Saturday, October 22, 2016

Project Runway: S15 E6 "There IS Crying in Fashion"

Alright, here we go, I got a major bone to pick with you, Project Runway! Here we are, a full three years into running the Project Runaways blog. We've been pretty steady, fairly consistent, if not timely with our reviews. Admittedly, the amount of comments and engagement with each week's posts has dropped off, which hurts a bit but hey, what can you do? And yet did we get an invite to that swanky party that starts off the episode? NO! So many people I've never heard of are paraded around that over-designed (yeah, I said it!) bar space, all of them are introduced as "blogger" and here I am just like, well what the fuck am I? Chopped Liver?! Message received, PR! I don't like you either! Excuse me for a minute, I think I've got something in my eye.

The Challenge

Let's just move on to this week's challenge, shall we? All of the designers are at this swanky party / press event, and it looks like they're just getting a night to relax and unwind. No such luck since the space they're all partying in, the Absolut Elyx house, is meant to serve as their inspiration as they make a cocktail dress. No big deal, right? 

The Absolut Elyx house is a bit garish for my tastes, but there's a lot there to be "inspired" by. The designers have one day and $300 to make this look. So really we're talking about a very high-end, fashionable cocktail dress here. I, for one, was rather excited to see what everyone would turn out. 

But then, people start sketching. Cornelius, ever the helpful beaver, takes his time to explain to the dumb-as-shit viewers just what a cocktail dress is. Which is really lovely of him; I'm sure we all would have been lost without his guidance. His mastery of the concept of a cocktail dress should mean that he's got this challenge in the bag. 

Tasha, on the other hand, seems a little less certain. Or maybe she's just certain in a different direction. Her original idea is to leverage her street aesthetic to make a unique kind of dress that isn't really a cocktail dress so much as a dress her woman might wear to go get cocktails. And by cocktails, I think she means Bud Light Lime. It's the lime that makes it classy. I love Tasha, I've made no secret of that fact, but this made me nervous. I understand that making a little black dress might not speak to who she is as a designer, but this challenge called for some kind of variation on the little black dress, so why not just do that? Either way, I'm worried for Tasha's future. 

Speaking of the Little Black Dress, the trip to Mood shows us just how few people are at all interested in creating one. I don't know about you, but when I think cocktail dress, I think solid color, probably black, but also maybe a deep red or blue, cut in a way that will turn heads. You expect high skirts, low cut tops, open backs, and a lack of straps. What I don't tend to think when I head cocktail dress is patterns and prints. And yet that's exactly what so many contests are heading for. Via con dios, I guess. 

Tim isn't really impressed with the abundance of patterns either. Cornelius, who of course was last seen explaining cocktail dresses to us, is using a fabric he's used before, and it's honestly hideous. He's going to have to start all over and try again. So much for his encyclopedic knowledge of what a cocktail dress is.  Roberi is also in textile hell. Tim points out that his dress looks like a Navajo Blanket, and he didn't mean it as a compliment. 

Meanwhile, there's the continued saga of Tasha. Her fabric doesn't say adult or luxury at all. The cut of the dress isn't suitable for a cocktail party, and her focus on her street aesthetic has been to the detriment of the outfit as a whole. But Tim's visit with her features one of those quintessential Tim moments that make me love him and love this show. He says to her "Don’t push street into the cocktail, push cocktail into the street, and what happens to it?” And in one moment, he shows what his role as mentor always should be, and what Tasha's perspective always should have been. Had she started with that point in mind, she probably would have been on a much better trajectory at this point. As it is, Tim points out that the black denim fabric she's got would make for a much better dress than the one she's working on. If she has enough fabric to create an entire look out of it, she might be onto something. 

The Runway

Laurence: I don’t know that there are enough good things to say about this dress. Is it a little black dress? Yes, but does is stand out and say so much more than a typical little black dress would? Yes! I can’t see a single flaw in it, so just a million times yes to this.

Rik: What if the strap around the back was totally unnoticeable and the zipper was invisible? Would that be better or worse? For me, I’d say better because while I understand that the dress doesn’t stay up or have any kind of flattering fit without that strap, it was distracting. I understand the drive to go with the external zipper, but something about it seems off and out of place with the rest of the dress. Other than that I think this look is cute. It’s unique and certainly would turn heads for the right reasons. It’s an interesting take on the cocktail dress!
Jenni: I don’t think this is horrible, but the more I look at it the more I hate it. It feels like it’s in the weird place between being slinky and being formfitting and I just want it to chose one. Plus the appliqué is ugly. I think I’ve changed my mind: I do think it’s horrible.

Erin: You can just make out the shiny brocade fabric framing the feathers and I hate that. I wish the feathers had extended all the way up the neckline. But other than that small detail I love this. To me, a cocktail dress should be formfitting like this. And the feathers just give it an extra something to put it a little over the edge. I’m a fan.

Tasha: If she’d had more fabric and could have worked out some of the fit issues, I think this would have been a success. The denim makes it impressive and unique, the belt (sash?) sadly looks cheap and tacked on, but it also breaks up the dress a bit. And the hem on the skirt is actually cute. But the whole thing is so ill-fitting that it looks rushed and a little cheap and that’s sad.

Cornelius: Why does that fabric move like that? As she walks, it bunches up a bit and makes her look like she’s got a pot belly. I hate this. I hate the fabric, I hate the cut, I hate the fit, I hate it all.

Nathalia: This might be the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. That beaded fabric just sewn onto the front looks like she took some fabric and just sewed it onto the front of her dress. I wonder why! And the way it hangs around the waist and chest area is not flattering at all. Kill it with fire!

