September 09, 2006

Couture cruise (as opposed to Suri)

When we last left our Project Runway designers, they had just set foot in Paris, and said good-bye to Angela and her fleurchons (a.k.a. damn rosettes). But there is no time to talk about her - Catherine Malandrino is ready to give the designers their next challenge. They will need to design a couture gown, and their models (assigned French ones) will walk at a party Catherine will be giving.

But first, the designers will get to relax a bit. After settling into their hotel rooms, Tim takes them on a pleasant stroll down the Seine and to dinner. Everyone is quite cheery.

The next day, Tim takes them on a further stroll, eventually landing at the Sacre Coeur area. The designers get some time to sketch their ideas, before heading off to shop in a fabric store. One interesting tidbit from Tim's podcast is this store sold all types of fabric - including those you might...I dunno...upholster furniture with. Keep that in mind.

This would be an appropriate time for a little cultural lesson. "Couture" is like "champagne" - it's a term for a very specific French thing that you must be licensed to say you do. In this case it's a type of dressmaking that requires intricate beading and handiwork. So as Tim clarifies for us, the designers here are really making something that is done with "couture techniques" but not in fact true couture gowns.

Back in the hot workroom of Parsons Paris, the designers start to F1. Since things move pretty quickly this episode, not much is shown to us during the F1 period. But the designers express their various emotions in voiceover interviews. Michael is concerned because he has little experience doing hand sewing. Jeff is of course brimming with confidence.

On day 2 during some F1 time (where Kayne is apparently out of the room), Laura expresses to Jeff and Uli that she is concerned that Kayne will get criticized this week, and she's sorry to see that because he's such a good guy. Aww! This, I think, proves my theory that the supposed animosity between the two of them was all manufactured for TV.

Eventually Tim shows up to check in. His concern with Kayne is that his bodice (a gold mesh fabric) is too sheer, and you can see the boning through it (that's a term for hard structural supports, you perverts). With Jeff, he just doesn't get it - looks like a big pile of yellow and plaid. With Laura, he is worried that all her work is centered on one thing - the collar. He seems to like what Uli has planned. Tim is definitely worried that Michael will run out of time. And for Vincent, he questions what, if anything will be hand-sewn on the dress. Vincent replies that he will be hand sewing the hem. Lame! What's worse is that just before Tim leaves, he notices that Vincent is not in fact sewing it - he's glueing it! Based on the fact that Vincent didn't do anything by hand, I think he should be eliminated. You suck, crazy man! Vincent interviews that he doesn't care that Tim isn't happy - "it turns me on." SHUT UP!!!

Anywho, eventually the French models come in to be fitted and ready for the party. As Tim anticipated, Michael is sewing right up to the bell. Eek!

As the designers and models stroll to the unknown location of the party, a truly unbelieveable thing happens - some crazy French woman throws eggs at them! And tragically, one of them splatters on the bottom of Michael's design. You suck, crazy French lady!

Craziness aside, they all eventually make it to the party, which will be on a large boat going down the Seine. And now - walk it, ladies!

Despite Tim's objections, I actually like Kayne's design. The strapless bodice has lovely detail in gold. (Yes, it's a bit sheer, but from a distance you can barely tell.) At the back, the bodice is laced up asymmetrically. The skirt has a sheer black fabric draped over a golden yellow fabric. It opens pretty high up over the left leg.

Next we have Uli's design, which is stunning. Although she stuck to some of her basic design choices (empire waist, braided fabric around the bodice and as straps), this time the fabric is a grey silk charmeuse. The real detail is over the breasts, where she's done some fine beadwork. It looks like "Uli - dressed up for high society."

Jeffrey's dress is one that looks far better on a person than on a dressform. It's a mass of bunched yellow fabric with plaid, mixed with a yellow madras print. It opens very high over the right leg, and is halter style. It's certainly rather French, I think.

Michael's design is a simple silhouette that's hourglass shaped with straps. The bodice area is covered in ruching, but the odd thing is sort of inverted half-moons over the breasts. The color is periwinkle. It's not awesome, but it's by no means horrible.

