Project Runway: The Season 8 Scorecard

Are you keeping score? This Diva sure is! Let’s kick it back to the beginning of the season and compare which contestant I thought should be the winner and loser with who the judges picked! Feel free to play along – I’ll link back to the recaps of each episode so you can remember who YOU thought should be in and out. (Thank you to Lifetime for providing the challenge descriptions!) And at the bottom, we’ve got side-by-side pics of each finalists’ portfolios from the entire season! Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

Episode 1: And Sew It Begins

The designers must use a garment from another designer’s suitcase to create a new look.

Diva’s Winner: AJ‘s gritty-meets-pretty cocktail dress

Judges’ Winner: Gretchen‘s sheer-backed, cap-sleeved dress

Diva’s Loser: Ivy, for “making pants out of pants”

Judges’ Loser: McKell, for her tacky dress with even tackier styling

Episode 2: Larger Than Life

The designers must create a look that defines the Marie Claire woman. The winning look will be featured on a billboard in Times Square.

Diva’s Winner: Mondo‘s fabulous houndstooth skirt

Judges’ Winner: Gretchen‘s overpraised jumpsuit

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Jason‘s silver bathrobe and the bullshit symbolism that went with it

Episode 3: It’s A Party

The designers must design an outfit using party store supplies.

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: Andy‘s heavy metal cocktail dress – and matching glove!

Diva’s Loser: Casanova‘s “transvestite flamenco dancer at a funeral” gown

Judges’ Loser: Sarah‘s blue and silver palm tree nightmare

Episode 4: Hats Off To You

The designers must design an outfit inspired by a Philip Treacy hat.

Diva’s Winner: A tie! Michael D‘s plunging avant garde top AND Valerie‘s cropped white vest

Judges’ Winner: Michael C‘s metallic wrap dress

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Kristin‘s black and pink disaster

Episode 5: There Is an “I” in Team

The designers are assigned to two teams and must create a six piece collection.

Diva’s Winner: Michael D‘s black lace cocktail dress with its breathtaking back

Judges’ Winner: Casanova‘s beautiful lace blouse (and divalicious breakdown)

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: AJ‘s miserable shirt dress

Episode 6: You Can Totally Wear That Again

The designers must create a fashionable look from bridesmaids dresses.

Diva’s Winner: Mondo‘s black and pink mod/Jersey Shore dress

Judges’ Winner: Michael C‘s (super ugly) black cocktail dress

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Peach and her green ruffled skirt

Episode 7: What’s Mine is Yours

The designers must create a resort wear look. (Diva’s Edit: And construct each other’s designs!)

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: April‘s black lingerie-inspired dress, constructed by Christopher

Diva’s Loser: Ivy‘s depressing top and giant pants, constructed by Michael D

Judges’ Loser: Casanova‘s grandma blouse

Episode 8: A Rough Day on the Runway

The designers must create an American sportswear look inspired by Jackie Kennedy.

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: Mondo‘s purple houndstooth skirt and striped blouse (my personal favorite look of the season)

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Michael D and his Pilgrim skirt

Episode 9: Race to the Finish

The designers must create a high fashion look and a ready-to-wear companion to appear in a L’Oréal Paris ad.

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: Mondo‘s multi-print ballgown and fabulous RTW dress

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Ivy‘s ocean-inspired hurricane of ugly

Episode 10: There’s a Pattern Here

The designers must create an original fabric look using HP/Intel technology.

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: Mondo, his beautiful soul, and his incredible print

Diva’s Loser: Christopher‘s forgettable top and pants

Judges’ Loser: Valerie‘s self-plagiarized plunging cocktail dress

Episode 11: A Look in the Line

The designers must create three looks for Heidi’s activewear line.

Diva’s Winner: Mondo‘s chic but wearable dresses and leggings

Judge’s Winner: Andy‘s skeletal loungewear

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Christopher‘s 11th consecutive snooze-fest

Episode 12: We’re in a New York State of Mind

The designers must create a look inspired by New York City.

Diva’s Winner: Mondo again, for another mixed-print cocktail dress

Judge’s Winner: Michael C‘s overpraised, slutty gown

Diva’s Loser: Michael C‘s eight thousandth uncreative, uninspired, derivative dress (photo above)

Judge’s Loser: April‘s “pregnant witch” gown

Episode 13: Finale, Part I

The designers must create an 11th look for their mini collection to compete for a spot at Fashion Week.

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: Mondo‘s mixed-print mini-collection, and his newest look in particular

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Michael C‘s derivative, slightly garish, poorly-constructed mini-collection

Episode 14: Finale, Part II

Guest judge Jessica Simpson helps decide the finalists’ fate and the Season 8 winner is finally revealed.

Diva’s Winner: Mondo, for a bright, creative, and truly unique collection.

Judges’ Winner: Gretchen‘s accessible, on-trend collection

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Andy‘s underwhelming collection of green and grey looks

By the Numbers:

Diva and Judges agree on 8/14 eliminations and 6/14 wins.

The Finalists’ Portfolios:

 

Gretchen's Looks, Episodes 1-12

Looking at Gretchen’s season portfolio as a whole, I actually don’t hate it as much as I hate some individual looks. Without the context of the challenge and the comparisons to the work of other designers from that episode, some of this really isn’t so bad. The party favor skirt (top row, 3rd look) is probably my favorite Gretchen design of the season; of course, its hipness and youthfulness stick out like a sore thumb against this sea of muted tones and draped fabrics. But the only other looks I find remotely wearable are the first look and her high fashion and RTW looks (2nd row, last two looks). The velvet dress is much more beautiful than I remember, though I still think there’s nothing high fashion about it. And the RTW look is fairly matronly, but I think that could be solved with better styling. Overall, I’m not as nauseated by her work as I thought I’d be, though the entire last row of looks is so unfortunate, it’s truly shocking that she made it to the finals.

