Fashion is cyclical by nature. This episode of "Project Runway" is a perfect example of how everything that is old is new again. As I laid in bed watching the episode for the first time since taping, I could not help but laugh to myself. All of the seemingly outdated trends that were apart of last night's challenge-shoulder pads, fringe, neon etc. all happened to be huge trends on the spring/summer 08 runways.
Trend: Shoulder Pads
-This is not your Melanie Griffith Working Girl/80's shoulder pads
-Look to designers like Martin Margiela and Yves Saint Laurent for this trend
Trend: 70's Flare and Fringe
-The groovy boho look came back in a big way with fringe dresses, flared pants and paisley flowing dresses.
-Designers like Balmain, D&G, Prada and Roberto Cavalli showed Woodstock-uniform inspired collections that will have you saying "peace man."
Trends: Poodle Skirts
-Not your typical sock hop attire with matching twin set pearls and spectator shoes. Think a little bit more rockabilly, full geometric print skirts with tight leather jackets.
-Lots of different versions of this trend, both soft, like at Donna Karan and Bottega Veneta, to more funky, like at Gucci.
Trend: Zoot Suit
-Gangster style pin striped suits were tailored and chic
-Designer: John Galliano for Christian Dior
-A bright, acid 80's palette emerged from Spring with neon yellow, pink and green
-Shine bright like a Vegas casino sign with looks from designers Raf Simmons for Jil Sander and Giambabttista Valli
Trend: Underwear as Outerwear
-The pièce de resistance for spring taking looks that were once only reserved for the bedroom were brought out to the streets -transparent tops reveal a little bit of what's underneath -Designers to look at
-Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton Placed in teams of three, the designers were each given different trends, asked to create a collection of three cohesive looks that encompassed their respective trends and make it look modern and relevant. It was great to see how harmoniously some teams worked together and how other fell apart at the seams, literally.
Last team challenge, Rami and Jillian collaborated and really worked together in a professional and respected manner. They both have varying style, technique and method. Although they are both opinionated and extremely talented when it comes to challenges they have a respect for one another that allows them to create beautiful clothing without interfering egos.
With the addition of Kevin to the synched pair, Jillian's doubts early on Kevin's time management could have set back the team but she exercised respect and guidance which, in the end, proved to be a successful formula for the trio. Their three denim looks interpreted the trends in a modern fashion and no doubt in my mind was the most amazing collection! I absolutely loved it!
Chris lacked leadership skills, which ultimately contributed to his team's failure. Instead of insisting on one clear point of view and delegating tasks to his teammates, Chris approached the challenge with little direction but attempted to unify the collection by using the same fabric throughout the three looks.
This proved to be a disadvantage because he knowingly allowed his team to do their own designs and as a leader you need to be able to rally your team and keep all visions uniform. In the end, Chris failed not only to properly lead his team but also the direction of his own garment. The fabric he chose for his jacket looked like a print from your relative's house that has not bought new furniture since 1973! Looking back on the events leading up to the runway show, I was really disappointed by dynamic between Ricky and Victorya. Victorya assumed the role of team leader without having the confidence to step up to the plate.
Often fans email me why the team leader is always the one that is voted off and punished for having the courage to take charge? The team challenges are means for the judges to see how designers operate working with others, something that our wonderful guest judge, Donna Karan, and Michael Kors have built fashion empires with. Both of them are not only incredible designers but have constructed loyal teams that they work closely with, egos aside.
That is what bothered me most about Victorya. She was too insecure to assume a leadership role but was ego driven during the design process bossing disrespecting Ricky's insight and authority. In the end, when at the 11th hour, the bodice of her garment did not lay flat, I was surprised that she put her ego aside and listened to Ricky's advice because it ended up saving her and the team in the end.
It is impossible to survive in this industry if you are not able to be a team player. Some of the most noted designers, who really drive the trends-Raf Simmons of Jil Sander, Nicolas Ghesquiere of Balenciaga, Miuccia Prada and Marc Jacobs, all have incredible teams behind them that drive the brand. What makes these designers trendsetters is that their collections-whether through color, silhouette, or styling-will spark a spiral down effect which will be copied by other designers and price points for the following season and after that. These are the people, as editors, that we look at keenly.
I think this episode of "Project Runway" was truly representative of what is currently going on in the industry. Who knows what trends will emerge next season-you never know next season could be all about MC Hammer pants, mullets and whisker details on jeans. That is what keeps it interesting. I would love to hear your thoughts on the outcome of the episode and any questions you have. Post a question!
See you next week.
Project Runway Judge and Elle magazine Fashion Director