"Do You Like this Gown? It's Very Dramatic."

Again, through the wisdom and guidance of Brenda Dickson, we all know that fashion is acquired by looking at a lot of different fashions.  To that end, let’s look at some of the recent fashions produced on Project Runway.

Some of the things this season have been fairly cool; some have been outright heinous; and over all I think it’s been hit or miss.  This, for example, from Episode 1:

Kelli's Coffee Filter Dress
Kelli's Winning Coffee Filter Dress

I love the skirt, and the way Kelli treated the coffee filters with other food products to create that pattern and texture.  Fabulous!  But then look at the top of the dress: it looks like she just placed a coffee filter over each boob as an afterthought.  Not great.

On the whole, it’s a HELL of a lot better than, say, this, from Episode 2:

Jennifer's Surrealist Dress, aka "The Treachery of Satin," aka "Ceci N'est Pas une Robe"
Jennifer's Surrealist Dress, aka "The Treachery of Satin," aka "Ceci N'est Pas une Robe"

Jennifer did a lot of talking about how she likes very feminine shapes and how she’s influenced by surrealism.  In fact, what she said about this heinous number was that it was “Holly Golightly goes to a Salvador Dalí Exhibit.”  Yeah, I don’t know either.  With EITHER of those influences, the dress should have been a lot better.  As it is, it’s just frumpy, unflattering, and poorly constructed.

The dress that won that week was Kenley’s:

Kenley's Winning Dress from the NYC Inspiration Challenge
Kenley's Winning Dress from the NYC Inspiration Challenge

I am not a fan.  It doesn’t honestly look to me that the asymmetrical silhouette is intentional.  Frankly, it looks either like the model has a strange deformity of the left hip, or possibly like the purple tulle is desperately trying to escape its psychedelic turquoise prison.  “HELP ME,” screams the tulle, “HELLLLP.”

I had really hoped Leanne’s skirt would win that week:

Leeanne's Most Excellent Skirt
Leanne's Most Excellent Skirt

I love the layers of gray and black, and it’s absolutely something I would wear (though I’d like to add one more layer to the bottom, making it closer to knee length).  It looks clean and modern, but also a bit flirty and whimsical.  Love.

In Episode 3, the designers had to make an outfit for the U.S. Olympic team to wear as they marched in the opening ceremony.   The results were varied and, um, interesting. This one, made below, was definitely one of the worst:

I AM FROM THE REPUBLIC OF COCKTAIL LAND. HA HA HAHAHA.
I AM FROM THE REPUBLIC OF COCKTAIL LAND. HA HA HAHAHA.

It was made by Daniel, who really ought to be leaving the show soon.  He’s done nothing of much note at all, except of course this one, only noteworthy in its badness.  I think it looks a bit like a 1960’s stewardess uniform, but Michael Kors, quipster that he is, claimed it looked like a cocktail dress.  “If her sport is drinking, it’s a good dress,” he claimed.  Frankly, I do not even think it is a good dress for that.

The look I liked from the Olympics challenge was this sportswear made by Terri:

Terri's All-American Sportswear
Terri's All-American Sportswear

I think it looks classic, classy, well fitted, and very American.  I just loved it, especially the striped blazer.  I was glad the judges recognized her as one of the top three, but I think she should have won.  I was NOT feeling either of the other top looks at ALL.

And oh, lord, can we please look at this week’s clothes.  In Episode 4, the designers had to create something for Brooke Shields’ character on Lipstick Jungle.  It was supposed to be professional, powerful, and translatable from day to night.  Now let’s just ask ourselves if ANY of those descriptors apply to the outfit below:

Blayne's Misguided Attempt at Fashioable Shorts
Blayne's Misguided Attempt at Fashionable Shorts

Well, maybe if Brooke Shields is playing a professional, high-powered skateboarder who has to transition between the Venice Beach boardwalk during the day and her nightlife at the swinging smoothie shop down the block.  I don’t know; I have never seen Lipstick Jungle, so maybe that is the case.

I would also like to note that, close up, the material those short pants are made of resembles the thick polyester used to make grandfatherly Sans-a-Belt trousers in the late 1970s. NOT PRETTY.

Then, oh-god-oh-god-oh-god, this crime of an outfit perpetrated by Kelli and Daniel:

MY EYES! MY EYES! THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING!
MY EYES! MY EYES! THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING!

This picture of the outfit already looks pretty bad, but you should see it with the jacket off (for when she transitions from day to night).  Oh, it is an assault on the senses.  Once again, Kelli made a badly designed and poorly constructed bodice that basically looked like two circles of fabric slapped over the model’s tits.  The color combination of a strangely luminescent turquoise with the small areas of leopard print was as hideous as anything I could imagine.  It literally pained me to look at it. Kors’ take? “SLUTTY SLUTTY SLUTTY.” (And it was.)  Of course, Kelli, as the lead designer, was eliminated.  Rightfully so, but I did like her, and thought she had some potential (if only she could learn to tailor a bodice correctly).

