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Seasons vs. Seasons Discussion


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#1

StripedPothos

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Posted Aug 7, 2008 @ 2:29 AM

This show started out with the concept that the person who won, would be a fashion leader, and, in Season 1, there was a real sense of that. No one put out ugly clothes. They knew that at the end of the day, they had to sell them to make money.

We saw the finale: Jay's stuff was fantastic, Kara Saun's was fantastic even though tremendously other designer inspired, and; hell, even Wendy did a few decent outfits.

The whole concept of the show was to decide who would be capable and worthy of winning not enough bucks to actually carry it through; but, might get a chance, if they were really lucky to carry this win, into big bucks, with a fashion line.

Well, it all got weird in Season 2, and, then, got even more weird!!

By that time, anyone who watches this show knows that Jay, for personal reasons of his own; decided to sit back a bit, and, not go for 'instant stardom'.

Whatever; we go to Season 2, and, a performance artist type who made ugly clothes, and, kept himself on camera to get camera time was made a big deal of.

But, at the end of the show; Chloe Doe, explained that she ran a business, and, at, the end of the day, she had to sell whatever she made, to assorted women of assorted ages and sizes; and, that consideration was paramount to her designing.

After that season (including the clown that made the Phoenix skating outfit with laughable crap flowing out of the supposed skaters outfit); this season managed to blow the blowheard with no talent out of the water, with the statement by Chloe, that she sold her stuff to all ages of women.

But, the show made it a point, after having the unpleasant clown on the air; a requirement of subsequent seasons; to have a clown around.

Let's just all go there; let a person of little talent; a person who makes grunge clothes; a person who makes ugly clothes; an older or a younger person who makes clothes for the likes of the Olsen twins, just prevail; doesn't make a bit of difference; they're all clowns.

Laura Bennet hit it right when she said that she just couldn't or wouldn't make clothes for this level.

So, where, the Shark Jumped, was: We have Kors (as successful as he is: at age almost 50): and, as beautiful and successful as she is, we have Heidi, at 35, and, Nina at 43; sort of, deciding how we should all dress: and, who think, that because, supposedly that they are the be all and end all of fashion; that they are going to call the shots about how we dress, and, what colors and styles are available.

I think not. They're all tremendously successful, and, make tons of money.

But, I think they're all too old to consider what is fashion forward to a person who doesn't want the 'grunge look', or, is not a size 2, or, super thin model size; or, a person who actually works in a place where the "right look" is a clean, classic, decent, kind of thing, that you can actually wear for years; that, will last for decades: because it is not trendy, it is not young (Laura Bennet was right in saying that designing for the like of the 'Olsen Twins" was an exercise in futility).

The shark, she is jumped. This season of the show is just boring, boring, boring, boring as hell!! The producers just lost focus.

We, as viewers, may, or, may not be in great shape; but, I would venture to guess that all of us who are over 18 would much rather have a wardrobe from Jay, or, Austin, or, Chloe, (or, for that matter, Laura, who has style, or, Uli, who has such a way with patterns) or, anyone else who. the elderly judges (who are looking for 'trendy', rather that real designs that will function into the future: have decide to anoint as the next great fashion designer. YMMV!

Loss of focus. Not a good thing!!
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#2

TWoP Nikita

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Posted Aug 7, 2008 @ 10:10 AM

A thread to discuss certain seasons vs others is fine, but one that labels Season 1 as the only worthwhile season is not. That excludes opposing opinions. So, I'm going to change the title of the thread and see how things go before deciding whether to keep the thread open or not.

All opinions regarding seasons are welcome here.

#3

marty118

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Posted Aug 7, 2008 @ 4:13 PM

I enjoyed all four of the first four seasons. Santino, Andrae, Nick, and Chloe all had distinct points of view and all did some beautiful pieces. Yes, admittedly, Santino did some horrific pieces as well, no arguing. But I think he's much less of a tailor than the others, or at least when forced to use sewing machines not designed for someone of his physical height.
Santino, though, at least embraced each challenge with relish, and I appreciated that.

As for age...the same judges chose Austin, Jay, Uli, Chloe, and Laura to at least reach the final four. It would be one thing if they all left in the first couple of episodes, but they didn't. This hasn't been a Vivienne Westwood contest, regardless of the relative age of the judges. (By the way, Barack Obama is only a year and a half younger than Michael Kors, and I don't think anyone would regard him as "ancient," but I may be mistaken.)

