Project Runway: Week in Review...There's No Crying in Fashion.

BlogHer Original Post

[Editor's Note: Again...BlogHer '11. Must fill Elisa's massive recapping shoes... So here's what I did. I brought in a professional.  Allow me to introduce Jessica Moss aka 50% of Leyendecker Los Angeles (the other half is Jessica's brilliant partner Lisa Guajardo) that stunning label you keep noticing in all those spreads of celebrity "get her look" in all those fashion-y know...the print kind. That's, like, super big time.

Anyway, Jess and Lisa took Leyendecker from startup to Saks in a couple of years flat so I thought who better to judge the poor Project Runway Season 9 contestants than my dear, self made, most hilarious, snippiest friend, Miss (well..Mrs, but she kept her name, so Ms?) Jessica Moss. -- Morgan]

Courtesy of Lifetime

It is 5am and I am watching the second episode of Project Runway’s 9th season.  Why am I watching the second episode of Project Runway’s 9th season at 5 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING?  Oh, because I have to be in the office at 7:30am cuz we have to ship 700 blouses to Saks Fifth Avenue, interview a prospective new employee, give an interview to a respected blog, style looks for a runway show at Project Tradeshow in Vegas, write this re-cap, and design a Spring ’12 collection….today.  Succinctly put: my real life is Project Runway.  Except my life is not a competition, it’s my LIFE.

Obviously, I have a slightly different opinion of Project Runway than your average Josephine.  But since I’m short on time, let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

Episode 2: The Obligatory Get-Your-Materials-From-The-SOOO-Not-A-Fabric-Store Episode, aka Season 9 = pet store fashion.  (PS We still don’t know anybody’s name and we barely care about anyone, so I’m probably gonna refer to most people by a pigeon-holed stereotype instead of their names, cuz let’s be honest, it’s the ONLY way you’ll know who the eff I’m talking about, right?)

You should know two things about me: #1 I LOVE dogs, my company was founded because of 2 long-haired Chihuahuas.  My partner Lisa and I are SERIOUS dog freaks.  #2 I despise the obligatory get-your-materials-from-the-SOOO-not-a-fabric-store episode.  Do you know why?  Because it HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BUSINESS OF FASHION.  Nothing. Not one thing.  It is instead, the most awesome art project ever…but I assure you, making clothes out of items from a supermarket, pet store, Home Depot, does NOT qualify you as a legitimate fashion designer.  (That being said, these episodes are Lisa’s favorites, and she’s a real life fashion designer, so there you have it).

Not surprisingly, Old Guy feels very similarly about this challenge.  You know why?  Because he’s been a working designer in the industry for top American designers such as Bill Blass, Scaasi, and Halston…so he understands that this is not a measure of real-life skills.  All I have to say is thank god he had immunity, cuz damn…his shit stank this week.

Short Haired Artsy Girl (Fallene) had my favorite quote of the week in response to this challenge: “I don’t take fashion too seriously”.  Hmmmm, an omen of things to come?  Note to Short Haired Artsy Girl: you should take fashion a little bit MORE seriously if you actually plan on making a living as a designer as opposed to a hair stylist.  If I sound cruel, I don’t apologize.  This business is cut throat and beyond heartbreakingly difficult, so if you EVER plan on making it, you had better take it seriously (but not TOO seriously, cuz after all, it’s only clothes, not brain surgery, and if you’re gonna make it, you’re gonna get stomped on and have your heart ripped out and torn to shreds, so you can’t let that make you borderline suicidal.)

Can I just pause for one moment and say that Heidi’s hair looks fantastic this season?

Anyways, our designers go to the pet store to buy their materials, and we have the usual drama of “do I pick things made out of FABRIC or not?” and they all scramble back to the studio to begin working.  Can I say one thing here?  At the end of the day, it does not matter which materials you choose, all that matters is the look that walks down the runway.  If your dress is simply killer, NOBODY CARES ABOUT ANYTHING.  This is true of real life fashion as well.  Good is good, period.  Mediocrity will get you by for a while.  And bad is, and always will be, bad.  I don’t care how much work you put into it, or how much you thought about it, or if it was designed by Marc F-ing Jacobs – bad design is bad design, and it will be destined for the clearance rack if it even makes it into the store.

Blah blah blah, designer drama, trying to make it work, ahhhh disaster, what am I doing here, how do I work with bunny bedding, etc etc etc.  Can we just get to the damn clothes Lifetime?!  Really, did this show need to be extended an extra 22 minutes this season?  Maybe that’s just me being impatient cuz it’s 5 in the morning and I have to get my ass to work, but all I want to see are the fricking clothes!  (Or maybe it’s because that 25 minute segment of the contestants working is my actual real life reality and it makes me a little jittery to watch other people do it.)  

And then there’s Tim Gunn.  Oh, if only all fashion houses had their own nurturing yet fabulous gay voice of reason.  I digress, let’s get to the damn clothes:

DISCLAIMER: I’m a jaded, bitchy, hyper-critical know-it-all…believe you me, my shit stinks too, and I totally know it.  But who are we kidding?  This is fashion…and my favorite thing about this show is ripping these looks to shreds.

Color Blind Guy aka Anthony Ryan
– The Bird Seed Dress.  It doesn’t get more chic, classic, and WEARABLE than this.  This dress was sick in the head, you know why?  Because he took an unconventional material (bird seed) and used it in a very conventional way (faux beading) in a very classic silhouette.  Fashion is all about balance.

Mohawk Girl aka Anya – Bullshit this girl didn’t know how to sew before this show.  Not possible.  She’s a liar.  Great look though, the macramé leash halter was spot on, but she neglected the skirt a bit bumping her down from the top 3.

