You’ve gotta have heart! No, thank GOD, this week’s Project Runway was not a sappy Valentine’s Day episode. Instead, it was a challenge that often comes along during Project Runway where the designers lose sight of their long term goal of making it to Bryant Park, and rather look to make their client happy, often just to keep them quiet. Last season the designers had their design aesthetics compromised by divorcees in the revamp a wedding dress challenge; this season the designers were told by Heidi that they would be designing a gala dress for “truly inspiring women.”
The Challenge: In 24 hours time, design a dress for women who have been personally impacted by Heart Disease. A very noble challenge indeed, but sadly only part of the challenge; the designers also had to include the Campbell’s branding into the dress, yes, you read correctly, a soup brand was to bring additional inspiration for a gala dress. Campbell’s even provided fabric with the Campbell’s soup logo emblazoned across it. In addition, the dress had to predominantly feature the color red. The winning design would be worn to the Red Dress Awards during Fashion Week and the dress would also be sold on ProjectRunway.com.
The Real Challenge: Design a dress for a normal sized woman…While I think this season has a number of talented designers, I am amazed how they become literally dumb-struck when it comes to making dresses for women who are larger than a toothpick and who may not be perfectly proportionate. Jesus was the only one thrilled with his “model” whom he boasted as being very tiny! The designers, who seemed to be teamed up with very easy going women, were more challenged by the fact that they had to design a garment for a woman who didn’t fit in the 34-24-34 realm. They seemed to leave the design element at the door and instead put together dresses that were uninspired.
So when the designs came down the runway I can honestly say all I saw was a mass of RED and it was in horrible shiny satin and chiffon. Even the dresses in the top three failed to truly impress. Mila created a garment that fit her model perfectly and did a nice job of representing Campbell’s by featuring a white star sewn into the dress, but looked more prom 1997 than Red Dress gala 2010; and Maya, whose draping garment caught and held the judges’ eyes, was unique, but even the judges (which included guest judge Georgina Chapman of Marchesa) couldn’t say exactly why they liked the dress. Both designs were good enough to keep the pair on the show for another week. But it was Amy who really thought of designing a gown that would fit and enhance the woman who would be wearing it. The dress was very ethereal and got a “thumbs up” from Michael Kors and wins this weeks challenge.
On the bottom half this week, we have Anna, Jesse and Jesus. Anna’s dress that was sweet and flirty, much like her previous designs, emphasized her models broad shoulders which really isn’t quite so sweet; Jesse’s garment just failed to impress, and Jesus, who can “certainly sew” as Nina commented, has no taste, which we saw in his tight, shiny and all-over tacky dress. Goodbye, Jesus!
"This looks awfully…Valentine's Day." Tim Gunn at Mood when asked if a red fabric looked cheap.
"This is honestly the largest challenge I've ever under taken as a designer." Seth Aaron
"The fabric is alive. It literally has a mind of its own…" Amy working with chiffon
"Seth Aaron, when did you go grecian on us?" Tim Gunn
"I want my mommy!" Seth Aaron after deciding to change his design after Tim's comments
"This is definitely a fashion emergency of Chernobyl proportions." Jonathan
"Of course my dress takes a dumk in a bucket of water! Of course of course..because I'm Janeane!" Janeane
"Prior to this challenge, it was all about me, me, me, me." Emilio
"Ladies, not only
have you survived a heart attack, but now you have to survive Nina and Michael Kors and Heidi…and
how horrible I've made you look in this garment." Anthony muses before the runway presentation
"What is that? It looks like a cheap flag at the Thanksgiving Day Parade." Emilio on Mila's Dress
"This almost makes having heart surgery worth it." Jonathan's model, pleased with her dress
"Like maybe she's a majorette, like she should have a baton or something." Michael Kors on Jesse's dress
"You basically took a check-list of all things tacky and put it into one dress. Shiny. Cheap. Short. Tight. And then let's add the crystals on top of it…" Michael Kors on Jesus' Dress
"Taste is something you just can't learn." Michael Kors (so true!)
"The dress was like a bag tied in at the middle." Michael Kors on Anna's dress
"I did like it, but I was not sure if I should like it." Georgina Chapman on Maya's dress
Also, don't forget to check out one of our favorite sites dedicated to all things Project Runway…Blogging Project Runway.
— Bonnie J Brown