Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Project Runway Episode 13: Beware the Temptations of Asymmetry

It's the difference between a perfectly executed hairstyle and a 'do where the stylist decided she needed smoking break halfway through but declared you done, pumping you up with talk of the cutting-edge style represented by your new "asymmetrical cut."

Haircuts and clothes, especially, require a solid understanding of the rules so that one can break them effectively. Coloring outside of the lines first requires being able to see the lines and knowing why they exist.

It takes a tremendous amount of skill to pull off asymmetry in design. What looks like randomly placed elements typically treads a fine line between desirable and disastrous.

Jerrell's wedding gown represented the latter. From the grayish, shabby-looking tulle, to the swirl of taffeta crinkled around the model's body like gold-sprayed craft paper, not to mention the disaster of a bodice with the flaps over the chest... it was just one poorly executed idea after another. (And don't get me started on those gems plopped in the middle of the chest.) I liked the colors and textures he chose, but little else. The bridesmaid's dress was, well, I hate to say it, but it was dreadful - cheaply shiny and with fake flowers to boot.

Sadly, I knew in my heart, as soon as I saw Jerrell's wedding dress hadn't changed much since Tim's critique, that his days were numbered on the show. Like a Saab driver in the 90s, Jerrell goes his own road, and much of the time it involves piling it on and piling it on. He needs to learn editing so that he can let his creativity really flourish and sing.

Korto Loses Her Way
Korto's wedding gown seemed lumpy in addition to overwrought... with that weird tiered effect at the waist and knees - she actually made the model look chunky. The bridesmaid's dress was only bridesmaid-y in that it had been hacked down to look different in length from the bridal gown. Meh.

Her collection, from the Tim visit, looked very Korto-esque. Well-made. Interesting to a point. But in the end, predictable. She is not an over-the-top, make-a-loud-statement designer.

Kenley: Little Girl Lost
Here's my biggest problem with Kenley's outbursts. First, if you're involved in fashion, you just simply cannot say unequivocally that you're not inspired by a particular designer. Especially if someone far more experienced and knowledgeable calls you on it.

If they see something, there must be something to see, get it?

Sure, you may have steadfastly ignored the videos on the web showing McQueen's similar dress, or held your hands over your ears when fellow fashionistas regaled you with tales of a similar dress, all while shouting "La, la la - I can't hear you, la, la, la!"

But Kenley, tell me you didn't page through a magazine or accidentally click on by some coverage, or spy even a flash as you clicked past the Style network? You're in the business, for crying out loud.

Even if you didn't, just wait - let the judges speak.

Kenley's head-shaking over the McQueen comparison was childish, as was her previous behavior in reaction to the judges' comments. She needs to learn to listen and then defend. It's far more powerful if you hear people out, and then defend yourself with a well thought-out argument. Best comment from Heidi all season came for Kenley's wedding gown: "It's Crazy Good!" Admittedly, the kooky feathered wedding dress was impressive. But from what I saw of Kenley's painted prints, the color scheme for the collection overall seems far from sophisticated.

Leanne: Variations on a Noodle
Leanne's architectural, nature-inspired creations? What an interesting set of ideas she put out there! Those wavelike flaps with the different colors, fluid lovely draping, emphasizing movement in a modern, sleek and interesting way. Love it.

(Actually, I kept thinking that they looked more like ripples on water than waves. But wave is a much cooler and sleek-sounding word to use when explaining work that's inspired by water and how it flows. So kudos to her for thinking like a marketer.)

Leanne's complete rework of her wedding gown, and her willingness to learn from her superiors, to take valid criticism however harshly or randomly it appears to be dealt, to incorporate what's relevant into her solution, and most importantly, press on? That is the mark of a professional.

And even if she doesn't triumph in this trumped-up contest?

She has an interesting career ahead of her, for certain.

Leanne wins, Kenley is second, Korto is third.


fishwithoutbicycle said...

I completely agree with you, Leanne's dresses really stood out from the pack. Kenley's whining is driving me mad. I liked her in the beginning, but her inability to stretch herself beyond the fifties and childish attitude is driving me crazy.

Spandrel Studios said...

Fish, so true... Kenley's dresses are just so uninspired - as if she was counting on the wacky prints she selected in her fabrics to make the design work.

She seems able to sew very well; but pure design doesn't seem to be her strenght.

I just want to get this season over with. Enough already!

Kitty said...

aaahh!! I haven't watched this yet!!!

back in a few days!!! :-)

Kitty said...

great call!
I agree, Jerrell's dress was a failed attempt to be sculptural.

I felt badly for everyone (well, except Kenley) because it's obvious they've worked long and hard for such opportunity. Each must have been the big fish in their prospective ponds.

Spandrel Studios said...

Jerrell's pride got the best of him in this challenge. With creative work, so much of who you are is injected into every piece... it must be so hard to divorce yourself from it when you're being critiqued so harshly, in some cases. Professionals I've seen either become thick-skinned about the verbal jabs (and learn to not take it personally so it doesn't paralyze them), learn to defend their work with gusto, or take whatever comments are constructive and incorporate them and move on.