Don't Fight The Fabric

This week's challenge relied heavily on creativity and problem solving skills!

What a great challenge this was -- I even loved having the modes go to pick out the fabrics! I think whenever the producers throw the designers a curveball like designing in either unconventional materials, or with fabric that was unexpected, it really shows who has the creative chops to problem solve. I think when Tim left the designers back at Parsons to take the models shopping, a lot of them began pre-designing their dresses, and some even began creating muslins. I think the biggest problem with working too far ahead is that the fabric (especially in this case) will dictate the design of the dress. When the clock is ticking and the stakes are high, its easy for "tunnel vision" to occur and to stay hyper-focused on one thing ... and I think that's what happened to a few of the designers; they were so wrought on making their original design work, EVEN IF it was fighting the fabric, that they ultimately ended up with overworked designs.

It's a shame because I think there were some decent ideas -- just a lot of poor execution.

Side note: Man there were a lot of tears this episode, weren't there???


I can just imagine Blayne shouting to his model as she leaves for Mood, "Make sure it's pink! Whatever it is -- get it in PINK!" I think this dress is what it is. It very much captures his vision: urban, colorful, bold, but I don't see a lot of finesse in it. I know there are a wide variety of "cocktail parties" but I feel this dress is more appropriate for a night out at the club (which can be argued as the same thing, I know ...). Nevertheless, I think it looks a bit clunky, though it still captures his point-of-view (POV) so congrats to Blayne for achieving that.


Not that we need ANOTHER Daniel on this show (Just kidding!) but doesn't this look like something Daniel Franco would design? I really dislike dropped hemlines, especially in this case as it doesn't really work on a short dress, though I do like the overall shape of the garment. Designing in such a heavy-looking fabric can be tricky -- it looks like velvet -- so I applaud him for keeping a lot of skin showing, as well as some volume in the skirt; it keeps it youthful and flirty. Overall, it's pretty forgettable in my eyes, but at least he made it till next week!


OK -- were they working side-by-side? Another dropped hemline? Overall, I think the dress is cute, and the way it's styled was nice as it brings in that nice tomato color which looks great on the model's tan skin. The braiding gives the dress some much-needed texture and visual interest, though unfortunately doesn't give it enough impact for the runway -- very cute close-up but with a typical color palate, and a bit of a day-time feel, I'm not sure if it woke the judges up.


I cannot believe that this dress didn't make it in the bottom three. I know it's harsh, but if Wesley's was called out for being TOO short, too tight, and too flashy ... what is this?! That being said, I do enjoy his combination of fabrics, and the blue color-story is very nice as you don't see much of this light cerulean blue for cocktail wear. Similar to Blayne's, she looks more appropriate for a night out at some cheesy club than she does for a cocktail party. The dress combined with the tight up-do, the harsh makeup and the distracting accessories just don't say modern to me.


Oh sweet Jennifer, I remember when she auditioned last year and was just so talented and so sweet ... a truly delightful girl to converse with. As far as the dress goes, it's completely wrong for a traditional cocktail party. The colors, fabrication, and style make it an excellent day dress but it lacks any sort of sparkle or pop for evening. Then again, for a cocktail party on the beach this would be the most-fitting dress of them all .... I guess if you're designing for the likes of Heidi, Nina, Michael and a young Hollywood starlet, the idea of having cocktails barefoot on the beach isn't really what they had in mind.


Joe, Joe, Joe ... this is the perfect example of NOT fighting the fabric. The design itself is altogether a bit boring and dated, but it looks impeccably made and fits her like a glove. I thought this fabric would never look anything other than cheap and messy, but here it is looking quite nice. Based on the two challenges thus far, I think Joe needs to step up his risk-taking for future challenges if he wants to make it far, we'll see if he's got something up his hat yet!


Yes Keith, you have a pretty face, but that doesn't mean you can pair shoes like that with a dress like this ... it just doesn't work my friend. The way the skirt is ruched reminds me of a curtain getting lifted, about to show her who-ha, but because she's smiling in this picture it gives me the impression that she doesn't seem to mind! Don't get me started on the fact that I'm over the dropped hem ... again ... and despite the fact that the dress itself isn't bad, it's just not that exciting.


