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Dom Streater Wins Project Runway!

Dom Streater Is the winner of Project Runway Season 12. I can’t wait to see what she does with all the opportunity that the prizes will give her. She’s a great designer. As usual, I will give a recap with the highest scorer at the end.

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After watching every show and reviewing all the challenges thoroughly, I am surprised at the outcome of the competition. I thought that Dom had a good shot at winning but her main threat was Bradon who had one three or four challenges during the season. I think he’s a brilliant designer, but out of the four finalists, the judges eliminated him first. Here are Bradon’s “looks.”

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The problem with showing the judges what is possible with a collection, the designer can fail to make the collection cohesive. The judges didn’t see a theme or story here.

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Project Runway: Who Shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week?

I’m surprised at last Thursday’s show because the judges’ results matched my own choices. I’m relieved that I can continue to watch this show without feeling slighted or disillusioned. It would seem—by what the judges say—that Heidi carries some substantial weight. She has pulled for Alexandria all season when Nina and Zac haven’t been that impressed with her.

Four designers get to show their looks at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. As of the previous challenge, both Bradon and Dom had earned a definite place in the finals at Mercedes-Benz. The three remaining designers, Alexandria, Justin and Helen, had to duke it out for the remaining two places.

All five of the designers went home for six weeks to their respective homes and worked diligently on their ten looks to show on the runway. As usual, Tim Gunn went to visit each designer in their homes and work studios, and he gave each of the designers comments and feedback as to how they were doing (for example, “this is stunning,” or “I wouldn’t present this to the judges”).

I’m always fascinated by each designer’s personal comments in the Confessional and how they describe their collection and their position in the competition. Smart competitors will stay focused on doing their best work, period, and not how well the others are doing. A personal best is what anyone should strive for.

I have slowly developed an affection for Alexandria and her point of view as the season has gone by. She’s a quiet person who hasn’t exactly been warm and fuzzy. She is a tall ex-model who seems to have left her makeup and hairbrush at home. I love that she teaches young children to sew at her “Camp Couture.” She wants to set a good example for these kids.

Here are the three looks that she showed in the semi-finals. Please note my caption under each photo.

This side pocket is cute; it looks like a glove.

This side pocket is cute; it looks like a glove.

 Alexandria's beautiful fabrics do not always translate in photos.I believe this jacket is suede.

Alexandria’s beautiful fabrics do not always translate in photos.I believe this jacket is suede.

This model looks like one of the Village People in this goofy hat

This model looks like one of the Village People in this goofy hat.

Alexandria’s designs are fashion forward but subtle, partly due to the muted colors she uses: White, beige (tan), black, and gray, which are stunning colors in the right fabric. These colors don’t necessarily knock viewers out from a distance. In these photos, you cannot tell that she is using suede or leather.

By the way, I wish the show would somehow indicate that type of fabric that each designer uses. For instance, when Tim comes around, each designer could say something like, “This black fabric is velvet (or suede or ultra suede or leather, etc.) and this plain color is wool. At this point Tim or the designers mention what they’re using only some of the time. Another possibility would be to list the fabric on the screen as the models come down the runway.

I don’t think the audience at a fashion show gets this information but a closeup view is more revealing. Does the audience at the various fashion shows at Mercedes-Benz get any kind of program? If so, what type of information is included?

The judges—especially Nina—have criticized Alexandria’s lack of (vivid) colors, but no one has made similar comments about Justin’s mini-collection. 

I appreciate how Alexandria assesses her own designs without making crass comments about her competitors. I believe that the model of Alexandria’s second look used to work with Bradon. There is a substantial prize for the model who walks for the winning designer. I have no idea how the models were paired up with the designers for this season.

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Project Runway: Butterfly Be My Muse

The designers visited the Butterfly House at the Sweet Briar Nature Center. Tim instructed them to create an avant garde look inspired by the butterflies. To be specific, Tim used words to describe AVANT GARDE as “experimental,” “daring,” and “cutting edge.”

Let’s go through the looks produced by the remaining five designers and find something avant garde. I will start from worst to best with my rating, not that of the judges. (I should say that I’m rating from “not as good” to “the best.”Any entry is honorable, as any sincere work of art should be.)

When Helen chose the Monarch butterfly for her inspiration, I thought her interpretation might be too literal; black and orange fabric? These colors show little depth to her imagination. When Tim made his rounds to check the progress of the designers, he quickly nixed Helen’s black cape that was topped with black leather patches in the shape of the spots on a Monarch’s wings. Tim’s feedback shook up Helen who went on to have her weekly breakdown before she pulled herself together and decided she’d better invest much work into the orange dress.

butterfly helen

I love this technique but it’s not original; nor is it avant garde.

