This week's Project Runway made me very, very happy: finally, at long last, my favorite Chris! had a chance to do his stuff in a very big way (45 yards' worth).
Team challenges are a bit tired, and are difficult to judge when the team works well - who contributed what? My only real complaint is that the team leaders in this challenge were the ones who "could" win or lose. Since they were two-person teams, why not have a winning team and a losing team? something? anything? that acknowledges the bipartite effort.
It is FABULOUS. I love the color, especially against model Marcia's skin tone and coloring. The amount of work that went into this meticulously constructed piece is staggering. 45 yards of organza is a LOT of fabric to measure, cut and sew - thank gods Christian is such a speedy sew-er (I hyphenate because otherwise he's a sewer, like where the alligators live in NYC).
The funny thing about this garment is that something about it seemed really, really familiar to me, and I couldn't figure out why - i'm not connoisseur of avant or couture. Then it came to me - a Tissot painting at the albright-knox (to the right, titled "the ball"). The resemblance between the avant gown and the dress of the woman in this painting is striking, and reminds me that sometimes to be avant one must also be a rebours.
Chris and Christian, who I have really come to adore, worked wonderfully together. Chris had the patience and lack of ego to deal with the Princess, who brings enough ego for all the designers and about 50 other people as well. But Chris's expertise in avant garde design was essential to this gown's success - for both designers, this was a game of mutually assured success (or destruction).
And that is why I wish the judges had spoken more to Chris's contribution. Without the "wing" which is what Chris worked on, this is just a gorgeous ruffly dress. That carnationlike bloom makes it over the top and avant. Both components are what makes this a winner. So I feel a bit badly that only Christian won - both boys deserved a prize. Ending up in the Tresemme ad is groovy, of course, but let's face it: only immunity can save your ass.
Unlike many commenters at Project RunGay, I did NOT see Chris's decision to let Christian be leader as a "safe" move, or a lack of courage on his part. Christian is such a busy force of nature, and has such forceful ideas, that I think he would almost naturally assert himself as leader. And he seemed EAGER to assume leadership. Chris didn't say "I think you should be leader," which would be, to me, the phrasing a "cowardly" person would use. He asked: "do you want to be leader?" (almost in the way a teacher or parent might ask which child wants to be group captain for the day). To me, I read this as Chris recognizing the Princess's enthusiasm and energy, and giving him free reign to run with it. But this was not Princess and her assistant - this was truly, fully a TEAM design.
Throwing the pret-a-porter at them last minute like that was cheesy and chintzy and cheap. Again, the quickness of Princess and Chris saved their metaphorical bacon - the construction of their garment was clearly a massive undertaking, but Chris's experience and expertise, plus Princess's fierce speedy skills enabled them to complete both pieces. Obviously, the avant gown was flawlessly constructed; the pret-a-porter not so much.
The top of this is pretty good at capturing the avant gown's feel - the ruffled placket, the color, the collar. I like it, actually, quite a bit (though it has an unmistakeable stamp of the Princess's past work). The skirt - meh. it's just a skirt. Criticisms saying it looks too secretarial or librarianish don't bother me, since "Librarian" is more or less my own personal aeshetic. There was nothing very wrong with this look, which made it workable as the ready to wear.
Kit lost, which sucks, because she is a far, far better designer than - ohmygod i'm weeping Ricky. He's a nice boy, but couldn't find his ass with both hands and a flashlight. But her dress was a costume, not an avant garde piece. I would have loved to have this dress when I was a little girl. I would have loved for my Barbies to have this dress. Alas, Barbie fashions does not avant-garde make, so au revoir to poor Kit. As Tim Gunn noted on his bravo blog, this gown looks like Marie Antoinette's "shepherdess" costume - not a good thing. I kind of like the pret-a-porter Kit and Ricky made - it was a simple, casual summer dress. The fact that it also looked like something I'd buy at Target or Marshall's makes it good for me personally, but bad for Fashion.
Finally, the two cold bitches of the show, Victorya and Jillian, neither of whom I like. I hate Victorya's aesthetic, and Jillian seems like a one-trick pony.
Being inspired by the mohawk of their model to go 80s punk is - well, it's OBVIOUS. and boring. Mohawk - punk. I think it would have been awesome to read that style as birdlike, the crest of an exotic bird, and to create a plumagey gown with feathers, or featherlike fabrics (Laura Bennet's amazing Woodstock dress keeps coming to mind - feathers and birds CAN be fashion). Creating a plaid-trimmed trenchcoat is - yeah, 80s punk. woo.
I happen to like plaidtrimmed 80s punk, so i thought this coat was to DIE FOR, but it didn't seem too terribly avant to me. And the riding pants? what was UP with the fit of those things? Ook. I hated the pants and blouse - it was like shoddy Ralph Lauren.
The ladies got seriously lucky with their pret-a-porter look, which was almost literally thrown together at the last minute. I thought it was boring and only a reflection of this look in its (minimal) use of the plaid trim and the base color black. it was a boring dress that did nothing for me. Those were two lucky judges' pets on the runway.
anyway, it was beyond obvious almost from the word GO that Princess Puffysleeves and Chris were going to win this one. and i am SO glad to see Chris in the winner's circle - I do adore him, and I never thought his design was auf-worthy when he was auf'd in the first place. He's a doll and I want him to succeed purely on the strength of his personality. I'd take Christian, too, for the win.