Monday, December 4, 2017

Holiday Gift Ideas

If you're still stumped for holiday gifts for your foodie friends, please check out my RedBubble shop: The image above shows food-related patterns, all designed by me. They're not only available on dresses and leggings, t-shirts and miniskirts, but also scarves and household items like pillows, duvet covers, mugs, clocks, and more.

There are also several floral designs available in my shop--roses, daisies, waterlilies, mums, and more--if your giftee isn't into food so much.

Today is December 4th. If you order in the next couple of days, you'll definitely get things in time for Christmas. If you order today, you can get something for Hanukkah, but don't wait too long as that holiday is pretty early (12/12) this year.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Project Runway Season 16 Finale

Do you want to know how much I love you guys? It's my birthday and I have a cold and I still got up early to get this recap done. Well, I got up early because it's hard to sleep while coughing, but still.

Well folks, we're finally there, the most important episode of the season--the last one. And it only took 46 short weeks to get here. Ok, it just felt like it took that much time, what with being annoyed by the Annoying Twins for more than half of them, then several weeks in a row when the Top Five finalists remained the Top Five because they were so good that the judges didn't have the heart to auf any of them until they absolutely had to. Now finally, in mid-November, we get to see the NY Fashion Week shows the designers presented in early September (although if you read this blog, you were able to see photos from the shows weeks ago).

The episode starts off with the designers entering the workroom to get the last bits of hemming and doo-dad-attachment done. Kentaro is chanting "cohesive" over and over again. He feels like he's already lost the competition, so he is free to do what he likes with his collection. However, he will try to work on cohesiveness a little. At the very least, he's getting rid of the white dress with the hairy tumor and replacing it with something less weird.

Margarita is resentful of the judges comments that her looks are too "Miami" and says that one can't the tropical out of the girl. She's also worried about her parents who are still in Puerto Rico which at the time was being clipped by Hurricane Irma. 

Meanwhile, Brandon is so confident in his collection and has so few things to do, he's stretched out on the couch in the lounge, snoring.

Tim comes in to give everyone (except for Brandon who obviously doesn't need one) a pep talk and advises them all to stay the course, 1000 points of light, etc. He tells Margarita not to undermine her integrity by dumbing down the tropical aspect of her collection. After Tim leaves, Margarita calls her parents to find they've lost power, but are doing their best to make it to NY to see her show. Their flight hasn't yet been cancelled, so they're hoping for the best. Margarita's mom is heard saying that they'll swim to NY if they have to. Personally, I'd have already left for NY and enjoyed a little vacay with my family for a few days, but then I love NY. Maybe Margarita's family doesn't? In any case, fingers are crossed that they'll make it to see their girl at Fashion Week.

The next day, Tim comes in and remarks that he hasn't had a "gather round" all season so it was time for one. He says he's proud of each of them, as well he should be. They are all talented designers, and this is going to be one of the best finale runway shows evarrrr (says the girl who's seen it weeks ago). The designers finish up last minute details before zipping their collections into black body bags and leaving the workroom for the final time.

The designers are up and at 'em at 3:30 am, clothed and made up, and ready to hit the runway. I'm not sure why they need to be up so early, as their show is usually the first of the day, scheduled at 8am in whatever venue is being used that year. (I miss Bryant Park.) We see backstage scenes of the typical controlled chaos of hair and makeup and last minute alterations. Tim tells Margarita that her parents flight was cancelled and they are currently doing the backstroke somewhere east of Delaware. He will keep her posted as to their progress. Drama! Ayana has a ruffle fall off one of her dresses. How that happens is a mystery, but maybe it had only been stapled on? More drama, however mild.

We see the venue is full of curious folks, from fashionistas to fashion bloggers, from former Project Runway contestants to minor celebrities. For some reason, the camera keeps landing on Carly Chaikin, the I, Robot actress who had judged earlier in the season. From what I can tell, she has all the emotional range of Kristen Stewart, but I'm only going by what I see on PR.

The judges enter the arena. Heidi is wearing something so short and sparkly even Barbie would be embarrassed. It looks to be made of many hundreds of purple foil Easter egg wrappers, but not enough wrappers to cover her boobs and legs. Sadly, gravity is affecting even Heidi Klum. The guest judge is Jessica Alba, who has not aged at all. I know she's only 36, but damn she looks so young.

Let the show begin! I love the way they splice in the designers so seamlessly to make them appear to talk to the audience and walk the runway after their models. Because Fashion Week happens so early in the show's airing, it's necessary for the PR show to be completely anonymous. The audience and the designers cannot appear on the runway at the same time. The magic of television, folks!

Margarita is first, introducing her collection as "A Fish Out of Water." I think it's dynamite. Jazzmine gives the audience a "wow look" by whipping off her skirt halfway through the walk. Her plus-sized beauty gets an ovation from many people in the crowd.

