Friday, September 23, 2016

Project Runway: S15 E2 "Just Fabulous!"

The early passages of Project Runway are often a mixed bag. For that matter, the same can be said for most reality TV series. At least when it comes to things like American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance, you've got an auditions phase during which you can get to know some of the contestants and pick early favorites. With PR, it all kind of just starts. You don't know who any of the contestants are, and they don't really know each other yet. And there are way too many of them to begin with. With too many contestants and not enough time to get all of their personalities on screen so you can make a judgement, you're usually left judging them based solely on their work. Which is just horrible for a Fashion show, I know.

And then an episode like "Just Fabulous!" comes along and the producers and editors try to sway you in one way or another. It's either a success or a failure, and which category it falls in often has to do with execution. "Just Fabulous!" introduces a villain and the notion of a rivalry in the workroom, but I'm not sure I think it does so well.

The episode starts with the news that Cornelius (young black guy with hipster glasses) was insulting Dexter's (other black guy with stupid haircut) look from the last episode. Rightfully so since it was hideous, but Dexter took offense. It's worth noting that all of this sniping took place off camera. Presumably, Cornelius had all these negative comments during the greenroom segment of last episode, and yet no one seemed to think it was important to capture this moment for posterity.

Either way, this news makes it back to Dexter, presumably through someone telling him what happened (again, Dexter finding out what was said behind his back isn't caught on camera), and he decides that he hates Cornelius who never has anything nice or positive to say about anyone. I'm not willing to claim that this isn't true. The moments we spend with Cornelius aren't exceptionally pleasant. But what he says mostly amounts to a young person holding himself to a higher standard because he came on this show to win. I'd say that I feel like we've seen meaner mean girls than this on the show before.

But on the other hand, perhaps what he's been saying off camera really has been so heinous and beyond the pale that he's really just the worst. The problem with that, as I'm sure you've already spotted, is that he's saying them off camera. So in the meantime, we're all just left with having to take everyone else's word for it that he's the monster they're making him out to be. Either way, this isn't really good storytelling.

The Challenge

This week is the Just Fab challenge which is...I'm honestly not too sure. The designers go out to a pier where they end up being confronted by a group of 100 "everyday women." These women are not their clients or the models, but they're certainly there. I guess to remind the designers what real women look like in case they've forgotten over the course of the one challenge where they designed something for a model. 

In actuality, their challenge is to design something for the Just Fab woman. Who is every woman, of every size, shape, and color. So they're final look has to fit their model, but also has to look as though it would be flattering on a non-model. It's versatile ready-to-wear which still has to be fashionable. And the winning look will be produced and sold on Just Fab. How hard can it be?

Oddly enough, not very hard at all based on Tim's visit. He has very little to say to any one contestant. Laurence has a lot of work to do to make her look into something that would be suitable for other body-types, but there's little doubt that she'll be able to pull it off. Kimber hasn't started sewing at all yet, but she assures Tim that the sewing will be the fastest part of all this. Tim tells Brik that he's trying to do too much and to scale his look down a bit, and he takes his advice. All in all, it's another ho-hum day in PR land. 

The Runway

 Laurence: A jumpsuit is never going to be my favorite, but I certainly see how they tend to blur the line between fashion and ready to wear. This look suits the challenge surely, and I think the pop of orange in the back makes it special, but I'm not in love with it.

Rik: I don't hate this, but I do think the pattern mixing gives me a bit of a headache. It's cute and chic, and I can't think of a moment were I've ever seen an outfit that looks like separates but is connected in the back. So that's special.

Alex: I hate the big bow on the front, but I love everything else. This woman looks smart and professional and well put together. She purple fabric seen through the sheer top is really eye-catching. And I love how he paired it with that bag. I wish the front were different, but I do love this look.

Jenni: Much like a jumpsuit, I'm not a huge fan of the drop crotch either. But there's something special and evocative about this. I think the bigger weakness of the outfit is the top and that bathroom rug treatment around the shoulders. It doesn't strike me that a bigger person could wear this, not at least without looking silly, but it's not a bad outfit.

Kimber: This outfit is cute, and I love the peak at the lining in the pockets, but this certainly could not be worn by a plus-sized woman. Or it could be, but I don't know many women of size who would want to wear it. The lack of sleeves and the key hole cut out in the back seem like automatic no's for most normal sized women. But maybe I'm wrong, or at least maybe it's cute enough to overcome those issues.

Linda: No!

Nathalia: I think I'm in love. I don't know that I think this is easily reproducible, but that's just a guess based on very little knowledge of clothes manufacturing. But it's still stunning. That jacket is out of this world. I like that she calls in androgynous because I think that's true and it's main selling feature. I'd like to see it with the jacket all the way off, but even with just the peak at the blue straps in the back, it's stunning. I love this.

Sarah: Cute, but boring.

Mah-Jing: I like this, but I think it's sold a little bit more off of the accessories than the dress itself. It's nice, but I didn't really have very strong emotions towards it until I saw how the clutch and shoes accented the orange stitching. The cut of the dress is nice, and everything about it is good, but the accessories are the only thing that made it really memorable.

Cornelius: I think this would be better with a different textile. The pattern on the top and the skirt don't really clash, but they also don't compliment each other in any way. The most interesting part of the outfit is that it's a hoodie, but you really couldn't know that until she turned around, and by then I was already against the look.

Tasha: I'm trying to decide if I love this or if I just love Tasha. This is another look that I don't think would sell well to a bigger woman because of the midriff exposure, and the sheer fabric that hangs down gives her the odd look of someone with a pouch or something. Honestly, I initially thought she was wearing a fanny pack or something. But even with that being said, I find this unique and charming and I like it.

Brik: While I certainly find this bland, I don't hate it. Also I think there's a problem on the butt with the pattern not matching up, right? Either way, Tim said to pair down the original concept and he did and ended up with this. Maybe he paired it down too much? I don't know. It's not great, but it's not ugly either. I agree with him that women would want to wear it, but when they did, I feel like they'd just blend into the background too much.

Dexter: Here's what I'll say about this, in the wake of last week, I'm happy to see that Dexter can do something simple and not too flashy or out there. But I can't really see someone as wanted to wear this. It's not the most unflattering thing ever, but it's just kind of there. It doesn't stand out and isn't as cute as the other jumpsuit we had on the runway tonight.

Roberi: Ok I guess. I like the jacket, but I can't say that I see much cohesion between the three pieces.

Erin: I can't tell if I love this but want to hate it or if I hate it and want to love it. I think I want something happening in the front to break up all that white, but at the same time, I get it. I do love the fabric though and I really want to touch this dress.


Before we get there, this week sees the greenroom moment from Cornelius that I guess we needed last week, but again I say, did he say anything that was just horrible? He compliments Brik as a designer and a person, but rightfully points out that his pants are ill-made and unflattering. Is that so wrong?

Erin, Laurence, and Alex are in the top. Kimber, Brik, and Linda are in the bottom. It seems like the writing's on the wall that Brik after two challenges in the bottom is going home. Zac couldn't even muster a response to what he saw. Nina finds there to be too little personality in the whole thing. Guest judge Dobrev thinks it's business on top and couch party on the bottom, and that makes sense. This woman doesn't know who she is or what she wants, or at least Brik doesn't know who she is or what she wants. 

Linda is also slammed for her use of knit in the dress and the sheer sloppiness of the kimono styled jacket. I'm interested in the judge's point that this should have been her challenge, but I don't see why. Aside from the fact that she's an older, everyday woman. But that doesn't mean much. 

They do love Alex, Laurence, and Erin's looks though. Heidi points out that after two challenges, she feels like she knows who Erin is as a designer, and I can't help but to agree. The selling point on Erin's dress is the moment she belts it at the waist. I wish the model had done that on the runway (and during the closer look, Heidi says the same. Erin really thought about this challenge, and I'm impressed. 

Alex's point about making the top sheer so that his woman can add any color she wants under it was very smart. Heidi points out that not every woman can pull off that crop top look, and that's fair, but it's still stunning. The most telling comment might be Zac's when he points out that the bow on the blouse is something that's unoriginal, but it works so it's understandable to keep it. 

Apparently, the messy shredding nature of Linda's jacket is purposeful? I can't believe that. It's horrible. Heidi hates her look more than Brik's. I don't think Nina agrees. She hate's Brik, but thinks his is equally bad as Linda's. Heidi thinks that at least Brik's two pieces look well made, which is more than we can say for Linda. It's interesting to me the way Heidi's going to bat for Brik. Two weeks in the bottom two seems like a good enough reason to go home. 

In the end, Laurence gets the win over Erin which is interesting to me. I wonder if the ease of reproduction of Laurence's look puts her over the top because I do think Erin's look was better. Or maybe they didn't want to give her two wins in a row? Either way, that's the outcome. Laurance's nonchalance over winning is funny though. 

Linda actually does go home instead of Brik. This has got to do with Heidi's championing for him because I can't see much of a reason to keep him around. Linda stumbled this go around, and it's not that her look last week was very good either, but still. Brik needs a total rethink on what he's doing if he has any hope of sticking around much longer. 

Loose Threads

--Earlier in the episode Linda gets a little spotlight talking about her past and her kids. She says she wants to win this for her daughters. I guess her son can go get fucked. 

--The more effective spotlight was placed on Laurence talking about how her father abandoned her when she got pregnant as a teenager. It was very emotional, evocative, and told us a lot about her that felt unique. We get a lot of "I love my kids" stuff on PR, but nothing this personal and real life. 

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