Realistic But Not Extreme

A great challenge to celebrate a terrific feat!

Kudos to whoever thought of this challenge: realistic but not extreme, inventive but relatable, and models who really seemed to love walking down the runway! I gasped when I heard the amount of weight that some of these women had lost... 169lbs! AMAZING! Granted, it was still a very difficult task for the designers to cover so many basis, while still being relatively confined, but I thought that there were some really fun pieces... let's get started! rate_runway_05_405.jpg

Though I hear that people are griping about him designing the same jacket twice in the first few episodes, I really thought that it was a great match for this challenge. He toned it down and made the proportions much more approachable, and used the contrast of matte/shine to bring some visual interest to the jacket. Everything seemed to fit her very well, and though, as a rule, I despise Capri jeans on woman, I feel that it is modern enough to keep her looking hip, but still like a woman (as opposed to those creepy older women who wear their daughters clothes thinking they look sexy... I actually once saw a woman wearing a t-shirt that said "I'm easy"...while walking with her 5yr old daughter. I vomited.). rate_runway_10_405.jpg

Obviously there was more against Steven than his design (construction issues were quite evident), but I'm a bit torn about the original wedding dress. It's tricky because the challenge was to create something for their "everyday life", and lord knows that a thousand and one ideas came to mind when I first saw the dress - cause honestly - even that was salvageable, but how to make that much beading appropriate for everyday was the hardest part. I know someone like Laura Bennett would scoff in my face and pronounce something fabulous like "Darling I change diapers in couture!" but still, that's a lot of white and a lot of beading for daytime. Even if he made it into a chic cocktail number, though he may have gotten flack for it not being "everyday" appropriate, I think it still would've saved him from the chopping block. rate_runway_04_405.jpg

I thought that the color combo of the navy and cerulean blue are lovely, but I know that these women would all benefit from a bit of structure in their outfits. I'm obviously aware of the constraints Chris was in, but perhaps pairing the skirt with a wide belt from the overly-blatant product placement wall it would've given the well-needed balance to the outfit. Granted, the shoes and choker were all wrong, but at least he's back with a second chance, which is a hell of a lot more than most designers get. I guess we'll have to postpone out hot coco date for at least another week! rate_runway_07_405.jpg

Now here is the structure I was talking about... unfortunately the design is a bit haggard. Volume is a great thing when on the right body, and I guarantee that women, who have spent their adult lives in clothing that "tents" their body, really want to show off all of their hard work off. Make the hem less choppy, lob off the back tail of the red jacket, and some more interesting design details throughout would've made this look work for her client. Oh, and calf-length black leather boots are extremely difficult for most people to wear as it visually chops their legs off... and it kinda screams "the mall" to me. rate_runway_02_405.jpg

The color and shape are very nice, and though I feel she was a bit sneaky ditching the fabric altogether (I don't see trim as counting), I think the final look is fairly good. Same concern with Chris, I think adding some structure like a nice belt, would've really defined the waist a bit more and made it a bit more polished and smooth. The overall shape is great for her body, and most women, and really lets HER stand out. rate_runway_09_405.jpg

I think if this was "The Clothes Off Your Back" challenge from Season 2, Kevin would've taken the gold. I don't see any semblance of a bad, boxy blazer anywhere in that design, and kudos to him for making a nice shape and cute top out of something so eehhh. Same comments as Kors about the leggings, especially paired with ankle strap shoes - these women want to look taller and leaner, stop chopping them up! As it was, it wasn't "everyday appropriate" in the judges eyes, but something tells me that his model was in love with her new look and would be more than happy to look and feel as good as she did on the runway! rate_runway_08_405.jpg

I actually like the idea of this dress: the contrast of prints (which is definitely becoming her signature), the proportion is great, and the color works for me. I think it could've used a little more refinement all around, especially in finishing like the under skirt (?) and the dinky little bow in the back. Then again, that's the story of Project Runway as a whole isn't it? With just "a little extra time" it could've been great... oh well, I think it's cute and looks great on the model, and snaps for putting her in a peep-toe shoe WITHOUT an ankle strap. rate_runway_11_405.jpg

This is the structure I was talking about! I think it works great with the fabric he had to work with, and is balanced beautifully with the soft gathering of the top. I actually think that his model looks the most svelte from pre to post designing, and she's glowing, look at her she's LOVING it! I also admire how Rami was able to take a garment used formerly as a jacket, and successfully make it into a cute skirt (or I'm assuming as the front buttons look like a sleeve placket). Polished, clean and sexy, I don't know why he wasn't in the top 3... rate_runway_03_405.jpg

Sheers are a tricky thing, especially in a nude fabric, ESPECIALLY for someone who isn't 16 years old and size 2. The trim is nice enough but it's just kinda "nice", no pop, and unfortunately we're yet again perpetuating the idea that jean Capris are ok... I don't get it... I just don't. These are creative people designing to be "America's next great designer" and they're sending down jean Capris!... oy, I need a drink. rate_runway_01_405.jpg

Sweet P
The look is very Sweet P, which is good, as well as a universally flattering design for most women. It fits her fantastically and is a great color, but I wish it would have more "pop" as well, which is what I guess the critique always is... it's nice, but is it fashion-forward enough? Though I think Sweet P is a doll for crying throughout the entire episode - I'm a sucker for the nice guys. rate_runway_06_405.jpg

Although the updated dress is fit well and relatively flattering, I feel that it misses the mark as far as 1) making it appropriate for everyday use and 2) making it feel modern and fun. Granted, forest green velvet is tricky enough to work with, and honestly, I'm at a loss for what I would've done, so a few snaps to Victorya for at least making something sewn and fit well, out of nothing.

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What's Next

Words of advice to Leanne, Korto, and Kenley.

Leanne put together something that was interesting and sophisticated and it definitely had a point of view. In a weird way she managed to have a focused collection that still had variety. She took an idea and she stretched it. The clothes were young as well as sophisticated at the same time.

What's next for her? Well, everyone thinks that they have to put on this big runway show and that's not necessarily always the case. I think her clothes are very much about seeing the workmanship, the detailing and all that, so I definitely think she's got the goods to do her own thing. I don't think she should feel obliged to do a big show right away. I think there's something to be said about things growing slowly and organically and that might be better for her. Then people can really see the clothes up close, because when you put the kind of workmanship into something that's understated, things can get lost. She could do a fun presentation, maybe, or a still life on mannequins. I don't think she necessarily has to rush out and put on a whole show. I think her clothes will be appreciated in both Europe and Japan so she should probably think about bringing it over her line to Paris where you're going to find more of the European buyers as well as the Asian buyers. Once again, I think her clothes will do really well in Asia. I think they have an understanding of sophisticated workmanship. You're not going to see her clothes in the local mall. They're not for that. She's got to keep it high-end and sophisticated and keep her focus, which I think she will.As for Korto's collection. I remember the beads well. There was one asymmetrical dress where the beads were built in and I loved that. Everything she wanted her collection to be - ethnic without being costume-y, playful with color - she managed to hit that with certain parts of the collection. But I think the necklaces, when they were just necklaces on their own, looked added.

With Kenley the reality is you have to have a confidence in what you do and you have to believe that you're right. A designer needs a big ego because you really are going around and telling people "You're wrong and I'm right." But I think that there are ways to do it gracefully. It's the kind of industry where you're always going to have good feedback, bad feedback, or sometimes no reaction, whether it's the woman in a store, the buyer, or the press. It's always a public thing, not a private thing. The important thing to remember is as much as it might burn you when someone criticizes you, the real reality is you don't have to take it totally verbatim. I think she takes things totally verbatim. And one can listen and say, "I got what you're saying but I'm ultimately going to do what I want to do, thanks for the input" and maybe you will learn something. You should learn something. When you think you know it all at 25 then your career's going to be really short. The whole point of fashion is that you never know it all. She's gotta learn how to keep her point-of-view and her confidence, but learn how to be a little more of a lady. Granted, being tough never hurt anyone in fashion.She's obviously got a point-of-view. She's got a great hand. The painting on those clothes was just gorgeous. In general, the quality and the craftsmanship of everything she sent out was beautiful. But I think when people are dress designers, which is really what she is, it doesn't make for the most compelling fashion show. It might make a very nice line. I think that in history there have been a lot of designers who are "dress houses," so to speak. They don't do a whole collection and they can have very successful businesses. It's hard to tell a varied story when you are so specifically dress-oriented and especially when your look is so particular. So I think she could put a line together and do very well with it. There's always going to be someone who likes something feminine and flirty and she's another one where I don't necessarily think the runway is always going to be her best friend. I think the greatest thing that has happened from the show in the last five seasons is that it's certainly made people aware that their clothes don't just appear in their closet. It's kind of like knowing the farmer who grows the crop. Suddenly you have an appreciation for the food that's on your table. I think that Runway has really opened people's eyes to know that this is an incredibly difficult endeavor and it takes real tenacity and talent.

I think that's the greatest part of the show for me. I'm a real fashion person so when something turns the corner and I think it's really spectacular that's the greatest moment for me. When Christian's show started and I saw the chicness of this 3-Musketeers silhouettes I thought "Wow." Same thing with Leanne. I look at the whole thing lined up and I think this is what we're here for. I'm happy when it looks great. My other highlight is sometimes just losing it laughing. Whether it's the wrestling challenge or... just losing it laughing in general! As much as I love it all and we are excited about it and spend so much time doing it, at the end of they day, they are just clothes. And sometimes it's good to just laugh about it all.

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