All On The Line S3E2: Prajje 1983

Posted on September 19, 2012

Meet Prajje, a very sweet (and cute) young designer who’s gotten a little bit of press, but hasn’t managed to do anything with it. Enter Dr. Joe.

Prajje shows him some of his work, and while the womenswear is passable at best…

… the menswear is a sad joke.

Honestly. We’re not designers and we realize the creative process has all kinds of twists and turns, until you wind up somewhere you never planned to be, but come ON. At some point, you have to step back from your conceptualizing and realize that you’re making a party store in clothing form.

When pressed to describe his aesthetic, the only thing he seems capable of coming up with in response is “Color.” That’s all well and good (and accurate, given that rack behind them), but it’s not an aesthetic or a point of view. It’s a descriptor. This is a problem. A designer has to be able to sum up his work and his approach to his work in a sentence or less. “Punk elegance.” “Ladies who lunch.” “Carribean-inspired.” These are aesthetics. Color is a tool used to support or create an aesthetic.

Joe introduces Prajje to couple of living bowls of oatmeal.

Sorry. That’s mean. But network morning hosts are people we tend to run screaming from in most cases. To be fair, Josh and Lara (because we’re so totally on a first-name basis with both of them) were sweet and game. And it’s true that this was a tremendous opportunity for Prajje. One of the great things about this show is that Joe doesn’t just make use of his vast experience in the world of fashion, he also makes very generous use of the metric shit-tonne of connections he’s made over the years. If it’s true that fashion is about who you know, then Joe magnanimously makes sure his designers get to know some of the right people.

Unfortunately, Prajje didn’t seem to listen to a thing either of the bowls of oatmeal said to him and started working on outfits wholly unsuitable for both of them. Joe came in, had a Zee-Hissy, and told him to scrap the idea of menswear completely and just focus on giving Lara the best damn dress he can design.

Done and done.

Once again, we see why Joe picks the people he picks for this show. They really do have an underlying talent that just needs to be pushed in the right direction. This isn’t just a great dress; it’s one of the best dresses we’ve seen on this show. And Lara was practically speechless at the sight of it. He really managed to zero in on what she wants and needs out of a work dress and gave it to her in spades.

As per usual, Joe orders him to come up with a capsule collection, which he will present to a couple of Bloomingdale’s buyers. As per usual, the designer starts off by essentially making the same garment over and over.

Joe sets him straight and also informs him that, oh, by the way, this dress is absolutely hideous.

Later, Joe brings in Sasha Charnin from Us Weekly, to listen to Prajje talk up his collection. Unfortunately, he’s not up to the task. Again: designers need to be able to talk the talk about their work. They will not only be asked to do so with buyers, but also with investors, the press, and clients. It’s among the most important non-technical skillsets they have to have.

In other news, Prajje’s team is kind of adorable and we want to spend an afternoon sipping tea at a sidewalk cafe with Rayshawn and saying really bitchy things about people’s outfits as they walk by.

The Bloomie’s ladies come in for an assessment and the one on a right is a total pistol. We want her to get her own show – or at least become Joe’s permanent sidekick.

Problems right off the bat. This looks doesn’t know what it wants to be. The jacket is pretty fabulous (if slightly overdesigned), but it’s very upscale-looking. The shorts are … not.

And the proportions here are terrible.

Okay… serious problems. That top is a big ol’ nothing and the pants – the CASHMERE PANTS – are a terrible idea. The pleating at the bottom is nice, but the choice of material is problematic.

This is a really cute look, full stop. It goes against our nature, but we kinda like the neutral top paired with the bright yellow skirt. And there’s some great seaming in the latter.

Horrifying. We’re thinking this look and the next one are what really crapped things up for him. Sure, 3 weeks is not a lot of time to put together 6 looks, but there’s really no excuse for something to be rendered this badly.

And it’s not even an interesting design. As standard as it gets.

Terrible. The jacket and the skirt are fine on their own (if unexciting), but you pair them with each other and that sad yellow blouse and you have an instant “elderly grade school teacher” look.

As we said: amazingly well done. The Bloomie’s ladies were themselves practically speechless with delight at this dress. If he’d produced just two more items as well done as this one, he could have sold his collection.

Unfortunately, none of the looks came close to the Lara look and the vast differences in quality and style were too great for the Bloomie’s gals to ignore. A shame, because he’s a sweet, talented guy who didn’t give Joe much trouble, but he’s too young and unformed as a designer to play in the big leagues right now.




