Friday, February 24, 2012

'Project Runway' Recap: Not-So-Fabulous Flags

Using flags as a jumping-off point for design could be a really, really bad thing. I had visions of really literal dresses with exact patterns and colors.

It wasn't that bad - this is the All-Star season, after all - but it definitely wasn't that great either.

The six remaining designers went to the UN World Headquarters, which Jerell says he can tell "is a place of great importance" (duh!), to choose from six nations. The colors of the flag and culture of the country will inspire their designs.

The designers' flags:
Mondo - Jamaica
Michael - Greece (because he's Greek, you know)
Mila - Papua New Guinea
Jerell - India
Austin Scarlett - The Seychelles
Kenley - Chile

They sketch and go to Mood, then get back to the workroom, where the traditional freakouts begin. Mondo doesn't like his fabrics. Austin questions if he made the right choice because of the colors. They start working. Jerell says that India means lots of embellishments. Michael C. likes the challenge and Greece because he likes to drape.

Joanna Coles comes in, and today, she's obsessed with underwear. (But seriously, she is a GREAT mentor.)

Mondo shows off his simple black gown with lovely color-blocking in the back. Joanna likes it, but the back inspires this exchange:
Joanna: "How do you wear a bra with that?"
Mondo: "You don't."
Joanna: *exasperated sigh*

Joanna worries that Jerell's outfit looks like a national costume, or an outfit that would be on a doll that tourists buy. She thinks he might be taking India too literally.

Joanna thinks Michael's dress is "gorgeous," in the way it is draped, but she wonders if it's ambitious enough. She also comments, "Oh, another dress you can't wear a bra with ... We want to be able to wear underwear."

Joanna apparently didn't say much about Austin's dress, because all I have written down is that Mondo thinks his dress looks "sad."

Mila's half-long, half-short Frankendress is "finally a dress women can wear underwear with," Joanna says.

Joanna wants Kenley to convince the judges that she's going beyond her comfort zone. "Are you convinced you can stand out?" she asks. "Why is she still here!?" Mondo snipes.

After Joanna leaves, more freakouts ensue. Austin doesn't have enough fabric, Mondo thinks Michael's dress is pageanty and Austin thinks Jerell's dress is vulgar.

Before we know it, it's runway time! (Check out the designs at Rate the Runway.)

Jerell - A little gold dress with a big green drapy sari-inspired piece on one side. I like the way it looks like a sari, but the overall effect, complete with an Indian headpiece, is way too faux-Indian/costume/touristy/ick. Way too literal.

Kenley - Most of the dress is a simple turtleneck, long-sleeve minidress with heart polka-dots, but on one hip there is a little ruffle. I like the idea, but the textiles don't totally go together for me. It's very Kenley-as-usual. It's not my favorite, but it's OK.

Austin - A flowy blue-and-yellow layered chiffon gown. The colors don't totally work together, and I think the construction is kind of amateur. I like the idea of a flowy, colorful gown, but this is not the flowy, colorful gown that it should be.

Mondo - A simple, slinky black dress in the front with a great racerback-style detail in the back with yellow and green colorblocks. It's really simple and really awesome!

Mila - Frankendress! It has a long red piece with yellow trim as one half of the dress, and a short black little piece on the other side. I don't love it, and it doesn't look very Papau New Guinea, but it's at least kind of neat.

Michael - White, voluminous, drapy dress with blue and sparkly trim. The back is waaaaay too low. I like the draping but there's no shape and the trim is a little bit vulgar.

Judges' Critiques:

Judges are: Host Angela Lindvall, Georgina Chapman, Isaac Mizrahi and guest judge designer Catherine Malandrino.

Jerell: There are some ideas that the judges like, including the white stripe on the arm and the bustier dress, but there were just too many ideas there. Georgina thought it was too heavy-handed and costumey.

Kenley: The judges like the attitude, and the way that it has a Spanish sort of feel without being too literal. They all think it is modern and fun, but Georgina didn't think it went far enough. Isaac also warned Kenley not to do the same kind of dress again next week because she's made the same style of dress every week.

Austin: Georgina didn't like the color use because it's not quite the right colors. Isaac thought the dress was too tortured in the front. The best thing Angela can say is, "It's not the worst thing I've seen on 'Project Runway: All Stars.'" Snap!

Mondo: They love the dress, but not the dreadlocks he did for her hair. Isaac doesn't like the in-your-face back of the dress, but that is stupid because it's the only thing that makes it a Jamaican flag dress instead of just a slinky black dress. Georgina praises Mondo's restraint, although Angela thinks it's a little safe.

Mila: Isaac gets communism from the dress and thinks that it looks Russian and is "disturbing to look at." Angela likes the neckline but not the long-short thing. Isaac thinks she decided that she was going to do the graphic feel no matter what and it didn't matter to her that it didn't say Papua New Guinea.

Michael: Georgina said the dress is "acceptable," but screams "beauty pageant." Catherine thinks there's too much volume, and Angela thinks the trim is making the dress worse, not better.

The judges pick the correct winner: Mondo! His simple, classy dress was so much better than anybody else's. The judges loved Kenley's way more than I did, but they didn't give her the win, I think, mainly because she made the same dress as she's made all season.

And going home is Mila. I would have sent Jerell home, because his dress was a tacky mess, but Mila has been in the bottom a lot and I think the judges wanted to give the win to someone who followed the challenge but used bad taste rather than someone who just made whatever dress she wanted to without really following the challenge. It's cool ... I won't miss Mila.

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