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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Project Runway Finale: Recap

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I hope y’all have fast internet connections, because this post is  going to be super image-heavy. Here we are: 13 episodes, 24 contestants and so manyoutfits later, we have finally reached the last episode of the season, the episode we’ve all been waiting for.

Of course, there has to be a bit of a twist. Each designer gets $500 to spend at Mood to do with as they will. The designers are all trying to listen to the judges and all seem to be replacing an item or two…or ten, I guess, if they want to.

 Let’s do this Runway!

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Project Project Runway: The Finale

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This is it, my final collection for the end of this “season” of Project Project Runway. This is what we’ve all been waiting for!

For this challenge, our hosts at Just Crafty Enough asked that we create one show-stopping look, that final “wow” look for the end of the show. We were also permitted to create more looks, if we so pleased.

At first I was at a little bit of an impasse. After twelve weeks of quite specific instructions and inspirations, being free to do whatever I wished seemed a daunting task. Where would I even begin?

It was in a Target parking lot that inspiration struck. While ruminating on what the heck my inspiration would be, I glanced at the parking lot surface and was struck by how cool it is that plants can utilize tiny cracks in pavement and grow there. I started thinking about the idea of nature reclaiming human-made structures. There is something so “against the odds” about tiny little seeds burrowing into cracks in concrete and flourishing. The idea that a diminutive seed can grow and actually break apart stone is strangely beautiful and hopeful.

Riffing on this idea, I decided to center my collection on the contrast between a bright colorful print and subdued grays; the contrast between structured tailoring and more organic draping.

 

 

The first look I send down the runway on May is a long-sleeved fitted dress with a column of colorful print inset in the center.

This look is a fairly literal interpretation of my inspiration. The inset piece is meant to represent the flora growing in the cracks of concrete.

 

 

The second look I sent down the runway on Lys is an organically draped charmeuse top paired with a gray pair of trousers.

In this look I wanted to explore draping a little bit, as it was a technique I avoided throughout the previous rounds. I liked the idea of pairing it with a quite structural pair of trousers to create an interesting contrast. I also wanted to prove that I can, indeed, make a pair of pants!

 

 

Gia wears my final look, the show-stopper look, if you will. This dress is a bias-cut one-shouldered gown in my chosen print.

I felt that doing a gown would be a great end to my show. I felt that ending with the full-effect of the print would reflect the idea of nature’s total reclamation of the constructed.

 

 

Here are the three looks all together. I think that they work well together as a collection, just aesthetically. The three looks also show a nice range of skills, in that I utilized knits, wovens, suiting, charmeuse, draping, tailoring, and bia-cut. Furthermore, I feel that the three looks work on their own, even without knowing my point of inspiration.

I am very proud of this collection, and the work that I achieved overall this season. I have had so much fun “playing along” with the show, and I cannot express my appreciation enough for all of my fellow contestants. The whole competition has been so supportive and just an all-around great experience. I cannot wait until next year!

Me-Ology

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In the style of Tom and Lorenzo, I thought it would be fun to do an “Ology” to see all my designs for this “season” of Project Project Runway side-by-side.

In my work, I see that I tend to gravitate towards solids rather than prints. When I do use prints, I choose very graphic fabrics. Overall, I tend towards more tailored looks; there isn’t a lot of volume in my looks. I see a lot of control in my work, not a lot of draping; very little in my work could be considered “organic.” Color-wise, I use a lot of black and a lot of purple. This surprised me, as I thought that overall my looks would be more colorful, but seeing them all together, this is not really the case.

But overall, I think I’ve shown a fairly wide range of looks, and I am incredibly proud of the work that I have produced this season. Now I have to go back to work more on my final collection!

Project Runway: Episode 13 Recap

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We’re down to the final four. 10 pieces. $9,000. 5 weeks. Best of luck, designers.

Tim first heads to Kimberly’s. Her inspiration is the Brooklyn of her youth.

Then to Anya’s. Her inspiration is the island of Tobago and the sea. She says she is struggling a bit.

Next Tim heads to Viktor’s. His theme is “Urban Coast” based on some time he’s spent in Mexico.

