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Designer Crack Does Don'ts

As usual, image-heavy behind the cut.

I have this love-hate relationship with team challenges. On the one hand, there's always something interesting that comes out of watching people negotiate the team dynamics, both in whether they recognize who would be a good fit for them and in the actual working relationship, and seeing the results in their finished product. And of course some form of teamwork skill is a necessity if they want to be actual, y'know, fashion designers. But it just never fails to bring the draaaaaaaahma, and I'm always relieved once they're done front-loading them near the beginning of the season (when there are still enough designers to form teams), and I look forward to them being out of the way.

Jillian: This is frickin adorable, and a well-earned win for someone I think has been inexplicably overlooked in a couple of previous challenges. Though I wish she hadn't evidently skipped pressing the side seams (probably a time issue).



That much width in the leg would personally drive me nuts to wear, but it looks good, I see a lot of people perfectly happy in it, and it gives the impression of 70s flare while actually being current wide-leg. The little lapel effect on the bib is a prime example of how they made this thing come together by nodding to all their "outdated trends" in each garment, but not necessarily too literally -- i.e. that's a ubiquitous detail on 50s evening gowns (easiest example for a fannish audience: Lorraine's prom dress in Back to the Future), not something you'd find with actual poodle skirts, but the reference is still there. Not exactly sure where the little chiffon blouse came from, but it's cute, and a little frill under overalls is always a good contrast bet.

Of course, they couldn't have planned that shot of Jillian in her overalls (or rather shortalls) with a belt... holding her "outdated trend" photo of a model in overalls with a belt. Bwah! And she was just an exemplary team leader right down the line.

Rami: (And this time I caught the mislabeling on the "Rate the Runway" page myself!) Not keen on where he put the waistline (especially on this girl, who is one of the extremely rare exceptions to the uniformity of body type among this season's crop of models).



When you're referencing a decade dominated by Dior recycling antebellum hourglass waists into the New Look, you really have to center it on the actual waist. You just do. Anything else is gonna look cockeyed. I'm quite fond of it otherwise, though. And even though this is the one where the poodle skirt starting point is dominant, again, it's not literal. You get it from the floofy, and the tiers move it into line with the other two outfits.

Kevin nabs the "Make It Work Award." By the skin of his teeth, because dude, surely you have these girls' measurements on hand by now??? (Even if maybe you weren't given comp cards for them at the outset. And while I know they don't get to tailor outfits for specific girls for real runway shows, they do get to mix and match a whole collection with the pool of models booked.)



And yet he made it fit, and made it look like what he had planned, after having a good 3 inches of despair at the first fitting and no fabric for a do-over. That said, I'm not all that keen on the result -- the high-waist thing can work with full-length pants, but with shorts it looks kinda wonky, and I'm not sure why anyone thought a cute basic halter needed a ruff. O.o But it's well-made and doesn't look out of place with the other two pieces (other than the part where this poor girl's head looks like it's on a platter), so as far as his contribution to the team effort, thumbs up. I really don't see 70s flare in it, though, and wasn't that his outdated trend? I mean, yeah, the shorts flare, but they're shorts. That should have been the dominant influence on this look, and I think it falls down a bit there.

Kit thought the fabrics ended up looking "too muted" on the runway? Seriously?



Now, I love this, but "muted" is definitely not the word that comes to mind! And from what I've seen, Marie is just about the only model on the show who could carry it off. Very much in the "wear it, don't let it wear you" category. Which is kinda inevitable when the trend you're updating is "zoot suit," and this is an unquestionable success in that department, with a sort of corporate-punk stamp that is totally Kit. Also proves that you can coordinate two strong patterns without them trying to kill each other (and in ways never considered by Uli, last season's queen of print-mixing), if they're the right ones.

Jack: Oh, Jack. You are a lovely, sweet man who's been doing consistently solid work. Why did you put this poor girl in a slipcover?



I did kind of a puzzled headtilt when Kit was making her observation about how "the fringe doesn't look like fringe, and I like that." Um, great, except he picked fringe. And then used short fluffy upholstery fringe that just looks like a weird sort of ruffle. Did he even undo the temporary stitching that's there to keep the ends neat until it's in place? And the white pocket flaps? I have no earthly clue what he was thinking, seriously. (This is one of the things I miss so much about Tim's blog: It was the place to get detailed, well-thought-out comments on the middle-of-the-pack stuff that gets no discussion from the judges onscreen. Nina's trying, but it's not nearly as comprehensive.)

Christian: Wait, did he had the zoot suit card? So what did Kit have? I'm confused. I really gotta start zapping these from the TiVo after I've blogged...



Like the jacket. Like the skirt. Like them together. Kinda dull (somewhat surprisingly so, for him), but classy. Dunno what the heck is up with the top, but the neckband is all kinds of evil. And at first I thought that was the shirt hanging below the jacket, but it's white pocket accents on the skirt, isn't it? I guess it ties to Jack's dress, but I don't like it. Kit didn't need it, and in fact, none of them do.

