Thursday, July 24, 2008

Project Runway Episode 2: Attack of the Zzz...

Well, Project Runway episode 2 just had to wait. After sitting on the sofa, watching the torturous ascent of the Tour de France riders up L'Alpe D'Huez, I was zonked out. And it was only 9:45!

Anyway, today I watched the recording and feel that this episode should have a warning label that reads Caution: Objects being filmed are more boring than they appear.

Now, having the models act as both client and fabric shopper certainly posed some potential for conflict. But actually? All that happened was a whole lotta whining. Stick a bunch of control freaks in a room with stuff they didn't choose and a client that may or may not have ideas, and it could be a recipe for disaster!

But really, aren't the real-world constraints that designers have to work with pretty similar?

You're new, you're just starting out. Your backer won't pay the millions you need for silk shantung, so instead, maybe you have to go with the polyester his brother Jerry just got a big shipment of at his warehouse in New Jersey.

Or maybe you're established, or at least have a name worth licensing, and so you farm out the work to China so you can manufacture your stuff in the quantity that Target needs to deliver to suburbia USA. But... something goes horribly wrong in the translation.

It's probably the most realistic aspect of this challenge.

Throwing in the "Green Fabrics" aspect made it just too overwrought, just like Wesley's dress. And toss Natalie Portman in as a guest judge? Oh, dear.

That's why I'm convinced that unless she sends another trashbag down the runway, everyone's favorite kooky biker/rocker chic Stella is going to be sticking around for quite a while - the producers have got nothing else. At least you want to see what kind of antics she's up to with her wheatgrass shakes and her crazy musings. Is it me, or is Stella like the two-face girlfriend they referred to in Seinfeld? In one shot, she's the slacker kid with no makeup and pigtails who looks like she needs some allergy medication, and the next, she's in full makeup and vixened out for a night on the town.

Stella's dress did manage to inject a little bit of her own style into a cocktail dress, and it looked reasonably well-constructed.

That's more than I can say for the Suede's garment. While I liked the strips zig-zagging all over the place, reminiscent of Eddie Van Halen's Frankenstrat, I didn't like that the straps looked uneven at the shoulders, that the top fit her poorly in the bustline, that the hem seemed uneven and the crinoline was too poufy.

While Suede's persona/character is incredibly annoying (enough has been said about his third-person references), there is one thing for which I will give him a pat on the back: his admission that all he was thinking about what was his Mom would say when she heard he won. OK, you redeemed yourself a bit! For now.

Blayne's dress was just eh, with the black hole on the side threatening to eat the model's spleen.

Daniel's dress: too short, too shiny, but the sleeves were cute.

And talk about short? Emily's dress was a flashing waiting to happen. Too high a skirt, too low a bodice. Too little fabric overall.

Jerrell's model looked like Jennifer Lopez during her Puffy days, a dress cut down to her pupik, skirt too hairy, just all wrong.

Jennifer's dress surprised me - in a good way! Aside from making her model look like a spokesmodel for ING Direct, I loved the fluid, drapey lines and the way the gray and the orange interacted.

Keith's dress looked like slick, satin drapes you might see in a New Jersey McMansion. Too high in the front.

While Kelli's dress wasn't awful, it showed none of the creativity and kick-down-the-door thinking that garnered her first place last week. But then, without having control over the fabric choice, I guess she didn't do too badly. Hers looked like a shorter, mini version of Betty Page's. I mean, Kenley's.

For me, Kenley's dress deserved the win. It was wearable, it was thoughtful, and she utilized the materials her model bought in a measured way.

With a midnight blue (or is it French blue?) to work with, Terri's design definitely stood out... but what I really like was the ruffling at the neck. Nice work! The rest of the design was kind of blah, but hey, having to work with someone else's fabric selection had to have eaten into your design time, right?

And oh, no, Korto! What were you thinking, giving even your model fins? (For me, another Jump the Shark allusion.) The poor girl looked like a Buick! I have high hopes for Korto, and I hope she pulls it out next time. Because she's looking a little out of touch after this design.