Laura has gone with her preferred cut - a deep V-neck that goes nearly to the waist. The main fabric is a heavy black velvet. But the collar and wrists have layers of poofy white fabric. As the model walks the boat, the breeze really helps that white move around in a way that's visually interesting. I'm intrigued.

And finally Vincent's couch. I mean dress. Well, it's hard to tell, because the skirt looks like what your grandmother's couch was covered in for most of the early 70s. Heavy, golden, heavy print. Heinous! The top is a deep V-neck with cap sleeves in a nude silk. But I barely notice because at the lower back is a huge DAMN ROSETTE! In the upholstery! Suck, suck, suck.

Sorry, I'm better now. Catherine scores the gowns, and then Tim says he will take her scorecards back to NYC, where they will refit their regular models to walk for the regular judges. But in the meantime - enjoy the cruise! And they do. Paris at night is just lovely. And yet, it's ruined because Vincent the Ickmeister hits on Catherine in a way that is so disgusting. (P.S. He's married, y'know.)

In no time we're back in New York and the designers are fitting their own models. It does appear that travel was a factor here, and it's unfortunate that it wasn't mentioned ahead of time. Laura's dress in particular didn't travel well - the poofs have no poof left.

BEFORE (at left)

AFTER (below)

So I won't review this second runway, except to note two things. First, as I mentioned, Laura's dress has no poof, so it looks really flat. But worse, almost as if she was choosing to emphasize the fact, Laura has styled her model with flat hair that features overly long bangs. She looks a bit like she's from the national tour of Rocky Horror.

Also of note is that Jeff's model (Marilinda) WORKS THE HELL out of her dress. She gives all that flowy yellow some real life, and suddenly I get it. His design actually works, and I turn to ScottE to say, "If he wins this challenge, it's because of her."

Judging! We have Heidi, we have Michael, we have Nina. Also we have Richard Tyler, who coincidentally designed the new Delta flight attendant outfits that we saw last week. Let's chat with them, shall we?

They love Jeffrey's - it's got a lot going on, but has real movement. They also like Uli's, precisely because it is both true to her style, but also to the challenge at hand. They asked for something else, she delivered. With Kayne they SEEM to like it, but the boning question does come up.

Clearly the issues are with the other three. Vincent's fabric - what gives? Also, Nina thinks the top is on backwards. With Michael, they just think the bodice is too much. Interestingly, they ask what would happen if you tucked in those half-moons. He does, and suddenly it looks really good. Amazing how simple that was! And as I said, Laura's dress is just flat, flat, flat. Michael Kors says it's too old, and maybe Morticia Adams. Ouch!

The judges caucus, and reiterate many of those opinions, but Heidi reads Catherine's funny comments also. The best is for Vincent's. "She writes, 'No, no, no, no, no.'" Hee!

And now it's judging time. The winner is...Jeffrey. I called it! But Uli should have won it. Regardless, she's in. Kayne is in, and so is Michael. So we're left with Laura who went too old and simple, and Vincent who...thought he was designing for a loveseat, I guess. Laura? You're in. Yay! So crazy Vincent is auf'd. And none too soon - he mentions once more that he's proud of his design because it turns him on. SHUT UP YOU #(*$@)(*#!!!!

Next week - is Laura poised for a hormonal breakdown? And did I hear "The Olsen Twins"? How do you design for a Size -2?


The Kara said...

We were debating at work - we thought they said the Olsen twins! SO fantastic. I did like Jeffrey's the best though - yellow is my favorite color even if I can't wear it... and he took a risk - can you blame the judges? I do agree that the model worked the HELL out of that dress though. What was up with Michael's? She was all sour-puss and I usually like her. Best quote goes to Michael: "I was sweating like a whore in church." As always, thank you, Michael

ScottE. said...

Vincent: Freakoid
Laura: What's with being 3 months preggers and pouchin' out like that...and rolling your shirt over your belly. I'm sad the poofy collar didn't work in NYC.
Jeffrey: Strange dress, but I loved the color and it seemed to be couture/runway friendly. And his model really did kill the competition on the runway.
Michael: For his first time ruching, not least from a distance.
Kanye: I actually loved his dress, loved the way it laced up in the back. Awesome. I don't think it was over done or gaudy.
Uli: Love. Very simple and sexy. Good color.