished outside of the dress instead of the boring, but smooth, inside of it because it's more interesting. But never once does he voice a concern that this is a bad idea. I understand that Tim comes in close enough to the end of the day that scraping an entire look in favor of something new isn't feasible, and thusly he's mostly there to try and tell them how best to save or edit the looks they've already got, but we've seen him offer strong words of caution before and I don't feel like he did that here. And that he does it to my PR Crush of the season hurts my heart and had me panicking that Sean would be going home and I'd have to write the review through tears.

On to the runway: Bethany Mota is guest judge this week, take from that what you will.

Korina: I think it’s beautiful. I don’t think it’s really innovative to conflate “edge” with “leather,” I’d like to think that time is behind us, but with that being said, it’s clean cut, the color is beautiful, the slit in the skirt is sexy, I really like the belt, and it’s wearable.

Char: This feels more like high fashion to me. It’s nice, I like the dramatic neck and the bow on the hip. I’m not jumping up and down about it, but I like it. 

Fade: I think the textile is beautiful, but I also think it could be the sort of thing that’d make someone a little dizzy looking at it. It’s nice, but the entire cut of the look just screams “safe” to me.

Samantha: Who the hell is Samantha as a designer? Nothing I’ve seen from her sticks out in my memory thus far, and this look tells me nothing at all. I find this to be offensively boring.

Hernan: Very unflattering placement of the V (pun intended), and the look feels very costume. Get rid of the V (I think only a gay man would say that) and it’s at least an OK costume. I think this is purely a Taste Level issue. It's not hideous, it's just tasteless. And that's not the first time I've felt that way about his designs.

Alexander: I think Alexander has redeemed himself, though I don’t think it would have taken much for him to have done so after last week. At least this proves he has an aesthetic and is capable of design. I think the skirt is a little boring, but the design elements of the top feel High Fashion. I also really like his model’s styling. Good job.

Mitchell: The interesting this about this look to me is that I never would have guessed it came from Mitchell if I just saw it on the runway. I don’t think it’s great, it’s got a costume feel to it too, and outside of that it’s a little boring. But I don’t think it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen either.

Sean: Oh my poor Aussie baby. This was just… no. The top is too simple (though it’s certainly better than what he had before), the skirt looks messy and unfinished, nothing about this says high fashion. I hope he’s safe, and I think I can make the argument that this is another example of a designer with the deck stacked against him doing the best he can with what he’s given, but this was just bad.

Kristine: The fit on those pants is just horrible. But she recognizes that, so I don’t feel the need to throw her under the bus much. For all the drama about her and Korina doing the same jacket (and Korina’s bitchy “nice jacket” comment is just perfect), I think they still look like two different looks. It turned out to be nbd. I do like this jacket though, the horrible fabric notwithstanding.

Amanda: Ok allow me to say that I actually do like this look, and I do think that the fringe saves it in a lot of ways. She certainly pulls it out, and I respect that. But when I look at it, it immediately puts me in mind of her Unconventional Materials look, and that makes me hate it a little bit.

Kini: I almost, kind of, mostly love this look. There’s something really odd going on with the hemline in the front. And I think there are construction issues with the skirt as well. But the design is beautiful and I really like the sleeves (I didn’t think I would) and I love the back. For having so much time given how fast he was going, you’d think he could have cleaned up the construction a little more.

Sandy: I’m so done with this woman. I don’t hate the top if I’m being honest, but I do hate the rest of it. Get the fuck off of my show!

Emily: She’s quickly becoming one of my favorite designers to be honest. I love every aspect of this: skirt, pants, top, all beautiful, well designed, and well-tailored.  

Kini, Amanda, and Alexander are in the top, and Sean, Kristine, and Hernan are in the bottom. How Emily is just safe blows my mind, and again we're set up for an episode where a deserving designer isn't going to win. But it's compounded by the possibility that my man might lose. And to be honest, his look this week is really horrible and probably deserves to lose. I also think his defense of the look is a little condescending. If he'd simply gone with more of a "I did the best I could to be innovative with a suit and a fabric that I never would have touched in my life if I could have avoided it," I think it would have made more sense. I'm sorry, but I really do feel like the designers hands were tied in a lot of ways by their "inspiration" being chosen for them. Nothing can excuse Hernan's final look, perhaps, but how do you really justify sending someone home when they were forced to work with a look that didn't speak to them and a fabric that they couldn't work with. No matter what the judges say when they touch Hernan's dress, if the fabric wasn't his choice, it wasn't his choice. All of it comes back to doing the best you can with what's handed to you; which might sound fair, and in some ways I understand that everyone's at least got some of the same restrictions, but everything about this feels wrong to me.

In any event, Amanda wins, which gives us 2 different winners over the course of 4 episodes, and I mean, really judges? Are you even fucking trying anymore? And Hernan goes home allowing Sean one more shot to redeem himself. Sean's look is easily the worst of the night, but typically when it's just poor construction vs bad taste, poor construction tends to win out. I only hope he can have an Alexander type turn it around moment next week and rocket to the top where he belongs. (Insert joke about him being a top here)

Stray Observations:

--This is also another place where I think Angela holding her team back in the unconventional challenge hurts everyone. The judges say something about never seeing any imagination from Sean, but I feel like had they been able to talk to him and Fade during that week, they wouldn't feel that way. But instead they were judged as a group and we're still feeling the aftermath of that. 

--I'm sad that Hernan went home because this felt like the first time we got to see fully bitchy Hernan, and I loved every minute of it! His calling everyone a bitch, and his catty behavior, which I thought was more friendly to at least everyone who wasn't Sandy, was just so much fun! I laughed so much and wanted more of him. 

--Do we really honestly think Sandy picked those suits trying to match up contestants aesthetics as best she could, or is that just the company line? I tend to think intention matters in most places, but I don't know if it does here. If she really does think that that's the suits most of them would have chosen themselves, then she's insane. And if she doesn't feel that way, then she's a jerk. 

--I know most people hate Korina, but I think I love her. Her "Great jacket" snide to Kristine and the look on her face when everyone in the greenroom was saying they loved that jacket were just priceless. Shade 101.

--What's the over/under on how long we can all stomach watching this season if the judging doesn't get better?

--Also, I almost forgot to draw attention to Jack Mackenroth (he was a contestant way back in season 4) and the awesome work he's been doing with HIV awareness.

--And also, I fully expect Julius to let us know what the designer vote break down was for this episode. I'm very curious about these developments every week. Not having cable sucks, but downloading the episodes and watching them sans commercials and over the course of like an hour 15 minutes really does make them far more enjoyable.

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