26 December 2013

PRAS3 5-8: Hoods, Homer, Hollywood and … Bloggers

Continuing my catch-up with Project Runway All Stars season 3…

Episode 5: Bonnie & Clyde • Guest judges: PR alumnus Austin Scarlett (replacing Georgina Chapman), supermodel Bar Rafaeli and designer Elie Tahari

Uh-oh! Teams of two! Male models too! Yet another commercial tie-in has our contestants designing outfits for the TV mini-series Bonnie & Clyde. One half of the team will be responsible for Bonnie’s outfit, the other for Clyde’s and the designs should be fashion forward (duh!) yet rooted in the 1930s (huh?). The additional prize for the winner: outfit to be worn in the miniseries and a screen credit to the designer! A schoolyard pick comes down to the last two: Korto and Elena. The latter is convinced that people are still afraid of her “former” self and her temper while the former is pleased to be able to offer a calming influence to her. We’ll see how that works out.

Well, in fact it does seem to work, as the drama all comes from boy town. Jeffrey flies off the handle because his model seems to have spent the whole year since his measurements were last taken working out and bulking up and is too muscly for the coat J has made. He swears, he stomps out of the room, and then he’s back. The difference between Jeffrey and Elena becomes clear: he is quick to apologize and get back to work. She ought to have taken notes on that instead of snickering that his team’s looks were all wrong for the challenge.

It always fascinates me to see how thrown the designers are by having to make menswear. They struggle, some claim to have a lot of experience with it, and then they inevitably end up making good pants and then shirts with horrible uneven collars. Considering that the shirt is usually only showing at the collar, you might want to focus on making that bit work, no? I suppose it is clear that I am not a tailor or a designer, as I have no appreciation of how difficult this seemingly simple garment is to make. Oh, and it seems like half of the men weren’t allowed to wear socks! Is this because they were not available on the accessory wall, or that they would have had to have been made by the designer to make it to the runway? Mystery.

It ended up coming down to the menswear: Jeffrey and his terrible neck and hand tattoos take it with the really beautiful coat and nice pants, and Mychael is out, not because he can’t spell Michael, but because his shiny copper tweed jacket was too short- and tight-looking to evoke the sense of elegance we look for in a serial robber and killer. Now I will have to fire up the recorded version of that mini-series to look for Jeffrey’s credit. I will, however, miss Mychael and his good temperedness and design skills.

Episode 6: A Date with Homer • Guest judges PR alumnus Anthony Ryan Auld (replacing Georgina Chapman), actress Abigail Breslin and designer Stacey Bendet

An original challenge this time out: Marge Simpson (yes, the beloved cartoon character) needs a dress for a dinner date with her husband. She is expecting that there will even be table service and no cafeteria trays, and wants a dress that will come off easily in hopes that Homer will be in the mood at the end of the evening! The winning design will actually be drawn into the cartoon this season, with a credit to the designer. And the funny bit: Marge tells the contestants to use accessories from the “who’s ever sponsoring the wall now wall”. Ouch, QVC.

There were a few odd things happening this time out. Viktor seemed to be blaming Christopher for his having been in the bottom in the previous challenge, and avoided him, which sent Christopher into a bit of a tailspin. It didn’t help that he was also having trouble wrapping his head around having a cartoon character for a client, yet sewing for a real model. By far the craziest was Seth Aaron (I can’t believe we have to use both of those names, despite their not being hyphenated!). He kept starting over and ended up walking his sixth dress attempt down the runway, after spending all of two hours making it (he was cagey with the judges on that point).

What was nice to see, however, was that Irina took up some additional space. Despite all of the dire predictions of drama from Christopher in episode 1, there has been nothing of the sort from Irina. She has been steadily producing quality garments and otherwise keeping herself out of the bickering and crying and screaming. It was delightful to see her dress win this challenge, and even to get a sneak peek of Marge wearing it at the end of the episode. Lovely work.

The person probably most annoyed by the result was Jeffrey, who went from last week’s win to a loss, and a loss to someone who had basically flung some fabric over his model and added a belt to it, spending all of two hours on this “creation”. Still, there was no excusing the dishevelled look of his dress, and no explaining why he chose bright orange shoes for the model to wear with the light purple dress. A real eyesore. Good-bye neck tattoos (except for that star on Seth Aaron’s neck)….

