PA: It’s in the Bag

Posted on November 18, 2011

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]

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  • Anonymous

    I looked on Diego’s website, and his bags cost over $2000.

    –GothamTomato

    • Anonymous

      In the reunion episode for that season Carmen was still extremely bitter and angry about that elimination, though rightfully so I suppose.

      • Anonymous

        Rightly so, definitely. SweetP was one of those who was kept on the show for ‘personality’ rather than talent and that challenge demonstrated that very clearly.

        –GothamTomato

  • Anonymous

    I missed the episode but looked up the pics on Lifetime. I wondered why they didn’t have any formal shots of James’ bag. This was a clever challenge in setup and there was good output. Good for them

  • Anonymous

    DH has grown to despise Project Runway (although he still gets involved despite his best intentions) yet admitted last night that he is enjoying this show. He thought Rick should have gone home because his bag was so poorly made. I felt the judges made the right decision, especially if you take into account overall output for the episodes so far. James’s bag wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t fabulous, and he had shown a delusional sense of his own taste level and design skills right from the beginning. I was more than ready for him to go.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, it was time for James to go home. Though it’s interesting that a few weeks ago they kept someone in who hadn’t completed his second piece, so I’m not sure about consistency here.  Diego’s bag was gorgeous, but the cards were stacked in his favor from the beginning.
    Oh, this show needs to stop the background music during the judging sessions. It’s so annoying!

    • Anonymous

      I agree on the music, and it’s become true for so many shows, reality and drama/comedy alike. Grrrr.

    • scottyf

      “Though it’s interesting that a few weeks ago they kept someone in who hadn’t completed his second piece”

      It was Adrian. And that bugged me too. I know the judging is really subjective (and I’ll take all the time they’ll give me to drool over my Baltimorean Chunk God), but it would sure help my ocd if they’d pick a rule and live by it. My way of justifying it is that Adrian actually created a second piece, but either ran out of time to finish it, or didn’t want to show it–I don’t remember which.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QCJEZMOV4VYMXC5WJALLZNYEB4 Mari Rose

        He ran out of time to finish it after Eva suggested he make changes to it.

      • MilaXX

        Stupid Eva came by minutes before it was time to stop and told him to takes the backs off.  He didn’t have time to put them back on his model. Eva is the most useless mentor ever!

        I want him to stay so they can have a church hat challenge. I LOVE a  good church hat.

        • http://beautyforrealgirls.blogspot.com/ accidental housewife

          If he leaves before he has a chance to make a hat, I’ll… well, I guess y’all will just have to deal with me bitching about it.

          • Anonymous

            Seriously!  I want to see an Adrian hat!

            I liked his bag, even if it did desperately need a strap.  So irritated when they slammed it for not being neutral–they said design for the client, didn’t they?

          • http://beautyforrealgirls.blogspot.com/ accidental housewife

            Yes, exactly. And you’d think people who work in fashion would understand that not every bag has to be neutral or that it has to work for all occasions.

            I agree it could have used a strap, but that’s the only thing I’d even think of complaining about. And while I usually like a solid color, I also love stripes. So Adrian’s bag was kind of talking to me.

          • Anonymous

            Anyone else think the judges are too white bread for Adrian. When Molly talked about his ‘taste’ issues I wanted to slap her. Also, he mde for his client, not to sell a thousand on shitty eBay.

          • http://twitter.com/susanpcollier Susan Collier

            Yes! The stripes were fun; it was a chromatic-neutral mix in my mind. Yes, it was large and would be really uncomfortable to carry, but there was potential. And it was well-made too.

          • Anonymous

             Abso-friggin-lutely.  The challenge was to design a bag for the client, not “design something to be pimped out to the masses by Crappy Online Retailer Of The Month.” Since the “models” were supposed to be fashion conscious women, they probably already had a crapton of neutral bags anyway, so why not give them a fun, interesting one?

            I also DESPERATELY need to see him make a church hat.

      • Pam Winters

        Scotty, does Bert know about your Baltimorean Chunk God?

        Yeah, I’m rooting for him ’cause he’s from my home state. But he’s no Kimberly, I don’t think.

      • Anonymous

        That’s right. I think he didn’t like what Eva said about his earrings and when he remade them he didn’t like them? Or left them on the table or something like that.

  • Now I am The Bee

    This was a fun episode!  Loved Diego’s bag and accessory–great color and shape, beautifully done and finished.  Loved that he managed to put feet on it as well.  I didn’t hate James’ bag–but you nailed the trouble with it.  A too-flimsy strap was the biggest thing.  Otherwise–I loved the pocket detail on it.  And–since he didn’t finish the challenge–rous mit ihm! 