This look, created by Jerrell and Stella, was my favorite of the night:

Jerrell and Stella's Most Excellent Look, with Leathah!
Jerrell and Stella's Most Excellent Look, with Leathah!

The mixing of different colors, patterns, and textures is very skillful, and the silhouette is classic and flattering. Shields didn’t like the belt, which may have been what prevented it from winning.  Too bad!  I could completely see her in this.

The outfit that won was made by Keith and Kenley:

Keith and Kenley's Winning Look from the Lipstick Jungle Challenge
Keith and Kenley's Winning Look from the Lipstick Jungle Challenge

Let me say, I DO really love this skirt.  It’s something I would like to wear myself, though I would pair it with a simpler top (black, basic, fitted, sleeveless, I’m thinking).  The blouse they have here I could take or leave, but the skirt is elegant and fun and looks quite fashionable indeed. I wasn’t upset that this won, but I was surprised, because I thought Jerrell and Stella’s was simply more impressive.

On that note, please allow me to say that Stella’s presence on the show has been the most entertaining thing this season.

Dear Diary, I've Been Thinking a Lot about Leathah...
Dear Diary, I've Been Thinking a Lot about Leathah...

She reminds me EXACTLY of a woman I know, who is also hilarious, which may be what made me instantly like her.  I think anyone and everyone can appreciate the genius that is Stella, though:  She is a focused, determined, single-minded woman of fashion.  She is committed to her leathah, and nothing can distract her from it.  She is faced with any type of challenge, and she has an immediate answer for it: “I’m gonna put huh in leathah.  I’m gonna rip it, teah it, spike it, grawmet it, pyramid it.  Awl leathah.  Sleek, black leathah.”

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2 thoughts on “"Do You Like this Gown? It's Very Dramatic."

  1. Ruby August 18, 2008 / 2:22 am

    I have been DYING for someone to tell me how in the hell Jennifer’s style had anything to do with surrealism. Please? Anyone?

    I am both sad and happy that Kelli’s gone. I LOVE Leanne’s stuff. I wish Suede would just go away, mainly because I think his craftsmanship sucks, even though he’s got a pretty good eye. The little tan boy… well.. he’s tan, very stupid, nowhere near as cute or cool as little Christian, but I do have to give him credit for taking responsibility for his design. A lot of those bitches would have pinned the blame on their partner. I am still trying to figure out how someone who looks so much like Bettie Page (Kenley) can design so much like Dynasty at the Golden Girls. It’s very strange. If Keith’s skirt hadn’t been so great, I feel the judges would have blasted the print on that blouse (though the flaky scales he makes with scraps will wear thin very soon — remember the toilet paper dress?). Daniel and that other guy…what is his name? Joe? I don’t think they’ll be with us much longer. Jerrell, he’s got skills, but I worry about his heavy use of animal print and flowy shiny fabric.

    Terri, Korto, and Stella are the three I’m thinking will be solid contenders in the next couple of weeks. Maybe Leanne, too, but she does have a very obvious “thing” with the ribbony, layery things she does. There is a dress she made I saw a couple of weeks ago that I love, and I’ve been keeping an eye on her etsy.com store, just to see what she’s doing. Nice stuff. Stella’s been around for a long time, very rock and roll. The biggest problem she’s going to have is that she’s sticking very close to the rocker/stripper/biker leather wardrobe. She’s got mad leatha skills and I love the Penny Marshall-in-a-Biker-Bar accent. Love. “Such a gay little grommet.” Korto does some nice things with color (I really liked the pumpkin colored coat, y’all. And the Olympics uniform. And the big yellow shower curtain dress with salad from the first episode. Reminds me a lot of early 80s Donna Karan for some reason).

    Now Terri, I was worried about her at first, but WOW. She’s got some SERIOUS skills and she can tailor the shit out a jacket. And the ruffle thing on the Olympic uniform? That was so nice. And did you see the fit of those trousers? Wow. She’s good.

    So, early pick for winner: Terri. Fan Favorite so far: Stella.

    I’m worried about the judges this season, though. They’re freaking me out.

  2. Alfina the Vague August 18, 2008 / 11:04 pm

    Hey, you DID have a lot to say about the show! I’m glad someone else thinks about it as much as I do.

    Also, I’m so excited that Leanne has an Etsy store: not that her stuff there is in my size or price range, but it’s cool to see what she works on outside of the PR/Challenge scheme.

    And I agree: Terri, Stella, and Korto could make it far (if Stella could manage to try new ideas in addition to the leathah that is spiked, studded, grawmetted, etc.).

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