The Fashion Show

For the past three weeks, I have been following The Fashion Show, Bravo’s slapped-together replacement for the recently departed Project Runway. It’s certainly a low-frills, bitchier show than it’s predecessor, especially with Isaac Mizrahi, who manages to make Michael Kors look like your nice gay uncle. That’s because he’s the other gay uncle, the one whose zingers really do sting. Like Kors, he is actually qualified to evaluate fashion as he has been in the industry for over 20 years. He judges the designs, but also gives some Tim Gunn-ish feedback when the designers are working. Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child fame, on the other hand, doesn’t fill Heidi Klum’s fashion icon shoes as she’s more of a self-styled fashionista who’s been to numerous shows. This is like throwing an armchair quarterback in to the game.  As for the third judge, thankfully they did away with fashion editors (the Anna Wintour parody would have been too much) and go for fashion executive Fern Mallis. Unlike Project Runway, where the weekly walk was for the benefit of the judges, The Fashion Show’s designers’s models parade their designs before not only before the judges, but also industry people and an audience.

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Project Runway, Season 5: Episode 1

Last season’s PR brought odd personalities such as the Björk Lady and Harry Potter, the talented winner. This season doesn’t seem to short of personalities. I can’t remember anyone’s names right now, but I’ll call one guy Tweaker Beck and another Rufus Wainright. Blue mohawk guy: Vivian or one his roommates from the Young Ones.

I’m not sure if this is going full circle to Season 1’s first challenge or if PR is on its last legs and grasping for straws, but the challenge is to go the grocery store and scoop up whatever materials they can. Austin Scarlet, winner of the Season 1 challenge with his corn husk dress, is back to judge the challenge.

Not surprisingly, a lot them grab table cloths and Tim Gunn bitches them out for it. The aging biker chick goes for the punk rock cliché of the garbage bag and tries to break it, only to fall flat like an inner tube with a hole in it. That would have been a great material for a dress. Rufus Wainright, on the other hand, is more innovative with a dress made of blue plastic cups.

Jennifer, one of the few names I’ve caught, uses material I would love to use: paper towels. It brings back memories of the tissue paper couture I did as a kid.

Tweaker Beck, well, makes a very tweaked out outfit. Michael Kors says it looks like a handiwipe gone wrong. As for Jerry the Asian guy, his outfit looked too nursey or as Kors said, just left the hospital. Needless to say, Jerry leaves the runway.

Korto is the only one who uses to produce to accessorize a tablecloth dress. Kelli, who looks a bit like Reese Witherspoon, wins by burning and staining her materials, creating a not-so-pretty but interesting effect.

Perhaps this season will be an interesting one, but it’s too early to tell. I wonder how much we’ll get to see Tim Gunn losing that cool, “Make It Work” demeanor. Even though that would overshadow Heidi and the designers, it would be checking out.

My one real gripe about watching PR – seeing all those commericals for “Date M Ex.” Jo and Slade, please go away. I guess Bravo/NBC takes care of their own when their music careers fail to take off.

Oh, there’s another gripe: PR’s Bravo website is badly organized. This must be one of Bravo/NBC’s retaliations for the show’s migration to Lifetime (a financially motivated move on Weinstein’s part).

Project Runway: Season 4 Finale Part 2

Here, you can see the designers go through casting drama.
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Needless to say, Christian worked his Harry Potter magic, created some “fierce” ruffles, and had a winning collection. When Tim Gunn checked in on him a month before, he had some feathered leggings. For good or bad, he ditched the Big Bird pants, but he had some amazing garments that incorporated feathers on the runway. The hat on the first look and the feathers on the final gown added to the fantasy, couture aspect of his collection. Christian also retained the giant collar Tim Gunn had some concerns about. He had some bitchy model drama before the show (one complained about the shoes). Somehow, flats wouldn’t look right in the Spanish Renaissance inspired look.

Jillian had so many shapes and so much variety in her collection. On a creative level, this is great. She can conceive and execute many different looks. The one thing that was missing was cohesiveness, or what they like to call a “point of view.” Great work, though. I don’t doubt her phone will be ringing for days from potential clients.

While she wasn’t hemming things at the last minute (an 11th hour garment challenge would have killed her), Jillian tried to recast the models at the last minute as she didn’t pay attention to their heights. A short model in a long dress can be a nightmare.

Rami retained his signature of draping; however, he branched out with some very eclectic results. Some of his dresses were reminiscent of Chloe Dao‘s, including some extremely bold color choices (blue-green, magenta, blood red). He used draping techniques in newer ways, as to create blouses and dresses that didn’t look like they were made for Greek goddesses. The gold gown looked like it could be fantasy Grecian, but it also was reminiscent of a something a 1930’s starlet would wear. Weaving the fabric was an interesting touch, especially in the bodice of one gown. He was holding back in the walk-off between him and Chris March, as some of what he presented on Fashion Week was much more interesting.

The judge’s roller coaster of praise and criticism is a fun feature of this finale. This time, at least they’re not accusing someone of having the boobs in the wrong place. Victoria Beckham, the guest judge is wowed by Christian’s collection. Will we see her in one his creations in the future?

See the final collections.
Christian speaks!

Project Runway: Season 4 Final Collections (website)

Warning: This entry contains some spoilers.

I went on Project Runway‘s website, and found that they have posted a gallery of the final collections. Like a little kid before Christmas, I just couldn’t resist taking a peek. Unlike the coming episode, they show all five finalists’ collections go down the Bryant Park runway.