Andy's Looks, Episodes 1-12

There’s a lot of inconsistency in Andy’s portfolio, and the only looks I like are the ones that go over the top, or “Warrior Bitch,” as Michael Kors would say. With the exception of his resort look (2nd row, 2nd look), the only garments I like are black, badass, and enhanced by leather or metallics. Like Gretchen, Andy shone in the party favor challenge (1st row, 3rd look) and the high fashion/RTW challenge (2nd row, last 2 looks). Also like Gretchen, basically everything else is underwhelming. It’s surprising that someone with this Asian-gothic-dominatrix aesthetic would put out so many sad girl/old lady looks – the Philip Treacy challenge and the group collection challenge (1st row, last 2 looks) and the make-your-own-print challenge (3rd row, look 1) are some of his biggest weaknesses because they veer so far from who Andy really is as a designer.

Mondo's Looks, Episodes 1-12

Mondo’s portfolio is the only one that truly feels like it reflects him as a designer, and it has more style, youth, personality, and attitude than Gretchen and Andy’s portfolios combined. His best work walks the fine line between wearable and cartoonish. He rarely goes astray because of not pushing the boundaries far enough – only in the first challenge (1st row, 1st look) did his work suffer from being underwhelming. Usually Mondo’s mistakes were from not editing down enough of his crazy – his Philip Treacy look and resort look (1st row, 4th look and 2nd row, 2nd look, respectively) just went too far. But unlike his competitors, the majority of Mondo’s work is beautiful and intriguing, and every single piece is identifiably Mondo.

© Democracy Diva, 2010.

 

Project Runway Recap: S8 E14 (The Season Finale!)

First off, get caught up on the entire season with my Season 8 Scorecard. Compare who won each challenge with who should have won, and analyze the season portfolio for each of the three finalists!

Back to the finale: We’re all angry, dear readers. That is undeniable. But let’s try to rein in our fury and judge these looks with an open mind, and try to forget how much we want to throw things at Michael and Nina.

In defense of Gretchen, Michael and Nina were correct that her design aesthetic is very trendy now. I personally do not understand the appeal of slouchy, oversized jumpsuits and similar relics of the 1970s, but you cannot deny that this aesthetic was all over the runways at New York Fashion Week. Michael Kors designed his Spring 2011 collection around a similar concept of relaxed, casual, wearable garments, so it’s unsurprising that he wanted Gretchen for the win.

However, the blogosphere is ablaze over Mondo’s loss, and rightfully so. His collection had an originality that Gretchen simply cannot match. His overall work in the competition, including his final collection, has been thought-provoking, joyous, and unique. I cannot say the same for almost anything that Gretchen designed this season. (Stay tuned for my post reviewing the entire season, and I’m sure you’ll agree.)

Was Mondo’s collection youthful, as Nina and Michael claimed? Absolutely. But since when does fashion have to appeal to an older customer? Average teenagers and twenty-somethings may not buy as much fashion as older women, but it is young women who inspire designers, and young women rock their looks on red carpets every day. Fashion is not for the elderly, or even the 30something crowd. Fashion is for the people who inspire designers and delight in their work. I think Mondo’s youthful aesthetic is one of the best things about his work.

We can argue for weeks over whether it was appropriate to judge this design competition over whose looks were more commercial, instead of whose looks were more creative or fashionable. The point is, even if we’re judging based on what Nina can sell, you can’t dismiss Mondo as un-sellable. He has an incredible commercial appeal that the judges are, forgive me, too damn old and stubborn to recognize. I’m sure there are many women who will be thrilled to wear Gretchen’s flowy jumpsuits, but there are just as many women who would kill for a Mondo original in their closet. And the fact that the judges neglected to comment on Gretchen’s offensive use of diapers was absolutely ridiculous. The parade of giant burlap panties should have been enough to auf Gretchen.

I could go on like this for hours, but let’s just start the show.

ANDY

Cool pieces individually, but the colors are practically unwearable, even though they’re very eye-catching on the runway. I don’t like the wiry headpieces – they look like cheap Philip Treacy knockoffs, and I think they are primarily responsible for the loss of Andy’s real vision throughout this collection. They substitute his usual Asian Warrior Bitch for some sort of Alien Fairy Queen; it’s not nearly as interesting, and it doesn’t feel like Andy. Furthermore, the judges were right to point out that you need to open with something much bigger and bolder than this.

As soon as this hit the runway, I said, “This is a throwaway piece if I’ve ever seen one.” There’s just nothing to this look – the jewelry is much more interesting than the clothes. If it were in brown instead of silver, I’d swear this was a design by Gretchen, not Andy.

I think the mismatched silvers and greys were very poorly chosen. I think that mix of colors is very unattractive. And I think the blouse is fighting with the jacket for attention, which is nearly always problematic.

The shorts seem cute at first, but I’m not sure I can really picture the customer who is wearing metallic olive green high-waisted shorts that make her look like she has a huge gaping vagina.

I can see too much vag, and Tim was right – it does look like pubes coming out of her bikini bottom. The robe helps, but not much.

I actually agreed with Jessica Simpson that this was Andy’s best look. I love the modern twist on a 1920s flapper – very trendy, wearable, and beautifully done. But this looks like a Laura Bennett creation, not an Andy South creation.

These pants are kind of cool, and I love the neckline to that blouse, but I think the ruffles are awful.

I want to like this, because I think it’s unique, but I just hate the way those shapes make her look. I don’t think Andy understands that the geometric aspects of the garment need to be not just interesting, but flattering. And the shoes are AWFUL.

The blouse is undeniably gorgeous, and I’m warming up to the pants, in spite of their strange vagina. (Once again, Andy can make things look interesting, but he doesn’t take a woman’s body into account.) I just don’t see how the top and bottom go together.

I love the top half of this garment. I think it’s a stunning shape and the handiwork on all that pleating is absolutely incredible. But the bottom is such a let down. First of all, the proportions are way off; that skirt needs to be two inches longer to counterbalance the top. And second, the bottom just seems like a cop-out after all the work that was clearly put into the top. It’s like he forgot about the skirt entirely.

GRETCHEN

The jacket is actually quite cute (although the colors are awful), but I cannot believe that Gretchen opened her show with a giant brown diaper. And the judges praised her for styling her the way they recommended, but I’m still seeing Southwestern Granola all over this. The giant platform wedges and center-parted wavy hair are not high fashion. And I think the necklaces look very elementary. Any first-year design student could have designed that jewelry.

