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Who’s In and Who’s Out: Project Runway 3, Episode 10by Kevin Otten -- 09/20/2006
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What a surprise as two prior designers were allowed to come back! And what a coincidence that it was the two most recently eliminated contestants. Though the fairness of this twist could be debated ad nauseam (is getting to come back for the second to last challenge equivalent to immunity for one challenge?) we needn’t worry about this wrinkle in the rules. What we do have to look at is what happened with this week’s winner and losers.
The surprise did seem to throw everyone off, but the end result was not surprising to fans who have been following the show. Kayne was almost certain to be the next designer eliminated unless he broke through with a masterpiece this time around. Though Angela and Vincent were allowed to return, only one of them could possibly continue, and even then only by winning the challenge. Highly unlikely.
So let’s look back over the important fashion tips for Project Runway designers to see why the elimination results were so predictable. First we’ll start with Laura, who was IN and won for the first time this week.
Who’s IN: Laura
Poor Laura finally breaks down and the stress of the show makes her come undone at the seams. As the only remaining designer who had not won a challenge, her timing could not have better met the sense of urgency for her to prove herself. A quick look at the episode may lead the novice fan to conclude that they gave her the win (instead of Michael) because she was having such a rough time, and she did just as good of a job as him. Wrong! She did even better. Here’s why.
1. Stand out! Be original, creative, and show a unique, strong point of view in your designs.
From the very beginning of the season Laura has demonstrated a point of view which the judges have been able to recognize and trace through each of her designs. Refined, elegant, sophisticated, and intellectual, Laura has often been said to design for herself – that is, clothing she would actually wear herself. Though her designs have at times been less complex and intricate than the other designers, the judges have not been dissatisified with this minimalism, due in part because repeatedly her tailoring has been lauded as impeccable. Laura’s point of view and perspective were strong and creative, but recently the judges have become more critical of the limits of her abilities. This week, she did something different, demonstrating both her versatility and her ability to take risks. But beyond that, her design was very creative. She used the black and white in a perfectly Laura way, with elegant lace covering a sleek white dress. She made the look youthful with the trim and styling, and by using a baby doll dress. Finally, she was the only designer to come up with a creative way to use all of her excess fabric, which alone put her far ahead.
2. Demonstrate flexibility and versatility with each challenge.
Laura also showed the judges an adaptability that they had not seen before. While still maintaining her own design aesthetic, Laura designed the most youthful and playful garment we’ve seen from her this season. She did exactly what this rule advises the designers to do: “they should listen to the feedback from the judges and Tim Gunn, and make sure to alter and refine their actions and concepts if they are hearing the same criticisms repeatedly.” Laura listened to the judges and Tim Gunn, and also was open to suggestions from her model. Clearly, the intensity of the challenges (and probably her pregnancy!) finally began to wear on Laura a little bit, but she did not resign herself to go with what was comfortable and familiar to her. Instead, she showed that she could adapt and respond to feedback, and she pushed her way through to her first win!
3. Be resourceful and utilize every opportunity at your disposal to make your designs successful.
This challenge required advance planning and resourcefulness in a completely new way – never before have the designers been constrained in color choices like they were with this challenge. More importantly, they also had to use every last inch of fabric that they purchased! But like every week, the designers who are resourceful are able to make good choices with their materials and how they use them. Being forced to use all of their fabric required advance planning and flexibility in the construction process, leaving little room for errors that would not lead to disastrous results. Laura seemed to have no problem at all with using the black and white together, if anything it seemed to fit well within her design aesthetic. Similarly, she seemed unconstrained by the fabric rule. She actually made excellent use of her leftovers by designing a bag for her model, and she was the only designer to make such a resourceful and creative decision. This choice also shows an excellent use of her time – she had to plan this step out in advance and procure enough time once finished with the dress to complete this secondary project. Like her adherence to rule #2 above, being exceptionally resourceful in comparison to her fellow designers was what sealed the win for Laura this week.
4. Actively sell yourself, your vision, and your designs.
From what we saw, this rule did not play a huge role in Laura’s win, and also has not been particularly significant in her prior successes. Much like Danni V. of last season, usually her work is very straightforward, and the judges like what they see – there is little to be said.
5. Take your role as a designer seriously, and be professional both on and off the runway.
With the exception of Keith’s cheating, this season this rule hasn’t mattered much. This week continues that trend, and so we continue our trend of moving right along to the next guideline.
6. Think carefully about each challenge and do what it requires.
Again we come back to that purse – one of the key factors which made Laura stand out from her peers. She understood that this challenge meant finding a delicate balance between having excess fabric and not knowing what to do with it, versus purchasing too little and being severely limited. Based on the runway show and the judges’ critique, it seemed Laura was really the only designer who was able to pull this off without having excess fabric and trying to conceal it (Angela) or find some strange way to incorporate it into the design as an accessory (Uli, Vincent). If other designers had more effectively used their fabric, they may have given Laura a run for her money. But they didn’t.1 2 3 Next-->
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