Then to Joshua’s. I’m not really sure what his inspiration is, but it is cuckoo crazy neon dowdy. Insanity.

So they reconvene in New York with their collections. Each designer will be choosing three of their designs to show to the judges and only three of the designers will be moving forward.

 

The Runway

All Images from myLifetime.com

 

Viktor

 

Look 1: The print for this garment is very interesting. I love the blueish purple color. That being said, I am not loving this look. I feel like the top is too tight on the model, pulling in odd ways. I am actually not a fan of the zippered overskirt; there is something very cheerleader-y about it. I think using the zippers in this way is an interesting take on pleats, but does not do much for me in this particular look. It just feels over-thought to me. I like Viktor’s work best when it is impeccable and chic, this just has too many elements.

 

Look 2: I hate the pants on this look. Once again I feel there is a tailoring issue; something that is frankly shocking to me considering the beautiful construction he was able to achieve during the time constraints of the earlier competition rounds. I am not a fan of the textile for the pants, either. It looks like she spilled something on herself. That’s not to say I don’t think splattered-looking textiles don’t have a place, but maroon on white? Nuh-uh. And the back of the pants being a completely different textile from the front bothers me a lot. In terms of the shirt, I like metallic detailing, and the jacket is super cute. It has an ease about it, but the detailing makes it look more fashion forward.

 

Look 3: The proportions of this look seem off to me. The length of the dress seems quite unflattering to the model, and I am not a fan of the ultra-long train on the cocktail dress. I am also officially over sheer skirts. Even in terms of high fashion, it is so rare to see them done right. I just don’t think there is anything that fun or flattering about a skirt that shows the world your undies. Yeah, I really do not like the dress at all. The jacket is pretty hot, though. It looks wonderfully made (I wonder if Viktor had its construction outsourced?) But I don’t think pairing it with the dress was the best usage of it.

 

Anya

 

Look 1: I really like the print she chose for this look. It has an earthiness without being too “art teacher.” That being said, I’m not loving the overall shape of the dress. The front, I like, the length is nice, the bodice fits well. The back is where I am having issues. I don’t like the slightly longer length back there. It ruins the silhouette for me. I am also having a bit of trouble with the belt. I would like to see it closer up, I think. There are no good shots of it on the broadcast. It looks a lot like a silver tab on a soda can to me. I think I would like it better in a different metallic than the silver, it would look better with the warm tones of the dress itself.

 

Look 2: A bathing suit seems like a bit of a cop-out to me. I mean, yes, I guess it shows that Anya can make something other than a loose caftan, but it is really a bare-minimum kind of effort to prove this. Furthermore, I don’t think it fits the model all that well. At all. I keep wanting to hitch it up an inch or two. I have no issues with a deep v, but there is something off about it; it looks like the model is long-waisted and wearing a too short suit. The cover-up is a total waste. I hate the fabric choice—that burlap color is just ugly. I just don’t think this was the best look to show as epitomizing her collection.

 

Look 3: I am not liking this look very well, either. The fabric is too shiny and looks cheap, and man, does it ever show off every flaw in Anya’s sewing skills. It is pulling, tugging and creasing every which way. The way she gave it shape looks totally amateurish and the fabric is just too heavy. It looks like somebody repurposed a thrift store prom dress, and not in a good way.

 

Kimberly

 

Look 1: This is actually pretty cute. I love the textile for the top—the colors are so interesting. That being said, the shape of the top is pretty basic. I also am having a bit of an issue with the pants. I think they are a tad long, and I wish they were a bit more fitted. I do love the royal blue, though. I know that this is Kimberly’s casual look, but it crosses over into a bit too casual for me. I think she needed to start her mini collection with a “wow” look, and I don’t think that this fits the bill.

 

Look 2: I don’t love this look. The color combination is cool, I think I need something in that royal blue. But the shape of the top is once again very simple. And the skirt seems overworked to me. It seems very stiff on the model, kind of like it is orbiting her rather than she is wearing it. I also think the silhouette is quite unflattering. It makes the model’s hips look enormous. Plus the hemline is weird, and not in a fun way. In the closeup, I can see that the skirt seems put together with a series of jump ring clasps, showing the model’s legs all the way up. I find it rather tacky. And the volume in the back gives the impression that the model has a huge butt, which, of course, she doesn’t. Not a good look, overall.