Hmm ... this dress is representative of an Oscar win. You know how many Oscar winners, Halle Berry or Charlize Theron for example, win an Oscar for a great performance and then immediately follow it with a Blockbuster bomb? Well, this is the equivalent of Catwoman or Aeon Flux to me ... I just don't get it. I don't know what the asymmetry is accomplishing besides making the bust look lopsided and like she ran out of fabric, and though it's well-fitted, like so many others, it just comes off as too tight and too short. Maybe I'm just getting old and becoming a prude? I just don't think a cocktail dress should look like it was bought from American Apparel's eveningwear collection. (Wow, I'm really beginning to get snarky ... I'll just blame it on the clothes though).


Like the judges said, I thought this dress represented the more elegant, mature side of the "cocktail party" criteria. It fit Shannone like a glove (BTW I think this year's BEST model is between Shannone and Tia ... could they walk any hotter!?) By keeping it simple everywhere else the focus goes straight up to her face, and what woman wouldn't want that?


This was definitely a big disappoint for me as I really was rooting for Korto. I think she brings a very different perspective to fashion than the rest of the 20-something females on the show and I think that fashion, and this show, needs that. I applaud her for trying something different, but as discussed over another designer's work, editing is a very important part of designing and I too don't know a woman would willingly want to have larger hips. That being said, I really enjoyed the muted gold color palette, and the styling of the hair and necklace, both of which brought some drama to the hum-drum dress. C'mon Korto! Pull it together for me -- I know you can do it!


I adore the shape of this dress; it really is what's happening in fashion right now for the "young cocktail group" -- a way to do short without looking slutty. I agree with the judges that it just looked way too busy (five dresses in one) and if she had simply stepped back and looked at her own outfit that she was wearing during the challenge, she would've noticed that not every dress needs to have everything and the kitchen sink.


I can't believe that Stella is growing on me, especially after I had completely wanted her gone after the first challenge. I think it was some of the witty comments she was spitting off in the workroom, and anyone who can get Blayne to close his mouth for just a minute is OK in my book. Anyways, I think the dress is nice, not the most earth shattering, but overall it shows some really nice skills on her part: solid sewing, restraint, and a distinct POV. I'm excited to see what Stella would send down the runway if she was really let loose ... c'mon biker challenge!!!


I'm going to be honest, I really didn't understand when the judges (I think it was Michael or Heidi) said that this dress didn't look overworked, because to me it seems quite apparent. Don't get me wrong; I really love the energy that the dress exudes, and how it is one of the few that really straddle the sexy/demure line that a cocktail dress should evoke. I think that the fit could've been tweaked a bit, and the finishing seemed a bit rough, but you can tell that the design concept was there -- and that truly is the most important thing.

To me, Terri is a sleeper. I think both of her designs thus far have been very nice, well-edited and executed, and though they aren't showstoppers, they're clothing that I know many women would actually want to wear. That being said, I think to survive on Project Runway and to make the world remember who you are, it's important to shake it up a little. I think Terri has some skills and I'm excited to see her push herself more with color and shape ... then we'll be talking about her!


As I mentioned in the beginning of this blog, keeping on one track can be a dangerous road, and though Wesley wasn't given the best materials to work with, I do think he's a better designer than this. You can tell that it really was a matter of overworking the fabric, trying to make it do what it didn't want to, and despite his better judgment (didn't he even say that he was worried that the satin would show every problem before he even started making the dress???) he couldn't veer off the path. In a real studio, similar to Project Runway, problem-solving is a part of the everyday and a designer should be able to find a way out. Even if it's out of their comfort zone or something completely new, I do think Wesley could've produced something much better if he had taken a step back and started from scratch. I know that he is a very sweet guy and an extremely hard worker; I wish him the best of luck in taking his next step.

Big kisses! XXXX

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