Becky – She is so unremarkable I don’t even have a nickname for her.  Are we sure SHE isn’t the colorblind one?  In what universe do these colors look good together?  Where is this girl going if not to an Amazonian Mardi Gras?  I cannot believe Nina Garcia let her slide on this.  

Old Guy Bert – As I said, brother is lucky he had immunity (to his credit, he knew it), cuz that dress looked like Barbarella went to the Halloween party dressed as a cupcake.  It’s unfortunate because his look last week was so beyond gorg, he better get his shit together next week or he won’t be long for this world (Project Runway world, not real world, he’s not THAT old!)

And then there’s Bryce – Oh Bryce.  What were you thinking.  I can’t even begin to talk about how bad this is, so I won’t.

Cecilia – I’m yawning.  I’m literally yawning right now.  Not because it’s 5am, but because I’m bored.  The good news: at this point in the competition, all you have to do is not be the worst…things will change next month my friends, things will change.

Danielle – The one thing I will say about this is the look is wearable…I give extra kudos for anything made from pet store supplies that is moderately cute and actually wearable.  But at the end of the day, I’m not going to remember this look tomorrow let alone a few weeks from now.

Short Haired Artsy Girl
– Fallene bothers me, can you tell?  I don’t like people who are crafty and call themselves fashion designers.  It reminds me of 2001.  Don’t get me wrong, I am crafty myself, but we are talking apples and oranges.  Falene is crafty, and she bugs me, more on this later.  (But suffice it to say her dress looked like it was plucked from the Marshall’s clearance rack 6 years ago, and that is NOT long enough to be considered vintage in case you were wondering)

Did I mention I’m really really critical and love to tear these looks apart?  Yes, I know that makes me insensitive, but here’s the thing: this is par for the course in the world of Fashion.  You literally are putting yourself out there ALL the time (these people on TELEVISION even!) and I assure you, I can dish it, I can take, and I have taken it.  Many times.  We all have in this industry.  If you want constructive nurturing critisism, read Tim’s Critique.

Mr Clean aka Joshua
– I can’t. Even. Talk. About it.  This look not only offends me, but makes me question the Project Runway application process.

Joshua “More is More” – So I was pretty annoyed with More is More when he said, “it stinks when you have to rework a design” because at the end of the day, if it’s not working, it’s not working, AND YOU BETTER REWORK THE DAMN THING or else you’ll end up with something Falene made!  But More is More did rework it, and ended up with an amazing aquarium rock top that could easily blow out of Nordstrom in a second.

There’s more? Yes that’s the problem with these early episodes…

Rainbow Pajamas aka Julie – I’ll give her props for weaving and origami skills, but that’s about it.  Unless you are the king of tailoring, paper dresses don’t usually bode well for the runway because they lack flow and movement.

Kimberly – The aquarium tube bustier was good…the girl has chops, and once they get rid of the amateurs we’ll see what she’s capable of.

Blondie aka Laura – Yes she has been “shopping at Neimans since the single digits”, but that does not mean girl is a designer.  She has potential, but see Rainbow Pajamas for why paper doesn’t work.

Olivier – I don’t give him a nickname because I love him and I know his name already, and you should too.  Why is this guy on this show instead of working as a designer? His look is chic, so editorial and textural (notice how the judges didn’t murder him for using the dog bed…that’s because fabulous is fabulous, period end of story).  My one issue: it did make the model look a little thick, and if it makes a model look thick, god only knows how a real person will look in it.

And finally Viktor – Good job taking those wee wee pads to the dye bins! This dress looks so similar to a dress Leyendecker did for Spring 2010 BUT IT’S MADE OUT OF WEE WEE PADS.  Come on people.  It’s wearable and beautiful, and with a little more thoughtful use of the Piperlime accessories wall, it might have been the perfect date night look.

The Top 3:

Bird Seed: A smash hit – Heidi was beside herself.  Nina had a “length issue” with it, but really Nina, it’s like an inch short – girls like short party dresses.  Guest judge, Stacey Bendet of Alice & Olivia loved this one probably because it could hang in her collection beautifully.

Olivier: The judges were floored, and with good reason.  Stacey had the brilliant notion that combining the top half of Bird Seed with the bottom half of Olivier’s would create the most perfect seeded ombre hamster bed dress on the planet.  I’d totally wear that dress.
More is More: Ultimately that aquarium rock tie dye motif was a home run, but the judges wanted to scrub all the whorey makeup off of the model and restyle the look completely.  I don’t blame them.  See More is More?  More ISN’T More…it just distracts from your beautiful work.

The Bottom 3:

Poor Unfortunate Bryce: “I want to pee all over that wee wee pad skirt” – Heidi Klum.  Now THAT’S a show I would watch.  Heidi, if you peed on that wee wee pad skirt, it would be ratings gold. The only good thing about Poor Bryce’s look is the image of Heidi Klum peeing on it.  It was that unfortunate.

Short Haired Artsy Girl: Nothing about this says designer to me.  Unfortunately, I have learned that taste isn’t something that can be taught in school…there isn’t much more to say here except, would you wear that dress?

Mr Clean: Two strikes buddy.  The typical material choice would not have been a problem if you knocked the design out of the park, but you didn’t.  Sorry Charlie, I mean Joshua.

In The End: Olivier took it (my vote was with Heidi, Bird Seed was stronger) and we said buh-bye to Mr Clean.  Short Haired Artsy Girl Cried, which made me hate her because there’s no crying in baseball, I mean fashion. 

What did you think?  Who are your picks this season so far?


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