Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Textile Designs by Minx

I always have to be doing something creative, be it making jewelry or knitting or graphic design. I've recently taken up textile design. Fun repeating patterns of flowers or food items so far, but I'm always dreaming up new ones.

The one exception so far is this rather trippy yellow and green pattern that is made from the fire of an opal. Honestly.
Can you see it? I took the opal and mirrored it a couple of ways to make the pattern. I love it.

I'm using to get my designs on garments and such. The Magic of Silica is available on scarves, dresses, tote bags, pillows, and more. Check them out here.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Project Runway Recap - Season 16, Episode 2

I'm sad to say it's only week 2 and I'm already bored. Too many of the designers seem level-headed, except for those blasted twins, and that doesn't make for humorous recapping. There wasn't even any real moaning and groaning over a team challenge, no "I'm not here to make friends," bullshit. Just those effing twins. Gah. I hope they don't last long.

We start off seeing the designers in their Brooklyn hotel rooms, happy that they survived the first challenge. Suddenly they start to notice that hard hats and safety vests have appeared, along with notes from Heidi saying that they will be meeting Tim and a "special guest" somewhere for the next challenge. The hard hats don't exactly scream "Mood," and the designers pick up on that. I don't think they expected to be hauled off to Queens to wade around in trash though.

The exact location is Royal Waste Services in Jamaica, one of the largest recycling centers in New York. The designers turn up their noses at the place--literally--as it stinks. The Annoying Twins declare it "repugnant," which is a good word, one which I will probably use to describe them in the not too distant future.

Tim is there with Marie Claire editor-in-chief Anne Fulenwider to present the first unconventional materials challenge. Can you imagine Anna Wintour putting a hard hat on her hair helmet and stomping around through piles of trash? She'd probably require a sedan chair, or more likely, appear as a disembodied head on a monitor somewhere. I appreciate that Fulenwider is a real person. She's so into the challenge, she's wearing a dark blue dress that was made from recycled materials. Four hundred plastic bottles, as Tim tells us. Impressive. The dress is attractive, but probably also sweaty.

The designers are told that this will not only be the first unconventional materials challenge, but also the first team challenge. Team One, who choose to call themselves, "Wabi Sabi," is comprised of Marguerite, Kentaro, Michael, Deyonte, and Kudzanai. The second team, "Ballin' on a Budget," includes Pink-haired John Lennon, Kenya, Ayana, Batani, and Brandon. Finally, Samantha, Sentell, Amy, and the Annoying Twins make up "Tsunami." They get 5 minutes to gather their trash without picking up rats and old food items, and head back to the workroom to design 5-look mini collections for new-to-them models.

It doesn't take long for AT Baldie to start an episode-long high-pitch whine about: 1) her first unconventional challenge; 2) her first team challenge; 3) her first time working with a plus-sized woman. Wah, wah, and wah. I am really hoping she's getting a loser edit and goes home, because one less twin will be an improvement in the cast. Rather than worry about her own garment, Baldie is wringing her hands and complaining that the rest of her team's looks are too "girly." Her somewhat less-whiny sister is thrown off by her twin's erratic behavior, and is questioning her own garment. Thankfully they're both on the same team so not everyone in the room has to deal with their Not-So-Wonder-Twin sniveling, but I can imagine everyone is fairly annoyed.

I tell ya, this existential drama shit is far less entertaining than the usual flamboyant bitchy queen drama.

While I'm hoping Baldie is getting a loser edit, Sentell goes off into another room for a "private" conversation with his new husband, whom he married just days before the competition started, or so that's how it sounded in the telling. With 2 or 3 days equaling a week in reality television land, they may have gotten married a year ago. Unfortunately, phone calls with tears usually = aufing, except in the case of Season 15 contestant Mah Jing who seemed to spend much of his time crying and/or on the phone with his family. I start to have a bad feeling about this Sentell situation, which becomes more intense when I see what he's putting together with his pile of green garbage bags.

Several of the designers are experiencing crises of confidence, especially after Tim's critique. Just about all of team Ballin' decides to redesign their looks, apart from Brandon. He's taken the initiative and transformed some sheet vinyl by painting it with a checkerboard print, which will be a unifying element for his team's looks. I started counting him out from the beginning, but this week he seems to be one of the smarter and cooler-headed designers in the bunch. What a difference a day (a week for you and me) makes!

The models come in for a fitting and we start to see pieces coming together. However, Baldie's model doesn't get to put anything on, because nothing is made. There's been more whining than designing going on.

