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Who’s IN and Who’s OUT: Project Runway 2, Episode 9by Kevin Otten -- 02/09/2006
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In the very first episode of Project Runway in season one, Austin Scarlett wowed the judges with his dress made from corn husks. When there was talk of the second season’s premiere, some fans anticipated a challenge in which the designers would have to construct an outfit entirely from organic materials. Low and behold, now in the ninth episode, we have the Flower Power challenge!
Much like the challenge Austin won, Heidi instructed the designers that the challenge was all about innovation. So let’s see what it was that made Daniel’s design and Andrae’s design seem to be the most and least innovative to the judges, respectively. Looking at the important fashion tips Project Runway designers should have learned will show us what we need to know…
Who’s IN: Daniel
Once again, we see Daniel win! And an added bonus to serve as an incentive for the designers this week was that the winner would receive immunity for the next challenge – so Daniel doesn’t have to sweat it at all during this next competition. And he definitely deserved it.
The first guideline that Daniel followed was one of the most important this week: be creative and original. Daniel was really one of the only designers at all to use flowers in his design, and the way he sprinkled them across the bust line of his dress looked marvelous. This decision also helped add vibrant color to his dress, setting it far apart from the rest. He also used a very complex concept, incorporating the flower blossoms, a woven corset from leaves, a belt, and the dress made from ferns. His vision was far more complex than everyone else’s, but he still managed to execute his idea flawlessly. Though Kara was a very close second, her design really excelled only with respect to texture; Daniel’s dress did not have as much variety in texture, but it had more variety with respect to color, shape, and materials, which appealed to the judges.
Being versatile and flexible, as the second tip recommends, were not huge factors in Daniel’s success, but we have seen him do well in nearly every challenge, never being in the lower tier of designers in the judges’ eyes. So we know that he can adapt his style and skills to a variety of tasks.
Being professional and following the rules, the third rule, usually is only an issue where one of the designers doesn’t do well. But in this challenge, the designers were specified to create a garment using flowers and plants. Although we as the audience did not see the designers informed about the ability to use a plain white base on which they could construct the dress, it is clear that they were allowed to do so. With the exception of the shoulder straps on his dress, Daniel was one of the only designers whose dress really looked like it was made entirely from foliage.
Other designers came close to breaking the spirit of the rules and relying too much on the base for their construction – even Chloe, who normally does exceptionally well, almost had blank spots showing through. Additionally, the judges noted that from a distance, aspects of Daniel’s dress looked like actual fabric, a claim which definitely was not true for Santino, Nick, and Andrae. Though these elements of Daniel’s design are somewhat related to understanding the challenge (as we will see in a moment), they also reflect on him strictly adhering to the rules, and really making a dress that appeared to be constructed almost entirely from organic materials.
The fourth rule was crucial in this challenge: be resourceful! The designers were both complimented and criticized for their choice of materials and the degree to which they were truly innovative in using the leaves, stems, flowers, etc. in unconventional ways. As we’ve already seen, Daniel did a great job using a variety of materials from different plants for various parts of his design. But his resourcefulness goes beyond using a diverse array of materials – his resourcefulness is also reflected in how he used them. Constructing the top of his dress from a woven pattern of leaves and the skirt from the collage of ferns was far more complicated than simpler methods other designers used. For example, Nick merely draping leaves across his model’s shoulders and sides, and Chloe just glued leaves in a pattern.
As has been the case with many prior challenges, Daniel hasn’t really needed to sell himself directly to the judges, so the fifth rule was once again not an issue. For the most part, his work speaks for itself. He needed to say very little to the judges – they understood and appreciated his design without virtually any explanation.
The final rule, understanding the challenge, was very straightforward for this task: design a dress using plants and flowers. There isn’t much else to say about how Daniel achieved this goal in an innovative, creative way by using a variety of resources and using them well. Bottom line: his dress looked like a real dress, not a wacky arts and crafts project, and also managed to still be flattering and glamorous for his model. His design impressed the judges, and so he was granted immunity for the next challenge and will live to see at least two more tasks. At this point, it is almost a guarantee that he will make it to the final three.
Who’s OUT: Andrae
In the words of Santino, what happened to Andrae?! Andrae’s designs have been rather mediocre for most of the season; he narrowly escaped elimination twice in the second and third challenges, and was able to hang from Daniel’s coattails in two team challenges. Until the Inspiration challenge, we really didn’t see him do much that impressed the judges. Would he have been eliminated sooner if it weren’t for his pairings with Daniel? We’ll never know, but my guess is a firm yes. So what did he do deserve elimination this week?1 2 Next-->
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