The Judges Say: so much energy/passion/color; it's joyous and spectacular. Zac is proud of her. It's fun/sexy/so Latina. Heidi says she's not Latina but may as well be as she loves everything. (Quite a change from last week's critique.) The beaded fish dresses were a lot of work that paid off. The only negative comment came from Nina, who thought the feathers were a bit much.

Brandon tells us his collection is called "Layers of Love." Oh jeez. I am going to gag. But I have to remember that he's only 24 and probably still collects Beanie Babies. His collection is predictably full of oversized button loops and tons of straps and loose strings. The shapes of the pieces are actually interesting in several cases, but the flamingo print is so omnipresent and really rather drab. My favorite thing about the whole collection is the penis on look 8, which I guess is a reminder that he's really a menswear designer.

The Judges Say: Flirty/romantic/cool. Zac thought it was a strong collection but it needed more variation. Brandon says that he was referring to collections that had piece after piece of similar looks, but the judges tell him that those were bigger collections, so while there were several looks in a row that were the same, there were also other looks that were different. In a 10-piece collection, one has to make sure that there's both cohesion and difference. Nevertheless, Brandon is called "an incredibly gifted designer" who gave his peers a run for their money. Liris, who did not look happy while walking down the runway, cries as she tells the judges that this "model diversity moment" means so much for "her community."  (As a fat person myself, I've never felt part of a community. But then I don't like people.)

Kentaro hasn't named his collection, but tells us it's inspired by a dead cat that he buried and who later sang to him his native Japan. It's quirky and striking and goes back to the stuff he was designing before Project Runway. The piece he composed is playing in the background, and the audience is so quiet, it's hard to tell if they're holding their breath or have all just gone to sleep.

The Judges Say: You know people love a collection when they're either noisy or quiet. Heidi says it was so quiet in the room that one could "hear a mouse fart." The collection blew Zac's socks off with the level of experimentation, textures, and color, though he wasn't into the two red dresses in a row. One would have been enough.

Finally, Ayana's "Evolution" documents her personal journey. I'm not sure how that works, but the collection goes from more athletic looks to pants to dresses and finally a gown. She's also put head scarves on several of the models, but ones that are somewhat more elaborate than those she herself normally wears. I really love this collection in photos, but less so when I see it walking down the runway. The first three looks especially don't walk well.

The Judges Say: They love her gown, think it is stunning. The looks are hip and seductive. Nina wanted to see more color. The tailoring is beautiful. Nina liked the skirt/pant combo (which is something Ayana herself wore during the show), and Heidi wasn't into the first three looks. They all love the distinctive headwear.

The judges do a little more nitpicking before choosing a winner. It seems that Nina is in favor of Brandon winning, because she keeps reminding the others that he has a real point of view, but I think overall his collection was disappointing in its sameness.

They call the designers back out on the runway. Margarita is auf'd first. When she goes back to the green room, she finds that her parents have finally made it to NY, though they had not been shown in the audience. Brandon is sent home next; he goes backstage and cries like a baby. Again, he's only 24. I think all of the various wins during the competition went to his head so he felt that he could not lose. And with that kind of thinking, it's possible to get lazy.

It was down to Ayana and Kentaro. I was pretty sure Ayana had the win in the bag, but surprise! Kentaro is declared the winner. Thank heavens. The whole season looked like one big fix for Brandon, but it seemed that the judges actually chose the winner on the merits of the final collection. Kentaro showed range, he showed growth, he showed himself. And he definitely deserved the win.

Now how does JC Penney translate his fabulous garments into a capsule collection to be sold on the cheap? 

This one's not so bad, I suppose, though it looks cheap and stiff. The tank has more modest straps and why is it black? The look definitely needs the belt.

This one is nothing like the original. The shirt looks sloppy, and what's going on with the crotch on those pants? WWMKS (What Would Michael Kors Say?) about the model's "polterwang?"

In any case, congratulations Kentaro!

Posted by theminx on Because of past content theft, I am forced to add this statement to the end of my posts: If you're reading this post anywhere other than the Opalescent blog, (also then this content has been stolen. Please do not support this thief!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Project Runway Season 16 Finale, Part One

