Cast Blog: #PROJECTRUNWAY

The Return Of Runway!

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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

The Return Of Runway!

Unusual and unexpected was the key to winning!

I can't believe we're back here already - it seems like only yesterday we were loving/hating Christian and the puffy, feather-filled concoctions he glamorously produced! Well, I'm back to dissect the runway looks from the newest batch of PR designers. (One of my qualms about the PR format is that there is no design discussion for designers who are "safe" and thus we really don't get a sense of what they were thinking).

With the first challenge, it's important to remember that the designers were asked to work with "unexpected materials." It's undeniable that any designer can create a pretty dress, but to do so in an unusual way is what the challenge was all about. It was meant to really test one's ability to be innovative. So, with the help of a DVR, Bravotv.com, and a little guessing, let's get started! Kenley
I LOVE the color story on this outfit. The multi-directional shiny stripes are paired well with the deep orange matte/texture of the top. Overall, it looks well constructed, which should ALWAYS be a given on this show - let's remind ourselves of that. The styling matches the garment: fun, flirty and colorful. Though I'd have to take away points for the lack of "innovative materials."

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Terri
When Terri started braiding her top together, I really thought she was going to end up with something spectacular. Unfortunately, the final design feels a bit lackluster to me. I don't find the final design that flattering, or that innovative. Perhaps if the top had been made into a dress it would have made more of an impact. And though I did like the color of the skirt, it kind of comes off as a filler piece, not a stand-alone. Overall, I think she had a good idea with the braiding/crochet, I just think she could've taken the design even further.

Suede
Hmmmm....It's not the fabric of the dress that gets me, it's the design. The combination of the slit, the halter, the choker necklace, and the high ponytail made the styling feel a bit dated. I haven't seen a modern woman wear that style since the early 90's. That being said, I do think that the material choice was extremely safe, considering what he had to work with. The colors are phenomenal, the electric blue really pops against the models skin, but overall, I think the design lacks depth.

Emily
Again, I find myself trying to figure out what the design focus was on her garment. It looks like Tim started scaring everyone by commenting on the lack of innovation, and noted how everyone and their mother seemed to be using tablecloths for their design, and so Emily stuck on a produce collar of sorts and called it a day. The fit is pretty bad as well, which isn't helping. Overall, I think it looks a bit haphazard and not well thought out. Leanne
Now here is an example of how last-minute changes can actually enhance the garment. The addition of the chocolates not only made sense color/texture wise, but also on the garment as a whole, which was a combination of sweet and sexy. I also enjoy how the skirt of the dress mimics the shape of the chocolates (like the shape of a Hershey's kiss), with gentle folds and a round, organic feel. I'm not sure what those white frothy bits coming out of the pleats are. But even though they make the dress a bit heavier looking, I do think that the inclusion of white helps keep the design interesting, with lots of detail to see!

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Jennifer
This design is nice, with a flattering shape, and I'm sure it's filled with many small details that we unfortunately can't really see. Overall though, I find it a bit boring, ESPECIALLY when considering the challenge and materials available. I also think the styling could have been pumped up, because the dress itself is a bit quiet, but perhaps Jennifer saw some of the other outrageous pieces and thought subtle was better. A safe bet this time, but she should take note that if Nina gets bored - heads roll!!! Jerell
Okay, if this is Jennifer's alternative to making a white dress more "interesting," than I'd suggest keeping it simple. I like that Jerell used a lot of different materials, but the whole design lacked initial direction, and the finishing is kinda killing me. The longer bits hanging off the hem, the off-balanced princess lines (especially with that fabric) and the circular disks just seem like they were stuck on willy-nilly. I think if Jerell had taken some of the various fabrics and brought them throughout the design, the overall effect would be more cohesive and less jarring. I do kind of love the hat though... very SJP/Sex & the City London premiere!

Keith
Adorable dress: fun, sexy and well made. It's just not right for this challenge. There's only so far a designer can go on this show. Playing it safe works, but eventually they must step up to the plate and risk a negative critique. Let's hope that Keith keeps making great clothing, but also clothing that fits the challenge and is a bit more risky.

