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Project Runway 3, Episode 9 Runway Report Cardby Betsy Wasser -- 09/13/2006
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Project Runway introduced its designers – and viewers – to the world of haute couture this week. The word couture has been misused of late, for example by Carson of Queer Eye who playfully refers to all fashion as couture. True couture is made-to-order for a specific customer, and is made much by hand, from expensive, high-quality fabric with an eye to detail.
Creating a couture quality gown in two days was a huge challenge for the designers. We saw both Michael and Vincent struggling to finish in time. Perhaps because of the enormity of the challenge, I didn’t think that the finished designs were as good as they usually are. And this week, I strongly disagreed with the judges’ rulings. Fashion is, of course, subjective, but I can’t imagine subjecting anyone to the plaid nightmare that Jeffrey designed. But I’m getting ahead of myself. How did the designers do on this week’s report card?
Uli: This dress was beautiful and should have won. The color was lovely, and the dress had plenty of couture details – the beading, the hand sewing, the way Uli hid the seams. The silhouette was ethereal and romantic, and it looked great on both of Uli’s models. It was an Uli dress, no doubt, with it’s floor-length and the detailing that we saw both in her recycling dress and her Miss U.S.A. dress. Other than it not being a print, it was not the “fresh and new” that the judges asked for last week. It was, however, the best executed design in this challenge by far.
Michael: I suspect that this dress looked better on television, from a distance, than it did in person. All of the problems Michael admitted to in the hand-ruched top weren’t visible to me, though of course I take his word for it. For the first time, I think that Michael’s ambition surpassed his abilities, at least in the time given for the challenge. The top was a little too heavy looking – not as much so as Malan’s ill-fated Miss U.S.A. dress, but the problem was similar. The dress really did look better when model Nazri (whose hair was gorgeous this week) tucked in the “rabbit ears” in the bodice. This was the first challenge in which Michael really struggled, and I’m very glad that he survived to see the next. I liked the idea of this dress, and I wonder how much better it would have come across if he’d had more time to work on it… and if it hadn’t been splattered with egg, of course.
Kayne: Once again, I didn’t dislike Kayne’s design as much as the judges did. I agree that the bodice was ill-advised. I didn’t like the way the boning showed through the corset, and I thought that the ribbon detail looked tacked on. But, like Michael Kors, I adored the ombre fabric of the skirt. That was beautiful and glamorous. I also loved the way the skirt flowed when model Amanda went down the runway. Had Kayne made the top of his dress a bit simpler, the results might have been different.
Laura: This dress was dramatic, and very different from the other designs this week, in large part due to the heavier fabric and the long sleeves. I think Laura really suffered from the fact that the dress didn’t travel well from Paris back to New York. Laura was right when she told Tim Gunn that the success of her gown hinged on the collar, as that was the detail that gave it interest. Without a fabulous collar, she was sunk. When the dress was first shown, that collar looked dramatic and unique. The second time, it literally fell flat. This was not Laura’s best work by a long shot, but it wasn’t bad. Also, on an unrelated note, how cute was Laura with her shirt tied over her newly bulging belly?
Jeffrey: I hated this dress. Maybe it looked different in person than on TV, but I thought it was just hideous. Hideous! It was a mad mix of screaming yellow plaid, draped haphazardly. Jeffrey’s use of cotton absolutely did not spell high fashion or glamour to me. Couture, you’ll recall, is often made of the highest quality fabrics. The designers had a much higher budget for fabric this week than they usually do, and yet Jeffrey chose cotton. And although the dress was hand-made, I didn’t see any beading or embroidery. The only thing that kept me from ranking this mess last was that unlike Vincent’s dress, at least it was well made.
Vincent: So much for the many predictions I’ve heard from readers that Vincent would be around for a while longer to be crazy and entertaining. There was really no excusing this dress. I agree with Uli that the skirt looked like a sofa. It was stiff and unmoving. The top was also strange, with odd sleeves that didn’t quite fit either model, shoulder pads (!), and the fact that it looked backwards. To make matters worse, in a challenge where hand-sewing and fine detail work were emphasized, Vincent actually used glue to finish his garment. All told, the dress was a debacle, and Vincent was, understandably, out.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments at Betsywasser@Gmail.com.
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