Uh boy. I spent two hours of my precious time watching this episode last night and the only good thing that came of it was finding out that there is a new season of Project Runway All-Stars coming up. Two. Fucking. Hours. And for the bulk of the show we watched the designers wring their hands over which two looks they were going to send down the runway for judgement. I'm going to be really hot if next week's finale is also two hours long, because the runway show itself takes 15 minutes and who really cares about the minutiae that goes on between Zac and Nina and Heidi when they "deliberate" on who wins? It's clear to me at this point that the winner is going to be Brandon, even though he's going to send a collection of pastel jammies down the runway. There is zero tension in the show anymore, as far as who's gonna win? who's gonna be auf'd? is concerned. Gone are the days when winners were a big surprise, even if the win elicited a lot of head-scratching. I'm talking Chloe Dao, Anya Ayoung-Chee, and Gretchen Jones. I could tell from the very first episodes of season 15 and season 14 that Erin Robertson and Ashley Nell Tipton were going to be the winners. Ok, so this season I felt that Brandon was going to be one of the first eliminated because he had not designed women's wear before, but by his second win, I was pretty sure that he was the favorite. I'm not saying he's not a good designer. He's fine. He has his POV. Don't know how many women over the age of 22 would wear his straps and buckles and not look a little silly though (my blog, my opinion). There were so many strong designers this season, so many that could win. If Brandon wins, I'll be very annoyed. #teamayana

So the Final Five, who have been the Final Five for about nine weeks now, meet on the runway set for one last time before dispersing to the four winds. Heidi and Tim come out from behind the scrim to tell them that each of them will be getting $10K to create their collections, but not all five of them will be moving on to Fashion Week. Translation: all will be showing, but only three are guaranteed eligibility to win the whole shooting match. (I know. A horrible term to use in this insane gun-happy day and age.) Saying "only three are guaranteed" doesn't necessarily mean that the other two are out. To help the judges pare down however many people are going to Fashion Week, each of the five remaining designers will first show two looks that represent their collection.

Now, me being a sensible person, I would have kept this in mind the whole time I was working on my collection. The two representative looks would be priority. They could actually be the glue that keeps the whole thing cohesive. But noooo...we have to see a good hour of the designers mixing and matching garments, making their models take things off and put other things on, until they find two looks that they want to send down the runway. But that comes later. First, Home Visits™.

The designers leave NY for home; five weeks later, Tim comes to check in on them. He starts off with Ayana in Salt Lake City. She seems a little down because she's quite a bit behind. Apparently while she was in NY filming the first 92 episodes of the season, her apartment got flooded by her upstairs neighbor's leaking waterbed or some such tragedy. Cleaning up took time away from sewing. Before Ayana takes Tim to the petri dish that is now her apartment, she introduces him to her mother and randomly, to her friend Jax. When he discovers that her mother, also named Ayana, popped out 11 children, Tim quips, "your mother's been busy." Maybe just a little.

Only two of Ayana's fully modest outfits, inspired by a trip to her hometown in upstate New York, were complete. For the most part, Tim liked what he saw.

Speaking of Tim, you may have noticed that he was sporting a ginormous bandaid on his forehead. Surely there were more fashionable ways to hide his boo-boo?

Let's go back to "fully modest" for a second. Ayana's outfits tend not to show any skin, or hair, but they can be extremely form-fitting, as do the clothes she herself wears. How modest is that really? How is the obvious curve of a breast or ass more modest than the exposure of an elbow or an ear? Just putting that out there, and I'm sure someone will attempt to explain it to me.

Rather than sticking to the West Coast homes of two of the other designers, editing has Tim travel back east to Atlanta to visit Kenya and her band of rowdy sisters, cousins, and aunts. Tim, sporting a smaller bandage, checks out her sand and sea-inspired collection first and says though he likes her silhouettes, her sandy palette is a "snooze-fest." He suggests that she add a deeply saturated color to give it a punch.

Tim says he wants her to win, and of course Kenya feels the same way. She feels Tim's suggestions have given her a second wind, so they retire to her uncle's lovely home. There they enjoy a soul food feast of goodies like macaroni and cheese and cornbread with Kenya's grandmother, mother, and various aunts. The ladies tell Tim they eat this way every week, and he'd lose his nice figure if he did. No doubt.

Editing takes us back to the West coast to visit Kentaro, whose collection was inspired by classical piano music. To use a musical term, there's some definite dissonance going on. Tim, once again sporting the large bandaid, thinks Kentaro's pieces appear to be from three different collections.

He suggests that Kentaro think of the collection as one sonata, not ten sonatas. But Kentaro doesn't want it to look cohesive. He doesn't want it to look like the same thing over and over, because he would get bored. Unlike his brother Brandon, who obviously doesn't share the same misgivings about repetition.

Kentaro then sits at the piano and plays a little ditty he's composed for his collection. He tells Tim that he was inspired by finding a dead cat in the road. After he buried the cat, he put his ear to the ground and that's what he heard. Not sure what dead cats have to do with his collection, but artists are weird. Tim, to his credit, doesn't roll his eyes or call the men in the white coats.

No sushi and ramen lunches for Tim, he's going waayyy east now to visit Margarita in Puerto Rico. Remember back when PR was still on Bravo and he had to drive from location to location in a Saturn Sky Roadster? He'd have some real problems doing that this season, unless he had a car that flew. Margarita and Tim walk through Old San Juan, which at the time was still beautiful and colorful and not devastated by hurricanes. She takes him to meet her parents...

