One thing that struck us about this episode – which was the best one yet – is the vast difference between the reaction of clothing designers to “real women” client challenges and the reaction of accessories designers to the same. That is to say, not one of the accessories designers expressed the slightest regret or issue with the fact that their wares wouldn’t be modeled by models. Compare that to the wailing and gnashing of teeth every time a Project Runway designer encounters a woman not shaped like their dress form.
Eva still sucks, by the way. Fortunately, the extent of her role this episode could be counted in seconds, it seems. Looks like the producers are realizing she’s not working.
Anyway, we thought the setup – picking a client by the contents of their purse – was a clever way to start. We also think it’s not a coincidence that a single accessory challenge, in this case, a handbag, is the best way to go with this show rather than throwing responsibility for an entire look at them every week. Oh sure, they sprung a second accessory twist on them, but everyone rightly interpreted that as something small and not too complicated. The focus was all on the bag.
But we have to be fair and point out that the inherent drawback to a single-accessory challenge is that it will always favor the person in the room with the most expertise in that item. A handbag designer is almost always going to win a handbag challenge while everyone else struggles. A shoe designer is almost always going to win a shoe challenge while everyone else struggles.
Still, we thought Diego clearly deserved the win this week, so congrats to him.
A big part of the win here – and we don’t really have an opinion yet as to whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing in an accessories design competition – is that these items look completed and well made. They don’t look remotely half-assed or put together at the last minute. The bag is stylish and textural, with an interesting shape to it. The cardholder was a clever touch for the second piece. There were other well made and chic pieces on that runway, but Diego clearly had the most polished of the pieces on display. You really could shoot these for an editorial or look book right now.
And it’s Auf Wiedersehen (or something) to James. Once again, we applaud the show for letting the more colorful of the characters be eliminated from the competition if the results warrant it.
We wondered which way the judges were going to go on this question: whether to eliminate the designer who made a clearly unfinished bag but managed to make two pieces as required, or the one who made a fairly finished handbag but never managed the second piece? For a while it looked to us like Rich was going home for his mockup of a bag, but in the end we think the judges decided correctly. Had this been some sort of incredibly knockout of a design, it might have presented a compelling argument to keep him in, but it really wasn’t all that great. For one, it’s kind of shapeless and would collapse the second you put it down. For another, that strap is both too long and too thin. This bag needs handles in addition to a strap. And while there’s some nice finishing to it, we think there were maybe too many disparate elements for the style of bag he was doing.
We’ll rundown the rest of the designs over the weekend, kittens. Some of them were pretty good.
[Photo Credit: myLifetime.com - Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]