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Who’s In and Who’s Out: Project Runway 2, Episode 2by Kevin Otten -- 12/14/2005
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Assessing why Chloe was the winner of this challenge and why Kirstin is out means looking back at What’s In and what’s Out: Important Lessons for ‘Project Runway’ Designers. Here we will find what exactly it was that made each woman the respective winner and loser.
Who’s IN: Chloe
The first fashion tip Project Runway designers should follow is, of course, the most obvious: be creative and original. Chloe did a great job of coming up with a unique concept of mixing her blazer and her skirt into a single dress. Her own assessment of her final design was that one couldn’t tell by looking at it that it was derived from two separate articles of clothing. Many of other designers deconstructed and then reconstructed the tops and bottoms of their original outfits; pants became shirts and vice versa. But for Chloe, the separate pieces became one unified garment. Approaching the task in this way likely struck the judges as more innovative and inventive than simply making a jacket a dress or a pair of jeans a shirt.
At first glance, the second guideline of being flexible and versatile doesn’t seem to play much of a role. But a closer look suggests that the uniqueness of Chloe’s design comes from her flexible approach to the materials she had to work with. She was the only designer to integrate two separate original garments into a single, unified, final product. This decision was not only creative, but also showed her versatility. Compared with designers like Emmett (who made sleeves from jeans and a skirt from a shirt) or Zulema (who didn’t even make a garment which sufficient enough to cover her model’s behind!), Chloe clearly did well with this second rule as well.
The third rule of following the rules and acting professional is not terribly significant. Suffice it to say, in the first two episodes, it is clear that Chloe takes her work seriously, and this did not necessarily help or hinder her performance in a significant way.
As was the case with the preliminary challenge in the semi-finals, the fourth tip of being resourceful was once again what would make or break the winner of this challenge. Most of the designers used all of the resources available to them (with the exception of Kirstin, who we’ll get to in a minute), but what made Chloe’s final product even more of a success in comparison was that she had less to work with than her counterparts. Guest judge Diane Von Furstenburg noted that Chloe created a beautiful garment using very little, and the other judges agreed.
Actively selling her design for this challenge played a role in Chloe’s victory as well, owing to her adhering to the fifth fashion guideline, which advises the designers to do just that. Chloe explained that she could not have been happier with her design once it was finished, and said that it reflected her style of having strong and clean lines. She also showed how the garment exhibited these qualities. Some of the other designers (notably Andrae and Zulema) made excuses that the results they produced were severely constrained by the resources they had to work with. Rather than proactively selling their garments and their point of view, as Chloe did, they passively defended their poor work from the judges’ criticism.
The final fashion rule, thoroughly understanding and completing the challenge, was really an all-or-nothing issue for this challenge. Either the designers made good use of their materials and were inventive, like Santino, Daniel Franco, and Chloe, or they didn’t, like Zulema, Andrae, and Kirstin. So in this instance, understanding the challenge was not particularly significant for Chloe’s success.
Who’s OUT: Kirstin
Kirstin was rightfully the designer eliminated in this episode. Arguably, Andrae was neck and neck with her repeated failings to follow the design criteria; many expected him to be the designer eliminated after his childish outburst on the runway. But as we will see, Kirstin really blew it in ways that he didn’t.
Originality and creativity, important elements of the first rule, were present in Kirstin’s design, but the problem was that these attributes were only found in the bottom of the design – the skirt! To her credit, she did do a good job of blending her jacket and jeans to make the skirt for her design. But this partial success was completely eclipsed by the tremendous failure which made up the top of her outfit. The shirt was a clear example of what this first rule stipulates against: designs that are “bland and boring,” and which fail to “impress and intrigue the judges.” Kirstin barely redesigned her t-shirt at all. She could have altered numerous aspects of the shirt’s actual shape, texture, purpose, etc., but she didn’t. At least Andrae came up with a unique idea for his denim outfit, creating a type of traditional Chinese dress.
Kirstin’s inflexibility and inability to adapt caused her to self-destruct on this challenge. The second rule clearly specifies, “Being a successful designer means meeting the needs of a constantly changing customer/audience. Show that you can employ a variety of design skills to create different results depending on what is asked of you.” Kirstin showed that when faced with difficult decisions and limited resources, she simply couldn’t adapt and be inventive.
She refused to use the scarf, explaining it was a family heirloom. But rather than try to find a way to somehow make good use of it, she simply ruled it out entirely as being an aspect of her design at all. She didn’t even allow the model to wear it on the runway! Even if she had merely tied it around her model’s neck or arm, she could have used it in some way. The decision to completely rule out the scarf was not just inflexible, it was a downright stubborn (and severely costly) decision.1 2 Next-->
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