Christian's ego-strutting is so totally put on. Watching him in work mode, I actually caught myself thinking, "Oh, you're cute. And fairly smart. And reasonable. I could get along with you." And then you see him in the sit-down interview bits being all "I RULE THE SCHOOL!" *facepalm* I think I'm more inclined to cut him slack on it because he is Very Young, but I just want to slap him upside the head and go "Seriously, kid, why do you WANT to impress the people who were fans of Santino's and Jeffrey's personae?"

Sweet P: This is just nice.



And I love Donna Karan, but totally disagree with her one criticism. It's exactly the volume it needs to be. I could totally wear this all day at Office of Doom, and not run screaming for my sweats the second I walked in the door at home, and it would look the same at the end of the day as it did at the beginning. Although sleeveless turtlenecks simply don't make sense. I bought three cashmere ones in jewel tones really cheap at Sam's Club once because I like how they look when I see them, and ended up wearing each of them, like, once, because there is just no temperature at which they are comfortable. Except with a jacket or cardigan, which I personally just don't do very often. And which certainly couldn't be added to this. The turtleneck layer needs sleeves.

Steven: Pretty. Wearable (though I want to see the top with a pencil skirt rather than leggings). Not dancewear (although I think I see the thought process, and he just didn't understand that a dancer's wrap top is usually a light sweater, and ALWAYS in a knit with some give). Definitely not in tune with his teammates, who were at least a little in tune with each other.



Also, hon? You are sweet and charming and one of the nice sane rocks in these rapids. But Santino really pretty much retired the Tim impressions. It's really not worth trying. :: pets him ::

Chris: Auf wiedersehen, with regrets. Unfortunately, I'm in the rare position of agreeing with pretty much everything the judges said. (Except that the next time the words "mother of the bride" come out of Michael Kors' mouth, I swear by all that's holy I'm going to smack him in it.)



And once again, we have a "Listen to Tim" moment. He was totally right that the jacket was...totally not right. And I know Chris had to do something with shoulder pads, and I have only the vaguest of ideas what that maybe should have been, but this just was not it. The dress is fine, if dull, and at least looks like it belongs with Sweet P's. The jacket would be fine without the shoulder pads that were its reason for being, and maybe even would still have been coherent with the collection. Though the odds of that would be better with a black ground for the fabric instead of dark brown; both Steven and Sweet P had black accents.

At least I finally figured out what his deal is. You know how I keep saying "What kind of costume designer is he that he doesn't know how to work on a shoestring, or do menswear, or now how to lead a team?" And the answer has been there all along, and I just forgot it from when he introduced himself in the season premiere. But it all came back to me this time when he was talking about people expecting him to do "ten-foot wigs and 200 yards of fabric." Which is totally not the impression I've gotten from the work he did on PR. When he said that, though, I remembered thinking during the premiere (though I don't remember exactly what he said that made me think this) "Oh! So you do commission work for drag pageants. Yeah, I guess the most succinct job title for that would be 'costume designer.'" Now that I've remembered that, he makes much more sense to me. (Particularly the part about being lost without a budget. One of my Shakespeare buds in Columbus was talking about hiring me to deck him out at one point, but he ended up deciding that he just couldn't swing it until he'd socked a lot more money away. There's just no way around its being a horrendously expensive undertaking.) Just in time to see him go. Ah, well.

Victorya: Dress: Meh. Personal conduct: Oh my stars and garters SHUT UP.



It's... a reasonably cute chorus girl costume. Seriously, where would anyone wear this? It's too short for a cocktail dress, the fabric is too formal for clubbing, and it's just... huh? She should have a little hat and a cigarette tray.

But all that is, of course, overshadowed by (and to some extent, of course, the result of) the draaaaaaahma. *sigh* This is where it really matters that the judges assess only the runway show and defense. I was like "Please please please make this woman GO AWAY" by about halfway through the ep, seriously. You do NOT rush to say "Someone else be the leader!" and then drive everyone nuts telling them everything they're doing is wrong. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, but I'm going to stop there because it will become The Rant That Ate Val's Recap, and, um. No. Suffice it to say I did not predict her suddenly emerging as the Passive-Aggressive Princess of the bunch, and consider her 85 - 90% responsible for the crashing and burning of Team Ricky.

Elisa is still an artist, not a designer, but this one would actually be reproducible.



It really, really, really needs to be in a different fabric, but I'll address that below, because it has to be at Ricky's feet. Otherwise, however, it's not bad at all. I'm not a big fan of trapeze shifts, but on a model-type body and with a sufficiently structural fabric, it's cute. And could work clubbing where Victorya's definitely would not.

I think I have a teeny crush on Elisa. I know lots of people just like her, and I know she would drive me bonkers to be around for more than half an hour, but I just want to take her and tuck her into a nice safe studio where she has whatever she needs and can be sweet and cute and create whatever swirls out of her organic little head. And how adorable was Ricky reviving his dancer-speak -- and he's right, it's totally a dialect of her native language -- to "translate" for her?

