Uh, spoiler alert much, lady?! I told her I wasn't at the end yet, and she just shrugged and walked away. You think New York City is supposed to be all "keep your head down, mind your business" but it is clearly not, my dear readers. (The same woman looked at me with great suspicion when I told her I actually wasn't Jewish. She made a huge point of telling me the cake they were serving for a special event was Kosher. My neighborhood is pretty Orthodox. I guess it's time to start wearing more bright colors?).
Anyway, there are some weeks on Project Runway that you just feel really bad for the designers. Like, if you could bake them a pie and run them a hot bath, you would. And this week, with its unfortunate male stripper challenge, was one of those weeks.
The designers were tasked with creating three performance looks for the "Thunder From Down Under," an Aussie men's revue that reads like a modern-day Village People (except I don't think the Village People ever stripped down to their Aussie-flag-emblazoned boxer shorts, did they?).
Challenges like this make me wonder: Do the Project Runway producers want the designers to fail? Because seriously: patterning, fitting and sewing three full outfits for men with unusually muscular bodies in ONE DAY? Oh, and the outfits all have to tear away easily, for stripping purposes? C'mon!
Tim Gunn warned them at the outset: "Some of the worst work to ever walk the runway on Project Runway has been menswear." And he's right. It's always terrible (but sometimes it makes for very good TV). Remember this poor guy from Season 9?
So what were the judges expecting, giving this week's challenge to a group of women's wear designers? The male models were the only ones who were gracious about the difficulties the poor designers faced. Heidi kept saying she just couldn't wait for them to take off those awful clothes, while Nina practically had to be resuscitated, she was laughing so hard.
Those of us who make clothes for men can learn a lot from their errors. (Or maybe they can learn from us?).
Lesson 1: MEN'S SHIRTS NEED COLLAR STANDS! (And plenty of women's shirts do too (I sewed one just this week). Is it really possible that Richard doesn't know this? He feigned innocence over this very basic detail in men's shirt construction:
Wow. Just....wow. Why didn't anyone else step in and say, "Where's the collar stand?! You can't make a men's tailored shirt without a collar stand!" (Yes, you can make a roll or shawl collar, but that would be unusual in a tailored button-up). Maybe it's because Richard only wears tank tops...maybe he should have looked at Stanley's shirt? Layana would have!
Lesson 2: Proportion is key in menswear. Small (collars/cuffs/etc) = feminine. Witness Layana's tuxedo-style jacket:
Poor guy looks like he stole his lady's coat. Granted, he has trapezius muscles the size of yams, and I bet given another day Layana would have made some key fit adjustments. She has a good eye. Perhaps she was distracted by all the flirting?
Lesson 3: It doesn't matter what your shirt looks like when you're just going to throw a coat on top of it:
Now, like I said, I was watching this episode on my laptop at the library, and it was very low res, so I thought maybe I was missing out on some of the details. But when Nina said Daniel's trenchcoat looked like a "beauty smock" — something you would wear while getting a haircut, I realized, yep...I am seeing exactly what they're seeing. A black beauty smock. I don't actually think it's that terrible, but for an all-male Vegas revue? If some guy walked out on stage in that, I would check my ticket because clearly I'm in the wrong theater.
And underneath it was Patricia's shirt, a macrame disaster that Heidi compared to a potholder. Patricia, of course, spent the full 24 hours making this shirt, leaving her teammates to pull up the slack.
Sad Stanley did a lot of the heavy lifting for his team, making three pieces, a pants pattern and a shirt pattern. He also advised Layana on how to fix her suit coat, and constructed a men's shirt in 20 minutes. But trying to do too much may have been his downfall this challenge (or maybe it's the fact that he's kind of boring? I think maybe Stanley needs to lay off the Paxil, because his downers seem to be working a little too well. Has that guy had a single moment of levity this season?).
Wake me up when this is over:
Again, it's not terrible, and I'm sure the fit issues would have been fixed given more time. But the team was going for a business look, and this is more "Death of a Salesman" than Financial Times Bump N' Grind, amirite ladies?
So did Amanda deserve to go home this week for her pants pattern (which was somehow perfect in the hands of Samantha, but ended up too tight in her variations)? If we're at an all-male strip show, do we really care what their pants look like? And how many collar stands should Richard be forced to sew as penance for his poorly patterned men's shirts?