PR: It’s a Doggy Dog World

Posted on August 05, 2011

How much is that doggy bed in the window, darlings? Who cares? Tim Gunn just gave me 300 bucks to spend!
The first unconventional materials challenge! Yay! Did everyone take a drink every time someone said “unconventional?” We did, and we woke up some time around 4 am wondering why were on the floor of our TV room in a puddle of drool with “Toddlers & Tiaras”playing at full blast.

But seriously, minions, we do so love those wacky unconventional materials challenges.

And so does Tim, clearly.

Tim is all Mr. Pattern this season, isn’t he? Mixing those plaids up like a pro.

Anyway, it’s not just that the U/M challenges are fun; it’s that they’re one of the few recurring challenges that are still design-based rather than fashion-based (i.e., “figure out how to make this into workable clothes” vs. “make a red carpet look’). It really separates the men and women from the boys and girls. Some look at the unworkable materials and ridiculous time constraints and get their creativity all fired up…

… and some get cranky and pouty and claim they’re above such frivolities.

Queen Mum, you were quite the petulant little bitch last night, weren’t you? But that’s for another day.

So congrats to Olivier, the Asian with blonde hair, American with a Brit accent, and “Oliver” with an extra vowel. We are intrigued by your myriad contradictions, Precious Moments.

And we are intrigued by your entry because it spurred arguments in our comments section, across twitter, and in front of our TV. Tom and our 2 viewing guests were firmly against the idea of this even being in the top 3, let alone winning.

But Lorenzo held firm and before our guests even left, Tom was coming around.

See, the thing about the judging on Project Runway (and let’s face it: all reality competitions) is that it’s arbitrary and capricious. We used to get all up in arms over the inconsistencies, but at the end of the day, the judges are only people and decisions get made at the end of a long shooting day (or by producers whispering in their ears) so that the show remains interesting and discussable.

Our point is, sometimes a designer will get a lot of criticism for making something stiff and bulky-looking, and other times they’ll get praised for it because the judges responded well to some element or aesthetic consideration. That’s always been the way on Project Runway.

And make no mistake, this is VERY stiff and bulky-looking. Almost ridiculously so, considering the amount of praise it got.

But the judges looked at this and saw – not without reason – something that could be walking a runway next month. At least from a design perspective. From a fit perspective, there’s no denying there’s an issue, but the judges clearly squinted their eyes and pretended it fit beautifully because they were so in love with the idea behind it.

Yes, the plastic belt was a nice touch. Tom rolled his eyes when Nina said it, but he has to admit, it works.

And the ombre effect was cleverly done.

Although the styling was horrendous and student-y.

But the shape of this thing – and the basic concepts behind it – were pretty sound. We said before that the judges respond better to contestants who exhibit an intriguing style themselves, and clearly Olivier’s extra vowels, Garnier Nutrisse hair, and wildly inconsistent accent have them enamored.

But truth be told, we don’t really have a problem with this win. It was the most modern concept on that runway and the runner-up had a set of issues that we’ll get to later.

And it’s Auf Wiedersehen to Mr. Mormon Clean. Can anyone say they’re surprised? The boy just isn’t built for reality TV. He always sounded one slap away from a crying jag. Way too fragile for the proceedings.

And besides, he had the wrong attitude. We understand and even support the idea of strategically coasting your way through to the next challenge, but Josh didn’t have that luxury.

He needed to come out of the gate very strong after last week’s piss-poor showing and instead he timidly ventured forth with the safest department store clothes imaginable.

Puppy tits.

Who wants puppy tits?

Not a bad idea for a skirt, actually.

And the belt wasn’t a horrible idea either.

It’s really all about that top, which looks old and done to death.

And that’s the first major issue here: there’s nothing particularly wrong except that it’s not a very modern design, nor is there anything interesting in how he executed it.

The other issue is the choice of materials. Look, we get the complaints about how inconsistent the judges can be. Sometimes we’re right there with you and sometimes we’re all “Well….if you look at it from this perspective…”

Sure, they criticized Josh for using umbrellas and praised Oilivieirei (or however he’s spelling it; we’re surprised there aren’t any umlauts or accent aigues) for using a dog bed, but it’s not just the materials and techniques; it’s about how they’re used. Iolivieir used a material that isn’t fabric and isn’t easy to work with and made something that really excited the judges. Josh used a material that’s essentially just a synthetic fabric with fabric-like tendencies and made something very basic and largely out of style.

Besides, let’s face it: the guy seems very sweet, but he was scarily close to a total meltdown and we’re only like 4 days into filming at this point. You gotta pace yourself and spread those little meltdowns out to maximum dramatic effect if you want to sew with the big girls.

More Project Runway opinionating to come later today, darlings!

[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitker for – Screencaps:]

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