Project Runway Recap: Season 14 Premiere!

Well, we’re off to a crack-fueled start! 

AMANDA PERNA

Photo: Lifetime

That blue fabric might be impossible to make look expensive, so I’ll give her a pass on the cheapness. The front of the bodice at least had a good idea to it, but the construction leaves a lot to be desired. See the blue fabric poking out between the printed fabric? If that’s intentional, well, it still looks less than wonderful. And it looks like Amanda spent so much time crafting the backless part of her dress that she just stapled the fabric together right beneath it. Not great, but at this point in the competition, I guess I should just be happy that it’s bright and actually looks like clothing.

ASHLEY NELL TIPTON
Winner

Photo: Lifetime

Ashley did a wonderful job. I’m open to debate over whether these proportions actually work, but even if they don’t, I’ll take a well-executed and at least mildly creative idea over the most “flattering” silhouette, any day of the week. The waistline of that skirt is a lot of fun, and I’m sure a hundred starlets are already clamoring for that top – or would be, if anyone on earth was still watching this show.

BLAKE PATTERSON
Bottom 3

Photo: Lifetime

He’s got bad instincts for print and color, which is a problem. This show isn’t really set up to display the true talent of these designers – I’ll rip all of them for shitty construction, but that is of course more of a comment on the time constraints than it is on the designers. I’m sure they’re more than capable of sewing nice things under normal circumstances. I know their fabric choices were limited, but pairing the geometric print (which I think could have worked in a different silhouette) with the yellow printed lining? That’s not a choice that he was forced to make due to time constraints. Blake just decided that was a good idea. And that really makes me question his judgment. I will say that the neckline of this is draped beautifully, but construction-wise, things start to fall apart once you hit the waist.

CANDICE CUOCO

Photo: Lifetime

I had to open up my Meet the Season 14 Designers post in order to remember who Candice was. But I should have known from the clean lines and monochromatics that it was Candice, better known inside my brain as New!Mila. I would give my left nut to never have to see a peplum on a runway or red carpet ever again (nothing wrong with the trend itself, but if you see enough of ANYTHING, it’ll drive you up the wall). But this actually has a point of view, and an overall lack of glaring construction errors. Though I think that strip of black cutting right across the model’s sideboob was a poor decision.

DAVID GIAMPICCOLO

Photo: Lifetime

It’s really, REALLY not my aesthetic, but I don’t actually think that makes it bad. I’m interested to see if he can do anything else besides massive tent dresses, but I like his print-mixing abilities.

DUNCAN CHAMBERS-WATSON
Eliminated

Photo: Lifetime

I’d like to share my mildly prophetic “random tidbit” from my Meet the Designers post:

He seems self-aware and human, perhaps even sweet, which means there’s not a chance in hell he’ll survive reality television.

Duncan did not get eliminated for this dress. He got eliminated for being a normal human person, because normal human people make terrible reality show contestants in the eyes of television producers. Eliminating one of the only people who made something memorable and lovely (if a bit drowning in drapes) was a clear tweet-bait move: designed to get everyone on the internet angry and buzzing about the once-great, once-popular show. But even a move as desperate as that can’t boost Project Runway‘s ratings, precisely BECAUSE it makes such desperate moves.

I’ve been thinking about writing a long-read piece on what Project Runway needs to do to regain its former glory, but the crux of it is basically, “Be more like Rupaul’s Drag Race.” If you’re going to use the show as a 90-minute commercial for some bullshit accessories line no one cares about, at least do it with a wink. Could you imagine how much better the “design some crap for Heidi’s sportswear line” challenge would be if Heidi kept breaking the fourth wall to remind the viewers where they can buy her crappy clothes in an over-the-top way? I’d give anything to hear Nina say, “Duncan, you’re clearly talented, but this show is about diva dramatics and temper tantrums, so we’re going to have to ask you to leave.”

To add insult to injury, the Lifetime site couldn’t be bothered to even caption Duncan’s work correctly – this photo on their site lists the designer as “David Chambers-Watson.” Duncan is probably too sweet to say this, so I’ll do it for him: go fuck yourself gently with a chainsaw, Lifetime.

