Saturday, October 16, 2010

Project Runway: Season 8, Episode 12

IN: Michael C, Mondo, Andy, Gretchen (ugh)
AUF'd: April

Let's start with the runway looks:

Andy's look

April's Look

Gretchen's look

Michael's look

Mondo's look

I feel like I have SO much to say and yet, the judges really said most of it for me. I completely agree that Mondo nailed it and that Michael's dress was great. I also agree that April has no range and Gretchen really blew it on this one. As for Andy, I've never been a fan of his aesthetic, so I'm happy for him that the judges loved his look, but it's really not something I would ever wear. Even without his "warrior woman" styling, it's not a dress I'd ever wear. Mondo's dress, on the other hand is absolutely something I would wear (if it was longer, anyway). Mondo and Andy made very similar looks in terms of construction and yet they were SO different. I prefer the playful mix of prints that Mondo does so successfully. I am not a fan of the dominatrix "wet look" that Andy does so.... well,  I suppose successfully is the word since he made it to the semi-finals.  

April is young and hopefully she's also resilient. I hope she'll grow from this experience because she has a lot of time ahead of her to be successful in the fashion industry. While I agree that she's made some nice things, I also agree that they're all basically the same thing with minor variations and NONE of those variations include color. I said the same thing a week or two ago- she's never done anything other than black and she did the same thing again this week. I agree with whichever judge referred to her model as a "pregnant witch." I think that for the most part, April designs high-end Hot Topic and as Michael Kors says, "It has no joy." He's so right about that. I think it was the right decision to send her home, but I wish the judges had also sent Gretchen home. I find her to be so unbelievably arrogant that it's not surprising she's struggled so much in the industry. If you're going to make it in as tough an industry as fashion, you need a touch of humility and loads of support from friends, family, business partners- wherever you can get it. I'm only guessing here, but I wonder if her arrogance has alienated her a bit. Why would anyone want to help someone who doesn't listen, and who is so unfailingly judgmental? Right up until the bitter end, she was being snarky and rude about Michael. "He's either an idiot savant or just an idiot." Really? You really want to be on camera saying that about another person and not in a humorous setting? Really?!?!? Ivy was worse, no doubt, but Gretchen is a close second for the villain character of the season. If I never hear her speak again, it will be too soon. 

Speaking of Michael, I think he nailed it. His inspiration was clear, but he didn't make a replica in any way. I absolutely could see that dress on the red carpet, even if I couldn't see it in my personal wardrobe. I agree with the other contestants that it's hard to understand Michael's aesthetic, but for them to be so against him right up to the end just makes me sad. Even when he asked them, "What do you think?" Not a single one said  something clearly positive and supportive. Instead, they all said, very judgmentally I might add, "It's very sexual. Sexual." Just ONCE I wish someone (besides the judges) said, "You did a beautiful job on that dress." I was thrilled for him when Mondo said such nice things about him. Michael is genuinely touched when the other designers are supportive of him and he has had SO little support from them, I'm amazed he's not more worn out like Gretchen. Then again, maybe Gretchen wouldn't be so tired if she just focused on her work and stopped telling everyone else how to design their garments. She's insufferable and I can't stand her. 

As for the semi-finals, I hope that the guys all make it through to fashion week and Gretchen goes home, however, the judges have loved some of her looks that I found positively revolting and unfortunately personality doesn't really factor in their decision, so I think it will end up being Mondo, Andy and Gretchen in the end. I hope they prove me wrong, I really hope they do. 

On another note, I absolutely ADORED having Christian Siriano as a guest judge. I thought he was very insightful and articulate and he demonstrated a maturity that was often lacking during his season of the show. I hope he continues to have success as a fashion designer because it is clearly what he is meant to do. 

All right, friends- only 2 more weeks until the season is over! It's been a good one and overall I've really enjoyed it. What are your thoughts on this season? The cast? The challenges? The new 90-minute format? Leave a comment!


Beth said...