Helen’s technique seems to have muted the brightness of the orange somehow, but this same technique created bulk that isn’t flattering to the model. The big question is: What is avant garde about this look? Is it innovative? The judges say there is no originality to this technique. This design pushes no limits.

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Project Runway’s Confusing Elimination

Wow. Lots of thoughts and feelings about this week’s competition. This was the designers’ opportunity to create their own fabric print using their HP TouchSmart. I look forward to this particular challenge, but PR turned the challenge into something wacky by having the each of the designers interview a fabulous individual to be their muse. Honestly, why have a muse here? Let the designers find their own inspiration, which they ultimately did anyway. If I were a competing designer, I’d be tempted to create a fabulous print and then come up with a cockamamie story about how the muse influenced me.

I think I’ll save my additional comments for the designers as I go in order, beginning with my least favorite. Kate’s design was undoubtedly one of the worse designs in PR history.

I'm surprised when a designer loves a look that is ghastly to everybody else

I’m surprised when a designer loves a look that is ghastly to everybody else

In the confessional Kate had said that Helen was the person she had to beat. She thought that the competition was between either her and Helen or her and Bradon. “I’m tired of coming in second.” She’d done well to hide her smugness until now and it bit her in the ass.

The second worst look was Alexlandria’s. This is the second week in a row that the judges gave her a pass—neither in the worse group or the best group—making it impossible for the viewers to get a closer look at what she’d done.

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Yuck. No casual elegance here. Bad fit. Terrible styling.

I realize she has her own casual aesthetic but I thought I could see her model’s tummy hanging over the skirt. The whole thing was awful.

Alexander’s look would have been okay if he’d left off his white “Pope” cross that took away from everything. He was baffled by the challenge of creating a print from a cake.

print alexander

Alexander’s fantastic model couldn’t pull his look out of the toy-toy

It was my understanding that his muse was the cake maker himself and not the cake. That was Alexander’s mistake.

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Project Runway: The Insanity Must Go

Each of the competitors was asked to design an outfit for one of Project Runway’s super fans. I generally prefer challenges that use professional runway models, but I must say that these ladies brought much spunk and positivity to the work room and to the runway. Unfortunately, I do not see a list, even at the Lifetime website, of these gorgeous ladies’ names.

Let’s talk about Ken first because he has been getting lots of attention for losing his temper and intimidating the other designers by yelling and sneering at them. “Sneering” is a perfect word for Ken’s side glances that are full of hostility. Ken was a perfect, considerate gentleman to his super fan. After their trip to Mood, they ended up with this green fabric that nobody seemed to like, including Ken. (Ken mentioned several times that his super fan Susi is the one who chose the green fabric. Here is Susi’s version of the story in Notes from a Super Fan.)

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Ken’s delightful super fan, Susi.

I don’t think the green is terrible. I rather like the dark leather pieces. Ken doesn’t think that PR portrayed him accurately at all. You can read his own words, if you’d like. Ken’s Website. Ken’s Twitter account.

Last week when I visited Tom and Lorenzo’s blog, I made the comment that Ken’s viciousness and lack of self-control had probably led to him serving some jail time. One of the other posters called me a racist for putting a black man in prison. Actually, I didn’t mean prison. I’d envisioned somebody calling the police as a result of Ken losing his cool. I must conclude that anyone who will behave in front of the camera in this manner will certainly do worse. He’d tried bullying everyone, including the women. He’d even said to Alexandria, “Don’t you even look at me.”

When I said that this situation wasn’t about race, this woman said that usually when people say “this isn’t about race,” this is indeed about race. Many of the other posters at Tom and Lorenzo complained about Ken’s rages, and they are relieved that he was eliminated this week. If you are curious about this last week’s episode and Ken’s behavior, and you have a couple of valuable hours to waste on Ken, I invite you to check the links I’ve posted.

It was obvious that the conflict between him and Ken knocked Alexander off his game. He has consistently produced good designs on the show. This wasn’t one of them.

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Alexander’s unfinished look

I’m not loving his unfinished outfit, nor can I see what he could do to improve upon it much. Fortunately, the judges consider the designers’ body of work during the season, so they eliminated Ken who had been in the bottom two several times.

This next look, going from miss to hit down the page, is by Alexandria. (What a pain it is to distinguish between the two names, “Alexander” and “Alexandria,” this season. Oh, well.)

Alexandria’s super fan requested a look that she could wear to job interviews. I like this better than the judges did, but I find Alexandria’s design esthetic difficult to understand at times. Her work runs the gamut from fashion forward to awkward and zany. The dark jacket doesn’t photograph well over the dark waistband—or cummerbun.

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Will this “look” take Alexandria’s client to a job interview?

These super fans came to the show for full makeovers. Everyone agrees that this new hair color is fabulous on Alexandria’s client.

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