A Rough Week
Not seeing eye to eye with the designers or Tiki Barber.
This episode was a hard one, even for the judges. What can I say? I was disappointed with all of the designs and had a hard time finding a common ground from which to judge. Menswear is often underestimated and overshadowed in an industry that is ruled by women's fashion. Where there is more flexibility in designing women's clothes -- through color, fabric, and varying silhouettes. Menswear designers have a greater task at hand. With men it is all about the fit. Whether it is a basic trouser, button-down shirt, or suit, there is nothing more tragic than seeing a man walking down the street with an ill-fitted suit on. A woman can easily get away with a shapeless and simple silhouette that can look rich by adding decorative accessories, but there is a fine line with men's because clothing can look very cheap if it is not made well.
Watching the episode for the first time, I was able to see the difficulties that the designers endured for this particular challenge. Tiki is a man who enjoys clothing and is aware of his body and what works with his athletic physique. He has a wide neck, slim waist, and likes the length of his jackets to cover his behind. He prefers a dark palette but is not opposed to color, pattern, and details, but he also wants comfort. Mr.Barber certainly had quite a list of requirements. I have to admit that I was not entirely in agreement during the deliberations with either top choice. However, ultimately it is not my decision because I am not the one that has to wear it on TV! Here are my thoughts on how the designers performed:
Kevin's outfit revealed a few imperfections -- no button holes in the vest, some pins. Regardless, he had a concept! He was clever and really listened to what Tiki wanted -- bold color with his lavender button-down and patterned tie and matching pocket square for a fashionable yet masculine look, or as Heidi commented "David Beckham," -- the ultimate metrosexual! Kevin also realized early on that he would not be able to meet the deadline and scaled back to a vest. The ultimate result was a pulled together look with attention to detail without too much. It is all about the details!
Ricky's look this week was really disappointing. I was upset to see him put a garment down the runway that was so poorly constructed with the hems being held together only by pins. I found it really disrespectful. Initially his plan was ambitious, but in the end he lacked execution. He should have listened to Tim's concerns and taken them into consideration, and maybe would have been a little bit more successful. Jack's outfit was Tiki's favorite. Although it was executed better than some of the other designers and had the bias pocket detail, I found it : A. Boring; B. Safe - he only produced two pieces and no layering; C. Was unoriginal -- he used his own pants as pattern -- although he asked -- only redeemable by the fact that he shared the pattern with the others.
Kit in my opinion had the best outfit. She listened to all of Tiki's concerns. The unstructured fleece jacket would look terrific with his broad shoulders and small waist, and it offered comfort. I also loved the double vents and thought that the khaki chinos and shirt looked fine. Kit's disadvantage was that she could have had a few more details -- a pocket square, some color -- to appeal to Tiki's aesthetic.
Carmen was stuck with little fabric and did not use her time effectively. Her jacket resembled a Members Only, and as the challenge winded down she realized that there was very little she could do to turn around her poor construction. She did try to make the best of the situation and styled her look in a unique way that distract her mistakes to look somewhat presentable.
Sweet P in my opinion delivered the worst look of all. The sleeves on her shirt were three-quarter length and had no collar, on top of the fact that her tie was extremely long. It was a complete and utter MESS!!!
I really loved all your input and questions and will do my best to answer as many as possible. Here are some often-asked questions. Please let me know what you think.
Ian, an aspiring fashion director, wrote that he would someday love to work for ELLE and inquired as a college student, what steps/course work (in college) are useful whene ntering a job in publishing? I think a strong liberal arts education is a solid foundation to begin a job in publishing. Courses in journalism, art history, and sociology are also beneficial tools. Essentially, whichever direction you choose to focus your education, it will give you a different strength that can foster new ideas and approaches to your future career. The key is to study what interests you.
An anonymous reader wrote in inquiring why anyone would want to be a team leader on challenges? Project Runway is reflective of what it takes to operate successfully in the fashion industry, and each challenge is a building block for skills that contribute to that success. In the case of why contestants would volunteer to be a team leader when it seems that they are the ones, if their team is unsuccessful, that are punished: As judges, the team challenges are an excellent way for us to see who is able to work in a team, whether in the leadership role or as an aide to a project. So much of this business is based on your ability to work well with others. For example, in my job I am constantly working with designers, photographers, and/or my staff as a leader and as a participant. It is a necessary exercise for any career.Lastly, a reader by the name of Lima Bean asked about the most important job I have -- about my new baby and motherhood. Out of all of the jobs I have had in my life, there has, and will never be, anything more rewarding than being a mother. It is amazing how having a child grounds you and really puts things into perspective. My child is my joy.
I love staying connected with the PR fans and encourage you to write in more questions that I can answer! Hope to hear from you.
Till next week!
Project Runway Judge and Elle magazine Fashion Director