All On The Line S3E4: Korto Momolu

Posted on October 02, 2012

Yes, we’re horrible, horrible bitches and we made Korto cry. On the flip side, we can forevermore refer to Mary J. Blige as “our co-star, Mary J. Blige.”

And we will.

Meet Korto Momolu. Chances are, if you’re a long time reader of this site, you’ve already met her. Korto was a finalist in season 5 of Project Runway and in the minds of many fans of the show, she should’ve won over that season’s winner, Leanne Marshall.

Despite her fine showing at Bryant Park and the press she received from her time on Project Runway, Korto, like so many reality show competitors, has found it tough going in the days since. The world of fashion moves on quickly and if you don’t move with it, you’re going to be left behind.

Doctor Joe to the rescue. He takes a look at some of her pieces and says what we’ve always said about her work; she has a tendency to overwork a garment. When she reins that in, she can produce quite beautiful work.

Meet Korto’s team. They all give the impression that they don’t know each other or what they were hired to do.

But they all seem to agree that Korto needs to hire “The Right Team.” Meaning, people other than themselves. It’s like they all had a big sign on themselves that said “The first thing Korto needs to do to be successful is fire me!”

Can we pause here for a moment and say that we love Korto’s personal style? Because we do.

Anyway, Joe tells her she’s got a shot at making a dress for the one and only Mary J. Blige, which is both a perfect fit for Korto’s aesthetic and also quite the feather in her cap if she can pull it off.

Joe doesn’t like her initial attempt (although we liked it); finding it to be somewhat generic. Korto admits that she has a hard time remaining true to herself while serving the needs of a client. Welcome to the world of fashion, Korto. This is probably the Number One problem that struggling designers have to overcome, and if you’ve watched this show for any length of time, you can see how hard it is for a lot of them.

Joe tells her to find a way to inject a little more Korto into the design.

She comes up with this “swoop” detail, which didn’t work for us, didn’t work for Joe…

and, unsurprisingly, didn’t work for Mary J. Blige.

Fabulous Tom Ford glasses, by the way.

But Mary J. loved the basic design of the dress and said she’d wear it if Korto loses the swoop, which is easily done.

It really is a gorgeous dress.

Joe then tells her she’s got the standard 3 weeks to come up with a capsule collection for Neiman Marcus. Then he tells her he’s inviting some members of the press to come and see her progress and possibly to write a feature on her.

That’s when these two assholes showed up.

Lorenzo: Michael Bastian jacket, Thom Browne shirt.

Tom: Versace jacket, Gant by Michael Bastian shirt, Tommy Hilfiger tie.

Hey, we paid good money for that shit, so we’re gonna throw some names around.

Yeah, we were hard on her. But that was the entire point. When we showed up – and can we say how fucking weird it is to recap a show in which you appear? The arguments on which screencaps to choose lasted half the day. Anyway, when we showed up, Korto pretty much had nothing to show us except some sketches and muslin pieces on a rack.

Which is fine, but she couldn’t really talk about her collection, no matter how much we prodded her. She also didn’t have press materials to show us, didn’t have her publicist present, and couldn’t call up her web site for us. Everything we asked her about seemed to be something of a hassle for her to answer. We weren’t mad – although it looks like we were from the editing – but we were a bit annoyed. We asked her point blank: Would you act this way if we were two editors from WWD coming in today? She admitted she wouldn’t have acted this way and we told her that it’s dangerous to think that way. A site with 6 million visitors a month is a site with 6 million visitors a month, whether they started out as Project Runway recappers or not. That’s not meant to be self-flattering. We were trying to teach her a lesson about not dismissing the importance of fashion press, no matter where it comes from. Every opportunity has to be grabbed when it comes along.

And Tom has been dreading that “I CAN’T FINISH A SENTENCE, KORTO” clip from the second he uttered the words. There was a lot edited out of this meeting (which lasted several hours) but we both knew that one sound bite was going to make it in. It’s the kind of thing that makes reality show producers pump their fists in the air.

And we felt terrible that we made Korto cry, but we think she learned a lesson from it.

Later, in a tense scene, Korto fires her bitchtastic publicist, who flounces out the door with “FINE! I DON’T NEED ANY OF YOU LOSERS ANYWAY BECAUSE I HAVE TOTALLY IMPORTANT MEETINGS TO GO TO. KTHANXBAI!”

No one believes her.

Korto shuffles someone new into the position and we wish she had been there on our day, because the girl was ON FIRE, with line lists, press packets and all kinds of professional shit.

See? Our bitchiness helped, right?

We had to laugh, because on the day of her presentation, Korto (who can be quite stubborn, if you haven’t figured that out by now) wore the Mary J. Blige dress. WITH the swoop.

But she was professional, personable, prepared (hey, it’s the Three P’s. You have permission to use that, Joe) and looked great.

Fabulous. We really love that top. And the pants look great. This is stylish, and real-world wearable, which is Korto’s whole goal as a designer.

The texture of that fabric is great. And it’s a smart choice, because the dress itself is relatively simple. Love the sleeve treatment, which bumps up the interest without going overboard.

We love that this was made out of raffia, but it’s just a little stiff and severe. That’s fine, but it goes against Korto’s whole “My clothes are for real women” take. It’s fabulous, but it’s very limited.

We weren’t crazy about this look at all. We love all of the fabric choices – Korto always had a great eye for fabrics – but we don’t like how they were utilized. That yellow stripe is puckery and we don’t think it’s going to look all that great on a range of non-model body types.  Plus, this is the point when we and the Neiman Marcus buyers said, “Okay, enough with the peplums.”

Gorgeous. Full stop.

Didn’t like this one at all. Once you took the belt off, it became totally shapeless. And the sleeves feel like they belong on another dress.

The Neiman Marcus buyers, because they are neither blind nor stupid, saw that Korto really does have something to offer their customer and agreed to do business with her.

We were thrilled. Doctor Joe came through once again.

Korto, we love ya, and since we know you’re reading this, you will please note that we did not once say you were “pouty” so you can finally stop bringing that up every time we see you.

Of course, now you’re going to spend the next four years mentioning that we called you stubborn, but we’ll let you have that one for a while.



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