 

Look 3: Now this, I like. (It actually looked much prettier in motion.) It is a very simple dress, but I find it quite chic. I know the model is probably already six feet tall, but she looks like a statuesque column in it, and that is a good thing. I like how Kimberly incorporated her inclination towards the sparkly in a classy way. I can see ladies wanting to wear this gown to big events. Definitely her best look of the three. I wish she had brought this level of sophistication to her other two looks. As it is, this look is the disparate element amongst the other two. In fact, I don’t really see how it relates to the other looks at all.

 

Joshua

 

Look 1: As expected, this is a lot of look. I know this is shocking, but I actually kind of like this look. The pants look well-made, and I am actually not averse to hot pink pants. The jacket is over-designed, but really cool. There are elements in there that I’ve never seen before. The more I look at it, the more I like the jacket a lot. It fits really nicely, too. The element I am not fond of is the tank top. I just don’t love the print he chose, the colors look muddy compared to the neon pink. I’m seeing an 80’s New Wave inspiration and I like it. I could do without the safety goggles, though.

 

Look 2: A bit of a let-down after the last look. The cut of this dress is not very flattering at all. It gaps too much at the low V-neck, making the model’s torso look wide. And the skirt is pulling at the hips. Both of these issues indicate to me that the dress is too small. Which is kind of unfortunate, because I can see the seeds of a good idea in this garment. I think the detailing on the skirt has a lot of potential, for one. I just wish I could have seen it in the proper size for the model, as I think if properly sized it could be a quite pretty little dress.

 

Look 3: Star Trek villain. As Joe so aptly says, “The top says ‘alien,’ the bottom says ‘People’s Court Judge’” But in all seriousness, this is a lazy look. It is basically a black shower curtain wrapped around her and attached to a weird neck piece. Joshua has once again gone to the cheapest fabric he can find (it seriously looks like cheap Halloween costume polyester.) And the styling is awful. I can’t tell if she is wearing tall boots, or booties with tights or what, but it is not good. Then from the back we see that there is a fitted pant, essentially making the dress a glorified apron. Hate it.

 

 

No top and bottom from me this week. Overall, I am pretty disappointed with the output. I would think that with the longer time available and a break from the total stress situation, the designers could have made more complete, thoughtful garments. As it was, I didn’t see a huge improvement upon what they were making in the time constraints of a day or two. At this point, I am not totally invested in any of the designers, and none of the four made anything that blew my socks off tonight. So, as bad as it is, I just kind of don’t care all that much anymore.

 

 

Alright, so…judging:

 

Joshua’s in and competing at Fashion Week

 

Viktor is in and will compete, too.

 

Kimberly’s in.

 

And Anya’s in, too. How ‘bout that? All four of them are competing at Fashion Week this year.

 

Really, it’s no skin off anyone’s back, really. Since almost every designer this season showed anyway, it’s really about who’s competing. And really, what does it matter if the judges have to choose a single winner from amongst a pool of three or a pool of four?

 

But of course Joshua is a bitter ass about it. No big surprise there.

Project Project Runway Challenge 12: Runway Show

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Well, I think I have officially run out of steam. Doing this project has really made me more empathetic to the show’s contestants. Even with more time to think and less stress, I feel like I am just running out of ideas and motivation. I see why so many contestants’ output suffers as the show goes on. I feel my output is suffering and I am not doing these on a three-day turnaround!

This week for Project Project Runway we were to create a three look collection inspired by Governor’s Island. Choose to either make three looks, or make one and sketch the other two.

I’ll just come out and say it, I was so uninspired and beaten down by this challenge. I think this is by far the worst look I have sent down the PPR runway. W

With that in mind…

I chose to use the island’s picnic area as my inspiration. I thought the shelters there were really interesting; they are re-purposed shipping containers.

 

 

Image from The Trust for Governors Island.

Another, better image that I took inspiration from is here.