    I do agree that Diego had a real advantage in this challenge, being a leather-worker and all…but this happens on PR as well.  When they have a more unusual challenge, like mens wear or swim wear, there will always be people in the group who have more, or less, experience with handling the special fabrics or tools (i.e. a serger) while making those kinds of things.  It makes for a more interesting outcome, I think. 

    I’m getting to like this show more and more.  They seem to emphasize the creative process more than the drama–and that’s always more interesting to me.  Plus–the judges aren’t on the drama track yet, either, meaning they actually judge the work rather than the maker.  I like that the best!

    • scottyf

      I guess for me what’s different about asking an accessory designer to make a different kind of accessory, and a clothing designer to make a different kind of garment is just that. In clothing design and construction, the method and tools are basically the same. knowing how different fabrics work, and having knowledge of different machines and basic design constructionhelps, but is not imperative *cough*Anya*cough*. If you know how to use a sewing machine, then you’re in decent shape. Unless, of course you’re the above-mentioned who would have won the challenge if she’d used Scotch Tape and Elmer’s Glue.

      However I think judging a novice bag maker with the same criteria as a veteran doesn’t make sense to me. I’m positive the tools and techniques are so different, that there isn’t a common sense approach that’s going to help you given the time constraints. I think it’s the one flaw in the format.

      • Anonymous

        No “if.”  She DID use Scotch tape and Elmer’s glue!  (Or some brand of glue.)

        • Anonymous

          Don’t forget the staples.  =^)

      • MilaXX

        I think judging a novice bag maker with the same criteria as a veteran
        doesn’t make sense to me. I’m positive the tools and techniques are so
        different, that there isn’t a common sense approach that’s going to help
        you given the time constraints. I think it’s the one flaw in the
        format.

        As long as the show has designers with different specialties you’ll have this imbalance. However I like that this time the 2nd piece just needed to be something small. Contrast that to the shoe challenge where they had to make shows based on the Swaroski jewelry, which apparently they could also embellish, then another accessorize. It ended up being 3 pieces the designers had to worry about. Too much!

        • Tee Mmm Zee

          Agree.   The winning bag and (arguably) the shoes have been the strongest pieces.    Give them (just enough) time to refine their work.  And an experienced mentor.

      • Now I am The Bee

        Yeah I guess….but I’ll tell ya–if I were a metal-smith making jewelry, and I was accepted to be on “Project Accessory”, you’d be darn sure I’m brushing up on my leather, milliner and shoe-making skills.  But–to be fair–even when we learned about this program here on TLo’s site, I was concerned about the same thing.  How well was a milliner able to make a smashing necklace?  I guess we know now…

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        There are some pretty significant differences between, say, a bathing suit and a ballgown.  I STILL have trouble with  swimwear fabrics.  (Though I guess you could just use wool, right Anya?  ‘Cause there are no sleeves in the islands but lots and lots of WOOL…)

        I would think a jewelry designer would have a lot less experience toward a purse challenge, but a shoe or hat person should be able to translate their skills without too much trouble.

        • scottyf

          You use the same basic tools, and the same basic techniques to make a bathing suit and a ball gown. As I said in my previous post, the more you know the better the garment (if you haven’t already, I’d invest in a decent coverstitch machine for the swimwear).

          My assumption is that you know something about shoe making and hat making since you speak of a relatively easy transition from one skill set to the other. All I know is that when I look at the tools for each I am intimidated. I wouldn’t know a Foot Tolliker from a Lasting Pincer.

          I think, with my sewing knowledge, I would have been in a similar predicament as Rich. I would have been able to make a simple bag pattern and probably stitch it together in the time allotted–depending on my learning curve with the machine. But anything in the way of professional embellishment or style would have been lacking. I still think it isn’t fair. But then, life ain’t fair.

          • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

            I know nothing either, but for both you do have to be able to sew and work with fabrics and leathers, so it would be easier than for a jewelry to do either — or that would be my guess. I can make a simple bag. I would think that the differences between making a purse and a hat would be similar to the difference between constructing radically different garments, like a bathing suit.

          • Anonymous

            I’d like to see a challenge where each designer does whatever is his/her specialty.

            I disagree with TLo about format for this show.  I agree that the designers shouldn’t be asked to make 18 pieces per episode, but I’d prefer: 

            –Make something out of (weird materials) for X event (like first challenge, without the # requirement or specifying any particular accessory)
            –Make something to take outfit X (no modifying the clothes) from work to dinner out
            –Make something for a child to wear to first communion
            –Make something for the homecoming queen
            –Make something for the goth girl to wear to prom

            I know the “make a pretty dress” challenge is boring, but I’d love to see shoes vs. bag vs. jewelry – I’d like to see each designer at his/her best and how they handled the “appropriate for the client/situation” aspects of the challenges. 

