Aug 8, 2014

What Did We Learn From Project Runway This Week? Season 13, Episode 3

Watching last night's episode of Project Runway, I appreciated more than ever that I can make my own clothes. Because the contestants were tasked with creating a look that could walk the runway in 2034 (the tie-in was Marie Claire's 20th anniversary), and if future fashion really is that much of a snore....I won't be buying it.

But before we get into it, one of my favorite parts of the episode was seeing TBT (that's throw-back Thursday, for the Facebook-uninitiated) pics of each judge and Tim Gunn, circa 1994:


Zac Posen is adorable (that hair!) and I love that Nina has her eyes closed in her 1994 photo — a testament to the fact that just 20 years ago we weren't documenting every day as if we were in a "celebs are just like us" photo spread (and also we used film, so we couldn't delete such imperfect pics!). This probably was the only pic she had from 1994. (In fact, I think half the photos of myself from 1994 feature me with my eyes closed.)

Anyway, on to the lessons!

Lesson 1: Grainline is next to godliness

I used to dislike Zac Posen because of what he wasn't: Michael Kors, may he rest in peace (I know he's not dead but after two seasons without him, HE MAY AS WELL BE).

But more and more I appreciate Zac for the fact that he knows his craft — and he can appreciate other points of view. Plus, he's the only judge who will call out a designer on grainline mishaps. It's something the lay-person Project Runway fan wouldn't understand, but we all know how cutting off-grain can ruin a garment.

Alexander had that issue last night, though I'm not sure staying on grain would have helped him any. It's not terrible, but sad, drab, and ... um, what else rhymes with sad?


Of course, he threw this look together quickly after his model's B-cup "chichis" (ugh!) didn't fit the pieced leather top he was creating. (Always blaming the boobs on Project Runway.... I have an idea: if you can't design for a human with breasts, MAYBE YOU SHOULD MAKE MEN'S WEAR. End rant).  

Anyway, don't cut on the fold if you want to get your grainline just right. Trace your pattern into a mirror image so that you can cut the whole thing flat, ALEXANDER.

Lesson 2: Fabric choice will make you — or break you

I think about fabric a lot. Like, every time my mind wanders, I'm thinking about fabric — what type should be used with what pattern, what construction techniques to use with a particular fabric, where can I buy more of it...

So I'm always surprised when Project Runway contestants make it onto the show and then make bad fabric choices.

My six-year-old thought Sean's look was so terrible, she told me she "couldn't even stand to look at it any longer." That's a tough critique from a kindergartener who sits on the 1 train and whispers to me all the reasons why she thinks every woman on our subway car is beautiful. (Pretty shoes, pretty hair, fancy nails, bejeweled phone case, and so on; you are all lovely in my child's eyes).

She kept looking at it though and then uttered, "Darkish....criminalish..."

Aside from the Mary Poppins hat and black turtleneck dress (which Sean justified by saying that he remembered having to wear turtlenecks a lot 20 years ago — WHEN HE WAS 4), there's this blue coat. While inspecting it closely, Zac Posen said it was the hardest fabric to sew — and that Sean probably won't touch it ever again.

Meanwhile, one of the strongest looks smartly made use of two fabrics that didn't need any finishing: neoprene and leather.

This was my favorite look (though it was not the winner but we will get to that soon enough). Zac Posen praised Kristine's choice of fabric, calling it smart and effective. Imagine finishing the raw edges of each of those cuffs? (Note to self: start sewing with neoprene!).

Lesson 3: Practical clothes won't win you any prizes

For real my friends, I just got SO distracted searching for blazers online, which proves the point I am about to make: we all need practical clothes. We just do. We have job interviews. Or court appearances...  

But when Angela said she "just likes making practical clothes" I knew she wasn't long for this world. Isn't designing practical clothes something you do to pay the bills? (Or something you do after failing at trying to design spectacular clothes?) 

And, the thing is, this isn't even practical:

 
Too short and sleeveless, what business exec is going to wear this — even 20 years into the future (perhaps in the future offices won't be overly air-conditioned?). 

A couple times Angela said she'd never been criticized so much as she was on Project Runway. She does work on Wall Street — and we all know how little scrutiny those people face. So maybe a little criticism would be helpful. 
 
Moving on, I want to know what you all think of Sandhya's winning look. My daughter said it looked like Attack of the Slinkeys. 


I thought it looked like ducting for a self-cooling system. I did, however, like Sandhya's explanation (that in the future women's wear won't have to reference men's wear to evoke a powerful image). Girlfriend knows how to make a pitch — and throw a little shade on Angela's look. Well played, Sandhya.