Definitely a step up from the panty, but the accessories are still a nightmare. If Gretchen could just put a simple pump or Mary Jane or heeled sandal on a single model, it would improve things so much. But she insists on these bulky shoes that focus the eye on the woman’s feet instead of her clothes. I don’t hate this dress. I think the cut-outs on top are lovely, but I think she stole that shoulder-slit idea from April. But a mullet hem (longer in the back than in the front) is rarely, if ever, a good idea.

Once again, the accessories overpower the girl. Perhaps this is my problem with Gretchen – she tries so hard for this relaxed, effortless, reachable aesthetic, but her styling is anything but. It’s always chunky and huge, trying too hard, and it’s anything but relaxed. This is also a bit of a throwaway look, because the cut of the top is identical to the look before is, and the bottom is something she’s already done on this show. If the colors and prints are going to be this ugly, I at least expect the design to have some originality.

This seems so much more fashionable than her other looks, and I truly believe it’s because the chunky black shoes and bracelets are gone. The sunglasses and jewelry do maintain that Southwestern ease, and these colors are so much warmer and richer than anything else in the collection. I don’t know that anyone actually wants to wear those giant pants, but I think they’re beautiful to look at (except for the vagina), and the blouse is chic and effortless.

Another throwaway look – a diaper and a grandma sweater, styled terribly to boot. This was downright offensive – I can’t believe Gretchen got away with sending something so half-assed and designless down the runway.

Awful styling again, but this jumpsuit is pretty wearable. The fabric moved in a really fascinating way when she walked. I’m not sure I would want those pointy seams around my hips, flapping in the wind, but I suppose it looks good on a size zero Amazon woman.

What does this have to do with the rest of her collection, besides the fact that she’s wearing a diaper?

And I thought the judges instructed her to put her models in heels (like every other model on every other runway in the universe) instead of flats? Things can almost never look high fashion on the runway without high heels. They just make the model walk in a completely different way – there’s no replacing that.

Those prints together are an absolute nightmare, and I don’t know who the hell is wearing cutoff midriff-baring tees these days. And again, the pants flapped down the runway in the most peculiar way. They look fine in a photo, but their movement is just bizarre.

I know this look is supposed to tie in the black jacket with the rest of the collection, but I still don’t think that fabric makes any sense here. And that shirt is just ugly.

By far my favorite look of the collection, and definitely the best to close with. This isn’t quite a showstopper, but it’s as close as Gretchen is going to get. It’s obviously not something that you could ever wear as evening wear, but it steel feels much dressier and more formal than the rest of the collection. So it seems this is Gretchen’s vision of formalwear. I’d never wear it as such, but it makes a beautiful day dress.

MONDO

It’s interesting that Nina felt Mondo’s looks needed to be edited down, and yet this was one of her favorites. If any look needed to be watered down a bit, it was this. The blouse, scarf and shorts were a lot to begin with. The belt gave it a fun pop, but Mondo should have nixed one, perhaps even two, of the loud accessories. They were incredibly distracting.

I didn’t notice these little robot shoes on first glance, but I think I hate them. Regardless, the blouse and shorts are funky, beautiful, and wearable. The styling is over-the-top, but only in a “That’s Mondo” sort of way and not at all in a circus show way.

This is probably what gave the judges the impression that this collection was too youthful, and I understand that. Few women who are beyond college age would really be able to rock this look. But I truly believe that these pieces, while wild, are wearable by real women as separates. I think those leggings would be unbelievable with a super-short black dress, and you could throw on skinny jeans and boots with that shirt and look totally badass. The judges took these pieces too literally and refused to see their potential off the runway and on the streets, but I stand by Mondo.

Still one of my favorites of Mondo’s collection. Just enough design elements to keep you on your toes, but it doesn’t cross the line into costumey. I think it’s a brilliant use of color.

This was a favorite of the judges, but more importantly, it was the favorite of everyone who I watched the show with. This is the reason Betsey Johnson loved Mondo’s collection – it’s very Betsey-influenced without feeling copied. A strapless poofy plaid bubble-skirted cocktail dress with pockets is something I would absolutely kill to have in my wardrobe. And those stockings are absolutely delicious. I like the pop of yellow in the shoe, but I wish he’d gone for pumps instead of booties. We thought this look guaranteed Mondo’s spot as the winner.

This is deceptively simple from afar, but totally beautiful in a close-up. The sequined, patterned top is seriously amazing. I can picture so many different kinds of women incorporating that blouse into their wardrobe. And those shorts look pretty badass, although I’m not sure how comfy I’d be in high-waisted black leather shorts.

These pants are nuts, but I love them. I can see the arguments about their unwearability, but I can’t deny that they look kickass on the runway, especially with that jacket. I wish he’d nixed the long sleeves, and I think the shirt is too busy with those pants, but it’s not a bad look overall.

Another favorite. I had found the full-length polka dot dress to be too much; I agreed with Michael that it needed some skin to balance it out. And this was the perfect balance. These pieces are totally wearable as separates, and look incredible together. Again, I think he could have stepped down a bit on either the jewelry, the headpiece, the purse, or the shoes, but the clothes are beautiful.

Everybody loved this but me. I think it’s totally 80s, and not in a good way, and I think it’s the only piece that gives the collection too much of a youthful vibe. I think the judges loved it because unlike many of Mondo’s pieces, it wasn’t overstyled, but I thought it was too simple and too junior.

This has grown on me since last week, but I still think it’s so awkwardly long. I think if it stopped at the knee, it would be a total knockout. But those shoes were an absolute mistake.

So, congrats, Gretch. I won’t lie and say you deserved the win, but I suppose disco granola girls need to get their diapers somewhere. But let’s hear what you think:

And your results from last week’s episode:

Don’t miss the Season 8 Scorecard, a guide to this past season of Project Runway!

© Democracy Diva, 2010.

The Week in Celebrity Fashion

Blake Lively in Lanvin at the Scream 2010 Awards

This was one of the best looks from Paris Fashion Week, and Blake is nailing it. Not hard, mind you, because the dress does all the work for her. But I suppose we do need someone to stand in it and pull it open so the world can see her vag. Seriously, who poses like that? I’ve seen a dozen different pictures of this dress, and she’s basically a flasher in every one. But a leggy blonde in Lanvin is hard to beat, so she gets a free pass from me (in spite of her black toenail polish).