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  • Anathema_Device

    I honestly didn’t think this guy was all that talented. He has a few good ideas (the Lara dress was a knock-out), but he doesn’t seem to live and breathe design…or even totally understand it without Joe’s help. Left completely to his own devices, he turns out ugly clothes. The nice pieces were the exceptions, which isn’t exactly the ratio buyers are looking for.

    That sad blazer with the huge buttons looks hilariously homemade and Beck Home-Ecky as the Duchess would say.

    He does seem sweet, and he has a great team, though.

    •  I have to agree, for the most part.  His particular design problems seem to fall into two areas, color balancing, and proportion.  The sewing issues, can get handled by more consistent focus.  As TLo said, 3 weeks isn’t much time to come up with 6 looks.  But the color and proportion issues will leave him in the cold, unless he starts really paying closer, dispassionate attention, to his designs.

      •  How long does it take you to design a look, just the concept, on average?  (‘Cause obviously production time varies greatly.)

        • Since my focus with my clients is mostly costume, rather than street wear, it can take a few days to zero in on exactly what will work for the client’s needs budgetarily, design wise, and in terms of color.  Street wear looks take me far less time to get together.

        • Frank_821

          It should be clarified that 3 weeks isn’t a lot of time to come up with 6 GOOD looks that go together. My partner is a good designer who can at times draw instant inspiration from chatting with someone or from a touch of a piece of fabric. Or he’ll wake up with an idea he loves.

          The problem for my guy is getting that idea out of his head and making it into a reality. Or rather making it look like how he envisions it in his mind. He not good at sketching, so it can be a big problem. He’s the kind of designer who likes and needs to work organically on the each design idea.

          That may be part of this poor guy’s problem. he hasn’t learned to pull the ideas out of his head properly. It’s clear he’s capable of creating a good dress

          •  Oh, no — that wasn’t in response to him saying that 3 weeks isn’t a lot of time.  It just remind me to ask him:)

            I know a lot of seamstresses (I grew up in fly-over country, where girls at least are still taught to sew and cook, and where you don’t get out of driver’s ed without knowing how to check the oil and change a tire.), but no one else who does their own designing and pattern-making, so I’m always curious of how other people do things.  Well, and I’m just naturally an incredibly nosy person about virtually everything.

        • sarah jacobs

          I can go from raw fabric that sparks an idea for a garment  or an idea in my head that then needs to be matched with a fabric to finished garment in less than an hour. I don’t use commercial patterns. I use unconventional methods but make wearable  clothing.  Sometimes a garment will need a couple of passes at working out the kinks but for me it’s a matter of hours at most.

          Six weeks  seems like a generous amount of time to create a related collection of least to me…

          •  There is a HUGE difference between how you and I are doing things and how designers with complete lines do them, though, because I thought that when I first started hearing these time limits too.  When I come up with something, I’ll draw out a quick sketch, knock out the pattern and get to work.  It’s an hour or two generally.  But that’s because I’m tweaking the design as I’m working — a lot of little details that make it better get added as I’m working and fitting and finishing off hems: a hem gets raised, a neck gets reshaped, a pleat style gets changed. 

            When you’re having it manufactured, you lose that flexibility.  You have to decide on every little detail BEFORE it starts getting made, which means a lot more time staring at an image.  It finally dawned on me when watching the Unruly Heir episode with the unfinished hem — how do you not finish a hem?!?  And then sending the items to a tailor — why couldn’t they do that?  Then I remembered that designers with regular lines don’t sew their own stuff.

          • sarah jacobs

            Some of the designers on the show are doing their own sewing…others farm out their work. I find that often with the designers who don’t know how to sew there is a bit of a disconnect in their work. There are decisions you make when you understand the physics of how clothing is put together. 

            There is often an essential weakness when designers design only by sketch and don’t actually understand how fabric is worked. There are ideas that work only on paper and look terrible made up in fabric.   

          •  Absolutely agree — I don’t know how anyone does it.  And the ones who use pattern makers as well really boggle me.  I’d never be able to get an idea across without at least a pattern, but that’s because I can’t draw.  Jackets come out looking humpbacked, no one can tell skirt length because I don’t do any part that I don’t absolutely have to (Like pictures where someone’s head is cut off:)…  There are a lot of great designers who are abysmal at constructing, and they amaze me.

