Monday, August 30, 2010

Emmys 2010: they pay stylists for this?

So.  Kim Kardashian was the best dressed woman on the Red Carpet.  It truly is the End of Days.

January Jones wearing breast plates and cellophane.  Honey, don't hate yourself because you're beautiful.

Heidi Klum -- short, tight and shiny.  WHAT a surpise!!!

Ariel Winter (really?), got lost on her way to the Prom.  In 1986.
Christina Hendricks looking like the madame of a Virginia City cathouse, and the drapes of a Virgina City cathouse, and the couch of a Virginia City cathouse . . .

Jewel, wearing Granny's doilies.

Naya Rivera, who borrowed a costume from a dinner theater production of West Side Story.

If you haven't guessed, I did not like what most of the women wore to the Emmy Awards.  Most of the gowns looked alike -- bloated, over-decorated, decorated and navy blue (the navy blue brigade deserves a separate post, if I have the energy to write it).  And to think, most of these women paid a stylist to choose a dress, and those stylists all picked the same, damn, dress.  I think the actresses could have done better if they browsed the collections at, identified the trends (yoo hoo, minimalism is the latest thing -- look into it), and spent the afternoon shopping at Nordstrom.  Or got the costume designer on their shows to pick out something for them.  OR ANYTHING.

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Project Runway -- back from the dead?

I've been composing an obituary for Project Runway ever since it moved to Lifetime – and then, and then, last week, the Lady Parts channel broadcast an episode that intrigued me as much as Bravo's early and wonderful episodes did. And by that I mean that after the show I wasted a whole lotta time thinking about How It Should Have Been Done and How I Would Have Done It. Lord knows the show gave me plenty of material to work with: hats from Phillip Treacy, contestant designs from hunger. But before I tell you what was wrong with the garments, and how I, in my clothes obsessive way, would have made them right, let me tell you what's wrong with the show:

(1) Too much Heidi. Yeah, yeah, she's a magnificent example of Nordic womanhood, but she has no taste (I mean, girlfriend is a 37-year-old mother of four, but she still lives for short, tight and shiny) and she's not that witty. Heidi was more amusing the first season when she was a basically a blonde automaton with a wonky accent. Last season, when the shows were All About Her, I was so bored I thought my brains were going to melt and leak out of my ears. Design a cover look for Heidi! Design a red carpet look for Heidi! Design a merkin for Heidi! Okay, the last challenge, had it been real, would have been unique, at least . . .

(2) Too many staged interviews, not enough work room drama and trash talking. What is it with competitive reality show producers? How many times do they have to cue up a one-on-one interview in which the contestant says "I've been in the bottom three [fill in the blank] weeks in a row, I really have to step it up" . . . ? I've never heard anyone in real life say " I have to step it up," but in reality shows this same comment is made so often you could turn the phrase into a drinking game. And of course we all know that as soon as a contestant makes that comment, they're gone . . . Meanwhile what made the early shows so entertaining was the way TPTB just pointed the cameras at the contestants in the work room to catch them breaking sewing machines, hiding muslin, throwing tantrums, crying, trashing each other and generally entertaining the crap out of the viewers. More of that, less "stepping up" please.

First, the credits: the photos from Project Runway (hereinafter "PR") were all borrowed from Tom & Lorenzo's blog, which is really the only PR blog you'll ever need.  Bless.  I wouldn't bother to do any posts  about PR myself except I have way too much to say, with illustrations, to put it in comments.

And now, on to the episode: the challenge – to make a dress that complimented one of Treacy's extravagant hats. The results left me thinking that the designers were either blind or living in a parallel universe . . .

This shorts outfit is April's offering, and the peculiar bottom earned her a place in the bottom two (no pun intended). She looked at the hat and thought: "resort wear," and made high-waisted shorts (verily, an invention of the devil!) I look at that hat and think Chinese, futuristic House of Flying Daggers Chinese, to be exact. Instead of diapers, imagine this hat worn with a cheongsam made out of some unconventional material, a Lady Gaga cheongsam, in some shear fabric appliqued in strategic places with futuristic peonies and studded with pearls. I can't find an exemplar of my fantasy cheongsam, but check this out:

This vintage cheongsam is for sale at Black Light Vintage Cothing, which has quite a collection of '60s and '70's cheongsams in funky fabric. Fun. And nothing about these dresses is reminiscent of diapers.

Val had a gorgeous beaded lace mask to work with, and she produced this sad pink schmatta with a stretched out, ill-fitting bodice (interfacing is your friend), accessorized with an undersized shrug adorned with pointless zippers. That's another trend I wish would die a sudden death – exposed zippers The fact that this thing wound up in the top three is an example of Heidi's insidious influence. Surprise! The dress features the boobs! Heidi's got boobs! Heidi wants to show her boobs at at every opportunity! Phillip Tracey fairly choked over this choice, because it bears no relationship to the hat, but hey, forget it. Boobs!

Val congratulated herself on not doing the obvious and making an evening dress, and a couple of the judges agreed with her. Baloney. When I saw the mask I immediately thought Der Fledermaus, Un ballo in maschera, opera, ergo, something operatic and grand. For example, check out these beauties:

[Of these three gowns, the top dress is a Howard Greer gown for sale at Dorothea's Closet Vintage (do check the detail on this gown.  You will swoon!),   the second dress is a Victor Edelstein gown for sale at Antique (fishtail back!  I die!), the third, in pink, is a vintage Dior, one of the gallery pieces at Vintage Textile, which also has some to-die-for gowns for sale.]

Now imagine something similar in the palest pink or champagne, with a touch of black velvet on the bodice or at the waist, all to make the mask pop. Now, wouldn't that have been better than Val's . . . thing?

Peach had one of the best hats, but instead of making the super-sophisticated minimalist column that should be worn with such a hat explosion, she decided to cater to Heidi and produced something shiny, tight and short. And pink. I like pink, but there was way too much of the wrong pink in the wrong places this week.

I envision this hat worn with something white in the Narcisco Rodriguez - Victor Costa for Calvin Klein - Chado Ralph Rucci if-you-have-to-ask-you-can't-afford-it minimalist mode.  Perhaps with a little vintage flair, because that never hurts. Like so:

Damn, I love this pattern.  Of course the problem with doing minimalist design in a competition is that the judges may look at the garment and say, where's the design? To which the proper answer is, "less is more."   Heidi, probably, would hate anything that covers the wearer from neck to knee, but the answer to her objection is that when it comes to coverage and class, "more is more."

Michael D. looked at this hat and saw "warrior," and now that I look at it for a while, I get the Conquistador vibe. But I'm over the whole woman-warrior look; it's so Season 4.  When I saw the hat, I immediately thought: Flying Nun! And boy howdy, imagine the fun you could have doing kind of a Harajuku nun dress. Take an A-line dress, like one of these from Vintage


Make it short (yes, sometimes even I think short is good), add a white collar and cuffs, and maybe a Harajuku Goth Lolita-style petticoat, accessorize it with black seamed stockings or black thigh-highs, Mary-Jane pumps with 5-inch heels, and prepare to either go to the top or go home.

Am I done yet?  This week's episode of PR is on in an hour, I've got time for one more:

Oh, Andy, Andy, Andy. You told Tim that this hat made you think of the Ascot scene in My Fair Lady, (I think it was Andy, until PR gets down to about six designers I can't tell them apart) and then instead of some ethereal garment in black or white, you produce . . . this hot pink duvet cover. I see this hat worn with a 1930s afternoon dress, in white. Yes my children, this episode is giving me a white moment . . . several white moments, in fact.  Anyhoo, observe:

Isn't that crochet dress super fab???  It's actually a pattern for sale on ebay.  Please, someone out there buy the pattern, make the dress and send me a photo.  The photo of the tucked dress comes from

And now I'm pooped. To heck with the rest of last week's creations. Here's hoping this week's episode lives up to last week's, or I'll bury PR yet.