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Project Runway 4, Episode 3 Unbuttoned: “Do or Do Not – There Is No Try”by Jenn Brasler -- 12/03/2007
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I went to a very competitive high school where 70 percent of the students took IB classes (kind of like AP, or advanced-placement, classes). These were the kinds of people who did extra credit when they didn’t need to and would debate a teacher (or cry) over an A-. One day we were wondering what was better - take a regular-level class and get an A, or take an IB class and get a B? As it turns out, the latter was the better option. If you take an advanced class, try your best, and get a B, you’ve shown that you’ve challenged yourself. If you take a regular-level class and get an A, you’ve gotten the best grade possible, but you haven’t challenged yourself.
I found myself thinking about this situation during the most recent episode of Project Runway. Some of the designers, like Ricky, tried for the first option - they attempted to make a number of pieces rather than take the “easy” route with just a couple of pieces. However, Heidi and the other judges seemed to agree that they would prefer the designers to make just a few pieces and, of course, make them well. The judges do want to see the designers challenging themselves and being ambitious, but they also want to see well-made, well-thought-out clothing. On Project Runway, it’s better to take the regular-level class and succeed than to take the advanced class and merely pass. Effort is nice, but in the end, the finished product is what counts.
Of course, the most recent challenge didn’t leave the majority of the designers feeling comfortable. Many of them had never had to design menswear before, and some of the ones who had didn’t have much experience with it. That makes many of their creations all the more impressive. And remember that in Season 2, Chloe Dao (the eventual winner) had never designed menswear, but she still managed to make an amazing suit for Nick. Never underestimate what these designers are capable of.
I have to mention what a reader named Terri e-mailed me about this week. Why does Heidi always mention that this competition is for the models as well as the designers? In the end, one model gets a prize, but the models are hardly competing for it. They’re not judged on their looks and their walk, but they’re just chosen by the designers, and whichever designer wins, his or her model wins as well. How is that a competition? And keep in mind that some weeks (like this week), the models don’t even participate. I’m fine with the winning designer’s model “winning” as well, but they should at least stop saying that they’re competing.
I guess the “controversy” of the week (which was only considered a controversy by the designers themselves) was Jack using his own pants as a pattern. I can’t say that I have any problem with this - in fact, it was pretty smart of him. Plus, he asked Tim Gunn if it was okay, and Tim said yes, so I don’t see the problem. As for letting Carmen and Victorya use the same pattern, that was his choice, and it obviously didn’t hurt him. In fact, Carmen was still unable to keep herself from being eliminated despite the use of the pattern, so obviously it didn’t give her any advantage.
Here’s something shocking: Elisa is weird. I know! I can’t believe it either. But I have to say that I admired her this week. She said that she turned around to let her model undress in private because she doesn’t want to see a man who’s not her significant other naked, but I thought it was nice of her to give him a little privacy. It’s nice to see someone being modest on reality TV.
I’m liking Kit more and more each week. She came at the challenge from a different perspective – not only was she trying to make something that Tiki Barber would look good in, but something that would also look good on TV. She had a little bit of an advantage, having designed clothes for TV before, and it helped her out in the end. I also like that she made something that would ordinarily be seen as average but which was elevated because of the fabric she chose. Despite the fact that this show is about fashion and design, fabric isn’t mentioned much. In this case, Kit reminded us that if you choose the wrong fabric, you can ruin the whole outfit.
I love how Tim enforces the designers’ time constraints: “Come on, it’s time to go…. No, really…. No, I’m serious…. Okay, put down the needle and thread…. Okay, I’m counting to 5. 1… 2… 3… 4… 4-1/2… 4-3/4….” I guess it’s a good thing he’s not a kindergarten teacher.
I leave you with some questions to ponder:
Jenn Brasler is an Associate Editor of Reality News Online and an aspiring writer from Falls Church, Virginia. By day she works for a court reporting firm, and by night she’s a spy for a covert branch of the CIA. You can e-mail her at email@example.com. Jenn’s favorite Yoda quote is, “Judge me by my size, do you?”
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