Friday, October 29, 2010

Project Runway 8, Episode 14: The Iron Fist of Nina & Michael

Ok, let's do this so I can read ProjectRungay and other reviews and analysis.

The "Reunion"
That was the most pointless use of a half hour of television. That wasn't a "reunion". That was "airing recaps of each finalist's character arc while all of the designers sat around and watched". I can only assume there's extended reunion footage somewhere on the Lifetime website. We got all of about 5 seconds addressing "Gretchen as a fake bitch", and nothing about Ivy being a c@*t?

Jessica Simpson
Damn girl, you looked horrible. You had "steroid puffy face". Did you pick up some bad juicing habits while you were dating Romo? And that dress made you look HUGE. (We are told that dress was designed by Michael Kors. I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that.) I mention this only because it did not instill confidence in me in your ability to judge fashion. Then you surprised me by being a refreshing voice of sanity during deliberations.

Andy's collection, or "the grey monochrome rainbow", was certainly the odd one out. I was not surprised the judges eliminated him immediately during the deliberations. I was however surprised they showed us the judges dismissing him so quickly. The upside of the 120 minute finale format was that we got to see more of the deliberations than we ever have. That meant they couldn't really cut it to look like Andy was still in contention.

Nina & Michael vs Heidi & Jessica in a Fight to the Death
The judging quickly devolved into two factions: Nina & Michael as pro-Gretchen and Heidi & Jessica as pro-Mondo. Both sides made some pointed salient remarks. We will examine the deliberations in two different ways. For the first we will imagine...

The World as if Nina and Michael are Sane Rational People
Nina and Michael told Gretchen that she had to work on her styling and theatricality. Even though Gretchen was uncomfortable with that and admitted it wasn't really "her", she took their advice. This was a lesson she needed to learn. Runway shows need to be glamorous and theatrical, even if that's not the heart of her aesthetic. She needs to learn how to do that.

Nina and Michael told Mondo to pull back from his theatricality. This too was a lesson he needed to learn. Runway shows should not become costumey. He had crossed the line, needed to come back, and he needed to give the audience a visual break from all his patterns. Mondo chose not to follow their advice because it was not "him".

Because Mondo failed to grow and learn the lessons he needed to, while Gretchen did grow and learned, Gretchen won.

Now we will imagine...

The World where Nina and Michael are Bat-Shit Crazy
Gretchen sold herself out. She did not stay true to herself as a designer. She played the game, bowed to the judges wishes even though she admitted it was not "her", and she was rewarded for it.

Mondo stayed true to himself, did not cow-tow to Nina & Michael's narrow vision of what fashion is, did not take their bad advice, did not play the game by their rules, and he lost.

Nina & Michael repeatedly praised Gretchen's line as having her finger on the pulse of fashion. Let's examine that, shall we? Fall Fashion Week in New York is actually where designers show their Spring fashions. Do Nina & Michael really think that this spring everyone will be wearing muted earth-tones? That seems like a fall color scheme to me.

They said "look in a fashion magaizne!" Ok, let's do that.

This is from Nina's former employer Elle's Spring 2011 Fashion Trend

Hmm... Yes. That... all...looks...sooooo.........Gretchen?

How about from Cosmo's 20 Dresses Guys Want You to Wear This Spring:

And finally, let's look at a Michael Kors dress from Glamour's Spring 2011's Most Wearable Fashion Trends:

No wonder Michael liked this dress from Mondo's collection:

Still, I found one reference on Glamour's site, one to:

Give your Bedazzler to your little sister, and put all those embellished pieces in the back of the closet: Spring’s coolest pieces are low-key and come in desert-inspired colors like rust, sienna and sand.

That's the only thing I found that makes any sense of Gretchen's collection.

My Thoughts
Mondo's collection was certainly out there. It was marginally less cohesive than Gretchen's, harder on the eyes, and trended young (a problem when Marie Claire is one of the show's sponsors). But I still thought it was the winner.

A friend of mine lamented on Facebook:
(Mondo's) collection was appropriately amplified for the runway, and any individual piece could be matched with other clothing for regular wear. Finally, a contestant that "gets" it...and they don't win. And as far as "where fashion is going", if you look at the Fall collections it's pretty clear who really had their finger "on the pulse"

That pretty much sums it up I guess.

The Season
All told, this was certainly the best season on Lifetime, even with it's ups and downs. Fortunately for the producers, Gretchen was able to redeem herself a little and become marginally likeable after starting out the season's villain. The dissapointment is to realize the inherent flaw in the show: Fashion is so subjective that 4 people can't possibly judge it. It takes millions of people judging it with their wallets. The future will tell us who the true winner was. After all, did Jay McCarroll really win Season 1 or did Austin? Who's more relevant today?


I have now read Tom and Lorenzo's thoughts. Do read it. They have a much better montage of current fashion trends than myself and are eloquent as always.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.