My God, Anything's Possible
Finding the balence between staying true to yourself and the client's wants.
Steven's defense for making this all black dress with the thin white trim was that the fabric of the wedding dress was polyester and really cheap. But there was definitely stuff one could have done. There was beading, the dress was fairly intricate -- and Steven took the most luxurious garment on the planet and turned it into the most somber.
On top of that, one of the biggest challenges that any designer has to face is really appreciating the material that you're working with. Regardless of what the lace was made out of, the possibility is that lace is a very versatile fabric. You can make a lot of different garments, whether its polyester lace or not. And no one's touching it.
This may not be the lace that he would have chosen, but the visual of the lace was actually pretty.
I mean, it could've turned into hot pants and crop top. And he could've shown it with flat sandals and worn it to the Caribbean. I think he showed a full lack of imagination, and I think he missed the whole mark of being inspired to feel a certain way when you look at something. A wedding dress, I don't think you need to make another gown out of it, but my God, anything's possible.
Christian was the winner. And here's the part that jumps out at me. First off, everyone has a tendency to make dresses. And I think that although women love to wear dresses, people wear separates, that's how people dress all the time. And when people buy expensive clothes, they invest in tailoring. And tailoring doesn't have to be old-fashioned, and I think that Christian really zooms in on that.
There's a sense of polish, there's a tailored edge to everything, but it's not old-fashioned. I look at what he does with the tailoring, and I think that what he does is ageless. I think it's hip enough that someone young would want to put it on, yet impeccable enough that an adult would want to wear it also. Which is a big order to fill, especially at his age. I think that he definitely has a point of view about tailoring. It's got edge, but it could still go to an office. This episode, also has Chris returning to the workroom. Here's the thing -- he's a costume designer, and it shows. Each of the designer's experiences, or lack of experiences, can help or hinder. I think, from a construction point of view, making costumes, he certainly knows how to craft clothes. Especially when you make costumes, you might have to make something that looks ridiculous, and so you have to ask: how do I achieve that?
So, he does know how to do that. But I think that he's not dealing necessarily with the question of: how do you get dressed without looking jokey? A lot of that is presentation, and so I think that he tends to go very cliché. Which, in the costume world, is actually a good thing, but unless he wants to be William Ivey Long, that's not such a great thing. And I have a tendency to think that he would be one of those designers that, if he is going to show in Bryant Park someday, he's going to need to learn how to be a good editor.
If he was showing, and it wasn't on "Project Runway," he would need a good stylist to slap his hand. But I think he definitely knows how to make clothes, and also knows how to manipulate fabric. So, those are great things he gets from being a costume designer, but the way he puts it together could be questionable.
There are two things when you're dressing the "average Joe or Joanna" on the street: how do I show this person off to be their best, while also retaining a sense of creativity and a sense of yourself as a designer. To me, it's not enough to say to someone: "what would you like to wear?" It's no different than if we work with an actress to make a special gown or dress for her to go to the Oscars or the Grammys or something, I will say: "what did you have in mind?"
Did you want to have color, did you want to be neutral, do you want to be short, do you want to be long, do you need to wear a bra, do you not need to wear a bra, are you printed or not printed -- and that's what they tell me, and then I come back with sketches. I don't sit there and say: "You. Client. Design the dress."
So, I think that is always the challenge, because sometimes they have a tendency to go one way or the other. They either roll over and do whatever the client wants, or they just try to impose whatever they want. And I think if its really going to work, it has to be a kind of joint collaboration. You're listening to the client plus you're thinking about who you are as a designer.