Well, shut our mouths.
Say what you will about Patricia – God knows we did – but one thing’s for sure.
The lady walks the walk.
Granted, the home visits are more staged than your average royal wedding and when she took him to her “studio” which really just looked like an apartment to us, we suspected we’d been played, but still. Kudos to her for giving both Tim and the viewers an entirely new kind of home visit. Most of the home visits are entirely useless, but this reminded us of when Tim visited Jay McCarroll. Everything clicked into place and explained who she was.
Unfortunately, the rest of the home visits lapsed into their normal rut. “Tim, welcome to my gracious home.” “Tim! I have so much left to do!” “Tim, I’m really scared.” “Hug me, Tim.” “Hug my mom/sister/partner, Tim.” “Goodbye, Tim.”
Geez, we really hope they flew him first class.
As we noted in last night’s T LOunge, everything played out exactly in a manner any Project Runway fan would recognize. Stanley didn’t have anything done. Daniel (QUITE ABSURDLY) held onto a grudge, Michelle had real doubts about her entire line. Everyone hugged. Everyone trashed each other’s collection in the confessional. It’s almost comforting in its routine. Or it would be if it wasn’t so boring.
We’ll keep the clothing commentary fairly light, since we’ll be looking at their final collections more extensively.
She’s the one to beat. Admittedly, we looked at her wolf sweater and chaps ensemble and announced from our couch that we just didn’t get it. On the other hand, the individual pieces are fantastic and the overall point of view blows almost all the other finalists out of the water. Girl desperately needs to edit. And she needs to pick up on the fact that Nina isn’t inclined to like steampunk or any, as she put it, “tricky” details. Regardless of whether there’s a market for steampunk clothing (and there is), the likelihood of it being heavily featured in a mainstream fashion magazine like Marie Claire is slim. Love the skirt, love the coat, love the quilted skinny pants.
Patricia is the only other designer demonstrating a strong point of view in this finale and she suffers from the same problem Michelle does: it’s not a high-fashion, Marie Claire kind of point of view. Michelle’s aesthetic and pieces are more editable, however. You can take away some details or zhuzh others and her looks are ready for photographs. We just don’t get that from Patricia’s work. It’s awkwardly styled and many of the pieces, while interesting to look at, aren’t exactly chic in their shape or style. The beautiful fabrics in the skirt and scarf of the first look are rendered invisible under all that jewelry and that unflattering bodice. We don’t mind the horsehair, but we couldn’t help thinking she’s trying too hard to make Native American designs look chic by hiding them. She gives the impression that she’s trying to somehow camouflage her Native roots and inspiration. She doesn’t have to worry about being a stereotype because there simply is no history of Native American styles having a heavy influence on high fashion, outside of a few trends, like beads and fringe. The road is wide open for her on that front. She should take a page from Dolce & Gabbana’s book. Those two do nothing but indulge in Italian cultural imagery, even if it’s pure cliche.
But we’ll repeat what we keep saying: She’s a very talented textile designer but we haven’t seen much evidence that she’s a very talented clothing designer.
We were shocked that Stanley was the one who showed up unprepared. But then again, he’s a designer who loves to delegate and he knew he was getting an assistant. Still, it’s a lot to show up expecting someone else to do so much of the work of finishing.
These clothes are perfectly fine, high-end department store clothes. But that’s it. The gold dress is awkward, stiff and old-fashioned. The third look is interesting, but we agreed with Nina that those pieces need to be broken up and not worn in the same outfit. The first outfit is suitable for your average 90-year-old socialite.
Biggest shock of the night? Daniel didn’t cry when he got eliminated. But OH LORD, there was some wailing in that hotel room that night.
If Stanley’s pieces are high-end department store, then these are pure mid-range. Stanley is Saks. Daniel is Kohl’s. There’s a very good market for Daniel’s stuff, but it’s just not high-fashion. He’s a Wendy Pepper; a highly skilled dressmaker who should have a steady and dedicated clientele.
In fact, we’re just gonna say it: There are only two designers working in the realm this show tends to reward: Michelle and Stanley. Daniel is obviously not what they’re looking for and Patricia should have a nice artisan’s boutique somewhere but it’s clear she’d never be able to produce a salable line. Our prediction for the win is Michelle, but the judges are by no means consistent or predictable in their choices, so it’s anyone’s game at this point.
[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke for Lifetime – Stills: tomandlorenzo.com]