Prom is one of the most important days in a young girl's life. Months of fantasizing about the perfect dress, hair, and date consume all thoughts leading up to the big evening. Knowing the photograph of you and your date in front of a beach backdrop, complete with plastic palm tree and beach ball, holding each other awkwardly, and smiles that evidently were instigated by a photographer counting to three and forcing you to say "cheese" will haunt you for the rest of your life. No pressure, but children of the '80s understand what I am talking about -- can we say pastel dresses, lace fingerless gloves, and two cans of hairspray?! That is why I think this week's Project Runway challenge was interesting because the designers had to exercise client relations as well as create a timeless, modern, and age-appropriate look for the girls' big night out. Although the clients in this particular challenge were teenage girls, the designers were still expected to listen to their specific needs and translate it into a whimsical look regardless of how outrageous the demands. Case in point: Christian. I related to his design and thought that he approached it with the only direction he knew to -- high fashion. When I watched the episode last night I saw what a challenge it was for Christian to effectively communicate with his client. She had her own vision of what she wanted and really entertained the fantasy of prom dressing -- wanting gold, sequins, lace, black, white etc. I think that Christian really appeased his client by incorporating his style sensibility with her outrageous limitless vision. Christian's inexperience and age came through when they presented their looks on the runway, when he tried to blame Maddie for her dissatisfaction and refused to take responsibility and defend his work. Christian's struggle, which will evolve with age, is that he needs to learn how to listen to clients. It is the job of a designer to be tactful when working with difficult clients and make them believe that they have control while infusing your expertise.
Victorya owned this challenge from the minute her look came down the runway. Her blue, multicolor jeweled mini dress was chic, modern, and fun! I am in love with this look! If they had prom in Colombia, this is what I would want to wear. Watching last night's episode it was interesting how Victorya changed her design concept last minute, taking a risk by owning her experience, and did not allow her client to dictate the outcome of the dress but still effectively executing a look that satisfied both parties. Victorya did not compromise her design integrity, yet put her client's satisfaction before her own, making her the clear winner.
Prom dressing is a time of fantasy, where young girls can feel grown up and glamorous. But the lines of what is classy and what is not can sometimes be blurred. Kevin was disappointing, considering that he was from the town where the girls attended school and expressed that he understood what kind of dress they would like. What I like about watching the episodes for the first time with everyone else is that I am able to see the thought process behind each design and the obstacles they endure. That said, watching last night's episode I really am not sure where Kevin's head was during this challenge. He seemed to have great momentum but failed, producing a poorly executed cheap dress that was unflattering and lacked youth. His elimination over Christian was a clear choice. Despite Christian's poor execution and tactless relations with his client, his dress looked expensive and high fashion and highlighted his strengths whereas Kevin seemingly worked well with his client, but his dress was not youthful and was tacky, ultimately resulting in his elimination. Although that I did not attend prom, I loved this challenge because I felt like I vicariously was going to prom with these girls. I think that Victorya's dress represented what prom is all about this season -- vibrant color, embellishment and youth. The important thing is to dress for your body and wear what makes you feel most comfortable. The rules are that there are no rules, so go long or go short, the most important thing to wear is confidence, and do not let anything ruin your memorable evening. With prom right around the corner, e-mail me your style dilemmas and I will help steer you in the right direction.
Till next week. Xo,
Project Runway Judge and Elle magazine Fashion Director