            Of course, then jewelry designers would have a leg up, ’cause a lot of jewelry techniques are way faster than shoes, bags or hats.  So I guess I’m hoping that they’ll throw in a couple of “make whatever you can make best for said purpose” with the “struggle to make something you don’t know how to make” challenges.

            I really, really, really, really hope they have to design for Ms. Piggy!

          • Tee Mmm Zee

            Just like with fabrics – leather comes in a lot of weights and finishes – goat, reptile, kangaroo, calf, cow all have specific uses and limitations – working with each requires experience.

          • Tee Mmm Zee

            I’ve done time at FIT and Parsons.   Shoemaking is specific – heavy 3D pattern making and some precise sewing with some margin for error.   Bags – hyper precise pattern making and sewing.    Hats – steam, mold and embellish – not a lot of specific rules.    Lot of variety in jewelry – a chimp can string beads – but better stuff – casting, welding can be almost scientific and laborious.    Not something they will be doing on this show given the time limits. 

      • Anonymous

        I thought it would be a bigger problem than its turned out to be. Crazy Eyes almost (should have) won the shoe challenge, and there were a few really good bags in this challenge competing with Diego’s. Anyway, I think it adds to the show to see what an out-of-area designer will do, and it does balance out in the end, with different designers having the advantage each challenge. Anyway, winning one challenge doesn’t mean too much in the overall – James won for his strength area, but now he’s gone, after piss-poor showings in other areas.

        IMO, Eva, and the lack of chemistry between the regular judges, is the biggest detriment to this show

        • Tee Mmm Zee

          Once one of them wins let Eva help write them a business plan.   She has no business being in the studio with them.

      • Tee Mmm Zee

        I had a class at FIT with a guy who was the handbag patternmaker at Liz Claiborne and now Coach – years ago.    A bag can have hundreds of pieces – stays, linings, hardwear, gussets, etc.  Some for the patterns.  If even one of the pieces is a millimeter or two off the bag will not sew together properly.
        Bag making is the most difficult of the accessories to design and make, period.    And why Diego was light years ahead on this challenge.    I suspect he will be able to figure out the jewelry making.

  • Anonymous

    It was a good episode though oddly enough, it has confirmed by decision to stop watching it. I like watching the actual construction of the accessories, but everything else about the show just bores me.

    • Anonymous

      Kind of agree. I’ll stick around for another episode or two, but if things don’t pick up I may bail.

  • Anonymous

    Diego was the rightful winner both pieces looked very professional and ready for market.
    James , I like and think is very talented. All the big bags were on the bottom. So he had no chance. I wonder if he had just made some 15 min. lame accessory out of the other bag if he could have squeaked by. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1414091387 Florrie Brafman

    Maybe it was the editing, but Shea could not stop complaining about having to create a bag that would hold a large laptop, but didn’t offer up that explanation when the judges criticized her for making such a large bag?

    • Anonymous

      We didn’t hear her offer that explanation, true, but I think one of the judges made a comment that when a designer needs to make a larger bag, it ought to be proportionately taller and thinner rather than wider and bulkier. Maybe it was all in the editing, but it wasn’t clear if the comment was meant for a particular contestant.

      • MilaXX

        Yes the judge said she should have gone vertical.

      • http://beautyforrealgirls.blogspot.com/ accidental housewife

        And that does make sense. But has anyone ever thought that her bag made her look fat? When the judge said that, I was sure I was hearing things. The fashion gods know we have enough to worry about without wondering if our bag makes our hips look wide.

        Maybe she made it up because she wanted a good sound byte. It seems kind of crazy to me.

        • Anonymous

          Seriously.  I’m trying to think of how a bag can possibly make someone look fat, and this is what I’ve come up with:

          1.  Full figured woman with a poorly shaped, teeny, tiny clutch.  Eh, okay, fair enough.

          2.  Massive dimpled and wrinkled handbag the color of the wearer’s flesh that hits right at the hip.  Of course, the wearer would have to be naked for this to be a problem, but whatever.  Doesn’t every woman have a day or two each year when she goes out wearing nothing but a purse and a pair of heels?  No?  Really?  Well, I guess that explains why that school bus driver was so angry last week…

          In all seriousness, though, a giant bag CAN distort the body shape of petite and/or skinny women, but in the exact opposite way of what the judge was saying.  They can make you look like you’re only three feet tall or utterly scrawny.  I can’t think of any time that I’ve seen a bag make a tiny person look larger.