Eventually everyone gets their shit together after a good night's sleep and the models are herded to the Avon Makeup Room and the Sad Hair Salon with No Sponsorship to get beautified before the runway show.

Anne Fulenwider and Maggie Q are guest judges. I find Team Wabi Sabi's looks to be the most cohesive and attractive, but the judges prefer Ballin' on a Budget's garments. Tsunami should have changed their name to "Shit Storm," because their stuff still looks like garbage. Sentell's especially looks like wadded-up pale green garbage bags that he hot glued together in five minutes. Zac said it looked like a "leprechaun went dumpster diving." The team planned their collection as "resort wear," but I don't think even in a dystopian Mad Max kinda world would this stuff ever pass for something to be worn to post-nuclear Miami or Monaco. Meanwhile, there are details like topstitching on Team Ballin' and real thought put into their looks.
Click to enlarge
My favorite look on that team is Batani's, which is a real improvement over what she showed Tim when he came in his for his critique the day before. Ayana, however, had the judges gushing over her floor-length fringe. I felt it was too thick and it reminded me of tentacles, or maybe a car wash. However, the judges liked it enough to give it the win. And as the winning garment, Ayana's dress will be featured in a story in Marie Claire about sustainability.

It will be interesting to see how Ayana fares through the rest of the season. She's Muslim and designs "modest" clothing, meaning covered from neck to fingers and toes. I predict that by mid-season the judges will start complaining that she's "one-note" because all of her looks are floor-length skirts with long sleeves and turtlenecks. OR, she'll get special consideration and end up winning the whole thing because the show has never had a Muslim winner. Kinda like the way Ashley Nell Tipton won season 14. Was she the most talented designer that season? Not by a long shot. She was also pretty one note, putting out pastel full skirts and crop tops for just about every challenge, and for her finale show as well. But she was the first contestant who wanted to design for plus sized women, which made her different and, I suppose, special. Though as a plus-sized woman myself I wouldn't be caught dead in anything she put forth during her time on Project Runway. I am hoping that the producers aren't influencing the judging as much as it seems they are. Heidi is a producer, of course, but how much sway does she have? If it were solely up to her, likely the designer who made sparkly miniskirts all season would always be the winner.

Click to enlarge
On to the losing team. Baldie tries to blame her model for her issues by calling her "curvy," but even the very slender Maggie Q insists that the model is of normal size. Anne Fulenwider says that the model is probably slimmer than she is. Though she caused a commotion throughout the challenge, Baldie did manage to pull together a complete look, with the help of the rest of the team, and especially of Sentell who immediately took credit for sewing the top. At that point that giant tour bus from the first episode drove in so the teammates could start throwing each other under it. It was expected and pretty sad, but the truth was no matter how annoying the Twins were, Sentell deserved to go home. If he had been on Chopped, the judges would have said he didn't transform the ingredients sufficiently. It still looked like garbage.

And he did. Or, at least he went to another apartment to be sequestered with the other losing designers until the end of filming. Not the honeymoon surprise he and his new hubby had hoped for.

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!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Project Runway Season 16, Episode 1

It's been a long time since I've recapped Project Runway: The Mothership--November 2009. That's eight years and ten seasons ago! I did recap All-Stars last year, and that was fun. I figured I'd try again and if I hated it, or even worse, if you hated it, I'd give up for good. But let's get on with the show, shall we?

This season there are sixteen competitors, only five of whom are white. That's a huge shift from previous seasons. Another big change this season is the models, who range from size 2 to size 22. Models will be randomly assigned throughout the season so everyone will get a chance to work with a bigger girl and not exclusively with someone tall, leggy, and hip-less. Yaaaas! Big is beautiful! It's about time that the fashion world recognizes that the average American female is a size 16, with curves, or if more like me, shaped somewhat like a tree trunk. In either case, we are not wire hangers and typical size 0-2 models do not represent us.

The new contestants meet up in what looks to be a large garage-like facility. There's a bartender shaking up creamy coffee-looking drinks that everyone is holding but few seem to be drinking. Possibly because those drinks contain Grey Goose vodka and it's only 8am. Still, that's good vodka and I probably wouldn't turn one down even that early in the morning.

We meet Kenya, a plus-sized woman herself with bold lipstick and a shaved head. She says she is coming to "murder you a good way." I instantly like her. Two of the white girls this season are identical twins Shawn and Claire Buitendorp. Shawn's the "edgy" twin, as evidenced by her shaven head. She says the way to tell them apart is "Shawn shaved, Claire hair." They both have nose rings and matching hot pink lipstick and occasionally speak in unison. Five minutes into the show I am already completely annoyed by them.

