And in this episode of Project Runway the designers were tasked with creating a look to walk the "rainway" — a runway topped by a movie set-style rainmaking machine that soaks the models as they stomp the catwalk. The looks had to be avant-garde — which was somehow inspired by Samsung's new curved TV — a demand that matched the unusual runway experience they were about to create.
|You want me to do WHAT?|
Now, the avant garde challenge is always a toughie for Project Runway designers. Very few people seem to have a good idea of what "avant garde" actually means. It's artistic, not really wearable, forward-thinking, larger-than-life...
There are usually a number of stick-a-bunch-of-crap-on-it looks, like Char's:
|Welcome to the planet Xanadu|
Very few designers can actually create something truly exciting and wholly new, and I guess it's no surprise that Sean and Kini were the only designers not to get soaked by this two-day challenge (the Project Runway Fashion Week show took place this past week, and I kept myself off the Internet so I wouldn't ruin the surprise of seeing the collections. I think it's safe to say those two are in the top 3).
In his critique, Tim Gunn said Kini's look was "like Schiaparelli" — high praise that foreshadowed runway success:
|Ma'am, your umbrella is dripping on the floor|
Sean, meanwhile, created a look that didn't just reference the rainway — it made use of the new medium in a specific, necessary way. It was, as my husband said, "some next-level shit."
Painstakingly sewing RIT dye into the seams of his white dress, he gambled on the rain activating the color as the model walked the runway. The judges were suitably blown away as his dress quickly changed from all-white to an ombre-effect pink and yellow (how did that model keep herself from looking down to check it out as she walked the runway?).
Sean didn't just sew a lovely dress. He created a theatrical experience — one that could only happen in this very specific environment. That's avant garde. Somebody better save this dress, because the Met is going to want it for their Sean Kelly retrospective in 2034:
It reminded me of this Alexander McQueen dress/runway experience, in which model Shalom Harlow spun on a turntable as two robot arms equipped with paint sprayers doused her dress:
Like Sean's rainway experiment, this McQueen moment was exceptional in its singularity and the "what the F$%^ is happening?" factor. Sean's look was perhaps even more interesting for the fact that no extra technology was needed to make it happen; the element of water provided the catalyst to transform his simple white dress into a work of art.
Kini and Sean shared the win, which was only fair considering how superlative both designers' work was. Can you tell I was excited by this week's episode?
Here's what I was not excited by:
Sandyha's big top jumpsuit topped by a pinwheel vest. Not only are her designs childlike, she's also unbelievably immature. After the judges' critique, in which a number of designers' work was compared to McQueen, she told them all she should win because she's the only true original in the group. She's lucky this is a particularly restrained bunch of Project Runway competitors. Nobody said a thing, though you can see their "bitch, please" looks on their faces:
|Girl, you better sleep with one eye open tonight|
What was your favorite look this week? We're getting close to the end: any predictions?