Thursday, September 8, 2011

Project Runway 9, Episode 6: Avant in the What Now?

Viktor Luna and his inspiration for the avant garde challenge

"Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm."

Not every designer is avant-garde, nor is it necessary to be capable of being avant-garde to be a successful designer. Try doing a web search for "Michael Kors avant-garde" and you're going to get a lot of pictures of Project Runway. This challenge is a lot like having all of the contestants on Top Chef: Just Desserts make coq au vin.

What I Enjoyed
I loved the kids and their artwork. It was during this episode, at the end of Josh C's critique with Tim that Diana and I simultaneously realized that Josh C IS Tobias Fünke. We watched the episode again a few days later with my sisters. It made us laugh the every time Josh C was on screen.

The Winners
For the fashion illiterati, such as myself, a quick way to wrap your brain around what it means to be avant-garde is to think of Lady Gaga. She actually wears avant-garde fashion out in public. Would she have worn Anthony Ryan's paint splotch dress, Josh M's burning tree of fire, or Laura's wisps over corset? Meh, probably not. Would she wear Chris March and Christian Siriano's dress from Season 4? Probably. I like Anthony Ryan (sort of). I'm glad he won a challenge, but his dress looked ok from a distance and fell apart up close. It looked like a craft project. I quite liked Laura's, actually.

The Clown Costume
Hearing the judges rip Bert's fun with shapes outfit apart was hysterical. "It's what a teletuby would wear to a party". And yet... thinking about the definition of "avant-garde" a tiny voice in my head kept saying... Bert's was probably the most boundary pushing. So I turned to the PR experts Tom and Lorenzo and found this quote: "To be fair to Bert (before we start ripping this) this look probably came closest to fulfilling the request for an avant garde look." (PR: Top Bitch and Bottom Bitch) Ok, so I'm not crazy.

The Loser
Josh C was doomed from the moment he came back. If he hadn't landed back into a team challenge the week before, I have no doubt he would have been headed straight back to the reject suite at the Atlas. Instead he lasted one more challenge before second guessing himself to the point that he was surrendering creative control of his garment over to his kid-artist collaborator. His Bride of Frankenstein Revisited would have been improved by just about any of the ideas he scrapped in the workroom.

The Problem
I don't like any of these people. Not really. Not even Anthony Ryan. That may work just fine on a reality show like Jersey Shore or one of the Real Housewives franchises where you're watching primarily for the train wreck catharsis of a freakshow, but in a competition based reality show, you need to have someone to root for. I'm not rooting for any of these people.

In Case You're Wondering
Here are some links to some actual avant-garde fashions:
Guo Pei's Artwork - China's Avant Garde Fashion Designer
FABRIC magazine Fashion: Charlie le Mindu, Gemma Slack, London avant-garde designers...

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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.