Tims Take

Leaving the designers with something to think about.

on Feb 27, 2008

Chris has a studio within a large professional costume workshop, so although he enjoys privacy, he has colleagues with whom he can engage. Most designers at this career level experience relative isolation, so Chris's circumstances are enviable.

Where to begin? Let me cut to the core of my issue with Chris's work: human hair. Yes, you read that correctly, human hair. The Project Runway "collection rules" forbid the use of fur, so this was Chris's alternative. (He said that he had really wanted to use monkey fur, but that's strictly illegal everywhere, thank god.) Had he chosen to use synthetic hair, I believe that it would have had the same visual effect with none of the potential gag reflexes. But he wanted real human hair. It was because I found Chris's collection to be compelling and alluring that I was disturbed by the hair. His silhouettes and proportions were sublime, his textiles luxurious, and his design concepts strong. So why potentially derail this strong work with the distraction of human hair?!?!?

Christian works in his bedroom, the minute size of which (even by NYC's vastly amended standards) prohibits a bed to coexist with his worktable. He is superbly organized, including fabric arranged by color (black, blacker, blackest). I won't mince words; I was totally wowed by his collection, which was virtually complete. In fact, he had excess pieces. The collection was pure Christian -- innovative, exuberant, and high-design -- AND it could believably navigate the real world. The collections possessed a sophistication and maturity that thrilled me beyond the adequate words.