by Todd O'Dowd
Greetings l’étoile readers! It’s week 7 of Project Runway, the seventh week of us cheering on local designer Raul Osorio as he competes to win the fan favorite competition (by tweeting #teamraul), and the seventh week of our weekly viewing parties at moto-i.
This week was an interesting challenge: veiled sexism, lapses of judgment, mental and emotional breakdowns every which way, and the result was some rather odd decisions.
Well, let’s get to it then…
•Our episode starts with the ladies smack-talking the men and wishing they would go home. They also discuss the notion that “men design for women what they want to see women wear, while women design what they actually want to wear.”
•Heidi calls the designers to the runway and, after mentioning that some of them have bags under their eyes, sends them off on a field trip…
•… to Lord & Taylor! Tim is there with Bonnie Brooks of Lord & Taylor to explain the challenge: Lord & Taylor has commissioned a capsule collection featuring one designer from each of the previous seasons (which you can see the entire collection here) and the designers must create a cocktail/evening dress that can be manufactured and added to the collection. One of the considerations that the designers need to deal with is that the dress, while being fashion forward, must hit a certain price point and have some ease for manufacturing.
•Back in the workroom, the designers skip going to Mood fabrics and instead have to use provided fabrics furnished by JS Collections (who will be manufacturing the collection). And then start to get to work…
•Where the men are having a grand old time singing and laughing, while the women start Freaking Out! First, Elena starts freaking out that she can’t please the judges, then Alicia starts to doubt her design, then Melissa panics over having chosen the wrong fabric for her dress, then Sonjia has a full on breakdown over everything – her design, the construction, the fact she was on the bottom last challenge.
•And then, as if we couldn’t hate him any more from his behavior last week, came this gem from Ven – “Men are strong designers, women are… practical… designers.” (I was waiting for him to come out and say “Men are strong, women are weak”).
•After final fittings (and one final breakdown from Sonjia) we have the runway. Once again, I am shocked and dismayed over the lack of color on the runway. I mean, there were plenty of colorful fabrics to choose from.
•As for the safe looks, Sonjia’s peplum dress is too literal of an ’80s retread. I was surprised by both Ven and Dmitry. In Ven’s case, his flower bodice would be a nightmare to manufacture and still maintain the price point. Plus he’s used that technique over and over again. In Dmitry’s case, I was shocked because it would have been my pick for the win. While it is another little black (or in this case, pewter) dress, it’s chic, the seaming and neckline are extremely flattering, and oddly enough it felt as if it was a part of the collection since the pleating and seaming called back to Korto’s and Gordana’s dresses.
•Of the top three dresses, Melissa’s collar was beautiful and the fabric looked great, the asymmetrical hem was a little too disproportionate. Elena’s dress was a nice departure for her and the halter effect was nice, if lacking in the execution. Fabio’s dress was a little too simple perhaps, but (at least according to the editing) it seemed like he was the only one really focusing on keeping the manufacturing price point down. Plus as simple as his dress was, it seemed like the easiest dress to size up for a variety of sizes.
•But in the end, Christopher won, to which I say “Are you *bleep*ing kidding me??” While I applaud the fact that he went for a gown as opposed to a cocktail dress (since the collection only had two gowns against the seven cocktail dresses), I’m not a fan of such a severe separation from the top and the bottom. And while his shredded fabric technique is stunning, it’s as played out as Ven’s vagina origami pleating.
•In a surprise move, there were only two designers in the bottom. While I applaud Alicia’s attempt to step away from doing something tailored and channeling a 1920s Chanel-inspired drop-waisted dress jazzed up with some pops of contrasting trim, it did feel a little matronly. As for Gunnar’s dress, Nina Garcia said it best when she said that it felt like it had been seen over and over again in various price points (and looked like a dress Laura Bennett made in Season 3)…
•… BUT, in a surprise move (really?), it was decreed that the designers had been so unanimously good (really?!?) that no one is eliminated today. But have no fear friends, next week is a team challenge which will always bring up some good drama.
Alas, next week, we will not be having our usual viewing party at moto-i, as it will be Fashion’s Night Out! Stay tuned here at l’etoile to find out where all the great parties are going to be that night.