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Who’s In and Who’s Out: Project Runway 3 - Finale Part 2by Kevin Otten -- 11/01/2006
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First, thanks to all of you who wrote in with your comments and feedback! It took longer than I expected to sift through all of them, but here we go!
Last week we looked at why Laura and Michael placed second and third in this season respectively. For nearly opposite reasons, they both fell off the edges of two extremes. Both were resourceful, creative, innovative, professional, and to an extent, risk-takers. But Laura was too myopic in her approach, and lacked the flexibility and versatility to win Project Runway. Conversely, Michael was flexible and versatile, able to succeed in numerous challenges throughout the season; however, he lacked a strong point of view and had difficulty when he was not given clear parameters or guidelines to work within.
So now we have Uli and Jeffrey. Let’s review the important fashion tips for Project Runway designers one last time and see what made Jeffrey come in first, and Uli come in second. I’ll also include your feedback and a final critique of my own guidelines to see how they stacked up with the judges’ decisions this season.
Who’s OUT: Uli
Starting strong, fizzling a bit, and then ending strong again, Uli was definitely this seasons’ comeback kid award winner. She impressed the judges early on by winning the dog challenge, but then faded into the background, usually placing in the automatic-IN group. Then, at the end, in the final challenge before Fashion Week, she was the only designer to excel in the Elle challenge. Let’s take a closer look at how she performed according to our criteria.
1. Stand out! Be original, creative, and show a unique, strong point of view in your designs.
Uli definitely had a point of view, which was evident early on the show. She preferred to use vibrant colors, prints, and all of her looks were lively and dynamic. She enjoyed using long, flowing, airy dresses which were whimsical and playful. Uli also employed a great deal of creativity in each of her designs. Though the judges eventually became tired of the degree of repetition in her work, she was never criticized for the construction, execution, or concept behind her designs. Overall, she was very strong in this criterion throughout the entire season, including her final collection. She maintained her creativity and point of view while still using outfits with no prints, muted or neutral colors, and more variety in length, texture, etc, than her prior designs. A few of you who wrote in commented that you felt she was just as creative as Jeffrey (one of you said she was even more creative). I’m going to agree with those who said it was a fair draw between the two.
2. Demonstrate flexibility and versatility with each challenge.
Though she did show something a little bit different in the finale, Uli did not present the degree of variety and versatility that the judges were looking for. Still, they found the looks in her collection which stood out most were the ones which fit in her traditional mold. (And if you look back and count, roughly half (six) of her looks were in fact vibrant, flowing print designs.) In order to secure a sure win, Uli needed to show more versatility – she could have had trace elements of her signature in each of her designs while still pushing herself to entirely new levels, as Jeffrey did. This rule explicitly tells the designers to listen carefully to what the judges say, and to adapt and change the direction of their designs if they are hearing the same feedback over and over again. Most of you who wrote in said this was clearly the one area which did Uli in – lack of versatility. I agree.
3. Be resourceful and utilize every opportunity at your disposal to make your designs successful.
Uli never had a problem with being resourceful – throughout the season she was able to find the fabrics, prints, and materials to actualize her visions. She also made good use of her time, never pressed for last-minute alterations or changes which compromised the quality of her work. Uli could have been slightly more resourceful throughout the season and in her final collection by using more varied fabrics and materials, but this is more of an issue of her flexibility/versatility than a lack of resourcefulness. She did demonstrate on numerous occasions she was resourceful – from her playful use of her dog as a living accessory in the dog challenge which she won, to her brilliant use of the metallic piping in the recycling challenge. Uli was also one of the only designers to work with a plus size model in the Every Day Woman challenge, and succeed admirably in the eyes of the judges. She did so because she was able to make good use of her resources and customize her decisions to her client. Though being resourceful played a key role in her good performance throughout the season, it was really a non-issue in her second place finish, so we can move on…
4. Actively sell yourself, your vision, and your designs.
Uli sold herself well, but for the most part, this tip did not play a large role in distinguishing who did well and who did not among the four finalists; none were particularly stronger than the others in this area, so little time needs to be spent with this guideline. (In fact, of all of you who wrote in, no one commented on this criterion for either Jeffrey or Uli!) Suffice to say, Uli did a fair job in this arena, but so did everyone else.
5. Take your role as a designer seriously, and be professional both on and off the runway.
Ah and now we come to the rule which seems to be this seasons’ castaway, being a total non-factor in anyone’s win or loss, save for cheater Keith, who was axed for this reason only. Uli was professional and took her role seriously. But like tip #4, so did the other four finalists (except Jeffrey, who we will get to shortly).1 2 3 4 Next-->
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