            And I have a bin full of chunks of fabric that I cut, put together and went “Okay, that was a bad idea”, so I understand those that only work on paper very well!

          • Qitkat

            This conversation thread reminds me of when I once worked (as an AA) for a structural steel detailing firm (people who design the framework, beams and columns, etc which comprise the hidden bones of a building). One of the guys told me how frustrating it could be to work with architects who had no engineering background. They could simply not comprehend that some building designs they drew often could not actually be manufactured from a safe and sensible structural point of view. Their imaginations far exceeded their grasps of construction reality.

          • sarah jacobs

            Somethings look really easy on paper and hard to translate into fabric. My kid just asked me to make him a costume…There is a cut that I use…that is super simple to construct but looks complicated… a one piece jacket with a dolman sleeve…all you have to sew is the underarm sleeve…the jacket drapes in a complex way but could not be simpler to sew.

            What i love about this show is that you learn that so much of what makes fashion isn’t just the vision thing but also being able to do the day to day grunt need to be able to make work that can be produced at a price point… you have to make payroll..and good design work is about working well with others..listening to what others have to say and making garments that meet the needs not just of your fantasy …but of real people.

      • PastryGoddess

        Doesn’t he also have problems with fabric selection as well? or would that fall under the other two areas.  I mean he was going to design Lara’s dress out of evening gown fabric until Joe yanked his chain and found the fabric for him to use.

        •  Since I didn’t see the show, I was working from what I could observe in the images and comments here.  It sounds like fabric selection is a problem as well. If that is indeed the case, then he needs to get a lot more judgement skills under his belt, before he can create a line that can sell.

  • Dhammadina

    Reading your right-on assessment made me relive this painful show  –watching it to start with was kind of like seeing a baby seal being clubbed with opportunity. I hope Prajje and his very sweet and supportive crew find some kind of structure that works for them. Hope they don’t lose the house. 

  • Frank_821

    Very sad. that anninger outfit screamed matronly old lady. now I must wait till the enxt few days for it to pop up on OnDemand

  • Yeah… by far not the most talented guy on this show.  Not even on this episode, but that does include Joe Zee himself, so maybe not really a fair benchmark (Joe is probably my second favorite voice in fashion after you guys).  I think he’d be fine working for someone else, but I don’t think he has the vision to succeed as a CCO of a line. 

    Also, if color is central to your aesthetic (First time I’ve ever spelled that correctly without looking! I’ll take my wins where I can get them, thankyouverymuch…), that’s fine.  There are quite a lot of designers that is true of, but they have something more narrowing than color — especially since beige is technically a color.  You should probably be able to come up with something a bit more narrow than “it’s not black or white or gray”

  • PastryGoddess

    yay!  I’ve been looking forward to this recap since yesterday. Poor Prajje, he needs to go to fashion business school and learn how to run with the big boys and girls of fashion.  

    We need a Monday Happy hour post for this show.  Maybe we can visit domestic bars instead of jet-setting around the world

  • A. W.

    What’s the story with that bright blue dress in the first screencap? That’s a fantastic garment! (well, for the stick-thin model wearing it at least)

    • MilaXX

      The top was too low cut & it gapped between the buttons.

    •  It was also too tight in the skirt so the poor model couldn’t walk well.

  • YoungSally

    Gentlemen —

    As soon to be book peddlers…you may want to rephrase your comments about morning talk show hosts…..lest it come back to bite you courtesy of Mother Jones Magazine.

  • Cathy S

    The Lara dress and the yellow skirt were pretty great. The rest was really bad though.

  • I bought that yellow skirt (in black) at Ann Taylor about five years ago.  I don’t need to buy it again…

  • kimmeister

    Why the heck did he put the peplum so high on that La Fleur dress?  Who wants to create a pregnancy bump on a non-pregnant woman?

  • MilaXX

    He needs a mentor or apprenticeship badly.  It would take more than a few days with Joe to refine his skills. The Lara dress was spot on perfect. I watch GMA & the afternoon show these two hosted after Tim Gunn’s show was canceled. He is indeed oatmeal, but Lara seems like a pretty cool chick. 

  • t b

    I own the twin to the yellow skirt. In yellow. It’s twin. Mine.

    • holdmewhileimnaked

      i think we’ve all owned it at one point or another. but not in yellow, i’ll give you.