Kim Kardashian in Georges Hobeika at TAO New York's 10th Anniversaiy party

Problem 1: The breasts. Please look at those strange lines/wrinkles/dimples they make, like she has boobs extending out from boobs. That is so not the way nature-made breasts look.

Problem 2: The illusion of BUSH. I’m sure it’s just dark underwear, but who wears dark underwear under a see-through dress? It saddens me that no one thought to say, “Hey Kim, you’re fabulous, but you’re going a bit Vanessa Hudgens south of the border, so you may want to deal with that.”

Problem 3: The shoulders are like Lady Gaga crossed with angel wings, which sounds awesome in theory, but looks pretty stupid on the red carpet.

Kristen Stewart in Guishem at the Scream 2010 Awards

Can it be? Do I see what I think I see? IS KRISTEN STEWART SMILING?

She sort of is! This is a miracle! And her hair looks totally normally, which is even more rare than a smile from this crazy bitch. The dress is gorgeous, the shoes are killer, and she actually looks gorgeous. Keep it up, girl!

Kristen Stewart in Valentino at the New York screening of Welcome to the Rileys

A step down, but definitely still on the good list. The makeup is a little too heavy for her features. She doesn’t have a face that wears makeup well; the more you pile on, the worse she tends to look. And the smile is gone – she’s back to her usual “Did someone just fart?” face. The hair just looks sloppy and unwashed, but the dress is very beautiful. It has that goth angel look that Kristen Stewart can really nail.

Freida Pinto in Alexander McQueen at the London Film Festival premiere of Miral

Perfection. Cool hair, flawless makeup, and a truly fabulous little dress. I love that the purse, the dress, and the shoes are all black with a hint of gold bling. (Well, perhaps a bit more than a hint.) And best of all, she looks so at home in this, like she’s more comfortable in bejeweled McQueen than in her pajamas.

 

Freida Pinto in Marchesa at the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival premiere of Miral

 

Absolutely stunning. My only complaint is that the fabric hangs in a funny way around her ankles. But the bejeweled bustier is phenomenal and the draped skirt is nearly impeccable. And while most starlets would make this look costumey, Ms. Pinto once again looks quite at home in her fabulous digs.

 

Lady Gaga in London

Because everybody needs a dose of what-the-fuckery from Gaga. She might look like the love child of Taylor Momsen and a Sesame Street character, but the effect is still rather fabulous.

 

Kat Dennings in Calvin Klein at Elle's Women in Hollywood Tribute in Beverly Hills

I am a huge Kat Dennings fan (not only is she one of the only legitimately funny actresses in film, she’s also Jewish and supremely cool), and I think she looks pretty hot here. The dress doesn’t seem to be laying right, as it’s all wrinkled around her tummy, but that’s not cutting down on the gorgeous factor. It’s great for her figure, professional but stylish, and the heavy makeup works for her. Love the pointy Mary Janes too, of course.

Kiernan Shipka at Elle's Women in Hollywood Tribute in Beverly Hills

It’s Sally Draper. How could I not include a picture of Sally Draper? Also, I’d have punched a puppy for that dress when I was a kid. Perfection.

Kate Hudson in Prabal Gurung at Elle's Women in Hollywood Tribute in Beverly Hills

Ugh. That shoulder piece is tacky and the whole dress looks droopy and sad. I think I’d be able to give the dress my blessing if Kate had bothered to brush her hair in the month preceding this event. There is no excuse for someone that rich to have four inches of roots showing. Go blonde or go brunette – half and half is not your friend. Although her hair looks so processed and destroyed, it may not be able to afford another round of highlights before it just ups and walks away.

Keira Knightley in Nina Ricci at the London premiere of Let Me Go

Keira once again knocks it out of the park, continuing to prance around in fabulous little dresses like it’s her job. (Oh wait, it is. Lucky bitch.) The shoes are mega-awesome, the blazer is obviously to die for, and the dress? Quaint and sweet and utterly fabulous.

Christina Hendricks in Dolce & Gabbana at the Mad Men season 4 finale party in New York City

Ugh, Joanie. Large floral prints stretched over your fabulous figure? That’s just a disgrace to what a bombshell you are. And those bangs are all wrong for you. Those are the wrong shoes, and you’re seriously lacking in bling. Seriously, Team Hendricks, why is no one on their game? Do I have to do everything myself?

Anne Hathaway in Miu Miu for Vogue

Anne Hathaway referencing Audrey Hepburn – it’s simply perfect. An icon of new Hollywood dressed as an icon of old Hollywood, it’s glamour at its most pure. I love contemplative pose and expression. This is why it can be great to have a real actress in these photo shoots – they can convey a depth that many models just can’t.

© Democracy Diva, 2010.

Project Runway Recap: S8 E13

What can I say, dear readers? The end of another unfabulous season is upon us. Underwhelmed doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about these designers. No one truly knocked it out of the park, and most of the looks on the runway were complete garbage. And we can argue over Gretchen vs. Michael C for hours, but we all know the truth: Only Mondo truly deserves to be at Fashion Week. (Actually, I’d argue April deserves it as well, but that’s a moot point). I’m disappointed by the lack of oomph in these looks. The judges were right to question the designers on why the hell they wouldn’t show their tip-toppiest looks in this challenge. This is the time to truly bring it, and nobody did. Let’s start the show.

ANDY

This isn’t terrible, but it’s not Final Collection worthy. It’s over-designed – the ruffles on the neckline, and the rouching in the back, and the pleating and the curves – all in a romper? It’s just too much, and more importantly, it’s neither wearable nor high fashion. And if it’s neither, then who the hell is going to care about it? Not this Diva, that’s for sure.

Honestly, I respect Andy’s work, but I would have sent him home for sending this piece of garbage down the runway. Seriously? These people are giving you the opportunity to present your collection at New York Fucking Fashion Week, and this is what you’re showing as your best work? An ill-fitting unoriginal BIKINI and a sheer cape? This isn’t just bad design; it’s pure laziness. You’re going to have to wake up earlier than this to impress us, Andy. You’ve been warned.

I go back and forth between hating and loving this color. I think it’d be great as an accent color, but to do the whole look in this metallic green is a bit insane. The proportions are off, and this look, like the first one, is over-designed, under-constructed and not particularly beautiful. And the hats are cheap Philip Treacy knock-offs.

GRETCHEN

I don’t hate this. Honestly, if it had been in any fabric other than this truly horrific green potato sack cloth, I think I would have liked it. I like the exposure of the pattern from the front – I think it’s very funky and modern for Gretchen. I love the straps in the back, and although the pulled-up hem is definitely out there, I think that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, Gretchen has no taste, and so this is just another miserable little granola dress, when it could have been anything but.

This personally offended me. How could someone who calls herself a fashion designer look at this and think it’s a job even remotely well done? The mix of patterns is awful; if she’s trying to be Mondo, she’s failing miserably. The pants are so far beyond unflattering, it’s almost absurd. The model’s ass looks absolutely gigantic, like it’s twice the width of the rest of her body. The mustard yellow cuffs are ugly, and that shirt? Look at the back of that shirt! How dare she send something that unfinished down the runway. And if all your models are going to be wearing the same shoes, at least have them be cute. These are disgusting, and Nina was right: these women are on a runway. They need to be in heels, not Birkenstocks.

If there was a challenge to do a modern take on a Rocky Horror Picture Show character, and Gretchen chose Columbia, I think this would have been fantastic. Unfortunately, she thought it would be a good idea to put a black and mustard tuxedo jacket and giant underwear together as an allegedly fashionable look; for this transgression, there is no forgiveness.

MICHAEL C

This dress sums up Michael C perfectly: Sometimes he gets lucky and picks a fabric that moves really well, even though he did absolutely nothing to make it into anything more than a piece of fabric. Usually the designers cream their pants over his genius ability to let the fabric speak to him (read: he doesn’t know how to sew), but he finally got called out. Because this is boring and derivative; it’s under-designed and poorly styled. Look closely at the fabric where the slit is – that hem, both on the side and on the bottom, is a disaster. It looks like it’s safety-pinned. And I’m shocked the model didn’t trip on all the excess fabric billowing around her ankles. But what did Michael really do here? Because from what I can tell, he threw silk on the model, put a belt on it, added a strap, and called it a day. And that is not designing.

I’ve seen this dress a hundred times on the runway, and this could only pass for a Forever 21 knockoff of the real deal, at best. The top does not even come close to fitting her; further proof that when it comes to actually sewing, Michael does not have the skills of the other designers. And that feathered bottom is a mess. There’s no order or shape to it; the silhouette is sloppy and she looks like Snuffleupagus from the back. And the hair? What woman under 50 does her hair like that?

Of course Heidi liked this shirt, which is probably the sluttiest shirt I’ve ever seen. And these pants are so ugly, I’m surprised Gretchen isn’t wearing them as we speak. Because that bitch loves her some ugly pants.

In Michael’s defense, he did show a full-length gown, a cocktail dress, and separates, which is the formula you basically have to follow when presenting three looks out of your collection, because it shows the most diversity. Unfortunately, his diversity was still butt-ugly, practically plagiarized, and horribly constructed. Good riddance, Michael and your ridiculous overwrought, embarrassing emotions. (Seriously, what was his temper tantrum about? HE KNEW HE WOULD STILL BE SHOWING AT FASHION WEEK. TEN OF THEM DID. In light of that fact, doesn’t he seem just… completely fucking nuts?)

MONDO

It’s almost entirely black and white, but still incredibly Mondo. The prints are mixed beautifully, and the flashes of pink in the accessories really pump up the volume. Extra points for showing a real head-to-toe look: a head piece, separates, shoes, belts, bags, you name it.

I couldn’t believe this was the look he threw together in two days, because after viewing Mondo’s collection weeks ago, this look was one of my absolute favorites. That color blue is amazing, especially with that unexpected mocha-and-black skirt. The sleeves are delightfully fun, and the yellow belt really made it all come together.

But I could not get behind this. It looks better in these photos than it did on my television, but the combination of the stretchy fabric and the different-sized circles was a mistake. It just gave the appearance of the dress stretching out her features, making her hips and butt much wider than they actually are, like an optical illusion dress. And is this supposed to be formalwear? It’s a full-length, long-sleeved, low-backed dress, but I can’t imagine anyone actually wearing this as evening wear. I’d have preferred it if it went to the knee, and the sleeves went to the elbow, and it was made of a less-stretchy, sturdier fabric.

But forget about me, dear readers. What do you think?

And of course, your results from last episode’s poll:

© Democracy Diva, 2010.

Lea Michele Photo Shoot for Marie Claire (NSFW)

In researching the controversial Glee for GQ photo shoot, I came across a photo shoot that Lea Michele did for Marie Claire a few weeks ago. I just wanted to compare the GQ photos to a risque photo shoot that I actually approve of. Why? Because this is Lea, or Marie Claire‘s vision of Lea, a 24-year-old actress, and not Rachel, or GQ‘s vision of Rachel, a 16-year-old girl. And she’s not in knee socks, performing fellatio on a lollipop – she’s embracing her sexuality as an adult woman, and that’s something I can respect. So let’s drop the politics and just talk about a beautiful girl in some beautiful clothes.

Lea Michele in Roberto Cavalli

A good cover shot, even though her expression is more “I am controlling you with my mind” than “Full of Glee,” as the cover says. The Cavalli dress is flashy and fabulous; unsurprising qualities for a designer as beloved by Hollywood as Cavalli. I love the black nail polish – when it’s a) black nails instead of black toenails and b) neat and well-manicured enough so we know she doesn’t have a weird fungus, it adds to the style.

Lea Michele in Eres hotpants and Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci boots

This is the photo I discovered through the GQ controversy. Some blogger or commentator mentioned a nude photo shoot Lea did for Marie Claire; I knew she was on the cover, but I didn’t remember her being nude. (And that’s something I would remember.) But this is tastefully done. The tutu she’s holding is fierce, and those shoes are delicious. I’ll take this over Rachel Berry’s blow job lips and twat-shots any day of the week.

Lea Michele in a Marchesa jacket and Givenchy shoes

Stunning photograph. Great expression, great pose, and a jacket and shoes worth killing for. She’s a surprisingly good model for someone who’s fairly new to this sort of work.