I loved the idea of the utilitarian containers being used for a beautiful purpose. I was really inspired by the cut-outs on the sides as well. In translating these objects into garments, I liked the idea of the concealing and revealing that the container cut-outs created.

 

 

So for the dress, I used the idea of the conceal and reveal to create a look that is both very revealing, but is also quite concealing. I liked the idea of a plunging neckline paired with a long-sleeved, long-length dress. With a more modest neckline, the dress would be one long concealing sheath; without the length and sleeves, the dress would be vulgar.

I also decided to purposefully use sportswear-type fabric for the dress (it’s some sort of poly knit) to reflect the utilitarian basis for the picnic pavilions. I liked the idea of using something usually used for sporty clothes being transformed into something beautiful and chic.

At the last minute, I added a blue wrap belt out of some ribbon I already had on-hand. It added a little pop of color that I felt the garment desperately needed and also spoke to the idea of re-purposing what is readily available.

The other looks I designed also were to speak to the idea of the cut-outs, with the garments having both modest and revealing elements. As companion pieces I designed a long-sleeved mini dress and a pair of trousers with a long-sleeved shirt featuring cut-outs at the shoulders.

 

 

(Croquis from DesignersNexus)

I actually tried to produce the mini dress, but the fabric I had chosen was too thick to “play nice” and the whole thing ended up looking like a sweater dress (not the slim, body-hugging dress I had wanted.) After I told him I would not be using it, Joe admitted that he thought it looked like a Star Trek uniform. So, this week it has to stay as a sketch and not a produced garment.

 

 

In accessorizing my produced look, I went incredibly simple: a pair of black pumps from Piperlime. Anything else I thought would take the look over-the-top. The dress already toes the line into tacky territory, so minimal accessories it was.

For hair, I think long flowing waves would be beautiful. For makeup, I think a subtle eye and a bold lip would be a fun combination to help bring attention up to the face.

In terms of who would wear this dress, I’m thinking someone who is known for being able to wear a bold dress, rather than having the dress wear her. My first thought was Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, because she can totally wear things that most mere mortals would absolutely disappear into.

Project Runway: Episode 12 Recap

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It feels like this show has been on for months and months. Get us to Fashion Week already!

 

The Challenge

 

The designers head to Governors Island. They are to take inspiration from pretty much anything from around the island. They are to make 3 outfits that show a range of looks. They have two days to complete this challenge. Wow, that’s a lot of work!

After they buy their fabric and get back to the workroom, Tim comes in with the dreaded button bag. As if three looks in two days wasn’t stressful enough. He brings in the eliminated designers to “help.”  This should be interesting.

Kimberly picks Becky

Viktor picks Olivier

Laura Kathleen picks Anthony Ryan

Anya picks Bert

And Joshua will be working with Bryce

 

The Runway

All images from myLifetime.com

 

The special guest judge this week is Zoe Saldana. Ooh, an actress that actually is quite fashion-forward. Cool.

 

 

Joshua:


Look 1: This look does not wow me at all. (I also have no idea why Lifetime doesn’t have normal runway photos of it.) There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a minimalist aesthetic, but it only works when done well, and I don’t think this dress is all that well done. The actual cut of the dress is not very flattering and it is kind of shapeless. The netting at the top does not really add much interest to the look. It’s just not an interesting look and there are some fit issues in the back.

 

Look 2: Hideous. Another circle skirt from Joshua. And this time it is terribly unflattering. It is too high on the waist, too short, and the fabric is stiff. And the top, ugh, don’t even get me started. The hideous stripe combined with the vest makes the model look fat. And she’s not! It is so unfortunate, I don’t think I have to say more. The picture speaks for itself.

 

Look 3: I liked this look relatively well at first until I realized that it was made of incredibly cheap looking sparkly fabric. It looks itchy. Joe thinks it looks like an outfit a street performer who does the living statue or robot would wear. I think there was the seed of a cool idea here, but the execution is sorely lacking.

 

Kimberly:

 

Look 1: Despite my workroom footage misgivings, this coat is pretty cute. I would totally buy/wear it. I like the color, the cut, even the buttons are cute. I don’t really like the way she styled the look—too much boot, too much scarf—but overall, a great, wearable coat.

