Thursday, December 09, 2010

Some belated sad thoughts about Project Runway, Season 8 . . . and more and better thoughts about Ossie Clark

I spent most of October drafting complaining posts about Project Runway, then spending so much time collecting my thoughts and pictures to illustrate my annoyance with said program, its contestants and judges, that the next week's episode was upon us and something else about the show annoyed me. Needless to say, all that pent up annoyance just overflowed when the pretentious Ms. Gretchen Jones was picked as the winner over Mr. Joyous-in-the-Face of Adversity, Mondo Guerra. Since then I spent more time than I care to admit reading the hundreds of comments at Tom & Lorenzo, sulking, and, obviously, not blogging.

All was not bad, however, because as a reaction to the Project Runway looks, which seemed to be very 70's influenced, I started looking again at 70's fashion, and remembering . . . oh yeah, the 70's, that blissfully ignorant time before AIDS awareness and the herpes epidemic, when people believed that cocaine wasn't addictive, suburbanites were swinging, groupies became superstars, the beautiful people were doing screwing in the dark corners of Studio 54, and Fire Island was one big orgy, was a damn sexy time. In case anyone didn't get the idea, the designers made clothes that were transparent, cut down to there and held on by a couple of strings, not to mention teeny-tiny hot pants that in no way resembled Granny's panties. But most of the faux retro clothes on Project Runway were not sexy at all, with the exception of Michael Costello's occasional foray into Halston territory.

To backtrack, my trip down nostalgia lane really started with the Hewlett Packard product placement design-your-own-print gimmick episode. In those episodes (a total of two, so far) technology and the creative opportunities are talked up, and the designers faked excitement over their chance to, well, design. Then most of them made garments that used the smallest amount possible of their mostly dreary grey and black prints, leaving me to wonder whether the contestants' print and color phobias arose because they are all colorblind, or because they're so self-absorbed that they've never looked at any clothing except the stuff they design themselves. For a print fetishist like me, watching those dreary messes come down the runway was torture.

All that made me think of Great Prints I Have Known, which made me think of Celia Birtwell, fabric designing star of the late 60's and 70's, which made me think of her husband, Ossie Clark, Designer to Rock Star Girlfriends. Thinking of Celia Birtwell and Ossie Clark is always a Good Thing.

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy by David Hockney, Tate Collection
Looking at vintage Ossie Clark clothing is an even better thing, for example:

Ossie Clark Print Blouse, Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ossie Clark Print Dresses featured at The Hoard Gazette
Look!  Prints and fabulosity!!!  Enduring fabulosity, in fact, given that vintage Ossie is always in high demand and very expensive. [To gaze on more fabulosity, print or otherwise, see the sold gallery at C20 Vintage Fashion.  To buy vintage Ossie, try Shrimpton Couture, Posh Vintage, or Vintage-a-Peel.   Alas, vintage Ossie seems to come only in size 0 – 4, being made in the days before breast implants and waistline inflation became endemic.  *Le Sigh*

But back to Project Runway, briefly. Gretchen did patterns for the finale, possibly to challenge Mondo on his own turf, but . . . brown? For Spring? I don't dislike brown clothing as much as I dislike, say, brown comforter covers (I own, for example, two lush and lovely brown mink coats – oh, get over it, they're both vintage; those nasty cat-killing, chicken-eating rodents would have died of old age long before now), and yeah, yeah, I know that there are no rules about color any more, but geez, when Mother Nature is throwing color around, don't you think designers should too?
Goes to show what I know: when I first saw Mondo's collection, way back in September, I saw his bubble dress and thought: "That's it, that's the winning look."  Heh.

Unlike everyone else in the world, I actually liked Andy's headpieces, in fact, I liked them better than I liked his clothes.

To sum up: Everything y'all thought and said about Gretchen's win is correct. I mostly said and I continue to say, "What the hell were they thinking?"

I am enjoying The Fashion Show on Bravo -- it's way better than last year.

No comments: