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Who’s In and Who’s Out: Project Runway 2, Episode 7by Kevin Otten -- 01/25/2006
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We have reached the half-way point for Project Runway – eight of the original sixteen designers were eliminated at the start of this week’s challenge. With Marla and Diana out, it’s really getting down to the best. Zulema’s victory this week seemed somewhat of a surprise, as did Emmett’s untimely departure. But looking at the important lessons the Project Runway designers should have learned reveals that the winning and losing designs were in fact apt.
Who’s IN: Zulema
This is the first win for Zulema, but her victory should not come as a surprise given both the nature of the challenge and her background. As we’ll see, she followed all of the rules and impressed guest judge (and client) Sasha Cohen.
The first thing Zulema did well was to be original and creative, adhering to the first guideline for the designers to follow. Zulema’s concept of the ugly duckling that became a swan-like ice princess was not only innovative, but well-executed. Other designers didn’t seem to really find a good match in this respect; for example, Santino’s concept was very interesting, but poorly done, while other designers such as Nick and Daniel had strong designs, but didn’t appear to have a solid concept behind them. The unique swirls Zulema crafted made the design sensual, and definitely fit with her ice-princess vision.
Being flexible and versatile, as recommended by the second rule, is another area where Zulema did well. With this challenge the designers really had to adapt their philosophy and techniques to make their design functional on the ice, an aspect of the challenge where Kara didn’t do the best and that Santino completed failed. With her background in costume design, it is likely that Zulema has encountered similar functional obstacles previously, and thus adapting to this challenge may not have been difficult for her. Another tremendous obstacle which stood in the way of the designers was the broken sewing machines; Zulema noted that much of the sewing for the garments would have to be done by hand, severely limiting the ability of the designers to complete their garments in the allotted time. But she pulled it off with flying colors.
The third tip is to be professional and follow the rules, which did not really play a role in Zulema’s win. With the exception of Santino’s antics, everyone seemed to do well in this arena for the challenge.
Being resourceful, the fourth rule, played a role in the ways that the designers dealt with the broken machines. While we didn’t actually see anyone fumble with the technical trouble this unexpected event created, it did throw them off track. Perhaps some of the details had to be omitted for some of the designers, or certain goals could not be met. We don’t really know, but as was previously mentioned, we do know that even with this setback Zulema did well. She also made good use of her resources in implementing the sensual, feather-like swirls for her swan concept. With the exception of Chloe’s nontraditional layering of fabrics, none of the other designers really seemed to make good use of out-of-the-ordinary materials. (Though we saw Santino make use of feathers and chiffons, he did not make good use of them!)
Zulema also did a good job selling herself, following the fifth rule for the designers. She was articulate and ready to explain her concept to the judges, and highlight the aspects of her design which appealed most to Sasha Cohen.
Finally, it is clear that Zulema understood the challenge and did what it required, in accordance with the final rule for the designers. She recognized that much like the USPS challenge from season 1, success in this task meant balancing fashion with function. Even Chloe, who has always been outstanding, was a little bit off the mark in the functionality of her dress. Kara had the fringe bottom which would have been unflattering on the runway. Santino, well, his design was a train wreck. But Zulema’s dress proved to be what Sasha wanted, and she will soon be wearing it!
Though she has had a few snafus in the past, Zulema will likely be the second-to-last (behind Chloe) woman standing in the competition. And depending on how well the does with the next couple challenges, she may even make it to the final four. Her victory this week will allow her the opportunity to potentially take a stronger model, which the previews indicate she will likely take advantage of. In the meantime, we also have to look at why Emmett was eliminated this week…
Who’s OUT: Emmett
Throughout the show, Emmett has consistently been one of the designers given the “in” after the runway show – his performance usually has meant that he was not one of the best, but also not one of the worst deserving of closer scrutiny of the judges. Thus, his creativity was not one of his best strengths, which is crucial in Project Runway – that is why it is the first rule that the designers should follow. Granted, Emmett is one of the 16 finalists out of thousands for the show, but compared to the other designers, his work has not been very original; none of his designs stand out as being particularly noteworthy. With this challenge in particular, even though his design did appear to be functional and somewhat pretty, it was just too bland – which just doesn’t work in this competition. Nothing is particularly unique, remarkable, or interesting about his design.
Although for the most part Emmett did seem flexible and versatile, as the second guideline specifies, his technical abilities likely limited him in many challenges. During Team Lingerie several weeks ago, he was the second-to-last person picked due to his lack of pattern-making and sewing abilities. While he never commented on how his skills limited him in interviews or to the other designers, it is safe to assume that on many occasions these shortcomings did impede his ability to truly succeed in many of the challenges. It is not surprising that he was eliminated in this challenge, which really tested the technical skills and limits for each of the designers.1 2 Next-->
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