Thursday, March 6, 2008

Project Runway Finale: Christian Nears the Breaking Point

As I said before, seeing the clothes in still shots of little online video snippets is one thing. But watching the show, seeing the designs as they're trotted out one by one, is another thing altogether.

The fourth season of Project Runway ended with a bang, in that the last show was edited well, and had a better feel overall than years past. I can't quite put my finger on why.

But like Jillian, I was surprised at how it all played out.

Runaway Rami

With Rami's collection, every piece that had a color looked just wrong. That teal that he opened the show with? Bleh. That muted raspberry tone? Looked like something you'd see a designer do for Target.

And I'm sorry, that gold lame number (the first of the last three long gowns) looked like a shabby afterthought. The last two gowns were stunning - the 30s lace zig-zag details were lovely. But that was the only thing that turned my head from his collection. The weaving? Yawn, just more fabric trickery, on par with the draping.

But the sheer joy on his face when he introduced his collection? That's a shade of Rami we never saw all season - having fun.

Jilted Jillian

Jillian should have been in 2nd place. But yes, I see where her collection was a bit all over the place. That pleated evening-pants-with-bustier thing? That was somewhat out of left field.

But her knitwear was beyond interesting - it was a material that few if any on Project Runway had really done since Jay McCarroll won.

If he's smart, Ralph Lauren will fund Jillian in some high-priced 2-year contract that gives her a real shot, giving her a huge investment in the upside if it succeeds.

Aside from the loopy-loop striped sweater that had real presence, I REALLY loved that sweater-jacket over the goldish pants (with the weird ski hat?), and the ruffled zig-zag front. Just superb. I would wear that in a heartbeat.

Clearly, however, wearability is a sin.

Christian Cracks Under Pressure

His season-long love affair with the camera and viewers was bumping up against the harsh reality of all the little details that go showing at Fashion Week. Models who bitch about the shoes or simply don't show up. Feathered bird pants that Tim Gunn hates. Near-tears on the runway.

Although it wasn't my favorite, Christian's line was totally cohesive, dramatic, point-of-view, all the things they say every designer should have. And I thought that although all those black pieces lost some of the detail in the show, you could see enough to know there was texture there from all that work.

And his last piece, that ombred feather gown? Alexander McQueen better just hang up his serger, toss his sketchbook into the bin and retire now, because there's a new enfant terrible in the world.

Throughout the season, I was never a Christian fan. His personality was so off-putting at some points, I thought "Yeesh, if this is what the Great American Designer is like, I'm so over it."

But actually, I'm thrilled the prize went to a designer who isn't as established, like Rami is, or like Chloe or Jeffrey had been. I just hope Christian has a good head on his shoulders and spends the money wisely, really making a name for himself other than as Posh Spice's stylist.

Given how they edited the show all season to make him look like a Bratty-Bitch, it was heartening to see glimpses of Christian being human - the choking up on the runway was a surprise, the lack of uber-confidence when Tim called him on it in the workroom.

Yesterday, I read an interview with Chris where he said that the show didn't do Christian justice, that he was really much warmer and full of heart than the show portrayed.

In the end, I'm glad that these three were the finalists, and hope to see great things from them in the future.


Anonymous said...

- I always thought Rami was having fun... Or perhaps I just thought he was "cuter"
- Jillian, RL ought to take care of her!
- Christian, it was good to see him seem more human for once!

-- tboi2

Spandrel Studios said...

Hey, tboi2. Yeah, Rami isn't my type.

Although I must admit he seemed like he could be a good colleague -especially with all the advice he'd been giving Jillian over the season. Even right up to the end, he was encouraging!