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Who’s In and Who’s Out: Project Runway 3, Episode 5by Kevin Otten -- 08/15/2006
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This season every week is a little bit different with respect to the models; for the first few challenges, they stayed with the same designers. Then, the designers were able to pick new ones. In a complete turnaround, this week the models pick the designers, which makes for some interesting results. Modernizing the look of a fashion icon was a unique challenge – we saw Angela continue to redeem herself (maybe I was wrong and she will go far) while Robert continued to make the judges snooze. Bradley and Michael were at the back and front of the pack respectively, and an analysis of the important fashion tips Project Runway designers should follow will show that these results should come as no surprise.
Who’s IN: Michael
From the very start of the challenge, we saw Michael really enjoying himself and progressing nicely. Things seemed a little bit shaky when he made the decision to use the hot pants in his design, but as we will see it was a worthwhile risk that paid off. All three of the highest scoring designers (Michael, Kayne, and Angela) did an outstanding job, but Michael really was ahead of the game. Let’s take a closer look at why.
1. Stand out! Be original, creative, and show a unique, strong point of view in your designs.
Always important, this first tip instructs the designers to do something different. Unique. Unconventional. Something that will really make a lasting impression on the judges. With his makeover for Pam Grier, Michael was in his element and working wonders in his garment. He selected a vibrant, flashy color which stood out, but made strategic decisions to ensure that the color did not overpower the entire look. He also employed creativity in the accessories, hair, and makeup for his model – she truly looked like a fashionable new version of the classic Pam Grier. Until this week, Michael has always been in the ‘automatic in’ group, but as the challenges become more difficult I anticipate his creativity and steadfast attitude will continue to propel him forward.
2. Demonstrate flexibility and versatility with each challenge.
As Laura noted early in the episode, with this design task, the contestants had virtually no control; they did not get to pick their models or the icons they would be designing for. They also had to consult twice with their models to make sure their designs were on track. Succeeding in this challenge meant adapting to who the new model was and what made her serve as the muse for the design task. Michael did all of these things. While some of this success can be attributed to luck, having the models pick the designers they wanted was not purely random – the past track record and reputation of the designers likely influenced who each model chose. (Witness Bradley being picked absolutely last, just like he was by his fellow designers two weeks ago!) Michael has also showed his versatility in being able to work well with others (like Angela) and to continue to avoid being one of the bottom two or three designers. As I mentioned before – I expect to continue to see great things from him.
3. Be resourceful and utilize every opportunity at your disposal to make your designs successful. Michael made very wise decisions with color, fabric, accessories, hair, and makeup. The total package of his design was an outstanding new look for Pam Grier. Every element of his design fit together perfectly within his own vision, but also meshed with a look that fit Pam Grier and his model. The judges were dazzled by his design and he made excellent use of his resources. One other aspect to Michael’s design decisions which are worth noting is his use of time – thus far in every challenge Michael has been one of the only designers to finish early or with enough time to critique and edit his work. Again, his strategic use of this precious resource will continue to become more important as the challenges become increasingly difficult.
4. Actively sell yourself, your vision, and your designs.
The judges liked Michael’s design when they saw it on the runway, but Michael Kors noted that once they heard him explain it and discuss it with them, they loved it. Since Michael has never been called back to the runway, we haven’t seen him demonstrate his showmanship before, but he did a great job. He explained why he made the decisions he did, and how a great deal of careful time and thought were put into his design decisions – for example, using the short hot pants in order to avoid the intense color of his outfit becoming overwhelming. He was calm and collected, but ready to explain every decision he made about his look, eager to tell the judges what he did and why he made the right choices. With yet another rule, Michael is right on target.
5. Take your role as a designer seriously, and be professional both on and off the runway.
When other designers started giving Angela a hard time for disrupting their progress with the sewing machines, Michael was quick to defend her and note that it wasn’t fair for everyone to gang up on her as a scapegoat. But he was also respectful and non-confrontational. Though this interaction was not a factor in his victory, Michael’s easy-going and calm demeanor will continue to pay off.
6. Think carefully about each challenge and do what it requires.
Michael recognized that this challenge was about far more than just the garment itself; he saw the importance of using the icon and who she was to inspire all aspects of the look for the model. He also listened carefully to what his model wanted, and why she picked Pam Grier.
7. Take risks – push yourself and your designs to new levels.
Approaching his work with a critical eye, Michael recognized that a full length dress or even a skirt would be far too much color for his look. He had the interesting idea of using hot pants instead, which was definitely a risk. He understood that this idea was a little bit out there, but he believed it fit with the Pam Grier aesthetic, and it would be a better choice than something bigger or longer. He was right. The judges absolutely loved the shorts, and appreciated that he did something different and interesting. All of the judges complemented the shorts and the look. Using the loud fuchsia color was also a bold move, but again, it fit perfectly with the look Michael was aiming for with this design.
Who’s OUT: Bradley
It has seemed for the past few weeks that poor Bradley just hasn’t been up to snuff with the rest of his colleagues. At a time when he really needed to redeem himself and show that he has what it take for Project Runway, he made his final garment and was sent on his way. But why? What was it that made his design worse than Vincent’s, or even Robert’s? As we’ll see, his was by far at the very bottom of the list for many reasons.1 2 Next-->
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