PR: Stylish and Style-less

Posted on September 17, 2011

Y’know, upon reflection – because that’s what we do here at the T Lo Institute for Reality Television Studies; we reflect – except for one or two notable exceptions, pretty much everyone this week made a dress that you could find in a department store. That’s not surprising, considering they were dealing with clients, none of whom struck us as the type who would say “Make me something really cutting edge.” No, the directives were more prosaic: “Make me look pretty and disguise my imaginary body flaws for me.” So the win went to a pretty department store dress and the bottom 3 were mostly criticized for looking like standard department store dresses. Consistency!

Anyway, our point here is that, yes, Bert made a fairly standard department store dress. What distinguishes this department store dress from the department store dresses that landed in the top 3 is that it’s pretty generic.

In fact, we wish the judges had ditched the “I could buy this dress anywhere” critique and focused more on what makes one standard dress better or worse than another.

Because we did agree with the judges that this dress was not really praise-worthy except on the issues of fit and construction, where Bert always excels.

Although we do think the fit on that skirt could have been a bit more flattering than it was.

No, the issue here isn’t that you could buy this dress in a department store. It’s that the dress has very little style to it. It’s a standard low-cut mini-dress without any sort of interesting design elements to it.

And this is the problem we have with Bert’s work generally. It’s well made and tasteful, but he rarely ever produces anything that looks particularly modern or interesting. You wouldn’t just find this dress in a department story today; you’d find the same dress in a department store 5 years ago, 10 years ago, even 20 years ago.

In addition, we think there was a bit of a taste issue here. Not with Bert, who seems to have pretty good taste, but with the clients, who pushed him into making a dress that looks a little hoochy, which is totally not Bert’s style. The general rule is show off the tits or show off the legs, but showing off both at the same time takes you into tacky territory. Nina was exactly right that the skirt needed at least a couple more inches on it to look chic or tasteful.

Because who can deny that she has a SPECTACULAR rack on her? Even Heidi complimented it and you’ve gotta figure when a Victoria’s Secret model compliments you on your boobs, you’re floating on Cloud 9 for the rest of the day. We can understand why hubby wouldn’t shut up about them and we can understand why Bert agreed to showcase them, but when you’re going that low on such an attention-getting chest, a more demure skirt would have been a good idea.

We don’t think we’re saying anything shocking when we say that Viktor was the clear winner this week. Yes, you could argue that this looks like something you could pick up at Anthropologie, but that automatically puts it ahead of Josh’s entry.

Because you could pick up Josh’s dress pretty much anywhere. It had cute detailing, but not much personality. The fact that so many people looked at this dress and didn’t think “department store,” but a specific store, says to us that this look had more of a specific style and personality to it.

We should note, however, that this wasn’t as impeccably finished as it could have been.

The collar looks a little limp and uneven, as do the sleeves.

And the skirt looks a little sloppy up around the waist.

But it was a colorful, stylish, of-the-moment look with some great design elements and a lot of personality to it. It suited her to a T. In fact, we think Viktor did the best job of figuring out his client’s style and making something that reflected it perfectly. A lot of the ladies said they liked their dresses, but to be honest, we didn’t believe some of them. Maybe they were being polite or maybe they were just responding to the thrill of having an outfit custom-made for them, but we doubted very much that they all would have chosen or bought for themselves the outfits made for them. You can see at a glance that this gal would definitely have bought this outfit if she’d seen it hanging on a rack. The fact that the judges actually seemed to be taking points off Viktor’s score simply because his couple was stylish was so ridiculous that we laughed out loud at the absurdity of it.

That was the first example of the judges lamely trying to justify their decisions, but the second example was the one that made us a little angry. “He over-accessorized.” Oh, please. A clutch, sunglasses and a necklace is over accessorizing? And how telling that the pieces they felt should have been removed were either made by him (that clutch is adorable) or so generic as to be unnoticeable, but the giant incongruous necklace (which we agreed was perhaps a bit much) was just fine with the judges because they’d never criticize something that came from one of their sponsors. Can’t diss the Piperlime on camera, after all.

She was – bar none – the most put-together and stylish woman on the runway and for some completely nonsensical reason, they held that against him. You wanna keep giving the Drama Vortex wins, you’re going to have to do better than that, judges.


[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/ – Screencaps:]

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