Andy Responds To You!
Andy answers viewer mail about Project Runway's Everyday Woman episode
Well, I asked for your opinions of Wednesday's Everyday Woman episode and I got them! Thanks for all of the posts and emails. I have read them all and am going to ATTEMPT to address your comments.
Before I do, let me give a shout-out to Entertainment Weekly for featuring Tim and Heidi on their cover! The issue hits stands today and I am thinking this is a collector's item waiting to happen (or not) -- so get one soon and at the very least put it on eBay and see how rich you get (or don't).
Also lemme tell you that I'll be on CNN Showbiz Tonight this evening discussing the issues we've all been discussing on Andy's Blog the last couple days and I believe Miss Najimy will be joining me for that discussion. And let me ask you to keep your fingers crossed for us all at the Emmys on Sunday night. I'm heading to LA this morning to join the Magical Elves, Tim and all the Runway crew to see if we overcome "American Idol" and the rest.
Now ... your comments:
YOU: The way you had the designers choose the moms was awful -- the larger women got picked last and that was excruciating.
ME: I agree. This was unfortunate and we frankly did not predict this happening, nor had we seen any of the moms beforehand when we decided how to pick. We did not know anyone's size and unfortunately did not anticipate this happening. We saw it as it happened just as you did, and there was no way to stop it or change it in the edit.
It was, for me, the low point of the episode. The producers and Bravo wished that we could've changed this after we saw the show, but it was done.
YOU: It was lame, needless, and cruel for people to not design for their own moms.
ME: Sorry, but I disagree. We loved mixing this one up with random combos that challenged people to work with new clients with the underlying drama of their being related to their competitors. Yes, it would've been sweet to pair the moms with their own designer kids. There are twists in almost every episode of Project Runway just like there are twists in fashion and just like there are twists in other TV shows! With the exception of Jeffrey and Angela's mom, the client relationships worked well and challenged everyone.
YOU: There was not enough time for this challenge.
ME: There is not enough time for almost every challenge! That's part of the show and yet the designers come pretty close to making it work every week. There is a challenge coming up in two weeks with an absolutely insane timeline that becomes a big topic of conversation within the episode. We actually extended the shooting schedule this season to provide some more time on various challenges and to build in some rest for the designers, who usually get very burnt out.
YOU: It is not fair to compare clothes for a size 12 to a size 8 -- it's comparing apples and oranges, and the designers with thinner models had an unfair advantage.
ME: People come in all shapes and sizes and our goal was to present a random group of real people (who we had not seen when we developed this challenge) and see how the designers did. If this is about everyday women, then why can't we compare clothes on a variety of everyday women of different shapes, ages and sizes?
I don't think Vincent had a massive advantage. Uli's mom had a real person's body and was a mature women and he dealt with it in the same way that Uli designed something great for another real person's body and age range. The judges have seen clothes meant for Banana Republic and Macys that are meant to be mass-produced in various sizes, so they should be able to discern between these women and look at overall design and fit and innovation for the everyday woman.
Perhaps the bigger issue is your often heard concern that.....
YOU: The judging is flawed and Uli should have won.
ME: We are tallying four scores of four different people who, though all leaders in various facets of the fashion industry, represent different viewpoints and tastes, and fashion is incredibly subjective. When the scores were tallied in Episode 1 of this season and the judges gave Vincent a pass because his garment was well-made despite the hat, I was flummoxed. Fashion is subjective. What you see going down the runway one way, I may see totally differently. I personally agree that Uli should have won and, for that matter, I thought Jeffrey should have won last week and Vincent should have left then again. So there.
YOU: This season is too negative and Jeffrey's behavior last night was distasteful.
ME: I disagree about this season being overly negative. Please go back and have a look at Wendy Pepper and get back to me. We have some strong personalities but I personally don't view Jeffrey or Laura as villianous. I think they are just incredibly frank, but maybe that's just me. I think Jeffrey was in a bad spot and it is tough to defend someone who made a plus-sized mom cry. My dime store analysis is that she was passive aggressive and he was really harsh with her and the two just kept feeding into each other. There was a lot on the editing room floor between those two. Again, he made a mom cry so what can I say?
YOU: It was distasteful and sad to watch people's attitudes/disdain towards designing for plus-size women. It did more harm than good.
ME: People have been begging us to create a challenge where we design clothes for real (non-model) women for three seasons. We tried to do so in the spirit of the show, which is fun, honest and accepting. We were not going to edit around people's honest reactions towards going out of their comfort zone to design for full-figured women. There were some designers who embraced it and did a good job and others who absolutely were stumped.
In thinking about your reactions to the episode, perhaps the sad truth that this portrayed is that the fashion community as a whole does not know how to handle designing for plus sizes. Some designers embrace this and others don't touch it. I remember seeing Calvin Klein on "Larry King Live" years ago and a woman called in and said she was a large size, but big fan of his clothes. She asked him when he would start designing clothes for women like her. "Never," he said. He told her to buy patterns and make them herself. It was one of the saddest things I have ever seen.
I think we inadvertantly touched on some harsh realities within this episode that are upsetting. Obviously we meant this to be as fun to watch as all the rest, but maybe there is some good in provoking this discussion and thought. For me, these have been all valuable issues to consider.