    • http://twitter.com/ILikeShiny Cindi Williams

      I was wondering about that. I think I would have defended myself saying I had concerns the bag was too big for the girl, yet the client gave me enough items that warranted a big bag.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        To defend my giant-bag-carrying-sisters… it’s rarely just a question of the look of the bag.  It’s more about the function.  Is it better for him to design some little thing that she has to carry a laptop bag as well?  ‘Cause that’d just scream style…  I wouldn’t want a small bag because I currently carry a full make-up kit, a huge wallet, a day planner, a collection of small McDonald’s toys, 2 tiny notepads and sample crayon packs, diapers, wipes, and a baby sleeper in  my purse.  Regardless of proportion on me, my Jimmy Choo purse is still a thousand times more stylish than a big diaper bag.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, but I can (and I bet you can) fit all that stuff in a bag that doesn’t *look* as big as that bag looked.  With a laptop thrown in, why not?

          James’ bag annoyed the hell out of me precisely b/c I always carry big bags and his was just too bulgy and out of proportion.  Shea’s wasn’t *that bad,* but I’ve seen (and carried) ginormous laptop bags that weren’t as…  icky as hers.  The big block of black was a terrible idea that threw it all off, IMO.

  • http://visceralresponse.com Dina dV

    I also think James suffered because Adrian already got by without completing the challenge.  Once is an exception to the rule, twice becomes a viable way to stay in.  I agree that if his bag were better made he might have had a chance because Rich’s really was bad but the person who considers the whole challenge should always have the leg up on the person who says “screw it” and hopes for the best.

    And while the advantages of being a shoe or handbag or hat designer does weigh heavily in that designers favor during those challenges, not being a jewelry designer can be a drawback when that’s the focus.  Plus, as we saw with James, just because you know how to make something doesn’t mean you have good taste.  Even his winning shoes were kind of tacky.  They were just the best made shoes of the bunch.

  • Anonymous

    I had a hard time deciding between Diego and Nina for the win but either was fine.
    James needed to go. It wasn’t just his taste level — everything he made was overly fussy — it was that smug smirk he always carried ‘I’m better than the rest of these clowns’…..

    • Anonymous

      I was hoping Nina might win also, but knew that it was going to go to Diego. He did make a beautiful handbag.

  • Anonymous

    James’ bag looked like one of those old-fashioned mail bags that letter carriers used to have. It was so bulky and awkward and ill-proportioned. And not very pretty. If I were in one of these competitions, I would make the second item quickly and almost as soon as I heard about it, then return to my major piece.

  • http://twitter.com/MandySCG MandyJane

    It’s kind of hard to judge poor construction in a show like this. Maybe that’s why they kept Rich, the idea for his bag was good, and the client liked it.

    • Mary McClelland

      I felt that way about Adrian. They were all it’s impractical, the stripes are too much but his client loved it and specifically said she wanted something vibrant and fun. He put a lot of thought into it and even if it had some flaws the client was excited about it. In a client based challenge I think their level of satisfaction – particularly if they work in the industry and are not mall-shopping novices (i.e. most PR “real women” challenges) should matter. Anyways, I think the good execution plus the client cosigning it was one of the major reasons he was spared harsher critique.

  • Anonymous

    Since I don’t watch the show, I can only work from the recaps here.  So for this challenge, here’s my question:  Diego made that bag from scratch as part of a challenge????  It’s hard to believe. The bag looks as if it spent a few months on a work bench in his studio, being fussed over so that every detail would be just so. What an amazing piece of work!

    And for James’s bag, no questions, just a comment: That is one violently unattractive bag.  The strap is too long, for one thing. The color of the–is it suede?–is not attractive and would be filthy after about a week of wearing it. And basically, it looks like a jazzed-up version of my little brother’s Boy Scout camping bag from the 1960s.  I don’t know who his competition for the bottom slot was, but this looks to me like a very deserving loss.

    I still don’t get this show.  What TLo said is what bothers me too:  How could a jewelry designer who has never worked with leather even hope to compete with someone like Diego, who makes bags for a living, in a handbag challenge?  The basic conept needs to be rethought. But at least this time they weren’t designing for hot pink unitards.

    • Anonymous

      Your criticisms of James’ bag were actually both mentioned during the judging – the too long and too lightweight strap and the impractical choice of cream colored Nubuck, especially without feet to keep the bottom off the floor when set down.

    • Now I am The Bee

      and yes–Diego made that bag from scratch in the time alloted.  The little card wallet, too. 

    • Tee Mmm Zee

      I’d bet that it is a design that he has made many, many time before – had the pattern experience prior and just plugged in the clients material suggestions.    Nothing wrong with that but it shows how much more skilled he is than the others.

