Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"What planet are you from?"

Do you think all of the past Project Runway contestants were kind of jealous watching last week's episode? For years, designers speculated that Sara Jessica Parker would be that week's "surprise fashion icon" only to get stuck with Iman or Parker Posey instead.

SJP was a reward to both contestants and viewers -- watching the designers (and models) plotz over the "Sex in the City" star was a riot. There were more tears than a Barbara Walters special! I thought Chris was going to have a heart attack while trying to pitch his design.

The challenge was to create a look for Parker's Bitten line, which is sold at Steve & Barry's discount chain. The garment had to retail for less than $40 and the contestants had a KMart-worthy $15 to spend on fabric.

This was a team challenge so we also got our first taste of how these contestants work in groups. To the surprise of no one, Elisa and Sweet P's partnering created the most drama. Apparently Elisa doesn't know how to use a sewing machine and enjoys spitting on her fabric (to the absolute disgust of judges and contestants.) Poor Sweet P -- she was trapped in the Twilight Zone for the entire hour. Heidi seemed to sum things up for everyone when she hilariously asked Elisa: "What planet are you from?"

The Elisa/Sweet P collaboration ultimately produced the day's second highest scoring design. The cape was a beautiful color and very unique in its construction, particularly for the type of customer Bitten is marketed toward. But the teal color of the dress was pretty tacky.

Which brings me to Christian and Carmen's design, one of the night's worst. Also a teal monstrosity, the dress was unflattering even to the stick-thin model. The jacket was straight out of a bad 80s movie. Even Alexis Colby from Dynasty would have passed it by.

Victorya designed the winning outfit, a tunic-dress/vest combo. The sophisticated color palette -- navy and plum -- really made the dress stand out from the rest of the pack. I'm not sure how flattering the design would be on the average body type -- but the dress is currently available at Steve & Barry's stores so I guess the public can judge for themselves.

I wish the judges had given more time and praise to Ricky and Jack's pretty, wearable magenta dress and woven belt. The dress flared out from the body and the belt defined the waist, making the look accessible to a wide variety of women. Plus it was totally cute. Victorya won because her dress was more fashion-forward, but I think this look is more likely to stand the test of time.

Marion and Steven were judged the week's worst with Marion's fringed sweater tunic and skirt. The judges nailed the biggest flaws of the design -- the color made the garment look dusty and old and the look was very low-budget Pocahontas.

The departure of Marion was no great loss. He hadn't done much to distinguish himself from the pack and I think that the rest of the "bottom four" -- Carmen, Christian and Steve -- have a lot more to offer this competition.

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