Getting back into the groove of Project Project Runway hasn’t been as difficult as I expected. I thought that I would just feel creatively out of juice. Last season was quite difficult and putting together six looks for the finale was quite the undertaking. I honestly have no idea how professional designers can sustain it year in and year out. So I was looking forward to feeling overwhelmed by another season. But I’m pleasantly surprised. Maybe it’s that this week’s challenge is fairly straightforward to help me ease back into things.
This week’s challenge is called “Times Square Anniversary Party.” (Hey where did all the fun, punny episode titles go?) The challenge, as I undertook it was to choose a prior PPR “portfolio look” that represents my aesthetic and create a companion piece to go along with it. (For new participants they were to create two companion looks. Nothing like a trial by fire the first week!)
For my “portfolio look” I chose the dress I made for the tenth challenge from last season.
I chose this dress because I like the way the dress fits, I think the color scheme is interesting (although it is based on a Nanette Lepore textile as per that challenge) and I think it speaks to my inclinations towards simple, graphic design.
In designing the companion look, I knew I wanted it to speak to those aspects: fit, color, and creating something graphic. I wanted to create something that would look like it came from the same collection, as that’s how I interpreted the challenge directive. I also knew that I didn’t really want to do another dress, as that seemed like it could be a bit repetitive. I considered making a gown in honor of having done so for the first challenge in the last two seasons, but I just didn’t feel up to it. But I did know one thing; I wanted to make a pair of red skinny pants.
Zhanna heads down the runway in that pair of red skinny pants paired with a tank featuring asymmetrical stripes in red, lavender, and orange.
Whereas the original look was graphic, yet sweet, this look was intended to exude a bit of an edge. My main concern with this look was achieving a well-fitting skinny pant. It’s hard to sew pants at this scale, but unlike a real human body, dolls don’t need to move, so pants are nowhere near as difficult to make as in real life. After I had conceptualized the pants, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to pair them with. I wanted something that would incorporate the colors from the original piece, but I didn’t want to reuse the same technique as in the panel on the dress. So I decided to make a simple tank, in part to add to the almost-androgynous silhouette I was creating with the pants. I decided to do the strips of color asymmetrically to keep the eye moving and to avoid highlighting any particular area of the body. I had considered creating a stripe panel as on the dress across the bustline, but I determined that it would add too much bulk and stiffness to the top. I wanted something light, slightly drape-y and summery.
To style the look, I wanted to evoke that summery feel.
First of all, I did not use the items provided from the Lord and Taylor Accessory Wall. I found it way too difficult to navigate and the choices severely limited. Instead I simply chose items from the Lord and Taylor website.
In the bright summer sun, the look definitely needed some sunglasses. I chose Michael Kors Caicos Plastic Aviator Sunglasses in orange. I promise I’m not sucking up the the judge, they really were the best option for the look. For shoes, I chose some breezy sandals that look sophisticated but not too fussy: Pour La Victoire Faine Strappy Leather Sandals. I chose the sandals in a similar red to the pants to avoid a jarring transition between the pants and the shoes. Finally, I added a House of Harlow 1960 Etched Stacked Bangle Cuff to bring in a touch of metallic, for interest.
Overall, I think the look is solid. I think the pants are well-made and pretty much exactly as I had envisioned them. The top doesn’t excite me as much, but I think it’s passable. And I do think that the companion piece works well with portfolio piece. They do look like they could come from the same collection, which was part of my goal.
(Yes, I keep all of my previous designs.)
Don’t forget to check out the other designers on the Project Project Runway Flickr group. I can’t wait to see who is participating and what they’ve designed!