...then to see her collection, which was inspired by her colorful childhood and the fun house in which she grew up. She created a pretty fun textile based on the patterns of her family's old sofa, but also some tacky-ass crochet fabric with brass rings woven into it, possibly inspired by one of her mother's 70s macrame experiments.

Tim tells her to jettison the hideous stuff because it looks cheap, and that her collection would be a "sinking ship" if she included it. She should take the girl off the beach and put her on the street, whatever that means. She might get hit by a car if she does that.

Finally Tim goes all the fuck back to California to meet Brandon and his girlfriend Dana for breakfast in the park. The big bandaid is back, so we know that Tim actually did all the west coast trips at the same time, which makes sense. But apparently not for Lifetime.

After yogurt and granola, Tim goes to see Brandon's collection at his studio at the awkwardly named Academy of Art University. Brandon's collection appears to be finished and every look includes a piece made from shower curtain fabric printed with pink flamingos. I shit you not. From a distance, it looks like twee baby flowers in pastel colors, but up close, it's worse. I guarantee the judges will climb over each other to compliment it. Girlfriend Dana is like me--she is not a fan of the print. In addition to the flamingo fabric, Brandon is using materials in other pastel hues, most notably an apricot leather which seems an insult to the animal it came from.

It all looks like children's pajamas that got caught in a parachute. I know some of you out there like it, or pretend you like it, or think you should like it because it makes you hip, but I. Don't. Get. It. Tim, predictably, loves it.

Back in NY, the designers reunite at their new shared apartment before heading off to the workroom. Comparing garments, we see Brandon and Kenya are using a similar palette, but while Tim was crazy about Brandon's, he thought Kenya's was a "snooze-fest." Hm. Tim comes in to remind everyone that they need to pick two looks, which he assists with. From what I could tell, he guides them to pick one good look and one somewhat batshit look. He then tells them not to overthink things before he leaves and the "muse models," aka the ones from the season, come in for their fitting.

After a lot of hemming and hawing and changing their minds about their two looks, the designers finally get to send their models for hair and makeup. This whole process wasted about 45 minutes of my precious time that could have been put to a better use. Like sleeping.

There are only three humans at the runway show, Zac, Nina, and Tim. Heidi has reverted to her natural form, a robot consisting of a giant monitor on wheels that is wheeled onto the runway in order to give the usual pre-show spiel/judge intro. She's in LA tending to something or another, possibly being groped by Harvey Weinstein, but promises to be in NY for the big show in two days. Models walk the runway. Time for the critique.

The judges ask each designer for their inspiration and why they chose the looks they sent down the runway. To their credit, nobody responded with, "uh, Tim told me to use this one."

Kenya had a major fit issue, particularly the black dress that threatened to let her model's girls loose. The looks were "luxe" but styling was a problem. Neither needed the extra cocoon of fabric worn on top. Personally, I'm not sure these two looks were the best choices to represent the entire collection. Actually, I am very sure they were not the best choices. They were unoffensive, but didn't leave me wanting more.

Heidi loved the ease of Ayana's garments, and the color palette. There was a nice juxtaposition of distressed and refined. Ayana was one of the ones going back and forth between the looks that Tim suggested and others that she liked. She stuck with Tim's picks, which ended up being a good idea.

One of Kentaro's looks, a white outfit that appeared to be sprouting a black tulle tumor, was "questionable," but the other was super-sophisticated and expensive-looking. Other comments suggested that he was trying to hard, and was too conceptual. Also, his clothes "have no soul." Ouch. He should have told them about the dead cat that played music to him from underground. The styling, with the harsh eyebrows, was a bit wackadoodle, and made the models look unattractive.

As expected, the judges were in ecstasy over Brandon's more feminine color palette. Surprisingly Zac spoke up about the top Brandon put on Liris, saying it looked sloppy, which it did. I thought it looked like something a baby should wear. The other look also was a bit juvenile to me. But again, I. Don't. Get. It.

Finally, Heidi thought Margarita's print was just on the cusp of being hideous, it was loud and out there...but she liked it. Heidi knows from hideous, as she wears enough of it herself. She loved the "bom-ber" jacket. There was no lack of exuberance and attitude in the two pieces, but Zac didn't like the shorts, which were a little floppy and sloppy-looking. Both looks were very "resort." It was suggested that she keep the collection in NY rather than on the islands, which echoed Tim's off the beach and on the street comment. Why is it that they want people to have a POV, but suggest they change it? Margarita is not from NY, she's from an island. I don't recall fellow island resident Anya sending anything other than colorfully-patterned sleeveless maxi dresses down the runway, yet she won. Such bullshit.

The judges ask each designer once again (they asked last week, too) why he or she should go to Fashion Week. Each gave his or her own particular reason, but Kentaro seemed lost. The critique made him unsure of his work, or at least unsure he should go on to the next step.

After sending the designers to cool their heels in the green room, the judges agree immediately that Brandon and Ayana should be going on in the competition. When the designers are brought back out, Heidi tells them that FOUR will be going on to Fashion Week. Kentaro and his unenthusiastic mumblings seemed the most likely to be eliminated along with his tulle tumor, but the only person not going forward was...Kenya.

Fuck that shit. I'm pissed.

Next week: another probably 2-hour time-waster to tell me that Brandon is the winner.

Posted by theminx on
Because of past content theft, I am forced to add this statement to the end of my posts: If you're reading this post anywhere other than the Opalescent blog, (also then this content has been stolen. Please do not support this thief!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Project Runway Recap - Season 16, Episode 12

We're getting down to the last few episodes of season 16, and not a moment too soon. Recapping is hard work--at the very least taxing to my brain--and I look forward to taking a break! But first, Episode 12.

The designers are in their rooms at The Box Hotel in beautiful downtown Greenpoint, Brooklyn, discussing the last challenge. It started with five designers and there are still five designers because Tim felt it was necessary to use the Tim Gunn Save™ on Margarita's shapely ass. Margarita now needs to demonstrate that she deserved to be saved.

Meanwhile, Kenya really wants a win. She wanted it last week, and perhaps deserved it, but a challenge win remains elusive. Not for Brandon, however, who is seeming less-humble and more "too big for his [poopy-pants]" with each passing week. He won the last challenge and wants to win again. Two consecutive victories would definitely go to his head, which is already full of straps and buckles and flowy noodles of fabric. Kentaro is feeling stupid because unlike Brother Brandon Who Can Do No Wrong, he's been on the bottom for the last two weeks. [Insert Sad Kentaro Emoji Here]

The designers are then seen on the runway set waiting for Heidi and/or Tim to emerge from behind the scrim. They get both this week. Heidi is wearing the kind of short sparkly dress that she is known for favoring. She's not yet what people might call "long in the tooth," but she's wearing something I stopped wearing when I was 10 years younger than she is now. But then I never did have her legs.

Suddenly, it starts "snowing" on the runway. Heidi twirls and encourages Tim to catch snowflakes on his tongue. He knows they're soap or feathers or some other fake shit and ignores her, but still manages to get some in his mouth.

 I half expected Heidi to start singing her "hit" song, "Wonderland." In case you've forgotten....

It's November in the real world and it should be chilly--the perfect time to watch a winter challenge. Only it's 75°F in Baltimore so it actually seems a bit odd to hear that the designers need to create "high-fashion winter looks that any fashionista would be thrilled to wear on a winter day." Strange though it seemed for the viewer, it was probably even more so for the designers as the episode was probably filmed in the spring.

Heidi leaves, but Tim stays to play chaperon. The designers are going on a field trip! They are off to experience the coldest place in New York, a gimmicky joint in the Hilton Midtown called Minus 5 Ice Bar. Everything in the place is made from ice--the walls, the seating, etc.--so to keep patrons warm, they offer parkas and gloves...for $22 per person! For $20 more, you can get two specialty "ice cocktails" to speed up the hypothermia process. To get the ugly fake furs that the designers donned, one has to pay $75, which also gets one a souvenir hat and a photo (the website insists this combo of useless future-dust-collecting souvenir tchotchkes is a $100 value), but takes away one of the cocktails. What the everloving fuck? People must do this, because there are two more of these joints in Vegas and one in Florida. Baltimore had one at some point, too, but apparently visitors to our fair city have more sense than to blow money on the opportunity to sit on an ice cube and "get piles."*

When I went to Fashion Week in February of 2016, it was about 5°C in NY, and I'm telling you, it was not fun in the least.

Tim doesn't bother putting on one of the coats, because he knows that scores of smelly tourists harboring bedbugs have already worn them. He leaves the designers to attempt sketching while wearing thick gloves and beats a hasty retreat in search of a hot cup of coffee.

The designers later thaw out at Mood, where they have $400 to blow on materials since most of them will want to make coats. Margarita is inspired by the ugly faux coats at Five Below Minus 5 and decides to use real fur in her design. She can only afford rabbit pelts, but loads up on them. As she's checking out, Tim announces that real fur is verboten. Project Runway is a "cruelty free" show, but apparently that only refers to animals and not to the way they torture the audience with contestants like the Annoying Twins. Time is up and they have to leave. Margarita seems fucked.

After the commercial break, Tim says that it's his fault that Margarita is short on materials and he allows her five minutes to find a replacement for the dead rabbits she was going to use.

Back at the workroom, we see Kenya in love with her fabric, a large-scale plaid clearly inspired by one of Herb Tarlek's suits (a character on the 70s sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, for you young people), or an ugly 70s couch, maybe with some crochet pillows on top. I have flashbacks to my youth every time that fabric is on screen. Kentaro, on the other hand, is using some yummy-looking thick beige-y fabric that he thinks makes his jacket look like whipped cream. Brandon is working with waxed cotton, which is very heavy and crinkles easily. He's planning on distressing it and lining it with fleece.

The day is short because of all the shopping and freezing, but they have another full day for the challenge. The next morning? afternoon? Tim comes by to see what the designers are doing. He advises Kentaro to use the "whipped cream" fabric for his entire look and to forgo the lavender and screaming yellow fabrics he purchased.

Kenya tells Tim she's going for a classic look, and he advises her that it should be "Kenya Classic" and not merely "classic." The pieces going under her hideous plaid coat need to have some sort of innovation going on so that she can finally win a challenge. Brandon of course, Mr Can Do No Wrong, has exceeded Tim's expectations, so we know he's not going anywhere anytime soon. Except to Fashion Week.

Ayana shows Tim her long coat, which is hot pink on the top and black the rest of the way. She's contemplating putting white paint on it, but Tim looks at her like she's got three heads. She's got too much going on already, considering the coat also converts to a jacket. Instead, he asks her to splatter some black paint on a scrap of fabric, as a test. It's rather Jackson Pollock-y, but he likes it and advises her to go for it.

Margarita's lime green dress with fur cuffs makes Tim think of "Tippi Hedren in The Birds," a reference that probably went over the heads of much of the audience and at least a couple of the designers. He advises her to try something else. An all-fur dress? Why not?

The next morning, Tim tells the designers they have an hour to send the models through the paint department at Home Depot for make-up, and that they should use the JC Penney Accessories Wall "only through the lens of what you've designed." Whatever that means.

I initially thought this week's guest judge was Margaret Colin, but it's actually Katie Holmes, who is 20 years younger. I suppose keeping her daughter out of the clutches of Scientology took a lot out of her. Heidi is wearing her pajamas for the occasion, which are at least more attractive than that hideous top made of old foil gift wrap that she wore last week.

The judges are pretty complimentary to everyone. Are they all on top this week?

Zac thought it was nice to see a winter version of Brandon's trademark straps and buckles and crop tops (oh my!). His outfit felt both luxe and street and it all fit together effortlessly. There was a nice sense of proportion and texture, although he didn't need to make both the NFL apron-style belt muff and a fleece-lined shoulder bag.

Heidi said that an all-fur dress was tricky, but Margarita's worked. None of the judges were impressed with the way the dress was made in the back, but the coat was classic and impeccable. The "surprise effect" of the fur was "everything" to Nina. It seemed the judges were being nicer than usual. Perhaps they all partook of some "specialty ice cocktails" before the show. And when I say "ice," I mean "crystal meth."

Heidi and Nina both like Ayana's convertible coat, but thought the clown costume romper underneath was a bit costume-y and childish. Zac felt the coat was "fresh."  I thought it looked like she walked by a construction site and got splattered with roofing tar.

Kenya's ugly plaid coat had "attitude" but her styling wasn't high fashion enough. Each of her three pieces were nice individually, but perhaps didn't work together. And the high pants made her model's torso look very short.

They all loved Kentaro's look, which he said was inspired by his model, Meisha. It's very modern and sculptural, and Heidi thinks it's "heaven from head to toe." It's the "chic-est snow woman" Zac has ever seen, both sophisticated and youthful, which is a hard combo to manage.

Each of the designers are then asked why they deserve to go to Fashion Week and which two others they would want to go with them. Kenya cries as she describes her money situation, and Margarita seems a bit shaky, but the other three are fairly confident. Brandon and Ayana are the two designers that most would want to see at Fashion Week, with Kentaro getting a couple votes and Kenya getting one. Nobody wants to take Margarita, which she notices.

The judges manhandle the five looks before making their decisions. Heidi congratulates Kentaro, Brandon, and Ayana, telling them they are each going to NY Fashion Week. Surprisingly, Margarita is also told that she has a slot at FW, leaving Kenya fretting on the stage alone. We then see her walking into the green room, appearing quite sad, before she announces that she, too, will be going to Fashion Week! No doubt her tears were affecting.

The episode started with five designers and ends with five designers. We don't seem to be making any progress here. However, the promo for next week shows Heidi telling the five that they will each get $10K to create a 10-look collection, but only three of them will be going forward. Or in reality, only three of them will be in contention for the prize; they'll all show, with the addition of Michael, who left what? three weeks ago already?

I still maintain that the top three will be Ayana, Brandon, and Margarita. Guess we'll find out next week if I'm right!

* My mother always warned that if I sat on something cold, I'd get piles, or hemorrhoids. If your mother never warned you thusly, you are probably young.