 

Look 2: Oh Kimberly, Kimberly…why can’t you stay away from the thick shiny fabrics? They are ugly and cheap looking. I have been saying so since day one. I hate the skirt. The shape may have worked in a more drapeable fabric, but this looks like crumpled tinfoil. I do not like the cut of the top. The keyhole (that’s a pretty big key!) is just too large, and I find it a bit vulgar. The belt detail adds nothing to the look. Such a disappointment.

 

Look 3: Once again I am not a fan of the fabric choice. Once again, a stiff metallic. I know the judges have responded positively to this aesthetic in the past, but I wasn’t a fan then, and I am not a fan now. The shape of the dress is interesting. I just have trouble separating the shape from the fabrics; as it is, I don’t think the garment is very pretty or flattering, but maybe done in a fabric with a different body would improve it. I find it so frustrating to critique Kimberly’s looks so negatively because she seems like a very nice person.

 

Laura Kathleen:

 

Look 1: The skirt is a total throwaway. I see very little thought put into it. It looks like muslin. The jacket reminds me a bit of Olivier’s jacket from Episode 7. It might just be the contrasting lapels and the seaming. I actually like the way she utilized the circle fabric in this look. I think she cut the fabric fairly thoughtfully, though she could have matched her patterns a bit better. I do see some construction issues, as in close-up the jacket is totally gapping at the fasteners. And it doesn’t fit the model quite right in the back.

 

Look 2: I don’t really see how this look connects to the previous one at all. Whereas that one was very structural (the jacket, at least) this is incredibly bedsheet-y and frankly looks poorly made. The black details appear hastily applied, the fit in the bust and waist are atrocious. This is a “week one time managment failure” offering, not a “final five” design.

 

Look 3: But now this look, I love. I know that she pretty much let the textile do most of the work, but this is graphic and just beautiful to me. The finishing at the side seams leaves a bit to be desired, though. When the model turns around, the dress also has some pretty glaring errors: the slit is too shallow, there is a “butt void” where there is a large circle in the textile, and her circles doen’t line up. Such a pity, it looked so promising at first glance.

 

Anya:

 

Look 1: Maybe I just don’t get it, but this dress looks like it was put on backwards. The “mullet hem” deployed with the long in the front and short in the back does not inspire me. I’m really not a minimalism-hater, but this does not do much for me. I’m not sure the dress was cut as beautifully as it could have been; there is maybe something a bit “maternity” about it. And when the model turns around, the dress looks even more like it was put on backwards. Maybe it is a maternity dress that can be turned front-to-back and be worn post-baby, too! Think of the savings!

 

Look 2: Unfinished looking. So many unfinished edges! The wrap pants are okay, I don’t love or hate them, they’re fine. But the top looks like a bit of sail or something, especially with the oversized grommet and woven ribbon. I do like the rust color, though.

 

Look 3: This is actually kind of pretty. Although there are issues with the construction, I find this minimalism to be a pretty one. It is still a fairly simple-looking dress, but it does a have a certain je ne sais quoi about it. The back is a bit oddly stiff on such a flowing dress, though.

 

Viktor:

 

Look 1: Viktor certainly knows how to make a pair of pants, that’s for sure. I’m not responding as positively to the jacket as I thought I would. Normally I find Viktor’s pieces impeccable, but this jacket just doesn’t fit as beautifully as I expect from him. I think there may be an issue with the length and tightness of the sleeve, and the material just isn’t all that appealing to me. I do like his choice of fabric for the tank top, though.

 

Look 2: This is quite commercial. It looks fine and very well sewn, but I really wish Viktor would have chosen a different silhouette for the top. A collared buttondown is just very office-wear. I think the shape of the skirt keeps it from entirely being admin wear, but it’s pretty close. The pop of color on the belt is a nice touch, though.