Season 5, though...no one stands out in terms of talent. It's not just that the show's been around for so long--I've been very much enjoying Project Runway Australia which was filmed at about the same time as S5 US, and both its designers and its challenges seem much more interesting.

I don't know anything for certain, but I suspect that all of the various legal issues surrounding Project Runway for S5 distracted everyone a bit.

S4 had some great work, and some great moments. Chris was crazy, but in a good way. Christian represented the classic fashion school protege--the question was how much talent he really had. Rami had a definitive point of view (and he didn't just do draping--he won the Hershey's challenge with a very strictly constructed dress, and he used draping in only 5 of the first 11 regular challenges). Jillian's coats were lovely. Any of them could, in my opinion, have fitted nicely into S1 or 2 without being "cast for the crazy."

Mostly, though, through the first four seasons there were always designers who intrigued me. I wanted to know what they would do with a specific challenge. For S5, though, I don't get that anticipatory thrill when I hear the challenge. I don't think, "I wonder what LeAnne will do with that?" or even "That should be perfect for Daniel." I do still get that feeling from PR Australia, though, so it's not that I myself am tired of the format.

I've enjoyed seeing Terri's work, but was there anything about the Olympics challenge outfit that said "street with an edge"? It was a good outfit, but it was like a lot of other good Olympics outfits from real life. Nothing "Terri" about it other than the ability to create four pieces while others were struggling to finish one.

I like Jay's collection best of any of the finalists so far, but I think that's just because it's his work. It would have been just as amazing in any season. That aside, I thought the quality of design of S3 was exceptional (Laura, Uli, Jeffrey, and Mychael were an amazing final four) and the quality of construction work of S4 stood out. (Even a bad garment from S4 was better constructed than many of the top 3 S1 and S2 designs.) But I don't have an overall favourite season.

So far, though, S5 is without doubt my overall least favourite season. But hopefully it will improve, there's plenty of time yet.

Edited by marty118, Aug 7, 2008 @ 4:23 PM.

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#4

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Posted Aug 7, 2008 @ 5:31 PM

Thus far, I like what the Season 5 designers have produced in comparison to what was produced at this same point in Season 4. This season's runway shows, Gristedes, Green Cocktail Dress, New York at Night and Olympics challenges as a complete experience, were more interesting than Season 4's Sew Me What You Got, Tiki Barber, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Updated Trends. The overall output has been interesting for three of the four challenges this season (not Green Cocktail Dress) and last season the runway show experience was interesting for only one of the four challenges (Sew Me What You Got).

Now when it comes down to the finale shows at Bryant Park, Season 4 will be a very, very tough act to follow, but thus far in the regular season, Season 5 is holding its own.

Edited by ags, Aug 7, 2008 @ 7:46 PM.

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#5

marty118

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Posted Aug 7, 2008 @ 5:54 PM

I agree the Tiki Barber challenge was a disaster. But I enjoyed the Updated Trends episode in S4, and it was the first time I got a real sense of the talent that both Jillian and Sweet P had. Sweet P's updated sweater dress was brilliant, and Team Jillian's mini-collection was a runway pleasure--cohesive and surprising. (I remember someone, either Tim or Kors, saying that it was easy to see the woman the collection was designed for--Jillian!) That was also the first episode where Ricky's and Victorya's flaws were evident, and that was also interesting. And poor Chris--I so wanted him to succeed, and the big shoulder pad jacket just wasn't working. For both show-enjoyment and runway-enjoyment, I'd take 4x4 over any of the S5 episodes so far. But of course YMMV.

And this may be just a personal quirk on my part, but I enjoyed seeing the team dynamics in the Sarah Jessica Parker episode, S4x2. The clothes were uniformly dreadful (just not enough money and too many constraints to do anything decent). Seeing Elisa and Sweet P working together showed me a lot of unexpected things about both. And I loved seeing the designers presenting to SJP.

By the end of S4x1, I had some idea of what these designers liked visually. But the end of S4x2, I had a very good idea of what they were like as people when faced with really horrid design constraints (seriously, a $15 budget at Mood to create a 2 piece outfit in a specified colour palette seems to be much more restrictive than the Gristedes challenge, which could at least be fun).

So certainly I agree with you that the runway lines were more interesting in S5x1 and S5x2. But maybe it's just me, but I don't feel that at this point, after 4 episodes, I've really learned much of anything about any of the S5 designers, either stylistically or in terms of what I call "workroom personality." Except Stella, who handled Blayne really well, and everything else with a thin skin but good hands ("cry and cut," indeed).