Lea Michele in a Dolce & Gabbana bodysuit and Charlotte Olympia heels

I LOVE this pose. It’s incredibly powerful and intense. I also am amazed by how incredibly statuesque she looks here. The girl is barely 5’2″ and they managed to pose her in a way that makes her look absolutely Amazonian.

Lea Michele in a D&G dress and Christian Louboutin heels

Gorgeous dress. I love her in these sort of embellished/destroyed babydoll dresses; they really work on her petite figure and dramatic features.

And I don’t know who made the jacket in the rest of these pictures, but they’re very lovely (if cheesy) shots, so I’ll refrain from further commentary and just let you enjoy some beautiful and fairly wholesome photos of someone who is still one of my favorite women in show business.

© Democracy Diva, 2010.

Glee Goes Lolita: GQ’s Controversial Photo Shoot (NSFW) (Updated)

*Updated Thursday morning with quotes from the Parents Television Council, GQ‘s editor-in-chief, and Dianna Agron herself!

As you may know, I have a history of complaining about Glee cover stories. But a picture’s worth a thousand words, which is more of the article than I can read without a GQ subscription, so let’s see what GQ’s controversial photo shoot tells us about Glee, and by extension, the universe.

From the little I read of the article, it’s completely unrelated to the photos. They report Glee as it is: lots of nice kids who work hard, joke around, and don’t fuck up, even as they hurtle at breakneck speed into fame. So why do the photographs look like they were confiscated from a raid on How to Catch a Predator?

Ask Terry Richardson, the photographer of this shoot who faced serious allegations of sexual harassment from many of his former clients and employees merely six months ago. Some industry insiders write him off as a “big personality,” but many models have come forward accusing him of coercing them into sexual acts . Model-filmmaker Rie Rasmussen said that he “takes girls who are young, manipulates them to take their clothes off and takes pictures of them they will be ashamed of. They are too afraid to say no.” He claims he’s artistically documenting his own sexual exploits, but others say he finds models willing to do nude photo shoots and pressures them to take pictures of him naked and allow themselves to be photographed performing sexual acts on him. Yes, dear readers, this was the photographer they thought was appropriate for the Glee photo shoot. I just want that creepy image in your mind while you look at these even creepier images. Let’s start the show.

The Cover

Dianna Agron in a Betsey Johnson bra & cardigan and A.P.C. skirt; Cory Monteith in a Gant Rugger rugby shirt and Gant by Michael Bastian pants; Lea Michele in Victoria’s Secret bra & panties, Relwen sweater, Falke socks and Michael Kors heels

A man with a barely-clothed woman on each arm, and a hand on each scantily-clad ass, just the way God intended it. For God’s sake, this is GQ, not Maxim. Did Lea Michele really need to be pantsless? And what’s with her blow job lips? There’s something about that open-mouthed, wet-lipped porno mouth that is totally nauseating. Dianna looks like a nun in comparison, but she’s still showing a helluva lot of skin. But are they Dianna, Corey, and Lea, or are they Quinn, Finn, and Rachel? The schoolgirl outfits for the ladies and varsity jock wear for the man point to the latter.

They continue the good clean fun in this shot, in which I can focus on nothing but how ashamed I am of the the strongly negative reaction I had to Lea Michele’s nose. (I believe I screamed, “WE’RE JEWISH WOMEN! WE DON’T PHOTOGRAPH IN PROFILE!” But honestly, as Fanny Bryce would say, she’s an “American beauty rose with an American beauty NOSE!”) But the blow job lips are ever-present. Cory looks post-coital, Lea looks mid-coital, and Dianna is fucking Terry Richardson with her eyes (I hope only with her eyes). But at least everyone is basically clothed!

Dianna Agron in a vintage cardigan, Victoria’s Secret bra, Spicy Girl shorts; Cory Monteith in a Dolce & Gabbana sweater, Gant by Michael Bastian shirt, Band of Outsiders tie, Club Monaco pants, Timex watch and Smart Turnout watch strap; Lea Michele in a Michael Kors cardigan, Betsey Johnson bra, American Apparel shirt and Falke socks

Finn is in three shirts, a tie, and pants, while the girls wear glorified panties. And again, it’s the girls surrounding him, focusing their bodies and attention on him, while he gropes them and smiles dopily for the camera. (Not blaming Cory for that, though.)

Dianna Agron in a Brooks Brothers cardigan and skirt, Victoria’s Secret bra, Antipast socks and Yves Saint Laurent shoes; Lea Michele in a Rag & Bone blazer, Betsey Johnson bra, American Apparel socks and Miu Miu shoes; Cory Monteith in a Gap hoodie, J.Crew shirt, Fred Perry tie, Gant by Michael Bastian pants

I can’t even get offended by this picture because it’s such a terrible photograph. Dianna and Lea look like pre-op trannies and Cory seems to STILL BE WEARING LAYERS! And now that we’re in what is undoubtedly a high school setting, I’m becoming more uncomfortable with how Lolita this is getting.

Dianna Agron in a Lacoste shirt, Betsey Johnson bra, American Apparel skirt, Miu Miu socks and Christian Louboutin shoes; Lea Michele in a vintage Melet Mercantile tee, American Apparel panties, Hue socks and Christian Louboutin shoes

Lea: Ohmigod, Dianna! There are books here! Let’s take our clothes off and throw them around and jump in the air, because that’s what schoolgirls do!

Dianna: Okay, Lea! I’ll bend over and get ready for some penetration!

Lea Michele in a vintage Melet Mercantile tee, Victoria’s Secret bra, Calvin Klein panties and American Apparel socks

Why is she wearing a baseball tee and athletic socks? I mean, she’s not athletic. She’s in the show choir. Also, why wouldn’t she be wearing pants at her locker? That seems kind of unreasonable. And… um… does she know that’s a lollipop? Because something in her expression makes me feel like that is way more than a lollipop. Ugh. I’m getting the heebie-jeebies.

Seriously, Terry? A Lolita-ed up high school choir priss, holding a lollipop, playing with her hair, wearing little boys’ sports clothes, lingerie, and Barbie heels, and showing you her twat? That’s really original. I don’t think anyone’s every wanted to fuck a schoolgirl before.