  • http://twitter.com/karenwalsh Karen Walsh

    It was definitely time for James to go home.  He has shown a lack of taste throughout the competition, and this particular challenge he made a shapeless blob and no 2nd piece.  Bye bye!  I’m still liking Brian, as Diego’s work has been a little boring except for this challenge where he clearly excelled.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if they will do an episode based on accessories for men- shoes, ties, hats etc. That would be interesting.

    • Anonymous

      Jewelry for macho men!  That would be interesting.  I made my redneck brother a necklace once.  It was easy to make but took months to conceptualize.  :)

  • http://orangtunes.blogspot.com BIG MAC

    If you take the bag with the long strap and put it on a 6th grader, it would look adorable. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/sara.e.munoz Sara Munoz

    You are far too kind. James’ purse is HI-DE-OUS.

    • MilaXX

      She wanted a work horse of a bag to go from the office to the gym.  I didn’t mind it so much, but it needed loads of adjustments; I didn’t mind the long strap, but it needed to be a wider strap, preferably with a shoulder cushion. Optional handles would have been nice, along with feet on the bottom. Also a darker color would have given the impression of durability. 

      • Anonymous

        At the time I thought she really wants a gym bag or a tote bag with style. Kind of an oxymoron in my mind. James made poor choices, but I wonder what anyone else would have done for her. That was a lot of bulky stuff she wanted it to hold.

  • Anonymous

    I get the impression that Molly et. al. are including past work in the judging, which influenced sending James home. Which, to an extent, is fair; if someone is FREQUENTLY doing things very badly (like last week and this week for James), it’s not fair to keep them over someone who does fair-to-great work on a consistent basis but has an “off” challenge. And James fell so very flat this week; that bag is hiddy, and he didn’t do the “surprise” aspect of the challenge (which, if they’ve done that for each challenge so far, should become expected). The colors are just dull, honestly (someone else mentioned that it looked like a Boy Scout camping bag, and neutrals only work if done well — and with some level of contrast), the shape/proportion is off, and the strap is too long and too thin for a bag that size. Overall, it’s hiddy.

    I also agree with statements that gauging everyone on the same standard for complicated items seems unfair. A jewelry designer won’t inherently know how to make a structured bag or stilettos. If there’s a second season, they might want to re-work the challenges so that one item is the “challenge item” (like a bag) and another is their particular field, or something. I don’t know how to do that, but I’m not a TV producer :p

  • http://profiles.google.com/sara.e.munoz Sara Munoz

    Is that Andrea Lee Linett, formerly of Sassy Magazine??

  • Anonymous

    My favorite part of the whole episode (because the show turns me into a giggly twink) was during Jame’s good-bye speech when he said “”It was an invaluable opportunity. Either way, bottom or top” 

    GO ON…

    • http://beautyforrealgirls.blogspot.com/ accidental housewife

      Hughman, you never fail to make me laugh. I can hear that “GO ON” in a particular voice, but I can’t remember whose it is.

      • Anonymous

        Perhaps Jon Stewart?

        • http://beautyforrealgirls.blogspot.com/ accidental housewife

          I’m thinking that’s who it is. Not only can I hear him saying it, but I can see his facial expressions. It always cracks me up.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5LU5C262WB3Z5F4WZ6QGKXLNLE JaneM

    Doesn’t what’s her name from PR show how to make the winning design each week on her blog?  Is she really going to show how to make this bag? I don’t know why that strikes me as hilarious.

    • http://dandelion.livejournal.com/ Jenna

      Ten quid says she makes the cardholder instead.

  • http://profiles.google.com/grandiva1968 e jerry powell

    I hesitate to call this a “real woman” challenge in the same sense that would figure into a Project Runway episode, because non-model participants aside, this was a group of women who were chosen for exhibiting a refined sense of style in their own lives, women who were above-average in terms of their respective personal styles.

  • MilaXX

    More and more I surprised that this show doesn’t suck. Sure it needs a bit of tweaking, COUGH*fireEva – replace KennethCole*COUGH, but overall it’s a pretty good show. I agreed this was the strongest challenge to date. I don’t even mind if all the challenges have 1 big + 1 small requirement. Sure the designer who is strongest in that area will likely win, but  you’ll also see which designers are able to adapt to working outside of their skill set. I think both Christina and Nina  turned in decent pieces, even poor Rich did okay. But you’ ll get rid of folks like Shea and James sooner because they can’t coast behind several mediocre pieces.

    I loved the bag Diego made. Congrats to him.

    • Anonymous

      Another improvement: Don’t make Molly Sims a mini-Heidi. Let the woman have her own personality for the love of cheese.