Ricky gets points for saying "Okay, I'll be leader" when Victorya categorically stated she didn't want to be. But not enough points.



Again, this might even have worked in a different fabric. When they were shopping, and the words "duchess satin" came out of his mouth, I was like, excuse me, are you HIGH? Satin is never, ever forgiving of mistakes/adjustments anyway, and you know there's no such thing as a PR challenge garment that doesn't get tweaked/adjusted. Duchess satin in particular is heavy and slightly...not matte, but more of a "mellow" shiny. But it's still satin, and you still have to check your seam placement VERY precisely, and then check it again, before you even THINK about sewing anything. I'm very impressed they don't have more seam puckering than they do, but it's still flat-out impossible to make anything -- let alone COLORBLOCK garments -- out of this stuff under PR time constraints and have it look properly finished. It will never, ever, ever happen.

I also don't understand why this is a top and skirt instead of a dress, or at least why the colorblock of the top doesn't carry through the skirt. (Though I suspect the answer to the latter is "time constraints.") Or why he bought a filmy white sheer to put on a black model. I can't blame her for the sour expression in this picture when she looks like someone poured donut glaze over her shoulders.

Bless his heart for trying to solve the problem Victorya presented, though. I was applauding him when he said he would be the leader and keep everyone on task, and Victorya could be the "mediator." Laudable attempt at delegation. Which Victorya promptly sabotaged by steamrolling instead of mediating, and then blaming everything on him! One thing for sure: Everyone knows they don't want to be anywhere near her when it comes time to select partners for the next team challenge!

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
studiesinlight
Dec. 8th, 2007 09:03 pm (UTC)
Dunno if it's the white mesh with the color blocking, but Ricky's outfit says Power Rangers to me, or maybe a little Voltron. I could put a Sailor Moon villain in that; just add boots! :-)

As I've only seen the still of Chris's dress and jacket, and not seen it in motion, I don't know whether the shoulder pads are an insoluble problem, but scrolling down the photos here, it was the only one in this week's batch that I could imagine finding in my size someday and taking to the dressing room to try. ~shrug~ (Yeah, that's what these guys would want to hear; I'm judging them on whether their work could someday end up sold to me at Ross Dress for Less and Mervyn's. ~g~)

Is there a common reason for the multiple be-hung-by-the-neck-until-dead necklines in this batch? No, wait, on review, there aren't really that many. It just felt that way, with Kevin's and Christian's oddities in the vicinity of a few more normal neck-y accents.

Thank you for sharing your game again this week. :-)
wiliqueen
Dec. 9th, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)
(Yeah, that's what these guys would want to hear; I'm judging them on whether their work could someday end up sold to me at Ross Dress for Less and Mervyn's. ~g~)

And why shouldn't you? Personally, I think the whole industry could do with hearing more of that...
(Deleted comment)
wiliqueen
Dec. 9th, 2007 02:52 am (UTC)
I gave it very brief consideration when the call went out for season 3, but never seriously. Short version: Too much effort for something I don't really want. I'm leaving it to those who do. :-)
tytaniaherself
Dec. 9th, 2007 04:34 am (UTC)
I knew they would not axe Victoria because she's been doing too well and her garment wasn't that bad... but I still hoped. The only thing that she did right was giving Ricky credit for helping her with the fit of her dress, which may well have saved him.

When they showed the background for Chris back in episode 1, I kept thinking "Beach Blanket Babylon." I also was a little surprised that they chose him because nothing in the montage of his work indicated an ability to design normal clothes. At least with Elisa, a lot of her work looked like runway or editorial fashion, even if it was art rather than something wearable. I liked Chris's personality but I think they made the right choice.

I also think Ricky's days are numbered.
wiliqueen
Dec. 10th, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC)
I knew they would not axe Victoria because she's been doing too well and her garment wasn't that bad... but I still hoped.

Ditto. Oh, I hoped. I'm realizing that my previous impression of her as pretty levelheaded was probably based on not actually seeing much of her interaction with, y'know, other humans.

I also think Ricky's days are numbered.

I have to agree, unfortunately. I like him, but he keeps pulling things off by the skin of his teeth or not really at all.
hildy
Dec. 10th, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
For "Team Star" *rolls eyes", Christian had Zoot Suits, Kit had Fringe and Jack had Pleather. I think my problem with their group was while I saw the Zoot suit influence, I didn't see the other influences clearly enough. Plus they were so "Oh we're so great we're going to win" that I squealed with delight when they lost. My inner cat is easily assuaged, what can I say?
wiliqueen
Dec. 10th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's right. No wonder I was confused -- the fringe was minimal, but the pleather got lost entirely!

The challenges have parameters for a reason, children. Ignore them at your peril. Unless someone else is much, much worse, and then you're safe...
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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