Wesley
Wesley is one of two designers that I knew previously, both from my FIT college days. He is a sweetheart, and though he's a bit of an introvert, he's a very talented guy. I really like this dress, but I think he played it a bit safe, though not as save as Keith. I enjoyed how he snipped apart the plastic spatulas to create the texture on the dress. Like many designers this challenge, let's hope he takes a deep breath and dives in! Joe
Props to Bravo/Magical Elves for FINALLY finding an unchartered demographic: straight males with families. I already love Joe, because he just seems like a no-nonsense sort of guy. He's just so refreshing, especially in comparison to some of the queens exclaiming that they're the best every five minutes. I place him in the "Kevin Christiana" category: not the biggest risk-taker or the most fashion-forward, but someone who knows his strengths, and sticks to them. At first, I thought this design was a bit contrived and art-project-like. But looking at it from afar, I must admit that I kind of like it. The chevron pattern of the contrasting pasta, the fit of the oven mitt top, and the pair of shoes that not only match color-wise, but also style-wise with the rest of the look... not bad for a straight guy, not bad at all. ;) Korto
One word: DIVA. Not Korto, but this look. It reminds me of something Michael Knight would have sent down the runway, though less sexy of course. The garment was full of potent color, the styling was just right, and she designed a completely pulled together look. Fabulous my dear, fabulous. Attention people, I think I have an early favorite and her name is Korto... live it, love it! Daniel
Daniel was the other designer who I knew previously (ahhh, the hours spent toiling away in the workroom...memories...) Anyway, I digress. Coming from someone who knows his style, I must tell you that the design is stereotypical Daniel. It's sexy, it's tight and it's full of seaming and details. His style is reminiscent of the Tom Ford Gucci era, so keep an eye out for explicit cuts and loads of detailing. Bravo Daniel, for taking such a risk with the material. How the heck you were able to give the model a waist with plastic cups is beyond me!

Blayne
Oh, Blayne. We have to wait and see if Blayne is one of those designers who talks a lot of talk and knows what he's actually saying, or if he just talks a lot. Overall, I don't mind the shape of the garment itself, with the booty shorts and the fullness on top. But I'm sorry, I just don't get the rest of it. I think my biggest issue is with the white panel, which looks randomly stuck to the garment. Why not carry the material through to make the design more cohesive?

Jerry
Okay, I'm going to admit it - I didn't think Jerry's garment was that bad. I think the styling is the thing that killed it for him. I applaud him for making two garments in a short amount of time, and for coming up with a "theme" of sorts, which is more than some of the other designers accomplished. I can totally see where he was going and I appreciated the look's quirky vibe. Most everyone else gave us cocktail dresses that fit into the "sweet/cute/flirty" category - Jerry's garment was drastically different and I applaud him for taking a risk. On a side note, I am a HUGE fan of FORM (his line) and if you haven't heard of it, get yourself to the new store down in SOHO. You'll find architectural dresses paired with intense draping, gorgeous clothing. Jerry, I'm sorry that the judges didn't understand your concept. Perhaps if the dress underneath was a bit more fun, the gloves were lost, and the cape was brought in, the whimsy of the design wouldn't have been overpowered by the "creepy" aspect that the judges felt. Congratulations on making it this far and best of luck to you! Kelli
I think Kelli's design was one of my favorite designs for this challenge - I just love the way that she incorporated so many different elements, yet kept the look cohesive and didn't let one element overpower another. I also give her bonus points for manipulating her materials. On Project Runway, like with most challenges of this nature, it's imperative to alter your materials in a way that makes them unrecognizable and unexpected, and Kelli has done just that. That being said, I do think she could have spent a bit more time on the coffee-filter boob covers, but alas, the model is a petite size so it works.

Stella
Stella would have been the one out, in my eyes. The design looks completely thrown together, and aside from the stitching, it blatantly looks like trash bag thrown around her neck and waist! I hope Stella can handle traditional fabrics better, because if her garment was any indication of her design level, I think she should be worried.

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.