Project Runway Season Five – “Episode Ten”

“Welcome to the Real World”

September 17th, 2008

There’s something very scary about the transition between university and the real world – and while I am perhaps not convinced that a total fashion makeover will really alter this difficult period, it’s a start for these young, independent women. Although, considering that their mothers are still dictating what they should look like, I’ll perhaps challenge the “independent” element of that classification.

What we end up with is designers who need to learn some serious lessons about a lot of things, primarily dealing with the question of where to take this challenge: are you making them over for their career? Giving them a high fashion version of their existing style? Or trying to convince them that they REALLY want what you are looking for?

The end result is the usual things which happen when parents and clients who have opinions get involved: some people please their clients and the judges, but most please the clients and leave the judges questioning what, precisely, they were thinking. Of course, the one person who manages to do neither is the one who finds themselves heading home.

The episode largely boils down to not so simple editing. In Leanne’s case, her choice to scratch her top after both mother and daughter felt it was too much likely landed her in the bottom three. She was trying to make a sophisticated dress that was modern, and the mother/daughter team was just having none of it. In the end, though, the girl really wanted a look that would provide some manufactured maturity: so, she wasn’t so worried about it not seeming contemporary, she was more worried about 7-year olds treating her as a babysitter.

This kind of utilitarian perspective is where these challenges go off the road, and quite quickly: Joe, for example, hinges his entire design on “she needs to look sophisticated for interviews” and just runs with it in a way that ends up being quite frankly ugly, dated, and poorly made. I can’t blame him for being frustrated though, considering that it’s not like function is a total red herring: Suede ended up in the bottom because his design was impractical for a photographer, although as Nina said that was just the “tip of the iceberg” as it releated to his design.

Adding in all of these added opinions to the editing process is only easy for those who pretty much either hit on it right from the start (Jerell), are capable of well constructed and unique design for any purpose (Korto) or those who lucked into getting a model who has their design aesthetic, their same penchant for inappropriate runway laughter, and designs to simple that you don’t really even need to edit anything (Obviously, Kenley).

At this point, it is clear that Kenley’s total debacle last week was an anomaly – she’s great at designing for her aesthetic, and it’s clear she won’t be changing it at this point in the competition. And even though he’s won two challenges in a row, I think that Jerell is a bit hit and miss overall compared to the other designers, and it’s my guess that Leanne and Korto, in particular, certainly have no issues moving on through to Bryant Park since they have overall design aesthetics that will convince the judges that, even with a slightly weak look, they deserve to move on.

Really, Suede is now the odd man out: whether he can survive next week’s hip hop challenge will ultimately decide his fate, because otherwise I don’t think he’s up for Bryant Park.

Cultural Observations

  • As some may know, the runway show has already happened, and various websites have all sorts of pictures and details from all six selections: to ensure that the show is able to keep something a secret, all six designers from tonight’s show took part. You can check out a spoiler-ish but still pretty general look at Entertainment Weekly, as I did, and then see if you can take a guess at who’s going home before Bryant Park (Tonight’s result was actually a bit surprising based on their commentary).
  • In a sign that the show’s contestants were clearly not aware of how unsuccessful this season has been at being memorable, Jerell calls having a difficult client being “Head of Lettuce’d.” Just not going to happen, Jerell.


Filed under Project Runway

2 responses to “Project Runway Season Five – “Episode Ten”

  1. the_other_sandy

    “Jerell calls having a difficult client being “Head of Lettuce’d.””

    Actually, he was referring to Hedda Lettuce, the drag queen who gave Suede such a hard time over his design during the drag queen challenge.

  2. Yes, Sandy, you’re quite right – I was aware of the reference, just had never quite bothered to separate the intended meaning of the name and the actual drag queen spelling provided.


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