EDMOND NEWTON
Top 3

Photo: Lifetime

Really? THIS is Top 3 material, and DUNCAN was eliminated? I’m hoping the black bodice has some fabulous construction details that aren’t apparent on TV or in photos, but even if it does, it’s a strapless LBD with a tacked-on skirt. There’s almost no thought that went into this garment or its styling. So I won’t bother putting much thought into my critique of it. I’ll just make a really loud fart noise with my mouth and move on.

GABRIELLE ARRUDA

Photo: Lifetime

Should have been in the bottom for construction alone. At least the other looks with execution issues had something in the way of style or originality, but this is just a whole lotta seams and not much else.

HANMIAO YANG
Bottom 3

Photo: Lifetime

I actually don’t hate this, if only because I can actually remember it. Should’ve kept the jacket on to hide that completely fucked seam/zipper/construction from hell in the back, though.

JAKE WALL

Photo: Lifetime

Painfully boring, but not offensive enough to crack the bottom three.

JOSEPH CHARLES POLI

Photo: Lifetime

I don’t have a problem with this, but it’s a little more “clothes” than it is “fashion,” if that makes sense. I think if the crop top had been any other shape or length, it wouldn’t have worked, but somehow that little strip of midriff showing really elevated this look.

KELLY DEMPSEY

Photo: Lifetime

I can’t count the number of times someone has done a “basic dress with one of the straps sideways” thing on this show. I actually could have liked this one, but the styling destroyed it for me. It wasn’t 90s in the “oh, isn’t that a fun new twist on the 90s” way. It was 90s in the “oh, I knew that girl, and she died of a heroin overdose” way.

LAURIE UNDERWOOD

Photo: Lifetime

Laurie will probably stick around, if only because Heidi creams her pants anytime she sees a vag-high slit. This doesn’t blow my mind, but it’s polished, and there’s a head-to-toe vision of the woman who would wear this outfit. The same cannot be said for most of the other outfits on the runway.

LINDSEY CREEL

Photo: Lifetime

Good construction, but a very forgettable look. Except for those shoes, which will be forever seared into the backs of my eyelids, such is the power of their ugliness.

MERLINE LABISSIERE
Top 3

Photo: Lifetime

I may have to start watching the show on mute solely because of Merline – good LORD, is she obnoxious – but this was clearly the winning garment. She’s got a modicum of originality, which is about ten pounds more than her competitors have. I’m a sucker for architectural looks, so even though this has some puffy seam issues in the back, I’m on board. I would sooner wear Ashley’s look than this one, but for a competition that is (at least in theory) supposed to be about runway fashion, this was my pick for the win.

SWAPNIL SHINDE

Photo: Lifetime

The bodice was beautiful (though it demands an up-close view, so you can see the texture and weaving that went into it), but Swapnil spent a ltitle too much time on the top and not enough time on that incredibly basic skirt. But I did warm to Swapnil immediately, and not just because he’s beautiful. His comebacks for the racist shit Merline was saying to him (one comment about Indians could be a mistake; two is not) – “I left my magic wand at home” – were hilarious and smooth. He didn’t stoop to her level, and he made her look like more of an obnoxious idiot than she already did.

Judges’ Top 3: Ashley, Merline, Edmond
Diva’s Top 3: Merline, Ashley, Duncan
Judges’ Bottom 3Blake, Hanmiao, Duncan
Diva’s Bottom 3: Edmond, Blake, Gabrielle


© Democracy Diva, 2015.
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4 responses to Project Runway Recap: Season 14 Premiere!

    • democracydiva – Author

      Basically nothing. They had to run around and grab pre-selected fabric, but it was just “make something that represents you as a designer.”

  1. I feel like the judges should invest into setting up the chalenges. It’d be more interesting, from a designers point of view. The season will be a complete nothing if these designers keep deciding to show their identity while beign that basic. That’s also why i didn’t get all the fuzz about Ashley. It did not say great design, just great comercial clothing.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Agreed. Sadly I think we’re long past the days when the Project Runway judges would reward design over commercial viability.

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