Thursday, September 28, 2006

Project Runway -- Uli über Alles

This was the episode that was to decide which three designers would get runway shows at Olympus Fashion Week (which we all know was two weeks ago). It was another anti-climax: the judges decided that all four should go, but in fact four ALWAYS show, one is just a decoy. Last season, however, the decoy, Kara Janx, sent out a collection that the fashion press dubbed the winner. I assume that the judges learned something from that, and rather than suffer the embarassment of making a bad choice, they let everyone play.

The challenge was to create a garment for Elle Magazine's First Look page. The look was to be "editorial," meaning, apparently, that the garment is photogenic and totally unwearable. The designers were to make a garment that would be representative of their Fashion Week collection yet shows the judges the designers could step out of their respective design boxes -- enough mixed signals, ya think?

As with every other final episode, the designers basically collapsed. Jeffrey designed a dress with an interesting bubble skirt and a wonky bodice. He was chided for stepping out of his box too much, although I bet that if he had made the dress all white his design would have received a warmer reception. A warmer reception from me, anyway, because then you couldn't see the weird top-stitching around the neckline. Laura made her usual lace and drippy-bead cocktail dress. She was chided for not stepping out of her box enough. Michael planned a gown with a complicated woven bodice, and got screwed when something like six hours was shaved off the designer's prep time so they could go out and take pictures of their outfits. His garment looked like it only had half a front. He was chided for doing a gown when his forte is sportswear. Uli started out making her usual Uli dress, got stuck, got unstuck when she wripped the oversized pattern on her fabric in half, and made the pictured vintage-inspired dress in about two hours. She even put a modified Watteau train -- actually more like a Watteau panel -- in the back. The judges loved it, I loved it, she won this challenge. I didn't notice until I saw the still photos that the beaded trim on the front oddly extends beyond the hem of the dress. Ah well, no one's perfect, especially on PR.

Uli, however, also incurred the ire of millions of viewers when she "stole" audience-favorite Michael's model Nazri. She was voted auf in the live poll during the show (although how "live" it is to Pacific time viewers is debatable). Humph, people, it's all about the dress!

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