Brik: I gotta say, Brik made me gasp, and this time not in horror. I’m quite impressed. If I hadn’t been watching him work on it and no one told me whose dress that was I never would have guessed him. The back is simply to die for. I think the cut of the dress is still a little simple, so I don’t believe he has much innovative and interesting design in him, but I’m very impressed with this all the same.

Mah-Jing: That fabric is beautiful! Can you imagine how remarkable a cocktail dress made out of that fabric could have been? Sadly, this one just isn’t. The fit and the finishing kill this look. The frayed looking edges around the shoulders are tragic, and all of the bunching and wrinkling is an eyesore. It’s too bad because I love the fabric.

Roberi: I was very worried about this look and that fabric initially, but I have to say I like the finished product. I think thinner shoulder straps and a deeper opening in the back would have made me like it more, but all in all I think this is pretty OK.

Dexter: I don’t think this looks as good as he does, but I don’t hate it. Fringe is always going to be hit or miss, but I tend to like the movement, so I’m partial. I do love the color though, so there’s that.


So Laurence, Rik and Jenni...yes Jenni, are in the top. Tasha, Nathalia, and Erin...yes Erin, are in the bottom. I'm not actually surprised that Erin is in the bottom. While I didn't hate her look, I can easily see how others would and the judges certainly do. But Jenni being in the top floors me. Heidi's the first to point out that she's stolen Erin's typical embellishment, but they all think that's a good thing. In fact, they originally assumed that Jenni's look was Erin's and were prepared to heap even more praise on the woman with two wins in the bag already. Instead Erin gets taken to task for how costume-y her look is and how poorly styled her girl is. I'll admit that I hadn't noticed the styling on the runway, but that's just because there was so much to look at with the dress. Which is also called busy so there's that. 

For my money, the win should be between Rik and Laurence. Zac doesn't like Rik's exposed zipper, but everyone like his vision. Heidi points out that it would make a great cocktail dress because no woman would have anything like it in her closet already. So it'd turn heads and probably sell really well to women wanting something unique. The lavish praise on Laurence's dress, but in the closer look they're quick to point out that they want to make sure she's not a one way monkey. They knew that dress was hers as soon as it stepped out, and while her having a signature is good, they want to know that she can do more than those amazing shoulders. 

Nathalia is more of a head scratcher. Heidi and Nina properly hate it. They point out how sloppy and ill-fitting, and just all around cheap it looks. Which is weird since she blew most of her $300 on that crappy beaded fabric which cost $250 a yard. But Zac and the guest judge actually don't hate it. Zac is ready to applaud her ideas and commend her for creating something new. He's still clear that the execution isn't there, but he likes the ideas behind it. I think Zac is the judge I disagree with least often, but when I do disagree with him, it's on something like this. I have no idea what he's talking about here. 

And then there's Tasha. I didn't realize at first that the top and bottom of her dress were actually two different fabrics. This combined with the sash makes the entire thing look cheap. On top of that, there's the poor fit issue and the fact that there's no real speciality of design beyond the typical trappings of little black dress. And Nina's quick to point out that Tasha's look standing up there right next to Laurence's amazing little black dress does it no favors at all. So the choice of who to send home is between Nathalia who had ideas, but they were bad ideas, and Tasha who seemed to have no ideas. 

In the end, Jenni wins; a fact that still has my jaw on the floor. Her look was nowhere near as good as the other two in the top and this is just ridiculous. Tasha goes home and my heart breaks a bit. I think an entire little black dress made out of a very dark blue denim would have been wonderful. It could have captured her aesthetic and still wowed the judges. But in her decision to try and buck the system entirely and force her girl where she'd never really be, she trapped herself into a corner. I stand by my love of Tasha. She seemed like an honestly good person, but I'm not sure just how cut out for PR she was. 

Loose Threads

--I know I briefly mentioned Nathalia's $250 a yard fabric, but come on! As soon as that price is quoted at you, I don't care what kind of vision you have in your head, you say no thank you and move on to find something else. I know she only got 1/2 a yard of it, but that's still $125 out of a $300 budget spent on one piece of ugly fabric. It might be my love of Tasha talking, but I really was hoping she'd go home. If not for her poor design, then certainly for that horrible money management situation. 

--The time in the greenroom was catty AF! Apparently there's something a split happening amongst the designers with Dexter and Erin on one side and just about everyone else on the other. Nathalia's shady ass "Erin isn’t the only person to ever embellish anything" comment was amazing. 

--Speaking of Dexter, for all of his and Erin's confidence that they're going to be the top two and win it all, this challenge included, he's sent off the runway with a few words of warning from Zac and Heidi. Apparently he's lucky to have had immunity this challenge or else he might have gone home. Both of them are so cocky all challenge, and to see them both more or less in up in the bottom was pretty funny.

--I don't think we even need to mention Mah-Jing's tears over Tasha's exit. But I will say that Tim's "Mah-Jing's crying over everything" comment was pretty awesome. 

--I think this might have been one of the first challenges were we're seriously seeing the talent levels start to diverge. Dexter and Erin may not have had good looks, but there was an ease and a confidence to the way they tackled the challenge. Match that with Rik and Laurence's easy straight forward approach, and I think we might be looking at strong contenders for the top 4. Everyone else struggled, had to start over, or just couldn't find their way without Tim's help. Jenni and Roberi seem to be somewhere in the middle, so I'll mark them as wild cards. But my guess is that contestants like Cornelius, Nathalia, Brik, and Mah-Jing won't be around for much longer. 

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