PR: What’s this show about, anyway?

Posted on October 19, 2011


Y’know, we joked about Laura’s inspiration of “circles” being kind of shallow and flat, but at least we could remember what her inspiration was. We had to go back and re-watch to see what Viktor’s was. In his case, it was the skyline of Manhattan from the viewpoint of Governor’s Island.
And in Viktor’s case, it worked out pretty well for him. We can understand the inspiration and the collection has a simple clarity to it that most of the others lacked.

For once, Michael said something in the judge’s chair that we supported and agreed with wholeheartedly, and it gets to a larger point about just what the hell this show is trying to do – aside from get ratings, that is.

Yes, this is a bit secretarial, and yes, it’s not “fashion forward” or “pushing the envelope.”  It is, like everything else in this collection, a put-together look made of chic, wearable pieces.

The kinds of clothes women want to have in their closet.

And he did manage to do something interesting with that skirt.


But to us, after 9 seasons, we have to ask: is the focus on “editorial” and “fashion forward” really serving the audience? Have ANY of the winners of the competition made their name as “fashion forward” designers? Most successful designers – Kors himself being foremost in our minds – are NOT fashion forward in any way. Neither is Marie Claire, possibly the most pedestrian of all the fashion magazines, with a focus on wearable, “real women” clothes far beyond such magazines as Vogue or Elle.

Isn’t it time for these judges to cut the shit? This is a great look and it would sell like crazy.


As is this one, although we’re not crazy about all the foofaraw on the front of that jacket. It’s a bit too overdesigned for its own good. In other words, it was Viktor’s attempt to satisfy the judges’ insatiable need for a “wow” factor and it doesn’t work.

No, this isn’t head-turning in any real way, but it’s urban and wearable with a low-level chicness to it. Like most of Viktor’s work, it demonstrates an understanding of what women want to wear, rendered with perfect tailoring and execution; two things that used to be met with hosannas from the judges before the focus on “story” and trends overwhelmed the judging process. For just a second there, Kors made that point. But then Nina started praising Josh’s ugly tank top as “editorial” and the point got lost.

We’ll admit that the judges were right to come down a little hard on this one.

This is still a design competition and as much as we’re frustrated by the judges’ insistence on arbitrary things like “fashion forward,” even we have to admit a basic LBD is not the way to go at this point.

Sure, it’s chic and well-made, but there needed to be something a little interesting to justify it as an entry.

He tried with that structured hip, but it only gave the dress an odd shape. And it gave the judges another opening to opine that “NO women would…blahblahblah.”

But like we said, it’s chic and well-made.

It’s indicative of this season that Viktor consistently gets over-criticized while obviously less talented designers with better “stories” get overpraised. He’s not the strongest designer the show’s ever had, but he’s consistent, impeccable, and has a real understanding of clothing. We’ll see how the judging shakes out for the finals, but for us, a lot is riding on how Viktor is treated and what the judges say. If “on trend” is heavily featured as a point then he’s in trouble. To which we say this: supposedly, Gretchen’s collection last year was on trend and that was a big reason given for her win. Guess what? It wasn’t that on trend. It’s time to start asking the question of why, after nine seasons, the winners of Project Runway (with the notable exception of Christian Siriano) don’t have post-show careers distinguishable from the designers who don’t win, or even from many of the designers who never made it into the finals at all. We’re not gonna lie: we hope Viktor wins it, because if he does, it’ll be because the judges recognize his professionalism and the potential for his work to sell well. No, he’s not “fashion forward,” but the tagline is “The Search for the Next Great Fashion Designer,” not “The Most Fashion Forward Designer.” And when you’ve got a Marie Claire editor, a Victoria’s Secret model, and a designer who made his name by churning out well made classics, all this talk of “fashion forward” comes off like a lot of bullshit.

[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/MyLifetime.com – Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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