Thursday, November 29, 2007


Who Are You

Let's meet the latest crop of aspiring fashion designers:

The roomies are: Chris, Rami, Christian, Ricky; Sweet P, Carmen, Jillian, Kit; Kevin, Jack, Steve, Marion; Elisa, Simone, Victorya.

The designers traipse over to Bryant Park to drink some champagne, and then Heidi and Tim show up to put them to work. I love how Heidi chirpily cracks the whip. I wonder if she does that with her kids: "Are you have a good time playing with your toys? Well, too bad. It's nap time now." It's the usual "express your identity as a designer" challenge. They get $50,000 in fabrics donated by Mood, arrayed in three tents across the park. Heidi sets them racing across the park to grab their selections; Elisa pauses long enough to give her a sunflower for her birthday. There is much grabbing. Elisa decides to "imbue" one of her fabrics with grass stains; she likes to "feed the fabrics" with organic sustenance. This gives us our first opportunity for "That Elisa sure is weird" comments.

Parsons. The designers have until 1 am to work. Tim gives them their inaugural "Make it work." And go! Workety work work. Elisa is wacky some more. Tim comes through for his critiques. Rami is looking good. Tim points out that Christian matched up his fabric along the seam, but not at the sleeves, which is not what Christian wants to hear. Simone has a lot of work. Elisa's train thing has sort of worked when she tried it in the past. Tim goes away. Elisa decides she's done and takes a nap. Workety work. Time's up.

Morning. Crunch time. Tim rallies the troops. Steven summarizes, "It's freak-out time here, ladies and gentlemen." Models arrive. Fittings. Hair. Makeup. Show time! Guest judge is Monique Lhullier.

Overall, a good first showing. Not a lot of head-scratchers among the outfits. The models were more problematic -- a couple were downright clunky and several were just okay. We'll see if they improve over time.

The judges confer. Chris, Kevin, Sweet P, Jillian, Jack, Marion, Steven, Carmen and Kit are all safe. This leaves Rami, Victorya, Simone, Christian, Elisa and Ricky. Christian has good shapes and some nice details. Simone has construction problems and her pieces didn't go together. Rami has good construction, although Michael is not thrilled with the flower. Ricky played it safe. Victorya's flower doesn't bother the judges. Elisa puzzles the judges with her artsy talk and her unwieldy train.

The judges deliberate some more. Victorya was a little safe but had charm. Christain had detail and innovation. Rami was skillful and expressive. Ricky was safe but well-made; Elisa was weird but the basic construction was excellent; Simone was unfinished and boring. Results: Victorya is safe. Rami wins. Christian is safe. Ricky is safe. And -- Simone is out, so Elisa is safe. Yay! Simone kind of bored me but Elisa is fun.

I would rather have seen Marion in the bottom three than Ricky -- the judges need to stop accepting "ugly" as a point of view. And I don't get the love for Victorya's giant flower. I like Chris's dress better, if we're going to praise oversized embellishments. I was hoping Rami would win, because his draping is just so elegant and because Christian would be insufferable if he took the first blue ribbon. So that worked out well. As for the bottom two, Elisa's dress was fundamentally beautiful and just needed to lose the train, while Simone's dress was ordinary where it wasn't off-putting, so I agree with the judges on both decisions.

This reminds me of the latest season of Top Chef, with contestants cast more for talent than character. By the end of the season, people were practically contorting themselves to come up with a "villain" because no one was really that bad. They were annoying to various degrees, but they weren't jerks. No one in this crowd seems particularly provocative. So far, the best contender for the "villain" mantle is Christian, and he's just a twerp.


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