Last year, Tim Gunn declared the decoy practice was over. This time they returned to it with some byzantine twists.

Sweet P was one decoy. Since she didn’t make the cut to compete in the Fashion Week finale, she was perfect for throwing off the press during Fashion Week. However, a decision had to be made about which one would be another decoy and which one would actually compete regarding Chris March and Rami. Even though I still think decoying like this is a mindfuck, perhaps worse than the previous seasons, I am very happy for Sweet P and Chris March for getting to show at Bryant Park.

Sweet P’s palette is perhaps the most eclectic of the group. Gold, lavender, chartreuse, fuschia, and even some doses of black and white help shape her collection. She’s a lot more adventurous than her previous challenges, which I’m glad to see.

It is a shame that Chris March doesn’t get to compete in the finale. He makes some very odd, but great fabric choices in his gothic collection, and I’m not talking about the human hair weaves. That part is interesting, but he did think about patterns, prints, and textures in building these creations. The collection, as a whole, was cohesive and informed by a point of view. Adding to it, Chris March’s own ensemble was definitely something from earlier Tim Burton films, making him fit in with his own collection. Perhaps in the long run, he’ll get more opportunities for not winning.

I’ll reserve comment on the other three after the finale. I will say that Christian’s collection kicks ass.

Project Runway: Season 4 Finale Part I

Here is a teaser vid:
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Next week is the Fashion Week episode. This episode gives the expected preview of the finalists’ collections with drop-in visits from Tim Gunn, who gives his ever so thoughtful editing eye to garments the designers spent months working on. Also, we find see this limbo scenario unravel – will Chris March or Rami get to show in Fashion Week?

After Tim visits Rami in LA and Chris March in NYC, we see both their collections have promise. Rami does something not so drapey, but at the same time, his work is more constructed. Chris March’s collection is very gothic with a shocking twist – he sewed human hair extensions into some of his dresses. It strikes some of the judges as a bit creepy; however, it reminds me of some of those odd hairstyles that hair dressers, only it extends to the garment. There’s also a scene in Hedwig and the Angry Inch where Hedwig has a Cher/Tina Turner moment in blond dress to go with his very straight, long blond wig.

After they have the showdown at the end of the episodes, the judges still have a hard time deciding, but they ultimately decide on Rami. He is very talented, but his collection didn’t interest me as much as Chris March’s.

Now for the other finalists:
If anyone can make Big Bird pants work, it’s Christian with his Harry Potter magic. Tim Gunn, overall, is wowed, but he’s baffled by some items such as a gigantic, face-concealing ruffled collar (Late Renaissance), and a pair of feathered leggings. Somehow, it’ll all click.

Jillian, too, has a Renaissance inspired collection, with quite a dark palette. Will she put a little color into her revised collection?

I think Christian’s going to win this one, though the judges may have a hard time between him and Jillian.

Stay tuned for next week the Fashion Week finale.

Project Runway: Raw Talent

Here is this week’s episode, scientifically reduced to pill form.
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This episode is indeed where no designer has gone before.

Has Project Runway ever gone camp, high or low? The personalities of some designers, past and present, have been campy, but Chris March is definitely an industrial strength dose. We all know about his drag queen portfolio and his penchant for outrageous, costumey things. He also, in a sweet way, has complimented the Bjork Lady in her oddness until her unfortunate, Hershey paved departure. We get a low dose of low camp with “the divas of the WWE,” and the guest appearance of Heatherette is the frighteningly kitschy fashion camp element in the judging.

Needless to say, Chris March embraces the challenge and wins. He discovers he and his model have a mutual love of leopard print and he creates a costume reminiscent of one worn by Shania Twain seven or so years ago in one her music videos.

Harry Potter
, the runner up, obviously expected to win this week’s challenge. He makes a concerted effort to hide his disappointment to no avail.

There is a weird Tao of Steve in this episode, as some designers don’t embrace the challenge. Sweet P, who has managed to make some fabulous dresses in the past few episodes, tanks with her wrestling diva, whose thing is to wear a dress or coat that covers her body and she opens it to do “the reveal.” Sweet P picks a white iridescent fabric that could be easily in a Star Trek: TNG sickbay. The outer garment doesn’t effectively conceal the sexpot body, which makes it fall flat. If only Sweet P had access to the wedding dress Steven barely used for that fatal challenge, she probably wouldn’t have been on the chopping block this week.

Color choice is alway a tricky thing. Jillian creates something wrestling ring appropriate and sporty with blue, while Rami picks a bright bubblegum pink and Ricky goes for a bright orange. Richie Rich of Heatherette makes the comment that Rami’s outfit comes across as Paris Hilton wannabe was interesting, as everyone’s favorite heiress is one of their famous clients. While I’d love to take exception with Nina Garcia‘s aversion to orange, I have to agree with her. It’s a color I hate as well (I don’t own a single orange garment).

Every once in a while, the judges love to hone in on Rami and how he’s so un-American. Jee-zus, is that really a bad thing?

Some of the exit interviews, especially in the past few seasons, feel like they’re from the end of Waiting For Guffman or Best in Show. Victorya‘s declaration of having a long career in fashion and Ricky’s beaten down statement of uncertainty definitely strike me that way. Am I the only person having this reaction?

Now it’s down to five, which means the final fashion week episode isn’t too far away.