As for Amanda, who had immunity last night, I really missed Michael Kors' simile-packed zingers. What would he have said about this ensemble? That it looks like a goth yoga teacher at a midsummer sex party?


What do you think Michael Kors would have said about Amanda's look? What other lessons did you learn this week? Who's your current fave designer? Are the judges just trying to drive Korine crazy by giving Sandhya the win a second time?

14 comments:

  1. Ugh. I'm over Sandhya and her weirdness. Good riddance Angela!

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  2. I liked Kristine's the best, too. The one I would be most likely to wear would be Alexander's.... I'm tired of Sandhya using social commentary to sell her clothes.

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    1. I liked some of the others that didn't get much screen time: Samantha, Kini and especially Char.

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  3. I'm just relieved that Angela went home before she had a complete breakdown on air. Anyone that fragile should not enter a competition like this and I wonder if they cast her just to get the drama. Page said those strange bumps on the side seams of her skirt were something she had never done before . So the lesson is not try out new stuff when working with a short deadline.

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    1. yes, absolutely. Those were strange.

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  4. I enjoy watching Project Runway season after season (and I do miss Michael Kors and appreciate Zac Posen's construction critiques), but this season I cannot figure out why they like Sandhya's designs so much. I, too (like Angela above), feel she tells a good story, but creates impractical designs. I enjoy watching the other designers who do not clap when she wins the challenge (sooo noticeable!...hehe).
    I am sure this season's winner will come from those who are consistently 'safe' in each episode.
    If someone stole a picture of you in 1994, what would you portray? I enjoyed seeing the judges and designers in their pictures....no one changed much, did they?
    PS: I love your daughter's fashion comments!

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  5. I thought Sandhya's dress was stupid looking and those tacky metallic tubes looked cheap- like they were an afterthought stuck onto the very basic dress. I really don't get the judges love for her. Of the 3 top looks, I felt Kristine should have won. And I may be weird, but I actually liked Alexander's shift dress. The shape was one of my favorites and I think if it were made up in a quality, colorful fabric with the leather yoke finished well and a real hem, it would be a simple, yet very nice dress. Maybe still not what PR is looking for, but still, nice. It was the ugly, off grain fabric, and the poor finishing, including the raggedy hem that did him in. Of course what can you expect when you only have one day to complete the look and you have to start over part way through? I also liked the neoprene pantsuit (jumpsuit?) that Mitchell (?) made. It, too, had some finishing/construction issues, but he had an idea and a story to go with the look- melting ice caps, rising waters... To me that was a better story than Sandhya's "women are going to be so empowered that they don't take cues from menswear anymore- they're going to instead slap tacky metallic leather tubes on their dresses."

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    1. Mitchell did have a good idea. I wasn't in love with the finished look, but was digging the Water World theme..

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  6. Just found your blog and I have to say I love your recaps! The season has barely started and already I feel like every episode I want to know what the judges are on... so I can avoid it. I think there are a lot of very talented and interesting designers in this group, but I feel that they are all being largely ignored by the judges (being in the safe zone). I haven't agreed with the wins on... any of the challenges so far. And, yes, have to say that I miss Michael Kors (a lot!), but I am developing an appreciation for Zac Posen that I didn't have before. I feel like he is being more assertive with his opinion this season, especially when it differs from Heidi and Nina.

    Anyway, really enjoying your blog, and I'm excited to read your commentary for the rest of the season!

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    1. I agree there are many talented designers so far flying below the radar! Oh, and thanks for reading!

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  7. CRIMINALISH! AHAHAHAHAHAHA! I really loved Kristine's and Kini's looks this week, especially Kristine's. I would LOVE to wear that outfit. As for Angela, I would think she would be relieved to be off the show! She seemed miserable from the very beginning. I felt like her "practical clothes" comment revealed her lack of imagination- she never understood what the judges are looking for and never made anything that any women I know would want to wear.

    I can't even talk about Sandhya. I'm starting to hate her. She seemed so sweet at the beginning but her smug smiles now... girl, just stop!

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  8. "Attack of the Slinkeys!" --> hahaha!
    I love your recap, and agreed that Sandhya had a good sell. But oof. So pink, so sparkly. And, I can't believe the judges passed on an opportunity to rant on the scuba suit!

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  9. I have to say that I wasn't at all impressed this week either. The primitive, industrial, grunge number I mentally designed over the course of the hour was much better than anything seen on the runway. HeHe...not to say that an imaginary garment has much merit.

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