Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's not easy being green

Models have no taste. For proof, look no further than any Project Runway challenge that gives power to the skinny chicks in the black nighties.

Remember Season 1's wedding dress challenge? All of the models asked for "dream gowns" fit for the sale rack at Bargain Bridal.

This week, the designers were charged with creating a cocktail dresses made from "green" fabric or material made from natural fibers such as bamboo, hemp and jersey.

Most of the group was pretty excited about this -- until they learned that they would be staying at Parsons while the models went shopping for fabric with Tim. After that announcement, most of the designers looked nauseous.

And rightly so. The models came back with too little fabric, clashing colors and materials either too casual for a cocktail dress or difficult to sew in a limited time period.

The sorriest designers were two members of what Jerell dubbed "Team Ugly Brown Fabric." Stuck with silk the color of vomit and too little of it to boot, Wesley and Leanne tried to cover up their mistakes with pleats and loops and pockets and Peter Pan colors. They each created a Hot Mess (seen here, with Wes' dress on the right and Leanne's on the left):

Wesley's dress also didn't fit properly, so he was kicked out. Guess we'll never find out why he always wears short shorts.

Joe, the other member of Team Ugly Brown Fabric, managed quite nicely, thus proving that the designers can't blame all of this week's troubles on the models:

The winner this week was Suede. His model chose this week's second most popular fabric, a silky champagne-colored material. With a little innovation (and a lot of cutting and weaving), Suede managed to create a dress that stood out from the pack -- and garnered endorsements from Heidi and guest judge Natalie Portman:

Extra props to Suede for working hard and finishing his dress on time. Tim Gunn lectured the designers en masse for a second time in as many episodes. What is up with these people? First, they shy away from innovation in the grocery challenge and this week, they failed to use their time wisely in the workroom. I don't think Tim has ever used tough love this early and often.

It seems like there are a lot of potential taste issues waiting to happen in this group, in addition to a dearth of designers unafraid to really innovate and take chances. As Tim would say, this concerns me.

For example, Stell-vira and Blayne need to get their own sitcom ("Moonstruck Meets My Name Is Earl") because they clearly should not be on Project Runway. Both had much improved designs this week, especially Stell-vira, but that's not saying much. Stell-vira's design asthetic is reminiscent of Season 3's Jeffrey. But Jeffrey seemed to enjoy the challenge of applying his point of view to unfamiliar styles. Stell-vira just wants to use "leathuh."

Blayne, meanwhile, needs to realize that becoming this season's catchphrase king will not turn him into Christian Siriano or Tim Gunn. I laughed when he was teasing Stell-vira because it felt natural; his constant use of "licious" feels so forced.

As usual my favorite design (also one of Tim's favorites!) was left out of the Top Three. Terri, you rock:

It helps that her model thought outside of the box when choosing fabrics. But Terri created a look that fits the model's body perfectly and the collar and belt are eye-catching, but understated.

Kenley's look (which did make the Top Three) was similar, but I thought the collar came dangerously close to resembling a lion's mane:

Random thought:

-- Korto and Leanne's tears during elimination put them in the running to become this season's Crier (think Season 2's Andrae or Season 4's Ricky.) Korto especially seemed heartbroken that the judges didn't appreciate her hard work. I hope she learns to keep it together because the comments are all downhill from here.

Quotes of the week:

"I think shiny, tight and short is the quickest way to look cheap."
-- Nina Garcia on Wesley's dress (actually this comment described a lot of this week's designs.)

"She's so tiny I could carry her around on my hand."
-- Suede on this week's guest judge, the elfin Natalie Portman.

Look of the week:

Tim's face after he found out that the seams in Korto's garment were to be on the outside of the dress.

Next week: Field trip!

All photos courtesy of Bravo's Project Runway Web site

The jackass of the nation ...

That's the title I deserve for flaking on this blog before Project Runway's finale last season. Vacation kept me from updating right after the premiere next week but I hope to update regularly from now on -- Promise!

The title of this post is also part of one of the best quotes from the Season 5 premiere. Punky Stella interviewed that she would be anointed "jackass of the nation" if she was the first designer kicked off. Stella did her best (or her worst) to earn it by spending too much time fretting over her poor choice of materials.

Luckily for Stell-vira, Jerry made a costume for a psycho killer and was the first out:

Thanks to bureaucratic nonsense, this season is to be Project Runway's last on Bravo. So it was fitting that the first challenge of the Season 5 was a throwback to the very first challenge ever: the designers had to create a look out of products from Gristede's, a New York grocery store.

Most of the designers managed to underwhelm both myself and the glorious Tim Gunn by choosing conventional materials -- tablecloths, shower curtains and paper towels -- rather than trying to create a wearable look out of conventionally unwearable materials.

My fellow Ohioan, Kelly, got the win for a dress made of dyed vacuum cleaner bags, burned coffee filters and truly nifty closures made of notebook spirals. I thought the effect she created with the dye was very cool:

But I would have given the win to Joe, who reminds me a bit of Season 4's Kevin. Joe made a dress out of oven mitts and pasta. I'm not sure how his dress looked up close, but the pasta created a great pattern from my non HD TV's eye view:

Some other random thoughts:

-- So far, Blayne seems like a combination of Season 3's Vincent and Season 4 winner Christian. That's not a good thing -- at least not this week. His model looked like she bathed in glue and then rolled around in a dumpster:

-- I must have this T-shirt, worn by Terri (she's on the right.) It's super-cute:

-- Heidi said only three designers are going to Fashion Week. I wonder if they'll simply eliminate until three designers are left, ala Seasons 1 and 2, or do some sort of crazy walk-off ala Season 4.

-- Daniel looks like a greasier version of Danny V from Season 2.

Quotes of the week:
Suede: "Wackadoodle!"
Tim Gunn: "Innovate!"

All photos courtesy of Bravo's Project Runway Web site.