Cast Blog: #PROJECTRUNWAY

Not A Lot Of Fug

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Kenley Blogs Episodes 510-514

On The Road

The Real Winner

The Final Showdown

Leanne Speaks!

Finale, Part 2

What's Next

Tim Responds To Your Comments!

Love Is In The Hair!

History Repeating Itself

Garden Of Locks

Nature Calls

Rock 'n' Runway

Rock Steady

Rock N' Runway

Suede: Rockin' Out

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Take A Bow

Transformation

Joe: Straight Talk

Working Girl

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Best Of The Best?

Written In The Stars

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What's Your Sign?

I Saw The Sign

A Designer's Dream

Fashion Inside Out

Stella: Lovin' The Leatha

Double 0 Fashion

No Leatha, Mo' Problems

Making The Most Of It

The Fashion That Drives You

A Softer Edge

Fasten Your Seat Belts

Show Some Love

It's All An Illusion

Daniel: Oy Gevalt!

Good Queen Fun

Drama, Drama, Drama!

Joe: All Aboard!

RuPaul: A Drag Race

Not A Lot Of Fug

The talent is starting to come though- finally!

Another challenge done - another designer sent home. I feel at this point we're really starting to see who is consistently good, who has moments of greatness, and who is desperately trying to be remembered on reality TV. Considering this challenge was a fairly straightforward one - making an outfit that a woman can wear day to night is pretty much how most women dress nowadays - I was glad that I didn't see too much fug walking down the runway. Overall though, I wish there had been a bit more refinement and innovation. Don't get me wrong, some of them had pieces that were executed flawlessly, but then were paired with a supporting piece that looked kind of half-assed. I wasn't wowed by a full look - mostly just pieces within the look. That being said, let me know what your thoughts are after taking a read through!

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Blayne and Leanne
I don't think that Blayne or Leanne design for the "High-end woman working at a corporate job" type, and this outfit made that blatantly clear. I think that Leanne designs for herself (which is great) and Blayne designs for himself (there's a huge market of tweens) but unfortunately that led to a lack of focus on the actual client. I'm sure in Blayne's eyes, some of his 20-something working friends WOULD actually wear this to work... though they probably work at the local tanning salon where it's acceptable to wear something youthful and trendy. The other issue I have with this outfit was that there isn't anything particularly special about it; it looks like pieces you could buy at J.Crew and American Apparel, though styled in a way to make you think that it was something more.

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Kelli and Daniel
I couldn't agree more about what the judges said. I think that this design idea was decent, but the heavy-handed finishing and choice of fabrications really makes me question both of their taste levels. In this photo it doesn't come across too badly, but the close-up on the runway gave away much more. It appeared as though they chose two or three different black fabrics for the outfit, which I don't understand, because it gave the outfit a worn-out look, almost like the bustier had already gone through the wash many times before, the jacket a bit more, and the skirt had just been bought. I also don't think that even a fashion-forward career woman in her 40's would (or SHOULD) wear ANYTHING that shows her midriff, no matter how good it may be. Why not make it a dress? Why make the skirt so darn tight? Why not make it out of one fabric? Why such a cheap looking belt? Overall, I don't mind the 1940's style silhouette but wish that everything else had been rethought. I do hope Kelli's winning first look is remembered as her best - an excellent design that showed true originality and innovation. Congratulations on making it this far and best of luck with the new phase in your career!

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Jerell and Stella
Okay, I'm going to be honest, I really, really, really wanted to hate this look (I think a lot of that was because I was still left with such a bad taste in my mouth from Jerell's last debacle!) I didn't get the design at all when they were working on it in the workroom, but honestly, the overall effect leaves me somewhere in the middle ground. I find the combination of fabrics/textures/colors interesting and unexpected (much better then the typical black and leopard) and the overall shape is extremely flattering, especially for Brooke's body. I think that this team seemed more 50/50 than any other and you can see that completely in the design - Jerell's propensity for combining fabrications, Stella's rough and sexy approach to design... not bad. I agree that the leopard belt does come down to personal taste and for me it's a bit much, but I do applaud them both for taking a risk and making it work (Oy... I promised never to use that again.)

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Korto and Joe
I LOVED this jacket, I just love when Korto isn't afraid to bring lush color and luxe fabrics to the runway - this is just fab in my eyes! I also love that they decided to bring up the hem of the jacket to make it more proportional, and styled the belt at the natural waist to make it a bit more flattering, instead of low-slung on her hips. Those sleeves - fullness done right! It's bohemian, it's chic, and it would look amazing on Brooke - win win win. Now... the dress they got a bit lost. It was blatantly clear that there were execution problems, which leads me to ask the question, "Why not make it a simple tube dress?" It is extremely difficult to make a stretch fabric hug the body like it should, while still leaving an open back, and I'm surprised that neither Korto nor Joe thought of this beforehand. When I mentioned in the beginning of this blog that "some of them had pieces that were executed flawlessly, but then were paired with a supporting piece that just kind of look half-assed"...this is the one I was thinking about. Overall a fantastic statement piece - assuming that jacket stays ON!

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Keith and Kenley
I truly am a bit perplexed by Keith. He's sent out dresses that look like mundane versions of one another (girly silhouette, poofy-tucked skirt, etc) and then this week creates a skirt meticulously cut out of hundreds of chiffon scallops that simply exudes sophistication. I usually hate butterfly sleeves as well, but this print really makes the top look elegant (whomever is pushing these watercolor florals this season is doing a great job - you're right on trend!) I only think that the belt should've been restyled, it awkwardly rides a bit high on her ribcage and looked a bit cheap when viewed all together. Then again, I have no idea what sort of selection Blue Fly is offering, so I guess I should just be happy that they put one on her. Overall, congratulations to them both for working through their egos and creating something quite nice.