    • http://beautyforrealgirls.blogspot.com/ accidental housewife

      It is a nice surprise that it doesn’t suck. Considering talent over personality is, for me, a huge part of why I like it. I find  myself looking forward to it every week.

      I’m a little disappointed in how the challenges are formatted, because of the now-discussed-to-death issue of expecting hat makers to produce great jewelry, and jewelry makers to create great shoes, etc. But almost everyone rises to the challenge, and sometimes people surprise you. Wasn’t it Nina who said she’d never made a bag before? And she got into the top four.

      I’ll be glad when Shea goes, because she’s starting to annoy me. I’m sensing a mini Jeffrey v. Angela situation between her and Rich, and that is not something I want to see repeated.

  • http://jessieliz.wordpress.com/ Super Red

    I wonder if Diego started selling this bag before or after PA: http://www.diegorocha.com/Lucrecia/dp/B005GM52BE?ie=UTF8&id=Lucrecia&field_product_site_launch_date_utc=-1y&field_availability=-1&field_browse=2996735011&searchSize=12&searchNodeID=2996735011&searchPage=1&refinementHistory=brandtextbin%2Csubjectbin%2Ccolor_map%2Cprice%2Csize_name&searchRank=salesrank 

    Loved his bag- he definitely deserved the win, though Nina is so freaking adorable, I wouldn’t have minded if she’d won. Her bag was super cute and versatile, and it looked special.

    Anyone else notice how much better this episode was with no Kenneth Cole?

    • http://twitter.com/drnels Nels P. Highberg

      “Social Activist” Kenneth Cole.

      • http://jessieliz.wordpress.com/ Super Red

        Oh! Is that what his title is? I thought it was “Social Asshole.”

        Sorry. That was less than kind. He just makes me want to slap him across his smug face every time he comes on my screen.

        • http://twitter.com/drnels Nels P. Highberg

          I was making fun of the way that they call him that every time he’s introduced on the show. Believe me, when they do it, it grates on my nerves.  Was glad not to hear it last night even though I kept thinking of it.

    • Anonymous

      I would say that he most certainly would have had to have done a similar bag to the one he did on the show before. They give them very little time to come up with a design and very little time to execute it . Only a fool would start experimenting under those conditions.

    • Tee Mmm Zee

      He has a business to run.  Although, it wouldn’t be inconvenient for him to drop by as they’re shooting in his building – 603 West 50 is Kenneth Cole Productions.    He may still also be in shock from the shoe challenge.    If I was anyone on the show I’d be running quickly the opposite way.

  • http://beautyforrealgirls.blogspot.com/ accidental housewife

    Diego’s bag is not my style at all, but it is gorgeous. I love the color, the shape, the tassel. Christina and Nina gave him a run for his money, but he absolutely deserved this win. And, unlike on PR and Top Chef, it’s nice to see people not choke, and not get lazy, when they’re given a challenge in which they’re supposedly experts.

    I liked the shape of James’ bag, but it had some serious issues, not of the least of which was the color. I doubt many women have more than one bag in that shade. They learn pretty fast that it shows dirt like crazy.  And he set himself up to lose by not being willing to cut a corner or two. I admire his dedication to perfection, but designing for PR/PA is like doing meatball surgery on MASH. You do what  you absolutely have to do and screw the rest.

    So – eh. I didn’t mind James but I don’t think I’ll miss him either. Rich and Adrian, on the other hand, need to step it up. I want them both to hang around for a long time.

    • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

      I’ve had several in that shade — each and every one of them an evening clutch that I don’t carry often, and in leather which is wiped when I get home.  When a woman says she wants a bag that works, this is not the right color.

      • http://beautyforrealgirls.blogspot.com/ accidental housewife

        Correct. Not only is it the wrong color, but it’s the wrong material. I can’t imagine it’s a material that can be wiped down at the end of the night.

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          And I don’t know exactly what material this was, but it looks like suede or microfiber or something similar.  So not only will it show dirt, IT WILL WATER SPOT!!!  I had a microfiber couch once — every time one of the kids spilled something on it, the whole thing would have to be shampooed because if you spot cleaned, you could see the water spot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1052062518 Megan Moore

    These posts have convinced me to watch this show. I watched the first episode after the finale-which-must-not-be-named and possibly punishing the son for the sin of the father, as I really disliked it. Sure, the hosts/judges are pretty bad but it seems like the focus is back on actual designs. I will definitely give it another chance. Also, I have nothing else to watch on Thursdays:P

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OQG2B3GDOIKSFYT6YDXFVOMEM4 A. Lure

