A Balance Of Uptown And Downtown

No surprises here, Sarah Jessica made the right decisions.

Sarah Jessica Parker was an ideal choice to judge the second episode of Project Runway. She really made an impact on the fashion industry with Sex and the City and brought a greater awareness to luxury brands and instigated a new code of dressing. From the first episode her character, Carrie Bradshaw, abandoned head-to-toe runway looks and was all about "personal style" much the same way Sarah Jessica dresses herself off set-a balance of uptown and downtown, vintage and designers and setting new rules to day and evening dressing-that there are NO RULES. What better icon to bring to PR?

What viewers don't know about SJP is that she is a die-hard PR fan. In fact, during season two we watched the finale together at the beautiful home of Andy Cohen, her good friend, she knew everyone's name had a photographic memory of each outfit of both seasons! She was able to analyze each design with the most serious objectivity. When I had heard that she was going to be a judge, I knew that she would be great! Instead of the predictable challenge you may expect with such a fashion icon -- i.e. dress her for a red carpet appearance -- this one was a little bit of a twist for the designers and is fitting to what is happening in the fashion industry today. There are more and more brands delivering fashion at incredible prices. Sarah Jessica is apart of that movement with her new and affordable clothing line, Bitten. To quote SJP about her line Bitten: "Fashion should not be a luxury and quality should not be a privilege." This challenge was especially difficult because it tested the designer's ability to not only create for the fashion icon's brand but to be conscious of a greater audience (aka anyone that is something other than a size two) with a budget of $15 worth of material. Also, it was a great time to see how the designers worked together, and see who contributed to their team and who did not. It is all about team effort in this business you cannot do it alone.
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I was not surprised that Sarah Jessica picked Rami's design as she chose which looks would be made for the runway. His illustration was practical, sophisticated and conscientious of a variety of body types and ages-very important elements when designing for a greater audience. Also, I was secretly pleased to see the collaboration between him and Jillian work so well. They are both are very strong and opinionated designers when put together have the potential to create some beautiful clothing.
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Victorya's personal style is very uncomplicated and minimal; it was no surprise she excelled at this challenge because she stuck to her aesthetic. She has a gift for making simple look extraordinary without too much embellishment but just the right touch. For this challenge specifically, she used a racer back vest in the right color combination and tied the bow just right. Her dress could fit any size or shape and still brought a high-fashion feel to it at the fraction of the price.
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Elisa said that she was coming to our planet with gifts. Well she is the gift! A unique personality with a very unique point of view, Elisa is wise enough to know she needs to tweak a few things to make it more understandable. Receptive to a great partner (Sweet P) they produced an outstanding garment that seemed much more expensive and sophisticated than the budget for fabrics allocated. The cape was so thoughtfully put together down to its blue trim lining. The dress was flawlessly executed-in one seam, something only Elisa could deliver. It blew me away. I think the collaboration with Sweet P really focused Elisa's eccentric approach and her great attitude contributed to the finished look.
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Christian is enamored with the glamour of high fashion. His idealistic view of progressive and avant garde design is a manifestation of him being so young, which is normal at that age. For him progressive and avant garde are paramount, which proved to be a disadvantage for this particular challenge. Sometimes the simplest designs are the most beautiful and sophisticated of all. In any case, Christian's outfit was stuck in the 80s (I am sure for Christian the 80s is new since he's probably never lived them) and impractical for the challenge in terms of sizing and taste. He was rebellious against our critique going as far as confronting SJP on her decision by choosing his sketch as one of her favorites. I do appreciate the fact that he is so passionate about his design and believe he has the talent that can shape into a terrific career.
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Marion missed the ball on this challenge. Although there was a conservative fabric budget for the challenge, which other designers managed successfully, Marion's fabric choice was drab and unflattering in color and held no form on the model. When it comes to designing on a massive scale it is best to keep it simple and when Marion's look came down the runway it grew by the inch and was far too complicated. I was sad to see Marion go. It is especially hard to let go of a designer so early on when we have not had enough time to see their work. In terms of their personalities I had a good time watching Elisa energize her fabrics thru the spitting technique (who knows she might be able to market this esoteric practice one day). Christian defies Tim on his advice of his design almost as a petulant child that is difficult to be upset with. Rami and Jillian's cool and collected calmness and Chris March teddy bear sensitivity, by episode two it is great to see everyone's personalities shine. I do not know all of them yet and fit the pieces of the information I have with what you the viewers watch behind the scenes. Keep you posted on the next episode. Would love to hear from you! Send me questions that you are interested in knowing. Also, I would like to personally invite you to come visit me on Monday Nov. 26 at the Chelsea Barnes and Noble in New York City where I will be doing a book signing.

Till next week!

Nina Garcia
Project Runway Judge and Elle magazine Fashion Director

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