Project Runway Recap: Season 8, Episode 2

Another week, another misguided decision by our judges. This week’s Project Runway had a run-of-the-mill but necessary challenge: design a look that represents the Marie Claire woman. Doesn’t require innovation, but it’s important to see early on who can just make a dress and follow simple directions. The interesting aspect to this challenge was that the winning designer’s look would be featured on a billboard in Times Square, which is an amazing prize, especially for so early on in the season. As such, the designers had to direct their models in a photo shoot with Marie Claire, and the judges took into account those photos during the scoring process. Unfortunately, Lifetime didn’t think to post those photos online, meaning that us devoted bloggers will have trouble taking the photos into account in our judging. But let’s forgive, forget, and start the bitchfest.

Also, my apologies for the lateness! The post was completed a few days ago, but my computer ate the whole thing and I had to start from scratch! Le sigh.

AJ


Design: This is one of those dresses that looks like it might be something special while it’s on the dress form, but once it hits the runway, the concept just falls apart. The corseted belt piece is interesting, and the design down the center of the dress is eye-catching and appealing. Of course the bright color is great for a billboard. But that black band that stretches around her back? Not a fan. It looks stupid on the model, and would highlight some very awkward fleshy areas on normal women.

Execution: Mistakes were clearly made. AJ did not intend for the skirt to puff out from under the belt the way it does – it looks like she’s wearing a small rectangular petticoat to keep that awkward shape. A few weeks from now, the judges would have torn him apart for that mistake, but lucky for AJ, they had bigger fish to fry this week. And the hem lays flat in front, but appears like a bubble hem in the back; another mistake that can’t be intentional.

Styling: Downtown club girl. Love the wild hair and the dark lipstick. The necklaces were great in theory, but there should either be less of them or they should sit a little higher on her neck, because that is a LOT of necklace on top of an already fairly busy look. But you can tell AJ thought about a head-to-toe look for a real woman, not just a dress.

ANDY

Design: The shoulders are fabulous; everything else is a mess. The purple stripe on the back of the pants was a rookie mistake – how could Andy have thought that stripe would flatter the model? And the shirt just has far too much going on.

Execution: Those pants are just sad! The fabric sags everywhere and the pants are far too long. They’re too tight at the top, too loose on the bottom, and an overall mess. But the unleashing of those cute little retractable sleeves was particularly wonderful.

Styling: Not enough. Also, is the makeup job bad, or is the model a bit fugly? Or both?

APRIL

Design: Great concept. Two-tone in very different fabrics, the trendy exposed zipper, the high neck and exaggerated shoulders – it’s all forward-thinking, modern, and chic. But the proportions aren’t exactly right.

Execution: The bust is a mess; that grey fabric just doesn’t lay properly. And it puckers in the back along the butt. And the top of the zipper is a huge distraction – she should’ve stopped the zipper where the grey fabric ends and avoided the challenge of sewing the zipper all the way up a different fabric with a high neckline.

Styling: Chic and simple. Good hair, good makeup, minimal accessories.

CASANOVA

Design: He put a naked girl on the runway last week, so of course he zips right from whore to matron. The design is beautiful enough, but on a billboard for Marie Claire? Maybe a billboard for AARP Magazine. I’m sorry, but who other than a lady-who-lunches would wear this outfit?

Execution: The front of the skirt is impeccably draped and looks incredibly expensive and well-made; the back is a puckering mess. I’m not crazy about the puffy sleeves, but I think he did it pretty well.

Styling: Hate the makeup and the shoes, but the necklaces are nice.

CHRISTOPHER

Design: The neckline and sleeves of that cropped jacket are simply adorable, but the skirt is boring and doesn’t feel like it goes with the top.

Execution: The skirt is two inches too long – the proportions are awkward. But the tailoring of the jacket, particularly in the back, is quite excellent.

Styling: Great hair – it’s Betty Draper meets 1940s Hollywood. The makeup is a little heavy, but I love the jewelry and the way the shoes match the yellow fabric in the jacket.

GRETCHEN

Design: The judges drooled over this like they’d never seen a jumpsuit before, even though jumpsuits have been basically the only thing on the red carpet and the runway for the past three seasons. The design is fine, for a jumpsuit. Except for where the pants tie around the calves in the back – that was an awful touch. I’m not sure the band in the middle or the pockets are particularly flattering, either.

Execution: There’s something awfully unflattering about the fit around her bum. And I don’t like the lower back cleavage that the V-neck back exposes.