Posted by theminx on Because of past content theft, I am forced to add this statement to the end of my posts: If you're reading this post anywhere other than the Opalescent blog, (also then this content has been stolen. Please do not support this thief!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Project Runway Recap - Season 16, Episode 11

Welcome back, kids! Ready for another exciting recap? Me too! If you find one out there on the Interwebs, please let me know....

Last week, Michael made a crap bondage-style outfit and was deservedly auf-ed for it. I know there are a lot of people in the fandom that think Tim should have used his Tim Gunn Save™ to keep Michael in the competition, but why? He is a good designer, but certainly not the best among the people remaining. He was not the winning designer. How do I know this? Well, it's pretty obvious. He was eliminated. Look, this is a very strong season, and Brandon and Ayana are definitely the two to beat. Each has a very strong point-of-view, or aesthetic, if you will. We haven't seen work like theirs ever in PR history, and one of them is going to win. So what if Michael gets aufed in week 10? He still got to show at NY Fashion Week, even if he was just a decoy. (I think his is the first collection on this page).

This week's episode starts in the designers' apartments, where there are only two guys, the Brothers Brantaro, and three gals, the aforementioned Ayana, plus Kenya and Margarita. They are discussing the previous week's challenge and elimination of Michael and generally wasting my time before they notice that someone snuck into their rooms and left behind a pair of pink boxing gloves and a note. They're pink, it's October, so this is likely to be a breast cancer awareness challenge of some sort, no? Kentaro picks up on this right away, telling Brandon that the pink color is the key element here.

The designers find Tim at Gleason's Gym, in Brooklyn, where he is wearing sweats and standing in a boxing ring. There are several women in pink around him, so I'm thinking this is going to be another real woman challenge with the designers creating looks for these cancer survivors. But I'd be wrong. Tim introduces Evy deAngelis, the Executive Director of Sales at Avon who is only there because this is evidently the "Avon Challenge," though Avon isn't giving an extra prize to the designer who wins. Evy talks a bit about the Avon Breast Cancer Campaign and two of the women standing nearby talk about their experience as a survivor. Tim tells the designers that the challenge is to create a high-fashion, editorial look inspired by warrior women. This is a two-day challenge, with a $250 materials budget. But before they get to sketch and shop, they have to participate in a boxing boot camp. Seriously? The five pull on the pink gloves and throw some punches.

Ayana especially seems to have some issues to work through, as she's not only punching but also kicking. Bet she's doing some sweating in that headscarf and long sleeves, too.

Eventually the designers get to Mood. Brandon says because Zac was picking on his drab color story, he was going to snazz things up a bit by using pink and brown fabrics. The two colors he's been using the whole season. So different!

At the workroom, everybody gets started except Kenya, who is having designer's block. She grabs a can of Coke with red tape over the label (because Coke isn't a sponsor) and hopes the caffeine and high fructose corn syrup will help her think. Kentaro is also having a few issues. He's been assigned one of the plus-sized models, Jazzmine, and he's torn between wanting to make her look good and making simply what he wants to make.

By the end of Day 1, Kenya has nothing to show for the day's work except some scraps of blue fabric and her own sense of despair. At the start of Day 2, we see that Kentaro has fabricated a white hoodie and sweater combo that don't look quite large enough for Jazzmine. The sleeves especially look too slim for a plus-sized woman's upper arms. Brother Brandon has a very similar thing going with a white hoodie. Perhaps the Brothers Brantaro are rubbing off on each other? Just don't let Margarita catch wind of any of this....

Tim comes in for his critique. He thinks the ruffled men's shirting top Ayana's working on is a real "wow moment." It's got a sideways collar, which has been a thing all season, and a lot of other stuff going on, too. While it's ok that Ayana's top is crazy busy, Tim suggests that Kentaro might have too many competing ideas.

Brandon is advised to push beyond what the judges have seen already--the light colors, the floppy straps. Too late--that's what they're going to get.

By this time, Kenya has some blue fabric petals and half a skirt pinned to her form. She tells Tim she's in a "creative black space," and he reminds her that she's the only designer left without a win. Way to twist the knife, Tim.

At first he seems unenthusiastic about Margarita's very literal warrior woman red floofy dress with gold corset, yet Tim tells her he really likes it. That he gets what she's trying to say, and that she can't control if the judges get it or not. It might be too super-hero-ish to them, but he's imagining paintings of Queen Elizabeth I in formal dress with armor on top. I'm not sure the judges think that deeply, Tim. Margarita realizes it's very Wonder Woman, but with Tim's assurances, she doesn't change a thing.

There's an amusing scene where Brandon is checking the fit of his drop-crotch pants on Kentaro. It reminds me of the Chinpokomon episode of South Park.

We get a little glimpse into Ayana's life in the next scene as she calls her Mom for a chat. The narrative tells us that Ayana got divorced and moved to Utah from Tennessee, with plans to show in Utah Fashion Week. I had to check out this Utah Fashion Week, as I can't imagine that it's something that serves very many designers. Turns out that on St Patrick's day of this year, both Ayana and Brandon sent garments down the runway for an Urban/Streetwear show at Utah Fashion Week. No telling if they included magic underwear in their collections.

