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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Project Runway All Stars: Episode 8 Recap

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I’m actually writing this on Friday morning rather than my usual live recap. I had such a busy day yesterday I just could not commit myself to the 2+ hours it takes me to do these recaps. So Project Runway and breakfast it is!

The designers head to the United Nations. For the challenge, they will be designing dresses inspired by, as Angela says, “these flags.” So are they designing based on the actual flags or by the countries they represent? Its a little bit unclear. Kind of a weird challenge. The options are Chile, Greece, India, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, and The Seychelles. Each designer will pick a flag, and the colors and culture of the country will be the inspiration for the look. So I guess it is kind of both the country and the flag itself? Hm.

Mondo: Jamaica

Michael: Greece

Mila: Papua New Guinea

Jerell: India

Austin: The Seychelles

Kenley: Chile

(All flag images from Wikimedia Commons)

They get $200 to make a look. And that’s pretty much all the direction they get. Not what kind of dress they need to make (daytime? eveningwear? casual? formal?) it’s really quite wide open. So I predict we’ll be seeing a fairly wide variety this episode. But maybe that’s the point.

The Runway

The guest judge this week is Catherine Malandrino. I think she was a guest judge in season 3. Kind of cool that she’s still game to do this show.

All images from You can rate your favorites there if you disagreed vehemently with the judges. That’s fun.

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Project Project Runway 2012: Challenge 7 Runway

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First of all, thank you so much for the condolences. They were very much appreciated.

So, Project Project Runway. This week our challenge was entitled “Puttin’ on the Glitz” (someone on the production team has way too much fun coming up with corny episode titles for this show!) With a one day time limit, we were to create an over-the-top costume consisting of separates for a wealthy character in the play Godspell. This season’s challenges have been really, really difficult. It makes sense, the season being All Stars, but holy moly am I have to reach outside my comfort zone and usual aesthetics this go-round.

I think the biggest problem that I had with this challenge was that I’ve never seen the play before! And furthermore, costuming is a completely different animal than fashion. I really struggled towing the line between making a costume that fit with the already established aesthetic of the show (of which it was quite difficult to find photographs) and doing my own thing. In the end I decided to more or less take the costume my own direction rather than worrying about it “fitting in” so to speak.

May takes to the runway in separates meant to evoke luxury and ostentation. She wears a top of crimson crushed panne velvet with gold trim at the wrists; a full, brocade skirt featuring a wide red and gold trim at the hem; a deep plum sash with hand-beaded fringe; and the ensemble is topped off with a triple-wrapped gold beaded necklace.

It feels like it wouldn’t be one of my designs without a long, involved explanation of my inspirations. This challenge I went in a couple different directions before settling. Like Austin Scarlett, my first inclination was to do a Marie Antoinette inspired piece (I actually said it out loud right before his was aired) especially since I just watched Sophia Coppola’s movie a week or so ago. But then, I spent a decent amount of time researching Godspell and looking at the few pictures of the current production available online, and as I developed my idea, it just wasn’t fitting with the feel of the show.  My design instincts for the look were too avant-garde and I couldn’t see my ideas meshing at all. So I decided to rethink the direction I was going.

I then started thinking about the feel of the production. It was developed in the early 70’s and seems to luxuriate in its ideals of a DIY, hippie, “bohemian” style. This got me thinking about the origin of the word “Bohemian” as a person from what is now the Czech Republic. So the idea of folk costume was floating around in my brain quite a bit. Then I thought about cultures that use luxurious, often ostentatious clothing to signify wealth (as we were to design this costume for a ostentatiously rich woman.) I came to the conclusion that I should take a bit of inspiration from the Roma (or Romani) people, commonly (and sometimes pejoratively) called Gypsies. I felt that due to the hippie feel of the show, taking inspiration from the Romani would be appropriate, as their culture was romanticized heavily in the era of the play’s creation. I also thought about the historical Sumptuary laws regarding textiles, and decided I needed to use colors that have been used primarily by only the very wealthiest people. I also took a lot of inspiration from Auguste Renoir’s painting Odalisque. That painting just oozes luxury, and I felt it connected quite well with my other inspirations.