    Oh, I, too, applaud the show for favoring execution and style over colorful contestants, but James is hardly colorful, unless you count the love-fest he and Shea seem to have going on, which is very much schoolboy crush-like on his part. He’s sort of awkward-looking, and has a very monotone voice (no inflections whatsoever). Looking at him and hearing him on TV makes me yawn. But colorful or not, I’m glad he was sent home. He should have been sent home on the very first challenge for which he made those purity flowers- ha! Guy can produce shoes but finds himself unable to make anything else– or at least to make it well. The shapelessness of this bag, its ill-fashioned strap, the lack of a complementary accessory, and his previous disastrous attempts at jewelry were more than enough to send him packing. I’m glad Rich got to stay. He’s produced some bold, statement-making jewelry, and his blacksmith/welder/mechanic look is cool and, yes, colorful. Oh, and he said he wanted to sew shut Shea’s mouth, and that’s priceless. I find Shea very irritating and lacking in talent. I’m hoping she’s next to go.

    Congratulations to Diego! I love the cardholder with its tassel. It was the one of the most complementary accessories, and it was perfectly executed as was the bag. His bag has feet–check out the bottom of the bag– and I love the contrast in textures.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t watch the episode but, from the photos, Diego’s bag looks fabulous. The losing bag does have some problems, but a bag of that type doesn’t necessarily need handles.  A lot of women, including me, only wear a shoulder bag so handles would be superfluous and get in the way.  I avoid any bag that gives me both because the handles or strap I’m not using always seems to be in the way or get caught on something.

  • Anonymous

    It was telling that James’ nubuck bag–sans feet–already had a stain on the bottom.  How on earth would this look after a few weeks of real-life use? 

  • Anonymous

    I really loved Diego’s cardholder – it is very hard to find cardholders for women that are cute and stylish, and his fit the bill.  It was also nice to see that he took the time to put feet on his bag; I am always putting my bags on the floor (even at work, in my office) and I specifically look for feet to make sure they wear a little longer.  He definitely knows what he’s doing – I hope he gets more visibility out of this.

    The judges were totally correct to criticize the color of James’s bag; that would soil in no time (it looks like there’s already a stain on it).  That might not’ve been a problem if he’d made an evening bag, but he envisioned it to be a daily bag that you’d tote to the gym, work, the grocery store, etc.  Those bags should be a durable leather (or pleather, considering their budget), not a light ultrasuede/canvas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Heather-Waddell/10401341 Heather Waddell

    I was hoping Rich would stay, simply because even though his execution was terrible, the ideas behind the bag were better than James’s

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344922354 Eric Scheirer Stott

      The shape was good- if he’d executed it properly it would be a nice bag.

  • Anonymous

    I finally watched this show last night.  I.HATE.IT.

  • Laura Lee Washburn

    but the designers kept referring to the clients as “models,” like they really didn’t know the difference between a client and a model. Another issue I had was why didn’t the judges acknowledge that some people had to make bigger bag due to contents requirements. It was like they didn’t even know that had been a part of the challenge.

  • Anonymous

    Cute! I want both of those winning pieces.

  • Tee Mmm Zee

    I wouldn’t care if this show was hosted and judged by deaf and dumb lepers.

    In the additional Lifetime clips there is a telling comment from Ms. Minkoff about the “construction issues” of one of the better bags.   One of the top 2 bags wasn’t even sewn!  And the incident with Shea and the jammed machine – you jam machines when you don’t know how to thread and run them.   In looking back at the still photos it’s clear that most of them are hot-glued together.The biggest disappointment is that their “mentor” has absolutely no ability to help the situation.   

    A poorly cast, dismal failure of a show.   

  • Anonymous

    I turn the sound off when Eva enters for a couple of reasons: 1) HER VOICE IS SO DAMN GRATING, and 2) she really has nothing important or helpful to say.
    Diego’s bag was beautiful, not my style per se, but I’d buy the cardholder in a heartbeat.

  • Tee Mmm Zee

    My two  FIT cents  - As bad as James taste is there is more skill in one of James pockets that the entire Rick bag – which was a front, back, bottom/gusset and straps that was only semi sewn – remind me how many hours he had to make a shitty mock-up?    And his “Idea”?   Hard sides that narrowed.   
    At FIT James would have passed the class and lost some points for the incomplete second piece and Rick would have failed completely.
    Discuss not necessarily in essay form with examples.  ;-)

  • Anonymous

    If James can be eliminated for not completing a challenge, then why wasn’t Adrian eliminated two weeks ago for not completing a challenge? His output that week wasn’t great, and certainly worthy of elimination. James probably could have squeaked by if he half-assed something at the last minute for an accessory. Rich’s was horrifying, but I guess in this instance, they can’t forgive not completing a challenge, two weeks ago it was fine.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3NBI6646QJBKNCFEZNCHXUCBGE thatgirl

      I think they’re taking into account (a) James was on the bottom last week and (b) While Rich failed miserably on the execution, the idea behind it was really good and really solid AND he finished the challenge. These challenges, on some level, have to be judged on a curve since you have really good designers who have no technical basis in a particular accessory.  

