PR: Formerly Known as Prints

Posted on September 14, 2012

Is it safe yet to say that this season is … pretty okay? Like, not teeth-gnashingly awful in the manner of the immediately preceding seasons? Because the presence of Mondo and Anya served to remind us how frustrating we found both their seasons for all the camera-whoring and producer manipulation. This season is positively even-keeled in comparison. Granted, it’s not the most exciting season and we have yet to see any truly jaw-dropping designs, but our screaming-at-the-television quotient seems to be fairly low in comparison to previous years.




Product placement.


There’s something a little off about how self-referential the show’s become. Too much, “Oh, I LOVE this challenge” commentary, which only seems to underscore how formulaic and self-aware the show is now. Because yes, this is not a bad season, all things considered, but can anyone claim it’s an exciting one or an interesting one? We’re glad that the show hasn’t completely turned the proceedings over to the shrieking drama queens in the cast, but the challenges have all been kind of dry and the results rather low on the impressive scale.

On the other hand, we thought the “cultural heritage” twist to this challenge wasn’t a bad idea at all. Oh, we groaned at first, but then we looked around the workroom and realized this might be the most international cast the show’s ever had, so why not tap into that?

So congratulations, Dmitry! Finally!

It’s a pretty great print. Actually almost all of the prints on display last night were pretty great.

There was some discussion about how this is a print challenge and yet he mostly covered up his print, but that doesn’t fly as a strike against him, as far as we’re concerned. The challenge is to design a print and then design a look utilizing that print. That’s exactly what he did. And why this works so well on an aesthetic level and on a meeting-the-challenge level is that he designed that fantastic jacket specifically to show off his print in a manner that pleased him and stayed true to his aesthetic. In other words, a designer who never uses prints found a masterful way to use a print. If that’s not a clear win we don’t know what is.

It helps that he stepped outside of his rut and that the jacket is pretty fantastic.


And it’s a slightly sad but totally inevitable goodbye to Quentin W. Sweetcrackers.

Everything about this look was wrong, from the overworked jacket to the sad little skirt to the depressing and too-busy print.

The print is oddly beautiful in its own way and if the proportions of the design were a little different and if he’d designed a look around it that addressed the somewhat dark themes he was looking at, it might have worked.

But he made a depressing print and then he attempted to make a kicky little equestrian-themed outfit out of it. He was doomed practically from the beginning.

We could tell from episode 1 of this season that Gunnar was playing a game in order to stay in the competiton. His early bitchiness and attempts to make an enemy out of Christopher were clumsy and obvious. It made sense in light of the fact that he was eliminated from the competition before it even got underway last season. Clearly, he looked at people like Josh and figured that bitchy camera-whoring was the way to go. Ironically, his own personality seems to be that of a fairly sweet guy (if a little self-absorbed) and he couldn’t really keep it from bubbling up to the surface.

But with this challenge he returned to earlier form. This whole bullying thing was simply a calculated attempt to recreate the drama that arose out of Mondo’s HIV admission. He pretty much ignored the part about cultural heritage because he obviously had it in his head long before this challenge was even announced that he was going to make it about himself and about a Very Serious Issue he faced. Unfortunately, it fell flat. Mondo didn’t win the HP challenge because he’s HIV positive. He won it because he found a way to render that admission beautifully in fabric. With Gunnar it was just “I know! BULLYING!” With no real thought put into the aesthetics of it and no real attempt to address the cultural heritage part of it . Because no, Gunnar, “I was bullied” is not “heritage.” It’s experience. Two entirely different things. And it seems to us that the judges saw right through his calculation. Ven’s was pretty bad but Gunnar’s was bad, calculated, and ignored what the challenge asked for.



[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke for – Stills:]

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