The rest of the cast has unfamiliar-sounding names that will take me a week or nine to remember: Kentaro; Batani-Khalfani; Kudzanai; Amy. Brandon seems immediately lost and full of self-doubts. He's 24, and has only designed womenswear once. Once. He won't last long in these here parts. Aaron has long bleached hair with pink roots and looks like a cross between Dr Drew and John Lennon, so I'm probably going to refer to him as Pink Hair John Lennon when I can't remember his name is A-A-Ron. Or maybe even if I do remember. I liked Samantha, Margarita, Ayana, and Deyonté immediately--they were full of enthusiasm but not full of themselves. Sentell and Michael didn't make much of an impression of me at all. And then there is ChaCha from Taiwan, who is 24 going on 7. His name is really Vincent, but everyone calls him ChaCha, which means "annoying little bird." Right on the money. I determined he would be the first to be aufed simply by reading his bio on the Lifetime web site. When asked what his weakness was as a designer, he replied,"I’m bad at fitting!" Welp, kiddo, Nina and Zac don't play that. And after so many seasons, it's getting more and more rare to find a cast member who doesn't have good sewing skills. Thankfully.

There's a bit of "getting to know you," during which Shaved Twin acts like she's the fucking hostess of the party, greeting every new person who walks through the door with her hand outstretched, "Hi! Who are you?" Once everybody is in the room, garage doors open at one end of the space to let in a huge tour bus. Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn emerge and share awkward double-cheek kisses. Tim appears to be uncomfortable during the exchange, which seems odd after so many years of doing the show together.

They introduce the first challenge, which is to design a red carpet look that showcases "who you are as a designer." The designers seem pleased that the first challenge isn't particularly challenging, but then Heidi says, cryptically, "expect the unexpected." On cue, models emerge from the bus. Some contestants feign pleasure at the variation in size, but others just plain freak out. Like poor menswear designer Brandon, who is assigned the biggest girl of the bunch. I briefly reconsider my prediction that ChaCha will be the first out, but only briefly.

The models get a feature this season called "Model Mirror" when they gaze upon their reflection in a full-length mirror and talk about how they are feeling at the time. What we see looks like a standard to-the-camera confessional, but with an added overhead angle showing the models and the mirror. I don't understand the point, but whatever.

The designers get a budget of $300 for this one-day challenge and are quickly whisked to Mood to purchase fabric, after which time they are introduced to their work space.

There are so many designers in the beginning the show tends to concentrate on the ones who are most likely to be in the top or bottom. Brandon is getting a loser edit because he is so concerned about designing for a plus sized woman. ChaCha is also getting a loser edit, because, well, he deserves it. He calls his model fat, then switches to "oversized." Nice. But his model is not what I would consider "plus sized." While sketching, ChaCha said he would purposely emphasize her "big butt" with a snug dress, but what he's actually fabricating looks more like a big bag of cotton candy.

They did let the camera linger briefly on Sentell, as his story is somewhat interesting. After working as a dancer for 12 years, he was tired of the struggle. So he went to a medium who insisted he should be a designer. That's not to say he has any talent, but I guess we'll see as the season progresses.

The photos we see of Batani's pre-Runway portfolio show a strong African influence and she herself is wearing a fun patterned dress with matching head wrap and huge earrings. She says she loves to use bold colors and wanted something colorful for her model, but then settled on a drab gray stretch material, claiming that it would be "best on her body shape," because she wants to "tuck her in." Right there that sounds like she sees having a plus-sized model as being a problem.

Tim comes in for his consultation with the designers and except for ChaCha's bag of cotton candy, doesn't seem to have any overly serious issues with what they're creating.

The models come in for their fittings and everything goes fairly well there, too. Brandon still seems a bit lost, and his model hopes that he can deliver something that's figure flattering. What I'm seeing mid-creation looks completely unflattering. The skirt is too voluminous, and the blouse is boxy, with some weird tie detail on the left sleeve. It's still in the muslin state at this point though, so perhaps once it's created in the actual fabric he plans to use it will be good. But the fabric turns out to be a brown and peach camo. Errr...I have issues with camo. I think it belongs in the military or in the forest on a person hunting deer, otherwise, it's ugly. But hey, that's my opinion. I have a lot of them, and it's fine if you don't agree.