Again, my issue here is: I don’t like the blending of underage characters with overtly sexual photo shoots. If Terry photographed Lea, Cory, and Dianna in the nude, I’d be fine with that if they weren’t in character. They’re all in their twenties and mature adults. But keeping them in McKinley High, so that we have to think of them as sixteen-year-olds when we look at them naked? Is that really necessary?

Cory Monteith in an Armani jacket, Calvin Klein shirt, Uniqlo tie and Diesel jeans

Look! Cory is STILL FULLY CLOTHED IN MULTIPLE LAYERS. And he’s the only one who looks awesome in what he’s wearing, because, you know, he gets to wear clothes. That tie is pretty cute.

Cory Monteith in a Gucci coat, Gant Rugger sweater, and Diesel jeans

He’s still fully clothed! And that coat is stunning. Cory’s the only one who gets to wear anything interesting (because he’s the only one who gets to wear anything at all).

Dianna Agron in a Michael Kors sweater, Victoria’s Secret bra, D&G skirt and Christian Louboutin heels

Ah, the sexy cheerleader: inspiring slutty trick-or-treaters for decades. But I don’t know what’s more distracting – the fact that I can see her fallopian tubes from here, or the giant red pennant pointing right into her ass. Do we really need a “look at my twat” shot from Lea AND Dianna? I’d think one would be enough.

They kept Dianna consistently more clothed than Lea, even though Quinn is supposed to be the sexy one and Rachel is the virginal priss. Dianna’s certainly not covered up, but she’s also not tearing off her clothes or silently offering you a blow job through the camera. At least she looks strong and empowered in some of these shots, whereas Lea only looks like a child prostitute.

And the white socks? In every shot? You don’t have to drive home the schoolgirl point any harder, Terry. We get it.

So? Did you take offense to any of this? This Diva does not blush at a little nudity (or a lot), but the objectification of women and especially the pornification of young girls is something she strongly opposes. This is not about loving or hating Glee. This is about why these girls – and only the GIRLS – to dress like jailbait and rip their clothes off. The stark contrast between Finn and the girls proves that this isn’t about objectifying Glee, or the subjects of your photography in general. When you put two naked schoolgirls on the arms of a fully-clothed man for an entire photo shoot, you’re making a statement. A statement that we should probably look for your name on our local Sexual Offender Registry. Or at least a statement about the role of women: In this shoot, we’re mere objects to be dolled up and stripped down for your viewing pleasure.

Update 1: The Parents Television Council’s statement, and GQ‘s response to the controversy

The Parents Television Council released the following statement regarding this photo shoot:

“It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on ‘Glee’ in this way. It borders on pedophilia. By authorizing this kind of near-pornographic display, the creators of the program have established their intentions on the show’s direction. And it isn’t good for families.”

And Jim Nelson, editor-in-chief of GQ, responded with the following:

“The Parents Television Council must not be watching much TV these days and should learn to divide reality from fantasy. As often happens in Hollywood, these ‘kids’ are in their twenties. Cory Montieth’s almost 30! I think they’re old enough to do what they want.”

Really, Jim? Is it us, the readers, who are too stupid to “divide reality from fantasy” and understand that these are 20-something actors? Are you actually going to entirely ignore the fact that these women are photographed in undoubtedly high school settings and dressed as pornified school girls? Dianna is holding a (very phallic) prop that says WMHS, which is of course William McKinley High School, the name of the school they attend on Glee. I’m not sure we’re the ones with the problem, GQ. I think it may be you who has the inability to separate reality from fantasy. And even if you can’t make a pseudo-pedophilic argument about these photos, aren’t they still offensive from a feminist perspective? No one cares that Cory’s almost 30 – because he’s the only one who gets to wear clothes. If dressing up 20-something women as slutty fantasy version of their high school characters in a high school setting isn’t offensive based on the ages of their characters, it’s still offensive that GQ can’t come up with a better concept for a photo shoot than schoolgirl sluts draped around a jock.

Update 2: Dianna Agron’s response on her personal blog

Thanks to my dear friend Cecile, who both introduced me to this photo shoot AND provided me the link to Dianna’s response.

“I’d like to start by saying that these are solely my thoughts on the November issue of GQ and the controversy that has surrounded its release. I am not a representative of the three of us, the show, or Fox, only myself… For GQ, they asked us to play very heightened versions of our school characters. A ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ version. At the time, it wasn’t my favorite idea, but I did not walk away. I must say, I am trying to live my life with a sharpie marker approach. You can’t erase the strokes you’ve made, but each step is much bolder and more deliberate. I’m moving forward from this one, and after today, putting it to rest. I am only myself, I can only be me. These aren’t photos I am going to frame and put on my desk, but hey, nor are any of the photos I take for magazines. Those are all characters we’ve played for this crazy job, one that I love and am so fortunate to have, each and every day. If you asked me for my dream photo shoot, I’d be in a treehouse, in a wild costume, war-paint and I’d be playing with my pet dragon. Until then…”

I only took excerpts from her full statement, but I think this is a very mature response. She encourages parents to keep their children away from these and similarly risque photos, and admits that she didn’t love the idea, but she stayed, and just wants to put it behind her. But I’m not sure how GQ can continue to claim “they’re 20-somethings! They’re not their high school characters!” when the magazine actually instructed Dianna and Lea to play “very heightened version of [their] school characters.” So, which is it, GQ? Are they “heightened” (read: pornified, objectified, over-sexualized) versions of Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry? Or are they independent twenty-something women who just happened to be dressed as schoolgirls and just happened to be frolicking around a high school with the same name as the school their characters attend?

© Democracy Diva, 2010.

The Week in Celebrity Fashion

The Busiest Divas in the Business

 

 

 

Salma Hayek at the Alexander McQueen Spring 2011 show in Paris

 

It looks better sitting than standing, possibly because the top is more beautiful than the bottom, or possibly because Ms. Hayek looks a bit more of a hot mess in the last picture. But definitely a dress worthy of the front row at Paris Fashion Week.

 

Salma Hayek at the Yves Saint Laurent Spring 2011 show in Paris

 

… and then, there’s this. Is she kidding with those pants? How am I supposed to take them seriously? I don’t care how hot you are, you’re not going to be able to pull off giant baggy red-and-black color-blocked pants.