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Terri and Suede
I definitely can see this look working, but not without tweaking it for Brooke's character. The top is lovely, Bohemian, flirty and interesting, However the pants are black, bootcut, and boring, and look like replicas of what Terri sent down the runway two challenges ago (the night out in NYC). I feel this falls into the same category as Korto and Joe's design, a very basic supporting piece paired with something loud and eye-catching. Unlike the top 2 teams who took a risk and made looks with equally interesting tops AND bottoms, Terri and Suede just did one, which left us with a nice design, just not a top choice. On a show like this its okay to be "good" for awhile, but you have to pull out all of the stops to be on top... do you think either Terri or Suede can do it?

Finale, Part 2

Impressive work by all but alas only one designer can win.

Well, for me, this episode was the Project Runway first among Project Runway firsts! Why? Because I served as a judge for the first time (and, hopefully, the last time) ever. Here's the back story: Bravo and the executive producers approached me before our Bryant Park show to say that there may be a problem with our guest judge and, consequently, how would I feel about filling in. At first, my response was a roll-up-your-sleeves and "make it work!" form of positive thinking, but as I contemplated the reality of it, I pushed back and refused. Consider the following: I still had another visit to the designers that night and there would be a considerable amount of time needed to support them in the morning before the show. How could I be both a mentor and a judge and service their needs appropriately and responsibly? I believed that I couldn't. So, to make a very long story a wee bit shorter, we ended Thursday night's bevy of phone calls in the following way: Bravo and the producers would ardently search for a replacement judge and I would return to my work with the designers assuming that I would not be a judge If I were to be needed in that role, then I wouldn't be informed of that need mere moments before the show. Otherwise, I could be perceived by the designers (and anyone else mind you) as being duplicitous and insincere. That would never do. Furthermore, Kenley and I were engaged in an semi-incendiary relationship, and the worst thing that could happen would be for her to lose and have me perceived as being the reason why. Oy! So, we know what happened: Our guest judge backed out at the last minute, a celebrity replacement couldn't be found on such short notice, and I filled in. With 10 minutes and counting until our show, Heidi came to me and asked, "So, you're ready to do this, no?" I replied, "To be honest, I don't know. I have an altogether different relationship with the designers than you and Nina and Michael have. I don't know." Heidi reared back and asked, "Tim Gunn, are you telling me that with all of your years of teaching you can't put your relationships aside and look at their work impartially? I thought about her wise words and responded, "Of course I can! Let's go!" We hugged and kissed and off we went.

Don't ever wish to be a guest judge on the show! To be blunt, I don't know how the judges do what they do and as well as they do: The collections pass by quickly, you have to wrap your brain around each piece of each collection immediately, and you have to come to terms with some comparative assessment right away. AND, I had the distinct advantage of intimately knowing the designers' work, yet is was still daunting. In any case, it really was very, very difficult. And there was one very important dimension to this process: seeing the clothes walk. Generally speaking, I don't see them walk. Rather, I see everything static on dress forms. Walking is an altogether different experience and it brings everything to life. So, in that sense, my experience with each designer's collection couldn't have been fresher and newer.

Here are my thoughts about the three collections: Leanne WINS, and what a win it was! We saw all of the conceptual content that really is at the core of Leanne's point of view, and we saw it tempered and orchestrated with precision. As I said to her during the home visit: "I always trust that you will present masterful technique, but can you give your work feeling, emotion?" This was her personal challenge. And she did it All of the strong architectural elements that are Leanne were clearly present, but her looks possessed a buoyancy and an ease, an effortlessness that belied each items structure. Furthermore, her collection was the result of superb editing; had she not brought her critical eye and judgment to each looks and its relationship to every other look, then there may have been a different outcome. Kenley presented a strong point of view and excellent execution, neither of which were surprises, and both of which were appropriately lauded.

I loved Kenley's textile choices and her hand-painting, which was a risky endeavor, and the silhouettes couldn't have been more her. But when the looks walked, they possessed a stiffness that I wasn't prepared to experience. Static on a dress forms, her looks beautifully captured the essence of her inspiration: "painting the roses red" from Alice in Wonderland. (When I made my home visit to her, Kenley resisted revealing her inspiration, which confounded me. When she finally relented, she gave me an epiphany. "Now I get it!" I declared.) But when the clothes walked on the runway, they retained much of their static appearance; that is, most of the looks moved like stiff pasteboard. I could see Kenley's collection emanating a major "wow!" factor in an editorial spread in Elle, but I had a hard time imagining how they would or could navigate and function in the real world. Still, I loved the fantasy aspect of the collection and its other-worldliness. Korto fully embraced her African heritage and her Americanism. Furthermore, she was successful embracing that goal, which is no small task, especially since the entire collection could have been a costume festival. Her silhouettes, alone, told her story, and when you add the colors, textures, and jewelry, her entire collection was uplifted. Color is nothing if not subjective, and I applaud her decision to step away from the expected and mix up her largely taupe palette with vibrant greens and blues. And the jewelry? Well, from my perspective it was all inextricable from the larger aspect of her point of view and, more particularly, to the individual looks themselves. I loved it. Is her collection for everyone or anyone? Of course not, but whose is?

Congratulations to all!