Thursday, December 6, 2007

Project Runway Week Four

With Season Four of Project Runway, Bravo seems determined to prove that they can take one of their most colorful franchises and reduce it to dry toast. This week's challenge - a team challenge no less - was completely devoid of the histrionic drama we've come to love.

Nina Garcia made a rare and wonderful appearance to the workroom with Tim to give the designers their new challenge. To paraphrase: Design is cyclical; Elle magazine has been following trends for years, yadda yadda. In other words, there are no new ideas in fashion. Thanks, Nina, for that insight. The designers were then each made to choose from a selection of outdated fashion trends such as shoulder pads, cut-outs, and flared pants. Then they teamed up in threes to work these old looks into a cohesive and modern mini-collection. In the hour alloted for sketching, teams chose leaders.

Team one was Kevin and Rami led by Jillian. Their trends were overalls, poodle skirts, and 70s flare.

Team two was comprised of Victorya, Elisa, and Captain Ricky. They had to work with cut-outs, neon, and underwear as outerwear.

Team three, or "Team Star" was led by the tiny and uber-fabulous (eyeroll) Christian whose teammates were Kit and Jack. Their trends were the zoot suit, fringe, and pleather.

Finally, Team four had Sweet P, Steven, and leader Chris. Their old trends were shoulder pads, oversize sweaters, and dance wear.

Victorya brought the show's only serious dose of soap opera with her passive-aggressive sniping. She complained about Ricky and his leadership skills when clearly she didn't have the balls to accept the position herself. Or maybe she was just smart enough to realize that it's usually a team captain who gets auf'd at the end of the day. To his credit, we saw no tears from Ricky, despite his obvious frustration with his teammate.

Jillian, leading the team of Kevin and Rami, also had her issues. She had little or no confidence in Kevin's ability to get his pieces done in time and she was a bit of an annoying nag about it. Kevin wasn't exactly sure of himself either, declaring that he'd have to "pull a magic rabbit out of my ass" to make it work. That HAD to hurt. But...success! And...poor rabbit.

The other teams seemed to get along just fine. All was hunky dory, and there were more good than bad designs this week. Mostly. Better than last week, for sure!

Jillian: Cheryl Ladd in Charlie's Angels. 'Nuff said.

Rami: I laughed when I saw this square dancing outfit do-si-do down the runway. At least her face appears to have gotten smaller.

Kevin: The shorts are cute, but the floofy mushroom-cloud collar looks like it would be annoying to wear.

I really think the judges are on crack. Nina Garcia, in her blog, claims that she really loved this collection. I think the denim and the tiny floral print was a bit too Hee-Haw. Sure, other designers are recycling these same trends, but that doesn't mean it's a good thing! And the denim they has a weird sheen to it that makes it seem cheap, like something from Wal-Mart.

Oh yeah...Jillian won the challenge for heading this team. I suppose it *is* coherent, and it does manage to work in some variation of all of the required elements.

Nicely executed, but I wasn't wowed by this one. It's a bit boring, and it features yet another Christian collar that I don't get. As fabulous as he thinks he is, there's nothing dramatic or exciting about his designs.

Kit: I LOVE this one. The bold use of prints is very striking, attention-getting without being flamboyant.

Jack: I like the shape, I like the leggings underneath (and am not afraid to admit it. and and...wasn't Nina wearing leggings in the workroom scenes?) but I think the color is a bit dull. She looks like a prison matron, but maybe it's her face.

Elisa: the dress is cute, but would be so much better in a different fabric. The satin makes it look...awkward...somehow.

Ricky: Ricky's team was going to integrate all three outdated elements into their collection. I guess the yellow represents the neon, but where are the cut-outs and underwear? The color-blocking seems dated itself, and makes the model look like she's stuck in a stained-glass window. All three models, actually.

I have the nearly the same complaints for Victorya's dress. I see the neon in the pink trim, but where are the cut-outs? I suppose the bodice is suppose to resemble a corset, but not enough.

I think I wanted this competition to be like the original Iron Chef, in which points were awarded or deducted based on how well the theme ingredient was used. In this case, not particularly well.

Steven: This design was apparently based on costume sketches from Karate Kid: The Musical.

Sweet P: I like the dress, and I think she did a nice translation of the oversized sweater theme without making it look schlumpy.

Chris: Michael Kors pulled out one of his favorite comparisons, "Mother of the Bride" to describe his outfit. I dunno, Mike, the jacket looked more like a repurposed love seat. I did, however, like the dress. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to save Chris and he was voted off the island auf'd this week.

This team chose to incorporate a single old fashion trend per outfit. The unifying element was color, but that wasn't strong enough, making the collection seem unrelated.

Tim has said that this year's selection is the strongest group of designers yet. I'm not sure what "strong" means to him, because I don't think there's any more talent here than in prior seasons. Perhaps their resumes are more impressive, but a season lacking in excitement does not make for good television.

And it's damn hard to blog.


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