 

Keira Knightley at the Chanel Spring 2011 show in Paris

 

Someone got a fierce new haircut! Definitely loving the bob, and she’s decked out perfectly for the Chanel show, complete with the signature purse and stunning shoes.

 

Kiera Knightley in Rodarte at the London Film Festival

 

Not as impressive as the Chanel getup, and I’m not sure how these two pieces go together, but I like seeing the new bob done wavy. The blouse is nice enough, but the skirt is a little tacky. Again, though, I approve of the shoes.

 

Keira Knightley in Chanel at the London premiere of Never Let Go

 

 

Keira Knightley in Chanel at the London premiere of Never Let Go

 

I remember drooling over this dress months ago, but I never knew what the back of it looked like until I saw this photo. As if I weren’t already obsessed with this dress, the back is simply spectacular. But can Keira actually smile? Her lips are pursed like she just swallowed a lemon in every single picture. Honey, you’re thin as a rail, your haircut is fierce, you’re rich, and you’re wearing Chanel. Smile.

 

Carey Mulligan in Proenza Schouler at the London Film Festival

 

Cute dress, but that hair is the reason pixie cuts are generally a mistake. Because in the interim period between the pixie and when it’s fully grown out, your hair nearly always looks stupid.

 

Carey Mulligan in Vionnet at the London premiere of Never Let Go

 

Oof. Even worse hair, and a far worse dress. And this bitch won’t smile either? What is wrong with these ladies?

 

Courtney Love at the Chanel Spring 2011 show in Paris

 

 

Courtney Love at the Chanel Spring 2011 show

 

Wow. I never thought I’d say this, but Courtney Love actually looks… classy. Seriously. The dress is mature but still gorgeous, the coat is ridiculously gorgeous, she’s wearing pearls, and the bitch even styled her hair and makeup like a normal person! What is happening to the world when Courtney friggin’ Love looks this good?

 

Courtney Love at the Givenchy after-party in Paris

 

Oh, there we go. That’s much better. This is the Courtney we know and Love (pun intended) – Courtney, the hottest mess on the red carpet.

 

Alexa Chung at the Miu Miu Spring 2011 show in Paris

 

Cute, but perhaps a little too conservative. I know Mormon chic is a thing, but this looks far too covered up. But the shoes are killer.

 

Alexa Chung at the Chanel Spring 2011 show

 

It looks way cuter on Alexa than it did on Blake Lively in July – further proof that skin-tight dresses don’t necessarily look better than dresses that actually fit. Ms. Chung is absolutely nailing this adorable little dress.

 

Sienna Miller in Twenty8Twelve at the Dinard British Film Festival in France

 

I usually try to forget Sienna Miller is a person, but I must admit she looks mighty fierce here. Good hair, good makeup, a killer skirt, and a sweet blazer. It’s all simple but totally chic, and it reminds me that Ms. Miller can dress like a classy-sassy broad.

 

Sienna Miller in Matthew Williamson at a book launch in London

 

And then I see this dress, which screams “I was that drunk topless biddie fucking someone else’s husband on a boat!”

 

Nicole Richie promoting her fashion lines in Calgary, Canada

 

Oh, good lord. This is what you’re wearing to promote yourself as a fashion designer? The world’s largest pants, a weird scarf attached to a shirt, an ill-fitting vest, and the ugliest hat you could find? I mean, I know you’re in Canada, so the rules are different there, but this is an internationally recognized hot disaster.

 

Nicole Richie at a book signing in Los Angeles

 

Adorable. I wish she dressed like this more often instead of always wearing over-sized, over-flowing hippie dresses. She looks so adorable in things that are a little more structured and have more texture to them. I’d wear this fab little sweaterdress every day.

Fashion Dos and Don’ts

 

Clemence Poesy at the Chanel Spring 2011 show in Paris

 

Oh hey, Fleur Delacour! You’re looking mighty fierce. The darker hair is working for you and the outfit, like all good French fashion, is minimalist but incredibly fabulous. I hope you’re also planning on donning Chanel at your upcoming wedding to Bill Weasley. Even the Death Eaters would have to stop killing bitches long enough to say “Dayummm, girl! You lookin’ fiiiine!”

 

Lin Chi-ling at the Louis Vuitton Spring 2011 show in Paris

 

I don’t know who this woman is, but I do know that I already blogged about how awful this dress is when Katie Holmes wore it last week. And it doesn’t look any better on this biddie than it did on Joey Potter.

 

Dita Von Teese en route to the Elie Saab Spring 2011 show in Paris

 

Well, this is perfect. I’d expect nothing less than classy glamour from Dita, but she is really nailing this dress. Love the black-on-black detailing, the sleeves,  the neckline, the shoes, the sunglasses – it’s all coming together beautifully.

 

 

I honestly did not believe that this was Marion Cotillard when I saw this picture. To me, she’s one of those women who epitomizes simple elegance, and this look is anything but. The hair and makeup are trashy and tacky as can be, the dress is horrible, and WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH HER BREASTS? Why hasn’t Hollywood learned that two beach balls stapled to your chest don’t actually look good? What a disappointment.

 

Michelle Williams at the London premiere of Blue Valentine

 

See, the problem with white-blonde hair is that sometimes, it just looks white. And when you pair that with a matronly dress and makeup that ages you, you can end up looking approximately 85 years old. But the shoes are awesome – are they half leopard print, half zebra print? Because that is absolutely killer.

 

Abigail Breslin at a screening of Conviction in New York City

 

Dakota Fanning, you’re not the only fabulous child prodigy on the block! Little Miss Sunshine is looking pretty fierce with her gorgeous auburn hair, brown-and-black striped dress, and fab accessories. I’m looking forward to seeing more like this from Ms. Breslin.

 

Sarah Jessica Parker in Halston Heritage at the Empire State Pride Agenda Fall Dinner

 

SJP is a new exec at Halston, so don’t expect her to be wearing anything else on the red carpet this year. But this is still pretty darn chic. It’s Carrie Bradshaw-level fabulosity, and those stockings are to die for. Love the hair, and she looks younger than she has in recent years. Keep it up, Sarah Jessica!

You be the Diva! Who’s in and who’s out?

© Democracy Diva, 2010.

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