The day ends and the designers are tired, but they still have some commuting to do. Their lodgings for this season are in the Box Hotel. While that sounds like a euphemism for a cardboard appliance casing somewhere on Broadway, it's actually a real Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I suppose it's not that far, but still at least a 20 minute ride. I can imagine the designers will be getting pretty punchy during their evening commute by mid-season. Hopefully we get to watch them snipe at each other in a moving vehicle.

The next day they have two hours to finish their red carpet looks, plus send their models to the Avon Beauty Lab and get their hair did at what sounded like "our" beauty salon. I couldn't tell if there was a sponsor for hair at all this year. And accessories....oy. They are furnished by JCPenney.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Walmart accessory wall come Season 18...
...and accommodations in Jersey City.

Tim seems more concerned than usual about over-accessorizing. I don't blame him.

Designers and models are soon herded to whatever faraway venue they use for the runway show these days, perhaps on Staten Island. Heidi, Nina, Zac, and guest judge Olivia Munn are awaiting the potential shitshow, but I think by the end they're pretty pleased overall. It's not a bad group of designers this year...apart from one or two.

Since there are so many designers at this point, I'm just going to talk about the top and bottom three looks.

Batani talked a good piece about doing colorful African-inspired garments, but then she put out this drab, stretchy, mess. When she was talking about using the lace applique as a motif, I thought it would be really pretty, but she just tacked it on to basically hide her model's big tummy, and then added a drape on top of that. Her gal had a great curvy shape and deserved better than that.

I thought for sure poor Brandon was on the bottom, but the judges loved his look. Maybe they felt sorry for him? But they called it strong, sassy, and fabulous, so maybe they actually liked it. I don't think the colors were very red carpet-like, but it really wasn't a bad outfit if you're into athleisure, despite the camo.

Predictably, ChaCha's clown costume was on the bottom. Who knows what he was thinking? The outfit was made with a fabric that the judges seemed to think was beautiful close up, but the overall look with the ridiculous ruffles looked like a "dance recital costume," a "scrunchie," and a "clown/unicorn" mashup.

Deyonté's floral two-piece gown was magnificent. Though Tim usually has issues with large floral prints, he loved it, and the judges loved it too. the draping was perfect, and the colors really went well with his model's coloring. So lovely.

Kenya's look was "white hot," definitely white but not at all wedding gown-ish, which is a usual complaint heard when a designer chooses to use all white. It was sexy, elegant, clean, and well-made, although she got dinged for using a fabric that perhaps didn't offer enough support to a bustier. Still, gorgeous.

Bald Twin's look had promise until you got to the tacky silver leather shorts. I think if they had been tight hot pants, it could have worked, but the floppy boxer short look was just tacky. It was too "club kid," too "hooker-y" for the judges.

I think Deyonté's look just edges out Kenya's for the top spot; I would have been happy with either. Predictably the annoying little bird was sent home. Told ya so.

What did you think? Did my recap suck? Hopefully not. Leave me a comment or two so I know if I should continue on or not.

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!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Project Runway Season 16

Is anyone else excited about the premiere of Project Runway this coming Thursday? I've watched every season of every variation and still can't wait for the show to start every year.

The cast seems pretty diverse this time around. Only five of the 16 contestants are white, and among those five is a pair of twins. Check out their bios here.

I think I might recap this season. Anyone interested in reading my recaps? I did All-Stars last season, but haven't recapped regular PR in ten seasons. I might be rusty, but I'm willing to give it a shot if you are.

Check out my old recaps here.

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

Friday, August 4, 2017

If I Had a Million Dollars...

...I'd spend it on stuff like this:

Alexander McQueen
Chunky Lace-Up Zip-Front Sweater
$1,775.00 at Bergdorf Goodman

Cute, versatile, tough yet feminine. Love the lace up details and the zip up turtleneck. A must-have.

Iridescent Floral-Embroidered Crepe Jacket
$6,200.00 at Bergdorf's

It's just beautiful. Would be amazing over a LBD or black trousers. Hell, even with jeans and a tank top. So beautiful.

Embroidered Hooded Coat
$9,500.00 at Bergdorf's

It's stunning. I'd probably just hang it on the wall like art.

Pandora Small Pepe Crossbody Bag

It's crazy, yet not. Only one handle on a bag that seems like it should have two. How does one wear it? Who cares? It's gorg! The washed metallic sheepskin looks so rustic and interesting.

Dries Van Noten
Patterned Velvet Block-Heel Bootie

I love these so much, I'd marry them.

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


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