  • Also, why does that sad jacket look like a cardigan?  So I can have the restricted movement of a jacket with the sloppier look of a cardigan? Is there a need for this in women’s wear?  

  • oohsparkley!

    I don’t like his color combinations. Beige and yellow is a weird combination to me. I’m anti-beige anyway. Sad clothes.  I know I could do better and I’ve only made my own patterns for Halloween costumes and haven’t sewn much in years.

    •  Yeah, why not do that top in gray?  It’s still giving the same neutral quality but a far nicer (if a bit played out by this point) combo. 

  • sweetlilvoice

    Have the episode on the DVR and will watch it soon. Great recap as always gentlemen. Sometimes I like to read the recap first and then watch the show. I have to say cashmere pants would be really warm to wear. I have a cashmere long sweater on now and it’s toasty! I got this sweater for $11 at Goodwill and it’s White House Black Market! Just had to brag to others who like clothes too.

  • Yeah, I just found this episode really sad, because unlike previous episodes where people were assholes leading to no buy, this guy was as sweet and as compliant as you could wish, but he couldn’t pull it together. I feel like, with time and the right people in place, he could pull it together, but he wasn’t ready for it at this point. I had a sad. 

    • Lisa_Cop

      Me too. Especially after last week’s Joey of Unruly Heir (and those guys IMHO did not design very ambitious garments). But this is the first time I remember the show not having a happy ending. I kept wondering if Bloomingdales was just too big and prestigious a store for Prajje to hope to sell his clothes.

      •  There have been other times the designer didn’t get a sale.  And I have to defend Joey (because I have a soft spot for hopeless cases!) — he had a POV, even if he couldn’t explain it at first, and I think when he’s got his mind on BUSINESS, he has some real marketing talent.  Yeah, they make clothes for spoiled douches, but how many down to earth, middle class women are buying Versace?  There’s a market there.  And things like the way he presented the line sheet, that’s a skill and a big one. 

      • DCSheehan

        The horrible lingerie couple didn’t sell their line, but that could be ‘happy’ depending on how mean you are. I am mean.

  • judybrowni

    The pink dress is cute: everything else looks like a Colorforms mix and match mistake. 

  • Lisa_Cop

    Also the back had a large cut out. Combined with the top, no chance of wearing a bra. Joe reaLized (like Joanna Coles) that this is a problem for most women.

  • STOP IT! NOW!!!

  • MilaXX

    I didn’t find Bloomies lady funny at all. In fact I found her too television aware and a bit obnoxious.  Her points were valid, her delivery was rude & over the top.

    •  I didn’t think she was funny but I did like her. I thought she was just very clear & straight-forward about the problems she had with his clothes as a potential buyer. She obviously knows what she’s talking about and could spot (and name) all of the problems with his clothes from a mile away.

  • rainwood1

    I didn’t see the show but his fabrics look cheap and unsuitable for the design.  Too stiff and no sheen.  Even the Lara Spencer dress had those problems in the screen caps.  

  • Umm…what am I missing? I see nothing exceptional about the pink Lara dress. Can someone explain…?

    • I completely agree. I don’t get it….

    • It fits the need perfectly.  It’s appealing, it’s professional, it’s conservative — viewers can see themselves in that dress, which is what she needed.  And yet it had some nice, subtle details that made it just a bit more special and more flattering.

  • I liked the jetsetter outfit. It looked fresh

  • He seems to have the same problem that a lot of the designers on this show do – he needs to be an employee. Some designers own their label and control there brand but the majority don’t. They work for a company and that’s fine. If Prajje or any other designer never made it on their own but made there living designing for someone else they would still be professional designers.

    An actor without a job is a waiter and 80% of restaurants fail is because the owners are chefs not businesspeople.

  • Judih1

    Gosh Tom you are a fabulous writer! On long post like this, we really get to experience your talent and attention to detail. And to think you never had an fashion experience, just film making!

    While the TLO blog would never have gotten started with Lorenzo nudging you on, Tom you are the enging that keeps this train running. You guys are a good team – one has the big vision, the other fills in the details.

  • I really liked that pink jacket until I saw it finished at the end. Yikes. Too stiff, too short, too shoulder-y… That neckline is atrocious for a commercial garment. Too bad, I thought it could have been really cute done right.

    He needs a lot of help with fabric choice.