 

Look 3: It’s a Little Black Dress. I’m sure he did something interesting with the seaming to add the volume at the hip. It gives the model a very exaggerated hourglass shape, almost unnervingly so. The boning has a stiffness to it that I find unappealing. It is just pulling in ways that I feel it shouldn’t. I’m quite a bit disappointed. I have loved so many of Viktor’s looks throughout the competition. I hoped that as we got towards the end, I would find myself loving everything he would send out, and I am sad that this is not the case this week.

 

My Top Three Looks (Ha! How you like that?!):

-Kimberly’s Look 1 coat

-Anya’s Look 3 gown

-Laura Kathleen’s Look 3 gown

 

My Bottom Three Looks:

-Joshua’s Look 2 separates

-Kimberly’s Look 2 separates

-Anya’s Look 2 separates

 

I guess I just didn’t respond well to the separates tonight!

 

The judges don’t really have a set top and bottom this week. So onto the Fashion Week announcements!

 

Anya’s in. She’ll show at Fashion Week

Viktor’s in. He’ll show at Fashion Week

Joshua’s in. He’ll show at Fashion Week

Laura is…OUT. She will NOT be showing at Fashion Week.

That means Kimberly is in and will show at Fashion

I think for Laura Kathleen’s elimination what did her in was the bedsheet second look. She needed to bring her A-game, and when one look out of the three is a complete throwaway dud, the judges just could not let it slide. It’s really too bad, too, since her third look, the gown, was quite amazing.

Project Project Runway Challenge 11: Runway Show

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We are really getting down to the last few challenges. It is a real struggle to not totally run out of steam. No wonder the contestants’ output tends to suffer as the show goes on; I’m feeling it and I’m not doing it on only a couple hours of sleep.

This week we were to create a look (I did one, not two as on the show, since they scrapped a look anyway) inspired by one of four birds: a cockatoo, an owl, an Amazon parrot, or a raven. (More details at Just Crafty Enough)

 

(Images from myLifetime.com)

As crows are my favorite animals, I couldn’t not use the raven as my inspiration!

 

 

Since the judges responded very negatively to literal bird interpretations, clearly I needed to go more representational with my work. I wanted to make something that would be wearable, but would not look out of place on a runway. As it is getting to be autumn, and ravens are generally associated with the season, I decided I should do a fall look. In looking at the raven, the feature of the bird I kept returning to was the broad shoulder shape from its folded wings. I decided I wanted to reflect this shape with a garment that is trendy for fall: a cape. I liked the idea of using black in the garment, but I thought going all-black would be too expected. So I used a plum purple, one of the colors found in the iridescent undertones of the raven’s feathers to add some color to the look.

 

 

(Apologies for the poorly lit photos. Why does it always insist on raining on picture day?!)

Gia wears a mid-length plum cape, with a tight-fitting black pencil skirt and a simple black long-sleeved tee-shirt. At the neck I added a opalescent clasp to add interest and as a reference to crow’s and raven’s supposed predilection towards shiny objects.

Although I supposedly chose to only make one look rather than do the “make 2, pick 1” set-up of the show, I inadvertently did so due to my unhappiness with my first pieces. My first iteration of the cape was made with a woven fabric, and was a disaster. It just would not drape properly, no matter what I did. And of course I used up most of that fabric before I could try a second attempt. Luckily I had some knit in a similar color, so I made it work. My second major change was the bottoms of the outfit. At first I made a rather nice pair of black trousers. They were well made, but paired with the long-sleeved tee-shirt and the billowy cape, Gia looked way too covered up. There was nothing fresh or sexy about the look. So I made a pencil skirt instead. It felt kind of bad ditching the pants, but like some designers on the show, I liked my second look better than my first, so I went with it.

 

 

To accessorize from Piperlime, I chose a simple croc texture clutch and a classy pair of mid-heel riding boots.

For hair, I think a sleek ponytail would be a nice look. With all the volume of the cape, loose hair just makes it top heavy.

For makeup, of course I would be required to use the “Sultry Raven’s Gaze” eyeshadow by L’Oreal. (Product from Ulta) I would probably go with a smoky eye, maybe with a bit of a cat’s eye flourish with the eyeliner. I would keep the lips neutral.

 

 

I could totally see this outfit working on the right person. I think someone like Sarah Jessica Parker could totally rock this autumnal look.