It’s kind of … is “ironic” the right word? … that a red carpet challenge, which has always been considered (by the majority of online fandom, at least) to be among the weakest and easiest of the Project Runway challenges, is intriguingly difficult and requires greater levels of creativity on Project Accessory.
The gowns, provided by Elie Tahari, were all simple and elegant in shape, making them a perfect blank canvas and giving the players a mostly even playing field (with one minor exception). The insect twist, while gimmicky as hell, really stretched the designers and allowed the better of the group to rise to the top with some truly creative and interesting accessories.
So congratulations to Rich. A totally deserved win, as far as we’re concerned.
It’s probably not surprising that Project Accessory is not really about shoes or hats. It’s about jewelry and occasionally, purses. And when you’ve got talented jewelers with strong points of view and a flair for creativity, they’re the ones who are naturally going to make it to the end, so long as they’re given chances to make jewelry and not forced to make shoes or purses or hats every week. The format of the competition wasn’t given much consideration as to the differences between fashion and accessories design, which means we’re looking at a final 3 who are all there because they made exciting or interesting jewelry, not because they made killer shoes and hats; not really.
But this isn’t a complaint about his win. We thought the pieces were gorgeous and intriguing. And oddly, given how he eviscerated it, his treatment of the beetle seemed the most respectful of all the designs this week. A true homage to a uniquely beautiful creature.
Nina’s ability to attach a story to her designs made her a close competitor for the win. For us, what topped it off, after the jewelry web, was the idea of the hairpiece representing some sort of treasure trapped in the web. The earrings aren’t much, but it was a nice touch having the amber beads of the web used as a motif. It’s a thoughtful and creative set of accessories that look pretty damn chic, although the cuff’s perhaps a bit too crude-looking.
For the first time with this show, we so wished Michael Kors was sitting on that panel. “What WOMAN is going to want to go out of the HOUSE with JIZZ all over her NECK?!?” The Duchess can get awfully repetitive with his bon mots, but we’ll take that over the wholly unbelievable, eyeroll-inducing spectacle of the judges falling all over him, praising him for his artistry when he’s got a model standing there with a giant snot-covered bug on her chest. It’s true that he’s got probably the strongest point of view of any of the designers (with the possible exception of Rich) and he can certainly surprise the judges every week (which is usually one of the strongest, most important qualities to have on Project Runway), so we’re not surprised he’s in the finals. We just wish the judges would admit he’s there because his stuff is insane and worth talking about; not because it’s “chic.” Please, Molly. No one in the room believed that you or anyone else would ever wear this stuff on the red carpet.
Christina boldly chose the most embellished dress. We didn’t think it was too much of a challenge to design accessories for this gown, but obviously it was harder than we thought and she got sent packing, which surprised us a bit.
But we can’t say we disagree with the decision. The way she used the bug almost felt like she was trying to hide it and couldn’t conceive of a way to look at it as beautiful. The polished cuff is very chic, but repeating the shape in the ring was a huge mistake. In the end, we can kind of see where the judges were coming from with this decision. We liked a lot of her stuff during the competition, but that usually came down to her excellent style instincts. To our eyes, she’s a good jewelry designer but potentially a killer stylist.
Diego was also sent packing and at first, we were kind of annoyed with the judges for the decision. But even though his work has consistently been the most polished and usually among the most chic, in the end, he never really produced anything that was exciting from a design level. Christina rolled her eyes at the obviousness and predictability of the butterfly choice and we thought she was being a little bitchy about it. But in the end, she was right, because he just picked the prettiest bug he could find and plopped it on her head. Worse, he made a really costume-y flower hat for it to nest upon. Bleh. The clutch is nice but Ariel was dead on when he said it looked more like a day clutch. The cuff and earrings weren’t bad as individual designs (although we only really liked the latter), but hammering (pun unintended) the butterfly theme so heavily really proved Christina’s point that in the end, “pretty things” is his only contribution. Most of it could sell in a department store, but as design competition entries, they’re not top-tier.
[Photo Credit: myLifetime.com]