Sunday, September 15, 2013

Project Runway Season Twelve, Episode Nine: Designing Designers!

This week, at Parsons...
OK, do we all understand what “Modern. Southern. Style.” is now? No? I didn’t think so. I have no idea what it means, you have no idea what it means, the designers have no idea what it means, and the judges sure as shit don’t have any idea what it means. So let’s try to narrow it down, shall we? 

Is it this?
No, that’s not it. How about plaid? Does the South have some connection to plaid? Not that I know of. I think plaid can be modern and there is no reason it can’t be worn in the South, so I had no particular objection to the designers using it for this challenge, but I didn’t understand the suggestion that it was a stereotypical Southern look. Were the designers confusing tartan plaid with gingham? And were the designers confusing the Midwest with the South?

Toto, I don't think we're in Belk's anymore
You were never in Belk's. I’ve done some research on the Belk website and come to this conclusion: they have the same damn clothes you’d find at any Macy’s in the country! What the hell is this episode about?

The Modern. Southern. Woman.
Tim: “I’m pleased to introduce you to the vice president of private brands at Belk, Julia Sugarbaker, who will try to explain the Southern woman.”

Julia Sugarbaker: “Thank you, Tim. I’ve been a Southerner all my life, and I can vouch for the fact that we do eat a lot of things down here. We've certainly all had our share of grits and I’m sure there is no self-respecting Southern woman who hasn’t eaten at least a ton of her momma’s homemade biscuits and gravy, and I myself have probably eaten enough fried chicken to feed a third world country--not to mention barbecue, cornbread, watermelon, fried pies, okra, and yes, if I were being perfectly candid, I would have to admit we have also eaten our share of crow, and for all I know, during the darkest, leanest years of the Civil War, some of us may have had a Yankee or two for breakfast. But, speaking for myself and hundreds of thousands of my Southern ancestors who have evolved through many decades of poverty, strife, and turmoil, I would like you to know that we have surely eaten many things in the past, and we will surely eat many things in the future, but, God as my witness, we have never, I repeat, NEVER EATEN DIRT!!!”

Tim: "We'll keep that in mind, but we were actually more interested in knowing what Southern women wear."

Julia Sugarbaker: "Oh. Sorry. I can't help you with that."

Tim: “OK. I'll give it a shot: The Southern woman likes to be vibrantly, expressively, and fashionably put together and knows how to use accessories and she loves color and anything with feminine details.”

That explanation isn't helpful. I still don’t get what distinguishes Southern style. The designers deal with the challenge by just making a bunch of clothes, some of them good and some of them, bad but none of them different from anything they would make for any other challenge.

Ken is so sure that his awful purple prom dress is a winning look that he nearly has a stroke when the judges explain to him that it is an awful purple prom dress. He understandably thinks he knows more about Southern style than a bunch of New Yorkers. But if the representative from Belk doesn’t want to sell an awful purple prom dress, then that’s pretty much the end of the story.

Helen made a pretty yellow dress with a white flower overlay. Unfortunately, she made it as a gown, when it should have been a short sun dress. She’s safe.

Justin made a very interesting salmon-colored dress. He’s safe.

Alexander made a plaid cocktail dress. I don’t know what was modern or Southern about it, but the fabric was nice and I guess it was cute. He was in the top three.

Alexandria made a really terrible dress, but she’s safe.

Bradon also made a strange plaid dress. He wins. I am looking forward to seeing how this dress sells in the Belk stores. I suspect it will not be in this fabric.

Dom made a horrible blue and green gown. She scared me with this look because I was actually worried she would be eliminated for it. It was that bad. She was in the bottom three.

Jeremy made a cute but extremely basic dress. He knew the dress was basic; it was meant as background for what he thought was another amazing old-lady jacket. As I've said in the past, I think old ladies should be able to buy jackets and I guess someone needs to design them, but there was just nothing modern about this and the challenge was to design something modern. He’s in the bottom three.

Kate made a cute orange dress that looked a lot like the other cute dresses she has made. It was still cute, though. All the judges loved it except for Heidi, who thought it made the model look pregnant. But that’s Kate’s go-to silhouette, so I don’t know why Heidi was so surprised to see it.

The bottom three were Dom, Ken, and Jeremy. For the first time in Project Runway history (except that it isn’t) the designers will be sent back to redesign their looks and see if they can improve them.

Dom, with some help from Helen, created an amazing new dress in an hour. I feel like she already made this dress earlier in the season, but that’s OK. She is the second winner for this challenge and her dress will also be sold at Belk. I think her dress will actually sell.

Ken, with some help from Kate, turned his horrible purple prom dress into a slightly less horrible purple nightclub dress. I still don’t see anything modern or Southern about this dress, but I’m sure there are women who would wear this for a night out in Las Vegas.

Jeremy, with some help from Alexander, thew out his first look and started over. He made a simple bias-cut dress that I thought was pretty great. The judges said it was too plain, but the dress was so much better than Ken’s that I think they were just making excuses. Jeremy is out. Sorry, Jeremy. You shouldn’t have been out for this dress, but I do have to admit I have found most of your clothes this season to be a bit dowdy.

Julia Sugarbaker: “Excuse me.”

Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know anyone was there.

Julia Sugarbaker: “Yes, and I gather from your comments there are a couple of other things you don't know. For example, you probably didn't know that Jeremy was the only contestant in Project Runway history to sweep every category except congeniality, and that is not something the members of my family aspire to anyway. Or that when he walked down the runway in his swimsuit, five contestants quit on the spot. Or that when he emerged from the isolation booth to answer the question, ‘What would you do to prevent war?’ he spoke so eloquently of patriotism, battlefields and diamond tiaras that grown men wept. And you probably didn't know that Jeremy was not just any Project Runway contestant, he was THE Project Runway contestant. He didn't twirl just a baton; that baton was on fire. And when he threw that baton into the air, it flew higher, further, and faster than any baton has ever flown before, hitting a transformer and showering the darkened runway with sparks! And when it finally did come down, sir, Jeremy caught that baton and twelve thousand people jumped to their feet for sixteen and one-half minutes of uninterrupted thunderous ovation, as flames illuminated his tear-stained face! And that, just so you will know — and your children will someday know -- is the night the lights went out in Georgia!”


lovemesomejeremyandkahindo said...
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lovemesomejeremyandkahindo said...
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lovemesomejeremyandkahindo said...

I'm with Julia, the ultimate southern woman. Jeremy was all that baby. And as a, um, "mature" southern woman of 46, I do declare my peeps would totally buy Jeremy's outfit (well, both of them) down here at Belk in Hotlanta. I don't know what all that plaid stuff was about. And prom dresses? Child please! Boo. Just boo. Bless those poor little crack smokin judges' hearts. They have lost their minds.

eric3000 said...

Yeah, I would never argue with Julia Sugarbaker! You wear your jackets loud and proud, sister! Ha ha! Seriously, if the challenge had been to create a "perfectly acceptable" outfit, Jeremy would have been in the top three.