Styling: Those shoes are fugly, and particularly with that length pant. The hair is barely passable from the front, but what the hell is happening in the back? She has a beehive comb-over. I can’t support that.

IVY

Design: What design? It’s a basic sheath dress with an extra hem. It’s about as boring as boring can get.

Execution: No glaring problems, but then, she didn’t exactly give herself much of a challenge, did she?

Styling: All the accessories are fine individually, but together, they’re a mish mosh. There’s nothing tying them all together.

JASON

Design: The more words a designer feels the need to use to describe a garment, the shittier that garment usually is. Jason’s design was no exception to that rule, as he droned on about infinity and his grandiose concepts. And so of course he ended up with a dress that was horrifically ugly AND had no visible connection to his original concept. That’s a pretty huge failure. And I understand that Jason got stuck with one of the heftier models, which doesn’t make his job any easier, but this “dress” would flatter absolutely no one.

Execution: One of the most poorly-constructed garments in Project Runway history. This was the second garment in a row in which Jason ended up safety-pinning the dress together at the last minute. And you don’t need a Parsons-educated eye to see that there’s NO way the use of pins was intentional.

Styling: No accessories, ugly shoes, and awful hair.

KRISTIN

Design: A mullet shirt (short in front, long in back) with saggy draping covering the butt and a skirt that looks like it got in a fight with a chainsaw.

Execution: It’s hard to tell what’s intentional and what’s not, which means that the entire outfit is a saggy, puckering, uneven, unfinished mess.

Styling: The hair is nice, but the scarf is too much and the shoes were a random choice.

MICHAEL C

Design: It’s basically a carbon copy of half the Alice + Olivia dresses I’ve seen on the runway, but it’s still a great design. Sexy minidress with an exposed zipper and draping in the front – all safe but solid choices.

Execution: No complaints here.

Styling: Great hair, great makeup, great shoes, and that necklace is to die for.

MICHAEL D

Design: This looks like something Kesha would wear on the red carpet, and I certainly don’t mean that as a compliment.

Execution: Either Michael D. made some errors, or he meant for this dress to be worn during a rectal exam.

Styling: Cute shoes, ugly bracelet. And the girl wearing this dress would not style her hair and makeup like that.

MONDO

Design: That skirt is one of my favorite garments in Project Runway history. Great fabric, funky texture, unique silhouette, creative draping. Body-conscious and flattering and totally chic. The matching embellishments on the leggings are to die for.

Execution: Perfect.

Styling: The shoes are cute, but I’m not loving the girly hair and makeup. I’d go a little grittier to counterbalance the sweetness of the outfit.

NICHOLAS

Design: Poor Nicholas was set on creating a cape out of a circle, and I can’t say why. But it was clearly a mistake. The long in the back, short in the front mullet skirt was an equally bad choice.

Execution: Is the hemline of the skirt supposed to be that crooked? I hate it whether it’s intentional or not. But the cape is well-constructed, and I actually don’t have any problems with the silk blouse.

Styling: Minimalist, but this look had so much going on that it didn’t need to be over-styled.

PEACH

Design: All of Peach’s ideas were headed for destruction, but this Barbie mess was the worst. A basic, boring dress with an ugly sash sewn on to make it look like it’s not just a shitty, dull dress. It didn’t work.

Execution: What happened to that neckline? Why is it so high, so crooked, so awkward? And the boxy shape is completely unflattering to the body.

Styling: What styling?

SARAH

Design: The proportions were clearly conceived without any regards for what a woman’s body actually looks like. But overall idea was strong.

Execution: I don’t know what it is about the strips of fabric, but they just don’t look right. They’re a bit too unfinished and sloppy for what seems like a tailored business garment.

Styling: The matching purse is amazing. I hated the shoes at first, but grew to love them.

VALERIE

Design: Excellent, original, youthful. Wonderful collar, perfect color, and the seaming in the back is fascinating.

Execution: Near-perfect. Very meticulously crafted.

Styling: Could have used a couple more accessories to make the look feel more complete.

For those of you who are keeping score, here’s the top and bottom according to the judges, followed of course by my humble opinions.

Judges’ Top 3:

1. Gretchen (winner)
2. Mondo
3. Valerie

Democracy Diva’s Top 3:

1. Mondo
2. Valerie
3. Michael C

Judges’ Bottom:

1. Jason (out)
2. Nicholas (out)
3. Peach (safe)

Democracy Diva’s Bottom:

1. Jason
2. Peach
3. Kristin


Next up: The Teen Choice Awards red carpet! Get all the latest updates on twitter: @democracydiva.

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