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Project Runway - Episode 311

The Challenge: To create "The Look" that would express who you are as a designer and sum up your design style. They were given a one-sheet on which they would put three words that encapsulated their look. They were given a VERY generous budget for Project Runway of I believe $250.00 and 1.5 days to make it happen.

The Twists Part 1

First Twist: Uli picks Nazri. Everyone picks models as their names are called from the velvet bag and Uli picks Nazri. Lindsey was pissed. Of course. So, Michael picks Clarissa. Personally I would have picked Amanda over Clarissa, but I guess she's a better walk or something. At least it wasn't a "motherfuckin' walkoff!"

Second Twist: The winner of the challenge would receive a photo shoot for Elle where Gilles Bensimon, one of Elle's best photographers would photograph the dress for the "First Look" page. That's a HUGE prize, both for the model and for the designer. That's advertising of the highest calibre.

Third Twist: The models would be sent in early and the designers would be sent out into the streets of New York to photograph their model as a way to tell a story that conveys the three words on their one-sheet.

General Preliminary Comments

Over the last 2 seasons of Project Runway this challenge has proven to be the most underwhelming in the eyes of the judges. The designers just can't wrap their brain around this last challenge, no matter what the hell it is, and often it's about who they are. How do you get this far on Project Runway and NOT know who you are? Is it that they've been working so long on these challenges that they've lost their own way? Also this has been the challenge where someone is sent to Fashion Week who is the "bad boy" character (Wendy Pepper & Santino Rice). So, going into this challenge I was kind of wondering what to make of it.

The Designs

Uli (Winner): Uli created a dress with a collar! I about died. From the wraparound collar the dress came down opening in a very thin keyhole down the chest and ending very high on the thigh. It was in tie dyed blue and the circle in the print wrapped around the rear. It was also totally backless. Her words were Fun, Life and Adventure. And honestly she really captured it by taking a picture of Nazri jamming with a street band. It was absolutely fantastic. And honestly, I liked Uli's the best. I would wear that dress myself. :D

Laura: Laura created another Laura dress in pink lace over a nude base. The plunging neckline was a scalloped cut and the dress was trimmed at the base with some excellent beadwork. It wasn't anything new, either from her, or in general. But it was very well made and very commercial. Her words were, Glamour, Confidence and Elegance. I buy that coming from her.

Jeffrey: Jeff created a dress that was red, white and blue. The top was an ice blue halter with some lace additions and beads, the midriff was a red sideways pleated cummerbund-type band and the skirt was a white poofy dragonfly lace. Now, the first thing that I saw when I looked at the dress was the dragonfly lace because I let out a laugh. I've seen that lace in person at one of the fabric stores, and it might have been at Exquisite Fabrics on K street. Never in a million years would I have considered that for a dress. I wouldn't even consider it for sheers on my window. But oh well. It was funny. His words were, Romantic, Irreverent and Provocative.

Michael: Michael was the most stumped of all of them and he wound up creating an evening gown in a rich wine color. It was comprised of woven bands over the midsection, a very wide keyhole top and straps criss-crossing around the neck. It didn't necessarily fit her very well in the chest. I don't know why, maybe it was loose or something. His words were Sexy, Sensuous, and Sultry. I was a little squicked by that choice of words a) because they're all practically synonymous, and b) they fit the dress, but only a little. It was a pretty dress, but it didn't have that editorial flavor.

The Twists: Part 2

Nobody's out! All four go to present at Olympus Fashion Week in contention for the grand prize. That's cool. But there's more to this than the feel good "everybody wins" thing. For the last two seasons the top four designers presented at Olympus Fashion Week anyways, because due to the broadcasting schedule of the shows nobody at Olympus Fashion Week knew who was going to be out from the top four, and the producers didn't want to tip their hat. But in the past this has caused the producers a huge amount of grief because in Season 1 Austin Scarlett only presented 8 pieces and he looked a wreck and everyone knew he was out. The audience was incredulous, but they went along with it. And for Season 2 Kara Janx was out and she presented what to most people was the most amazing collection of the bunch. Editors all over thought she was going to win, when in fact she was totally out. So the producers have been burned. Maybe they decided that it wasn't worth it to have a decoy collection, maybe the judges really felt torn about who they wanted to leave behind and who to put in? Only Bravo knows.

More General Comments

Editing: I thought that this show reminded me a lot of previous seasons of Project Runway. So much of this season has been full of ugliness, hatefulness, and bitchery, and this one just showed artisans at their craft. And honestly, that's what I want to see. They were having fun, they were laughing, it was upbeat and also incredibly interesting. Kudos!

Sportswear: There was a comment that Michael did an evening gown, which was silly because he does sportswear so well. Just as a definitional matter the term "sportswear" doesn't refer to athletic apparel. Sportswear is a general term in fashion for clothes that are informal, and for everyday use.

Teri Agins: In Tim's podcast he really let's people know why Teri Agins is a serious person to have on the panel in this episode. She is the fashion editor for the Wall Street Journal, which most would think would be the last place to look for fashion. But Teri is a HUGE voice in the fashion industry. She wrote a book called "The Death of Fashion" that was a scathing critique of the industry. It was a firestorm in fashion writing and it has had a huge impact on the way people look at fashion and how designers approach their craft. It's really a big deal. And to have someone of that calibre to stand in judgement over your work is really really huge. Project Runway is not fucking around here. These people mean business, and they've got obvious support from the industry both from designers and critics. That in itself is amazing. I mean, they nearly got Jean-Paul Gaultier to judge the Paris challenge, but he wound up having a conflict! That speaks VOLUMES to their credibility.

And wow. That's all I've got to say about that. :D


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 28th, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC)
Possible consipacy?
The previews of the reunion show had someone mentioning a "conspiracy"...

Laura had made it through the competition with basically "one note" in terms of design. How could this be possible? They've tossed seemingly great designers for much less.

During the show, Laura announced that she's pregnant. How could this be possible if she isn't around her husband?

It now becomes shockingly clear!

They must have "made it happen" while the cameras weren't rolling.

-- No, I'm not serious, it was thought about in a "weird" moment. Although, it'd make a helluva plot twist.
Sep. 28th, 2006 05:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Possible consipacy?
Hehehe. On her OutZone interview she did mention Tim calling her back to "chat" about something. Is Tim Gunn her babydaddy? Though, given that she's three months pregnant during the show, not quite.
Sep. 28th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)

Tim was on the casting special... I wonder if it was 3 months before the taping... could Laura's audition have been on THE CASTING COUCH?!?!

Wait, if it was the casting special, then maybe we're wrong about Tim... maybe it's SANTINO!
Sep. 28th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
Tim Gunn messing with Laura?!? Umm...I don't see it.
Besides. Andre would kick his ass when he got home if he found out his Gunny was messing around on him.
Nice recap of the show. Thanks for the info on Teri Agins. Never heard of her but I'm not in the industry. For such a powerhouse she didn't say much. I guess it all gets lost in the editing.

Speaking of which, don't you wish they'd give you the raw film of one whole judging? I mean just put it on the web so people can see ALL of it. That would be great. At least for these final judgings. Leave the edited on on Bravo and give the unfiltered stuff for the PR-heads online.
Sep. 28th, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC)
Re: PR-Recap
Amen to that! I would love to crack into the judging footage!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


Eric Fritter Riley

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