That brings me to the sad, brown gowns.

The brown satin trio really took such different approaches. Joe's dress was cute, but not designer-worthy, just meh. Clearly, Wesley's dress was overwrought, with too-tight seams that rippled across the model's body, making her look dumpy in the process.

Leanne's loopy-de-do brown dress, I thought, was the best use of that crappy brown satin fabric of all three. I could have done without the pocket strip on the bottom, and instead if she did something petal-tastic with the skirt, in keeping with the layered theme she started on the top? She could have really had something there. But then, maybe there was a fabric shortage? (But God knows there was enough of it in the house, if not on her own design table. Surely Joe could have spared a square after he was done making his picked-up-at-the-mall gown.)

I'm exhausted. There's just something about the pacing of this and the first episode that just didn't hold appeal for me. It's as if Bravo has its interns doing the post-production, knowing that the show is destined for Lifetime next season.

Even Tim Gunn seems frustrated with this crop of designers. His make it work, and hot mess references sound so tired and shop-worn. This show needs a jolt!


Kitty said...

yeah, I agree overall. I thought Terri's dress was striking, too, and also preferred Kenley's dress over Suede's (his name makes me imagine him as one of the Avengers, like Wolverine).

I think the difference between Project Runway and Top Chef is that fashion design and sewing is tougher than cooking (which is why I think Top Chef is a more successful show). I'm sure Top Chef has so many contestants to choose from.

Oh well, maybe the next episode will be better?

Kim said...

"Attack of the Zzzz..." that's issue with the show is feeling distracted from the actual design because of all he Diva action:-) but it is hard not to stay tuned...

All the best, Kim

Spandrel Studios said...

Hi, Kitty - Like your comment about Suede being like one of the Avengers. Watch out for Suede and his cutting shears!

The smaller pool of contestants seems like a problem, I agree. Plus, I suspect the producers are putting the emphasis on drama and character, rather than actual design talent.

Not surprising, just disappointing.

Spandrel Studios said...

Hi, Kim - welcome! Totally agree with you, that the show would be far more interesting to see more of the actual design or the process of creating the garment. Sadly, with so many contestants, they can only zoom in on one or two designers at this point.

With each passing season, I see that those later shows--when it's whittled down to just a few contestants--are a little more interesting in that regard... but in the meantime, it's all about the drama for these producers, I'm afraid!

Despite my complaints, I've been a huge fan since the show started; I'm just sad to see it lose a bit of its mojo.

jess said...

hey - i got here via a comment you left on another blog. just as an FYI - SLC isn't all that conservative. not like the rest of utah. SLC is, in fact, rather democratic. they've had a dem mayor for the last 4 or 5 terms and thanks to gerrymandering, we have a democrat representative in the house. LOL.

i love project runway. kenley got hosed. her dress was way better than suede's.

i hate that crazy ho bag nina garcia. and i wonder what the show will be like on lifetime? and dude, what channel IS lifetime on?? who watches that???? i've seen enough judith light and tracey goldman to last a lifetime.

and this is how i actually write mini-blogs on OTHER people's sites. ;)

Spandrel Studios said...

Hello, Jess! I guess letting Dooce be my sole source of the political temperature in Salt Lake is a little radical... glad to hear that there's room for more than one type of opinion in your fair city!

As for your characterization of Ms Garcia, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree (just like SLC, there's room for more than one opinion here). I think her assessments of each designer are usually good, pinpointing exactly where they went wrong and articulating what makes their designs right - but like many of the people on the show this season, Nina Garcia seems a bit impatient, kind of like she's biding her time.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Spandrel, I'm late to this, but yes the show isn't the most thrilling so far. 100% agree Kenley's dress deserved to win.

Spandrel Studios said...

Hiya, Fish. It's such a bummer that Kenley got 2nd place... but I have high hopes for her.

Let's hope this week's Project Runway episode is more exciting!