We’re not gonna lie; we groaned a bit when we saw the direction Kimberly was heading in. Earlier in the competition, she had a tendency to default to heavy-looking metallics that made for heavy-looking clothes that the judges didn’t particularly like. That she labeled this same ol’, same ol’ “New Beginning” did not speak to her self-awareness on the matter. She wanted to act like she had moved on from her meltdown last episode, but once she was back in the workroom, the second-guessing was back in full force.
An utter mess.
Let’s break it down one time.
Tom groaned when this walked out but Lorenzo really liked it. Tom was obviously wrong in his initial feeling that this was too thick and awkward-looking and Lorenzo got to look smug.
It is an interesting dress, and very much of a piece with Kimberly’s aesthetic. She likes the foldy-drapey, origami-type dresses and she likes the dull metallics. We can see why the judges liked it. For Nina, it’s editorial; for Heidi, it’s head-turning; and for Michael, it’s an impressive use of technique.
But yikes on a stick, was the next look a needle-scratch:
Made worse by the styling. That’s the wrong hairstyle to wear for such a heavy coat and while Zoe may have liked the way the scarf was styled, it only added to the bulk.
And that color is terrible for outerwear. It would make a great color for a dress or blouse, but make a coat out of it and she looks like either a very stylish hunter or a very stylish chain gang member. It was a great idea to make a coat (and we often wonder why more designers in the competition don’t set themselves apart from the pack by making them), but this was heavy and not as well executed as it should have been. When Heidi breaks out the German stereotypes to criticize your work, you know you’ve gone off in the wrong direction.
We really, really don’t want to use this word to criticize this look because it’s lapsing into stereotyping ourselves, but it was the very first word to spring to mind and we still can’t shake it: hoochie.
Worse: hoochie and heavy-looking.
We’ll say this: we think the color combination is bold and unique.
But that keyhole is too large for such a heavy fabric, making it gape wider than it should and she tried to do too much with that skirt fabric. It just doesn’t hold the drape very well because it’s also too heavy. That over-embellished belt took what could have been a sexy, chic concept into tacky-land, we’re sorry to say.
We felt really bad for her up on that runway. She knew she’d done far less than her best work and she was nervous, defensive and on the verge of tears. But we wanted to give a little cheer when, in her defense, she managed to make a pointed critique of both the show itself and the fashion industry in general by pointing out the uniqueness and rarity of her voice. Project Runway has never given the win to a black designer and the only successful black designers in the fashion industry tend to be people who started out in, or had connections to the music industry (Sean John, Rocawear, Baby Phat) with lots of money to back them up and a built-in fame that made them impossible for the industry to ignore – and even then, the industry largely ignores them. We want so badly for her to make it to the finals, but we suspect next week the judges are going to pit the 4 semi-finalists against each other for the top 3 slots and we fear she may not make it to the end.
Granted, this collection was so bad she’s lucky she’s still in the running at all.