Producing this look was a lot of fun, actually. It is so different than my usual aesthetic (which seems to be my ongoing motto this season.) I usually prefer a sleeker and more simple feel to my garments, but in this case, more is more! It was really fun picking out all the trims to apply to the garments and picking out the fanciest fabrics I could find. The panne velvet was a complete given to me, and I knew I wanted a brocade as the skirt. I found this particular brocade with the sari fabric, and believe it or not, this is actually the wrong side of the fabric! I initially didn’t find anything I liked, as none of the colors were fitting what I had in mind. So I started looking at the back sides of the fabric and found “the one.” The right side of this one is actually primarily a bright, clear red and would have clashed terribly with the crimson of the top. I also knew I had to use some sort of purple in the look, as that is the color I think of when it comes to Sumptuary laws, so I found this silky plum-colored lining fabric that would work perfectly.  I had initially also wanted to add a vest to the look as well, but found that it took the outfit too far into folk costume territory and added too much bulk to the look. So I strung my leftover beads into the necklace and called the thing done. I kind of wanted to keep embellishing, but stopped myself (just in time, I think!) Working with the brocade of the skirt was kind of a nightmare, as it frayed and shed like crazy. And not big thick threads, but wispy, stick-to-everything threads. I think I will be finding those floating around for weeks.

In styling this look, I wanted to continue the aesthetic of over-the-top luxury. From the Neiman Marcus Accessory Wall I picked Velvet Ankle-Wrap Strap shoes by Valentino and Karina Feather Earrings by Kendra Scott, which I don’t think could have been more perfect for the aesthetic I was trying to achieve. I think the hair style for this look should be shiny, long, loose waves. The makeup should be fairly simple, but with a striking, metallic gold eye shadow.

I really don’t know if this look would fit with the current production of Godspell, but I really feel proud of this look. It’s nothing I would have designed usually, but that is the best part of Project Project Runway, stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something different.

Don’t forget to see what the other PPR designers have created this week at that Project Project Runway Flickr group!

This Week

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Unfortunately, this week I will not be participating in Project Project Runway, and my Project Runway recap will be greatly delayed (if posted at all) due to a death in the family. I hope to be back on schedule next week.

Project Runway All Stars: Episode 6 Recap

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You know, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but I find myself quite impressed by Angela Lindvall. She seems very genuine and actually quite natural in her role as host on this show. I feel like she is doing a really good job of injecting her own personality into the gig and it doesn’t feel at all like she is trying to be Heidi-lite. I like her a lot; she brings a breezy warmth to this show that is quite refreshing.

Since this show is only an hour, they get right to the challenge. Angela comes out with eight different “weekend getaway bags.” Each designer chooses a bag. Inside the bags are luggage tags with one of the four seasons printed on it. The designers will be creating sportswear for a weekend getaway. It will be a “Fashion Faceoff” Each season will have a high scoring designer and a low scoring designer. So the competitors are:

Summer: Mondo vs. Kenley

Winter: Michael vs. Jerell

Autumn: Mila vs. Rami

Spring: Kara vs. Austin

They get a budget of $200 and 1 day to complete their looks. They do not have to use the bags for their designs.


The Runway

The guest judge is designer Cynthia Rowley. Meh. She’s kind of a boring judge on 24 Hour Catwalk. I guess she’s just making the rounds.

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Project Project Runway 2012: Challenge 5 Runway

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Yay, another runway day! Thursday is my favorite day; the day to share my weekly creation and the day to enjoy on Flickr what my fellow PPR-ers have concocted.

This week’s challenge was entitled Clothes Off Your Back. It entailed finding a muse and refashioning the muse’s garment. For Project Project Runway we were given a couple of options on how to move forward: we could either pick a human-sized muse and use human-sized clothing to refashion a look, or we could choose doll clothing and use that to create our looks.

As I posted earlier this week, I chose to use a doll and her fashion as my muse, as I felt it was a more accurate representation of the show’s challenge. I picked for my muse the wild and bright Nikki:

I was very drawn to her strong sense of style. I loved that everything from her mini-dress, to her sneakers, to her boombox-inspired purse all spoke to the 80’s style revival that has been popular the last few seasons. I also picked up another dress (for free with purchase) in order to have some more fabric to work with, as I knew Nikki’s mini-dress would not yield enough for me to include 50% refashioned fabric in my final look.

My inspiration for my look came from Nikki’s outrageously bright colors and the music-inspired aspects of her accessories. I knew my outfit would have to be skimpy, because the dresses I purchased did not use very much material. I thought it would be fun to create a look totally out of my usual aesthetic, something bright and fun and truly inspired by my muse.

See? Totally crazy! May heads down the runway in a belly-bearing bikini-style top with halter straps (fabric from secondary dress, ribbon from Nikki’s outfit,) a multi-tiered ruffled skirt with glitter accents (fabric from my collection; glitter ribbon and star from Nikki’s dress,) and print leggings (Nikki’s dress fabric.)

Making this outfit really pulled me out of my comfort zone and is much more of a “fantasy” outfit that the kinds of things I usually make. I knew I would have to do something loud and bright when I picked Nikki as my muse, and I think I achieved that.

After I had my photoshoot with Nikki, I began by completely taking apart the garments I had selected. This took a lot longer than I thought it would. Barbie clothes are surprisingly well finished, with double stitched hems and well-affixed trims! (I just realized I should be thanking my lucky stars that nothing was glued!) After I took apart the dresses, I laid all the tiny pieces out in front of me and tried to figure out exactly what I could achieve with the limited material. I actually had thought that Nikki’s dress would make great leggings when I chose her, so I went with that as the majority of my refashioned fabric. Thank goodness there was enough material. I then decided that I should make some sort of skirt to go over it, as that felt more 80’s to me than just leggings (plus I am not a fan of leggings as pants in real life!) The additional dress that I purchased did not yield much fabric at all, as the back of the dress was an awful lavender knit that curled and unraveled like nobody’s business, so I only really had the front panel of the dress to work with. I decided that I could probably make a bandeau top with the limited material I had. The other details I changed quite a bit from my initial conceptualizing of the look. Originally, I planned to make a denim mini-skirt and a bright Letterman style jacket, utilizing trim and details from my muse’s garments. Something kind of inspired by the aesthetic Gwen Stefani used for “Hollaback Girl” or more recently Madonna’s new single “Give Me All Your Luvin'”. But as I was working, it just wasn’t coalescing for me, and the jacket especially seemed like it would ruin the proportion of refashioned material and new material. So I changed my idea and made the ruffly skirt instead out of fabric I already had on-hand from previous Project Project Runway creations. I’m incredibly thrilled with how the skirt turned out. I love how it pulls some of the bright colors from the prints and adds even more intensity to the already over-the-top look. This skirt may be one of my favorite things I’ve ever made for PPR, just because it is so fun and different for me.

To style the look from the Neiman Marcus Accessory Wall, I decided to just “go for it” and continue with the outrageous look. I found the perfect shoes in B Brian Atwood Suede Colorblock Pumps. The colors are spot-on! I also added the Ralph Lauren Suede Wrap Bracelet in Blue, just for fun. Maybe somebody like Katy Perry could wear this out with her signature brightly-colored wigs and makeup; in fact “Katy Perry goes to Rave” is how I have described this look. Being that I am a huge fan of Electronic and Dance music, I have been to shows where this would not look at all out of place. Even though it is so very far away from my usual aesthetic, I am incredibly proud and happy with this look. Wearable? Not for every day, that’s for sure. Classic? Heck no! Chic? Definitely not. But it is certainly fun, and that’s exactly what I was going for and was my muse’s feel. A definite improvement over the mediocrity I felt with last week’s look.

Project Project Runway 2012: Challenge 5 Workroom

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Wow, a workroom post! I don’t do these very often, but this week I thought it would be fun.

This week for Project Project Runway we have been asked to create a look using the clothes off our “muse’s” back. In the finished look, half of the look must be made from the muse’s own clothing, the other half can be made from material purchased from the fabric store. For this challenge, we have been allowed a couple of options: we can use a real person as our muse and use their human-sized clothing as our material, or we can be inspired by a piece of doll’s clothing and use those tiny clothes as our material.

Well, of course I have decided to do the harder option; that is reworking doll clothes into a complete look. So on Friday I headed down to the Target toy aisle to find my “muse.” (That’s where all the big designers get their inspiration, right?) This girl caught my eye, and I knew I wanted her to be my muse:

She’s Barbie’s friend Nikki, and I loved her over-the-top look, from her oversized yellow sunglasses, to her wild neon dress, even her cute little cassette player purse. This girl had a complete look and point-of-view, so I knew I wanted her, and at $11 I couldn’t refuse. Plus, Target was having a sale that with the purchase of this style of doll, an additional outfit came free. So I picked up this outfit, since it seemed to coordinate quite well:

Plus the designers on the show were able to use more clothes than what their muse provided them, and I knew Nikki’s mini-dress would not yield nearly enough fabric to do an adequate refashion.

I can’t wait until Thursday’s Runway Day! Get ready for something completely different than my usual aesthetic!


Project Runway All Stars: Episode 5 Recap

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So hopefully the designers will have actual time to complete their looks this week.

The challenge is to find a “muse” to inspire a fashion-forward look. Each designer must also manage to convince his or her muse to give up the clothes that they are wearing to be used in the challenge. They have a $150 budget, which they have to split between bribing the muses and buying fabric. They also have to use half of the muses’ clothes in their finished designs. They do, thankfully, get two days to complete the challenge.

Most of the designers seem to do pretty well finding muses and getting clothes in the park. I do think some of them could have driven a harder bargain, though. This becomes abundantly clear when they get to Mood and their budgets are tight. It is very kind for some designers to give some of their leftover cash to their fellow designers who came up short. I actually really enjoy seeing the camaraderie. See, people getting along can make for good tv!


The Runway

The guest judge this week is Sean Avery, apparently a NHL player and somehow fashion-y person?

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