  • Anonymous

    So Shea has to fit a laptop in her bag then is told its too big? She couldn’t do a portrait style because bag would have dragged along the ground. I liked the green.

    Also Brian, you are Pocket Bear but you are a dick. I loved your stitching though. If Adrian isn’t gay you can be my boyfriend for one night.

    This show isn’t going to second season is it? I worry that until they fix the problem of people making shoes and bags with no experience then the show is doomed. It’s no fun seeing talented people struggle to make something difficult that they can’t make. At least give them extra time.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G6DJPJUUPMD5IMJBYWUZIVOFJM EdwinG

    Ummm. Eff the bags. Those Isabel Marant sneakers were the best thing on that runway.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone else think that Diego’s face is Botoxed?  A lot?

  • Anonymous

    Every time I see a posting for “PA” I get all excited thinking “Now THAT is an accessory I can look at all day.  And then I realize it is just that show Project Accessory.  Boring……  Do a real PA posting.  With pics.

  • bethannstamps

    i would love to have Diego’s bag but i just can’t afford the ones on his websire. not if i want to eat and clothe myself, and oh yeah pay the mortgage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002673395871 Roadkill Writer’s Camp

    It’s pretty clear why James ran out of time for the throwaway item: There’s serious detail in his bag, and it’s really well made, better than the bizarro mess he made to win the shoe challenge. Anyway, I like the slouchiness and think it looks good with the client’s getup. People can agree or disagree with color and material choice, but since he gathered from the client that she wanted a modified gym bag, it fits that bill. The strap probably could be shorter, and I would have put a lobster claw on one end, to loop it through one O-ring to attach to the other for a two-strap handle. 

    I do think that not finishing the second piece justified the elimination. 

    Diego’s bag is phenomenal and would be a great replacement for my much-loved Oroton doctor’s bag that went to pocketbook heaven some time ago. Alas, D’s prices and I live in different neighborhoods.

    • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

      See, I don’t think it does fit the bill.  Personally, I would NEVER wear my laptop at that height — it’s heavy and would bump right against the hip bone.  I’ve had a couple like that and it gets really old, really fast.

      The material is not a good choice for a gym bag: for that you want something that is either very washable or very odor-resistant, especially if it’s going to go from work to gym or vice versa.  You really want to be carrying something around with you all day that has absorbed the sweaty shoe odor? 

      And the slouchiness is a problem, too.  If you’re going toss all kinds of random stuff, like gym supplies or laptops and accessories, you need a bag that will hold its shape — otherwise it’s going to look all kinds of weird with lumps from the shit in it. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002673395871 Roadkill Writer’s Camp

        I appreciate that you see something different than I do. I might agree about the laptop bumping, but I have enough subcutaneous fat that all my bones are thoroughly protected short of a sideswipe by a semi. 

      • Anonymous

        I also think a satchel style bag with handles rather than straps would have been a better alternative to the laptop dilemma.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QO7DOEXLXQ4OQWTDOK2PJXPN3Q Roxie

    “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.”

    Actually Diego made a comment about how he hoped his real woman model was thin. It was a quick comment and less obnoxious than Olivier having a hissy fit during Season 9 of PR when he had to make an outfit for a real woman that had boobs (I really want to slap Olivier during that episode, btw), but I still think that comment made Diego sound like a pig. They were making handbags not clothes, so it shouldn’t really matter what size the model was. Brian had a plus size girl modeling his bag and still ended up in the top. Her size did not take away from the design of the bag at all. I do not begrudge Diego’s win since I think he is a talented bag designer and his bag looked the most expensive and well made out of all them to me, but I hate male designers that discriminate against women that are bigger than models (which would be most women out there), so I am not rooting for him to win.

  • Toto Maya

    When I saw James’ bag my immediate reaction was, “Gross.” Seriously one of the ugliest bags I have ever seen.

  • Anonymous

    Hate to be a nag, but weekend is almost over, and you promised!

  • Anonymous

    I’m really enjoying this show.  I loved this episode and I agree, this is about the best designer not the most entertaining contestant.  I want Diego’s bag NOW.  I love it.  I would love it in cream as well.  And James, well, he knew his time had come.  That bag was major fug.