I totally agree with most of your assessments. My only differing opinion is that I actually like some of the looks that gretchen has but out but, seriously, I think she is such a big ol b*tch that I just want her gone...poetic justice.

Tim W. said...

My favorite part of the episode was when they did the six-shot "retrospective" of each designer's looks during the season. I felt like those montages really helped explain the judges' decision to a tee.

With the exception of April, they all looked like complete mini-collections. Even Gretchen's looked good when shown together. That hideous silk and feather bathrobe that she made (that the judges loved) even made sense to me when I saw it next to her other designs. I still have no love for Gretchen, but seeing her work side-by-side really did make me curious to see a full collection from her.

Seeing April's six looks, on the other hand, really highlighted her lack of range. It was six black garments with nothing intriguing or innovative about them. April said about half a dozen times during the episode that she felt she was "ready," but the montage, and especially the final dress proved otherwise. Her looks remind me of the film school cliche about film students who only make films about suicide. Someone with so little life experience thinks that they are being "deep" and "edgy" by contemplating death, but they are really only creating hackneyed drivel. April's designs look like the fashion version of suicide. On the plus side, she is young, and will certainly grow and mature, and when she does, I am sure she has the talent to be a successful designer.

I think that Andy's work also suffers from his age and lack of experience. It's just that there are more ways to make an interesting "warrior woman" than there are to make an interesting suicide. Of course The woman warrior has been a cliche since 1975 and Maxine Hong Kingston. Andy may very well make the final three, but I think his inexperience will be his Achilles heel as well.


Tim W. said...


Michael C. has at times annoyed me, and at times made me laugh. His snarky comments to the camera are often quite amusing, and his Michael Kors impression was better than Santino's Tim Gunn! I feel like of all the designers, Michael C. has had the most growth throughout the season, but that is partly because he also had the most to learn (at least of the remaining designers.) It's obvious that he has never been formally trained, and I think that is what set off the other designers. It's always frustrating to see someone beating you on raw talent when you have worked hard (and probably spent a lot of money) honing your skill in formal education setting. The man can obviously make beautiful clothes, and yet how many times was he accused of not being able to sew? Of course, if you don't know the names for different types of stitching or the fabric you are working with, it comes off as laughably incompetent. My only concern for Michael is that his final collection will lack cohesion because of his lack of focus and inconsistent ability to edit himself.

And then of course, there's Mondo. It's too early to anoint him the best designer in PR history, but if he wins this season (which he should), then he probably takes the title away from Christian. (BTW, how appropriate to have Christian as the judge for this challenge; I was also pleased to see that he seems to have grown up since his appearance way back in Season 4) Mondo has been the most consistent designer of the season. He has never been up for elimination (i.e. bottom 2), and has only been in the bottom 3 once. Even Christian was on the chopping block in the bottom 2 twice. In fact, Mondo has actually been in the *top 3* 8 out of 12 challenges, winning 3, and if he wins the finale he'll join a select group of designers who have managed 4 wins in a season: Kara Saun (Season 1, 4 wins), Daniel V. (Season 2, 5 wins), Christian (Season 4, 3 wins + finale), Irina (Season 6, 3 wins + finale), and Emilio (Season 7, 4 wins). Of those, only Irina and Christian won, and it's hard to say someone's the best of the series, if they didn't even win their season (though Daniel V. might have an argument.) In my mind Christian is a better designer than Irina (who, IMO, benefited from weaker competition because of the shift to Lifetime and LA), though at least Irina can say she was the only winner who was never in the bottom. (Interesting fact about Season 6: there have only been 3 finalists that made it to fashion week without ever being in the bottom--Irina, Althea, and Carol Hannah--all in Season 6.) Of course, PR often is fickle when it comes to picking winners, so Mondo is hardly a lock. However, there is no doubt that Mondo's designs are the most innovative, visually interesting, wearable, *and* commercial. His six-piece "collection" at the end of the episode was cohesive and exciting. I can't wait to see what his final collection looks like. I am sure it will be stunning.

Sorry to clog up your blog with my interminable comments, but I couldn't sleep :-D

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