The models come in, but before they are fitted with whatever scraps the designers have ready, they have to go to makeup. Because this is the Avon challenge, we get to visit the Room o' Cosmetics twice this week.

I'm sure it was fun trying things on while avoiding getting electric blue eye shadow on everything. Jazzmine has to wear a schmatta over her face while trying on Kentaro's very snug hoodie/sweater combo.

After nearly ripping Jazzmine's ears off, Kentaro realizes it doesn't fit and goes back to the drawing board for a new top idea. He's left with only black fabrics, so he's using them to make various kimono-esque layers. Margarita, on the other hand, is feeling that she's finding her voice as a designer. Sure, if she's going to go work for Marvel Studios. The two are both getting serious loser edits.

The next morning, the designers send their models to get another layer of Avon makeup spackled on, along with a visit to the No Name Hair Salon. Tim advises them to use the JC Penney accessories wall both "very thoughtfully" and "carefully."

After a commercial break, we see Heidi embrace guest judge Rachel Brosnahan, saying, "I'm really garlick-y," which I guess means she had just snarfled down some Thai take-out before filming. Brosnahan is one of this season's many Millennial guest judges whom I don't know from Adam. Or in this case, Eve. However, she seemed vaguely familiar, so I consulted IMDB. Apparently she was in something I had seen--she was Rachel Posner on 19 episodes of House of Cards, a vaguely memorable character who met with the show's typical gristly end. But that's neither here nor there. What qualifies her to be a judge on a fashion show? Perhaps her aunt Kate Spade.

With only five designers, the runway show is short. Why oh why do they still need to stretch the episode out for 90 minutes? So much blah blah.

Kenya gets the first critique. Liris looks amazing. Kenya's design highlights all her best features and emphasizes her hourglass figure. Heidi thinks Kenya's the first designer who understood how to dress that particular model's shape. Zac finds the dress empowering. Nina loves the shoulder treatment.

Then comes Little Pink and Brown Riding Ninja. Heidi feels that Brandon's "nomadic warrior" is "out there," but she loves it. It's both masculine and feminine, and extremely editorial. The regulars hate the "baby bonnet," but Brosnahan loves it. Zac thinks Brandon knocked this one out of the park, even though he made a pair of "poopy pants." I don't find it to be either masculine or feminine. Not unisex, even. There's just something very infantile about it. The judges see it too, with their "baby bonnet" and "poopy pants" comments. Had someone else made pants with that crotch (roomy enough to accommodate a full diaper), they'd have been ripped to shreds. I don't get it.

Margarita doesn't get such high praise. Zac says the draping of the skirt is nice, but it seems more "clubby" than "armor." Heidi says it's too literal a Wonder Woman look, and Nina agrees, calling it cliche and a costume. It's also a bit too sloppy to be the result of two days of work.

Brosnahan doesn't like that she can't see Jazzmine's body in Kentaro's rather austere garment. And it's black; the judges don't like black. "Black is hard to photograph," and "it's more monastic than majestic," says Nina. They're disappointed that Kentaro has gone back to what he was designing before the competition, rather than doing what they want him to do. (Now wait a minute. They are judges, not mentors. Why should Kentaro change his whole aesthetic because the judges want to see color? Pleasing the judges is of course a better way to win a competition, but being untrue to yourself as a designer won't do you well in the long run.) Heidi notices that Kentaro's look somewhat resembles Brandon's, at least in the strappy thing that Kentaro put around the neck of his model. Haven't we gone through this whole "designers are influenced by other designers" thing a couple of episodes ago? Move on, people. You don't like Kentaro's work? Then don't put him in the top three. Period.

Finally, Ayana's look is deemed "wacky" but incredible. Zac is blown away. The look is bold, beautifully tailored, strong, and sexy without showing skin.

At this point, I realize I don't understand the whole model competition aspect of this season. Christina was Michael's model last week. He was eliminated, but she's still here, wearing Ayana's garments. How does this work? And if you look at the photos from the finale, there are a few models who haven't appeared on the show for a few weeks already. How did they get chosen? Why aren't they all there?

After manhandling the garments to get a closer look, the judges decide that Brandon's toddler ensemble is the winner, rather than Ayana's very cool and well-thought-out take on a power suit. Margarita is sent packing. Or is she? Tim Gunn Save™ to the rescue! So we're still at five designers. However, next week's promo hints at a double elimination. Who do you think will go? (My guess is Kentaro and Kenya. For my reasoning, see this post.)

Posted by theminx on Because of past content theft, I am forced to add this statement to the end of my posts: If you're reading this post anywhere other than the Opalescent blog, (also then this content has been stolen. Please do not support this thief!


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