Episode 7: Red Carpet Mama • Guest judges: PR alumnus Mondo Guerra (replacing Georgina Chapman), QVC program host Lisa Robertson and actress Elizabeth Moss

Everything was dramatic this week! It started with the trip to get the assignment…at QVC headquarters in Westchester Pennsylvania…in helicopters! And there was a boys’ helicopter and a girls’ helicopter to boot. The assignment was to design a red carpet look for QVC program host Lisa Robertson to wear at an event in LA…sketching in the broadcast studio at QVC before being whisked back to New York to work.

Another bit of drama that touches closer to my heart, as Viktor, agonizing to the point of everyone noticing something was wrong with him, finally asks Elena and Seth Aaron to come talk to him, announcing that he is HIV-positive and has been for seven years (i.e.: through his whole previous PR experience). Only his partner knows, and now Elena and Seth Aaron. As groundbreaking as this is in the life of any person, it is not new territory for Project Runway, after Mondo Guerra came out as poz in the fabric challenge in his original season, and to the judges, to boot. What was truly moving, though, was Elena’s and Seth Aaron’s reactions, as they drew close to assure him of their support, and nobody seems to have blabbed either. While he may have announced his news to those two and to all of us because it was on camera, it was important for me to show that the others involved in the show went on as though they didn’t have that knowledge. Telling who I choose to tell is not a license to tell anyone else on my behalf. Bravo to Viktor for his courage. Well-handled by the show.

Interesting that Mondo Guerra just happened to be sitting in for Georgina Chapman for this “coming out” episode.

Less bravo (I guess that can’t really be said that way, but whatevs) to Zanna for her “mentoring” job. She visits the workroom, announcing on her entry that she doesn’t want to see any jewel-toned strapless gowns, but got exactly that when she visited her first contestant, Christopher. She snaked her way around the room and then paused before leaving to tell the group that nothing she had seen was all-star quality and any of them could be going home. Supportive much?

We also got to see the less desirable side of Irina, as she pinned the blame for the ripping of her dress on her model, despite the fact that it ripped several times when it was in her own hands. Tch-tch-tch! That made it a bit easier to say good-bye to her at the end, after Korto had been awarded the win for a “gown” that didn’t look very gownlike to me.

It occurred to me that they are really spreading the wins around this time. I don’t think anyone has actually won twice. I wonder if that’s on purpose? It also occurred to me that Georgina has now been absent for three consecutive episodes, saving my delicate ears from hearing Ms. Milano’s terrible French pronunciation. Brava Georgina!

Episode 8: Bloggers • Guest judges: PR alumnus Christian Siriano (replacing Georgina Chapman), Nina Garcia of Marie Claire [and the real PR] and Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein

Yay! Nina Garcia! So delightful to have her on this episode, not only as the setter of the task, but also as a judge. Nobody can produce a cutting comment like Nina. But first the task: to design a coming trend, and to use the 2014 Pantone colour of 2014 — Radiant Orchid. [Never mind that Ms. Milano later calls it Wild Orchid..why is she on this show again?] The lovely extra prize with this challenge is a video with Nina Garcia for the Style Hall web site and a gift package from Pantone worth $10,000, including 3 nights at the Pantone Hotel in Brussels. But wait there’s more! Nina has chosen five influential fashion bloggers who will be both muse and model to the designers. Another schoolyard pick….

Elena’s temper is beginning to rear its head. She notices that everyone is now using neoprene, which she was doing — like — three years ago, so they’re all just a big bunch of copycats. She manages to restrain helself from attacking them and expresses this opinion only in the diary/side interview segment. She persists, however, in her cloying lack of confidence in herself, which is beginning to annoy the judges, too.

And here is why Nina should be on every show. The lace on Christopher’s dress looks “…like seaweed that has come out of a swamp.” He thanks her. She adds “That’s not a compliment.” And he can’t leave well enough alone, adding “I didn’t take it as a compliment.” Meow!

Korto comes away with the win — the first repeat winner, and they are back-to-back and near the end, so she has to be feeling rather good about her chances. Viktor, alas, is the one who doesn’t make it, and he doesn’t answer the winner’s query as to who he might pass the fan to. We think we are so clever to notice these things, but we are not alone.

No comments: