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PPR Season 12 – Challenge 6

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The challenge this week is called “Let’s Go Glamping.” This week we were to create an editorial look inspired by nature – not something to be worn for camping!

Let me get it out of the way first – I was not inspired by this challenge at all. After so many weeks of very limited parameters, this challenge seemed incredibly open-ended. And I find that having specific limitations really helps spur my creativity. So I just wasn’t feeling the challenge this week.

I moped around feeling uninspired for days, the deadline closing in on me. I had to do something! So I went with one idea that I thought I could maybe pull off in the last few hours of the challenge (yes, I really, really procrastinated this week.) I was inspired by allium flowers, those are in nature, right? I really had wanted to do a dandelion dress, but my fabric choices didn’t include the vibrant yellow I needed for that. So allium it was.



Allium by Steve A Johnson on Flickr.



Zhanna heads down the runway in a purple mini-dress featuring a lavender layered overskirt.

I fully admit that this garment is not good this week. It was one of those situations where I was coming in just under the wire and simultaneously things weren’t coming out the way I wanted. Frustration set in and at some point, I just said “Fine. Good enough.” So I can’t really defend this look on the runway. It’s too simple, it has taste issues (it ended up a lot shorter than I intended) and the overskirt/peplum looks like she shoved a tutu on over her dress.



For styling the look from the Belk Wall I added the Lauren Ralph Lauren Saffiano Belt which I think would drastically help improve the look. I also added Erica Lyons Silver Bangle Bracelets and G by GUESS Tarrah Booties. I went a little bit edgier with the accessories to help pull the look out of being so “ballerina-y.”

For hair, I think something short and edgy would be cool, like Robyn’s bleach blonde cut. Apparently wigs can be used on the show? So maybe I could find a nice wig for my model that looks like that. For makeup, I think going really dark around the eyes would add to the edgy look.

As I’ve stressed above, I really don’t feel very positively about this look. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted and I don’t think it represents me as a designer at all. That being said, I can see this being worn on the red carpet or a photo call, if not for an editorial. I could see some young starlet (probably from the CW or something) wearing this to the Grammys or VMAs or a “Young Hollywood” awards. Something that tends to be more goofy in its fashions. Still, I don’t think the judges would be impressed this week. I’d probably be in the bottom three, for the reasons I listed above. Oh well, at least PPR is just for fun and I can be back for another round next week!

PPR Flickr page – look at it! Ooh and aah over fabulous tiny fashions!


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 Challenge 6: Runway Show

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So it has been raining pretty much non-stop here all week. Thus my pictures are taken using all artificial light. I’m not super happy with them this week, but they will have to do.

Anyway, I am super excited for this week’s Project Project Runway show! This week has by far been the most time-consuming project, and I am pretty happy with the results.

To recap, on the show the designers worked with students at the Harlem School of the Arts to create paintings from which they were to draw inspiration for their avant-garde garments. As those of us doing Project Project Runway probably don’t have access to art school students, we were to choose a painting to inspire us. I chose Pablo Picasso’s Family of Saltimbanques (Property of the National Gallery of Art) as my inspiration:



I was drawn to the piece partially because of its color scheme. I found the variety of tones and unusual color combinations very inspiring. I also liked the way that the idea of the subject, a family of circus performers could translate to a garment. Yet the piece has a melancholy, almost nostalgic quality to it. So I decided I wanted to create something that played with proportion and some deteriorated-seeming qualities. I wanted to make something that looked a bit like a circus costume that had been placed in an attic trunk and forgotten.


The outfit consists of a bodice made with striped fabric that I hand dyed with tea. The skirt is really the showpiece, though. It consists of a fitted base garment to which I applied hand gathered and distressed ruffles. This is by far my most ambitious, time consuming work. I counted, and there are more than twenty ruffles which took approximately half an hour each to make and apply. Needless to say, I am very thankful that we had more time than usual this week!



I think I did a pretty good job pulling inspiration from the painting, not just through my fabric choices but also by reflecting the overall mood of the piece.



When it comes to accessories from the Piperlime Wall I simply chose a black pair platform pumps. I don’t really think the outfit needs much more to it, as I want most of the focus on the skirt. When it comes to makeup, I think a dramatic smoky eye and severe contouring blush would be great with a light lip kind of referencing stage makeup. I think a simple, slightly messy bun could work for the hair. As it is “avant-garde,” it could probably be stage wear for a pop diva.

Project Project Runway Challenge 6: Workroom

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This week for Project Project Runway, our instructions were slightly modified compared to the actual Project Runway contestants. Since we don’t all have access to art school students, we could “Use a piece of artwork you have in your home, a favorite painting from a museum, or if you have access to a child, work with them to create an artwork.” as our inspiration this week.

As I live in the D.C. metro area and was planning on headed to The District anyway, I swung by the National Gallery of Art to see what would pop out at me. During my abbreviated trip, the Pablo Picasso painting Family of Saltimbanques. I really like the overall feel and unusual color scheme of the work, and I found its subjects very inspiring.

The fabrics above are what I chose to make my garment out of. I’m particularly pleased with the stripe, as I used tea to dye the otherwise Halloween-y stripe. I cannot wait to show you my creation tomorrow. It is by far my most time-consuming work—I think I used almost as much time as the real contestants!

Project Runway: Episode 6 Recap

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It’s Thursday—the last week has been insane for me. Let’s dive into the cathartic experience of watching someone else’s craziness!


Opening Drama


Anthony Ryan decides to call a truce with Bert. Bert indicates he is also planning to come to a ceasefire. Seems like somebody is going to have a comeback story arch. Oh Bunim-Murray, you’re so obvious!


The Challenge


The designers head to the Harlem School of the Arts. Students there have created works of art. The designers will be collaborating with the students to create a work of art to be the basis for an avant-garde fashion. Who will be able to work well with teens and who will not?

Into the art studio they go. Viktor is not connecting well with his student.

Mormon Josh’s student has painted a big furry wolf. He is talking about his piece including a big wolf headpiece. That could be crazyness or crazy cool.

Honestly, I’m not sure the level of input the designers are actually allowed to have with the students they’ve been paired with. It seems like it would make more sense if the works of art were already created and were randomly assigned or chosen via winner order or something. As it is, it kind of allows the designers (in theory) to direct the piece of art, thus helping tailor the contest to their wants and needs. I guess I just find this process extraneous and confusing.

Yet when we get to the sketching room Joshua M. is complaining that he is uninspired by the artwork. Um, didn’t he just have input on it? So isn’t it his own dang fault he doesn’t like what he has to work with. Dude, you are kind of getting on my last nerve.

At Mood, Olivier says he is buying mostly chiffon, despite the fact he’s never worked with it before. Okay, not to be all Debbie Downer on the poor guy, but didn’t Danielle get kicked off just last week for not doing a great job with chiffon and she had tons of experience using it? (HINT: The answer is a resounding “Yes!”) I am worried.



The Workroom


Well, I can’t complain this week about lack of color (Hurrah!)

It is so hard to judge what people are doing in the workroom. With these avant-garde looks until they are more or less done it is really hard to see what they’ll be. Basically, these looks should be more than a sum of their parts. So apologies for the abbreviated Workroom recap.

Compared to last week, the workroom is completely drama-free. Everyone seems to be putting their heads down and working. Overall the feeling in the workroom is quite positive. Maybe the designtestants are simply relieved they aren’t working in teams. Maybe the reasonable amount of time they’ve been given for this challenge allows them to have confidence in their work this round. Whatever it is, I actually like it. Focusing on design rather than interpersonal drama—that’s what I would prefer to tune-in for. Hear that producers?

Anyway, after a fairly sedate workroom, Olivier attempts to glue his dress to the model just before the runway show. Thankfully Tim comes in and nips it in the bud before it headed out on the runway. It would be so sad for someone to go home over a technicality like that. I’m kind of surprised Olivier didn’t know it was against the rules; even I knew it was against the rules. That being said, I think his ignorance is genuine, since he didn’t try to do do it surreptitiously at all.


The Runway


Nina is out this week; the fill-in is Marie Claire’s senior fashion editor. I don’t know how I feel about Nina’s absence this episode. I guess her specialty isn’t really avant-garde work, so maybe this Zanna person will bring some expertise to the panel? (Probably not)

The guest judge is Kenneth Cole. Is his stuff that avant-garde? (Hint: Nope.)

Okay, bring on the crazy! All images from Unfortunately, I was unable to find clear pictures of the inspiration artworks. If these show up at a later time, I will add them here.



Kimberly: I think her ditching of the feathered sleeves was a good idea. Instead the feathers are applied across the dress. It is a nice enough look. It references the artwork without being too literal. That being said, I don’t think the look brings enough drama. It doesn’t really play with proportion or shape in an innovative way, it just kind of looks like any regular runway look with feathers added to it. Don’t get me wrong, it is a cool look, though.


Becky: I’m sorry to keep coming back to this and hammering this point over and over again, but this look is essentially the same silhoutte as all the other dresses she’s made thus far, just with an added assymetrical hem. I think this is her Week 1 dress with some accents applied to it. And the accents really aren’t great. Individually they look like soft blocks for an infant, and in a group they look like a big nasty shoulder tumor. I like Becky, I’ve been totally on her side through all the drama, but this is not an avant-garde or even very interesting look. And I don’t think it reflects the artwork all that well.


Olivier: Oh Olivier. The dress you’ve made has nothing to do with the artwork inspiration. Glad you could pop a Claritin and use a touch of color in your work, but this is totally yawn-inducing. I feel like there is nothing I want to study in more detail. I feel that good avant-garde design makes me want to understand how something is made, to see the garment as a work of art in itself. This is mostly just a dress to me, and a fairly uninteresting dress at that.


Joshua M: Why do I always have to be so conficted about this dude! He is the biggest jerk on the show, but when his work steps on the runway, I cannot help myself but find things to like about it. That being said, I don’t love or even really like this look, but I find parts of it appealing. So. The top is cool. I like the volume and I find myself curious as to how he achieved it. It’s eye-catching and dramatic. The rest of it is kind of terrible, though. Joshua keeps returning to the circle skirt when he doesn’t know what else to do. And in this case, it is not the right silhoutte at all. And I think the faux bois application is way too literal to the artwork. Had he done something more interesting or cohesive with the skirt, I would have liked this look and hated myself for liking it.


Bert: I can’t mince words here. I think this is terrifying. The proportions are all screwed up in a horror movie way rather than an interesting fashion way. Watching it come down the runway I find it genuinely unnerving. The volume of the pants mixed with the mutli-colored accents give it a scary clown look. When she turns around, these giant pants are riding up the poor model’s butt. I just can’t really say anything nice about this look. So I should just stop.


Viktor: Toilet paper dress. The shredded white fabric looks like toilet paper. The fabrics look stiff and overworked in the bodice. The visible boning reminds me of the tacky stuff that shows up on “Say Yes to the Dress.” The sleeve is ugly. The look doesn’t reflect the artwork to me. I know it sounds like I hate this dress, but that’s not the case. I am indifferent towards it.


Laura Kathleen: Peaches n’ Cream Barbie. Actually, this dress is fine. I do find it quite lovely, to be honest. Is it avant-garde? Not really. But it looks well made (even though I know it is glued) and cohesive Another factor in its favor is the undulating movement it makes as it moves, which I think reflect the kind of movement of a paintbrush on a canvas. Pretty.


Bryce: I think he started with a cool idea, but ran out of steam. I actually think the straitjacket inspired sleeves are very cool and avant-garde. It’s not something I would ever think of, which I can’t say for most of the good designs tonight (because yeah, I would have never thought of giant gray clown pants.) The mermaid dress bottom with the dust ruffle like gathering is pretty awful, though. I’m not sure what possessed him to pick that fabric—not a good choice. Still, the top is great.


Joshua C: Oh Josh. Why did you listen to your competitors and scrap most of what you had done? Now your look is boring and certainly not avant-garde. Where is the drama? Where is the interest? What element am I supposed to be curious about? It is now a fairly simple top, a mini skirt and a post-car accident whiplash neck brace. Poor Mormon Josh lost his way. Sad.


Anthony Ryan: I think the application he did on the dress is really cool. It looks like it was a lot of work. At the same time, I’m not sure this look really pushes the envelope and may be too literal of an interpretation of the artwork. I mean, recreating brushstrokes is as literal as you can get in being inspired by a painting. At the same time, I find the dress very appealing and I want to keep looking at it.


Anya: I really don’t like the stiffness to the skirt. It literally does not move at all as her model walks, and since the artwork inspiration is quite impressionistic with lots of dynamic brushstrokes, I feel like the stiffness was a big mistake. I also am not a big fan of the materials she picked out—I think it is upholstry fabric. The skirt is really just a direct color reference to the artwork, but doesn’t do anything thematically with it. I think going with feathers for the top was smart, though, in that I can see a connection to the inspiration in a roundabout way. Is it avant-garde though? Nah.


My top 3:

Anthony Ryan


Laura Kathleen


My Bottom 3:





The Judges’ Top 3:

Joshua M.

Laura Kathleen

Anthony Ryan


The Judges’ Bottom 3:

Josh C.




Anthony Ryan wins! What a turnaround from last week! Yay!

Joshua M. is in

Laura is in.

Bert is in (because the Crazy Kraut actually liked that horrifying monstrosity)

Olivier is…in.

Which means Josh C. is out (again). Brutal, just brutal.

Look’s like next week will be another team challenge. After the notable lack of drama this week, you didn’t think the producers would let them work by themselves again, did you? Ever since Bunim-Murray became the producers rather than Magical Elves, the show is more about the interpersonal craziness than about talented designers making sometimes innovative, sometimes pretty great work. I actually find the change very disheartening. I didn’t start tuning in to Project Runway to watch people yell at one another like an episode of Real World: Design School. But that’s the direction the production company has decided to take. And I keep masochistically watching in the hopes that out of all the chaos and drama I will get to see some incredible fashion, which actually seems to be increasingly rare. So all I have to say is steel yourselves for next week.