I'm no designer, but if I were given a retail task and told to choose 3 of these designers, I still don't know who I'd pick other than Terri. And that, for me, is very different than previous seasons, when I'd have been able to select a team by the middle of episode 3, I think. FWIW...
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#6

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Posted Aug 7, 2008 @ 9:27 PM

Marty, what you seem to value about season 4 is how the producers set up the early part of the season. The first challenge, Sew Me What You Got was the very epitome of the designers showing the judges and viewers who they were, their point of view and their skills. You won't get an argument from me on this as a kickoff challenge. I've previously stated that the much maligned team challenges are good vehicles for getting to know the designers because "instead of seeing just Stella or Kenley or Blayne working on their individual projects, while Joe, Jennifer and Jerrell go virtually unnoticed, you get to see a cluster of designers sharing air time as they work together on a project." However, I don't want to get the dirt on the designers and their social skills, if the result is a boring runway show. Miss America challenge, yay; SJP, not so much.

I guess it boils down to what you want out of Project Runway. Up to this point I don't feel an urge to figure out who I like or don't like as a person and / or a designer among 13 or more competitors, especially if it means enduring an uninteresting runway show. A boring runway show is the worst offense in my book. Making a connection with the designers will come in due time. The herd will thin out, I can wait. MMV of course.
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#7

marty118

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Posted Aug 7, 2008 @ 9:37 PM

ags,

I agree, a team challenge should still be a meaningful design challenge. The SJP parameters were just terrible--there's no way they can have a budget of $15 to spend at Mood and come up with a good runway show. So I can't argue with you on that one.

But I haven't liked the S5 runway shows either. Gristedes, boring (designers' fault, I think), green fabric, boring (parameter fault--they should have given them random bolts of at least 3 yards), New York at Night, some interest. Olympics--bizarre, but with some high points.

I did feel the designers in S4 struggled harder against bad parameters (contrast Elisa on SJP with Wesley on the green challenge), but maybe I'm being too harsh.

Ah, well. I may feel much differently once we are down to 8 or 9 designers and then a rewatch of the early episodes feels different since we know the ones who've lasted better.
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#8

tvmovielover

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Posted Aug 8, 2008 @ 4:34 AM

Maybe as some have said its the behind the scenes turmoil that give S5 bad vibes compared to all previous seasons good and bad. Also, some critiques of this new season have mentioned the designers trying way too hard to create their television personas instead of concentrating on their designs. Even in S4, I felt Christian was a "fierce" seamstress with interesting if derivative design sense but he worked way to hard on his tv personality-the worst since Santino (I enjoy watching Santino even now but despite his being truly creative, I always thought he was there for his personality as much as for his design ability and wondered if he was after money for creating a clothing line or tv exposure). I also am still a little disappointed by the end of S4 and that has colored my view of S5. I thought Christian did in most ways did the best runway show but he was very immature and if they dissed Daniel V for that (and some execution problems), they should not have let Christian win either. Jay also played to the camera with glee but he had designs and a show that still ranks best of all seasons for me.
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#9

carmelized

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Posted Aug 8, 2008 @ 8:41 AM

This show started out with the concept that the person who won, would be a fashion leader, and, in Season 1, there was a real sense of that. No one put out ugly clothes. They knew that at the end of the day, they had to sell them to make money.


I still haven't seen every one of the first-season shows, but I have a hard time believing that no one put out anything ugly in that season. I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder. I've only seen the last seven or so shows from that season, but from all the criticism of Wendy Pepper over the years, surely at least she made a couple of duds along the way. She also seemed to be working really hard on being a villain, so honing a persona to get over on the competition, or for camera time, is nothing new.

That's another criticism I've heard that I disagree with, that this cast mostly consists of people creating personas for camera time. Out of 16 contestants, I think only Blayne and Suede have really done that in an obvious way. Jerrell may also be doing it to a lesser degree, and Kenley, mainly with her personal style. That's arguably only four out of the whole cast, and I think it's to be expected in any reality show. The rest of them seem fairly normal, and their quirks and personalities don't seem artificial to me. Even Stella's leather obsession seems real, not something she's contrived.

So, where, the Shark Jumped, was: We have Kors (as successful as he is: at age almost 50): and, as beautiful and successful as she is, we have Heidi, at 35, and, Nina at 43; sort of, deciding how we should all dress: and, who think, that because, supposedly that they are the be all and end all of fashion; that they are going to call the shots about how we dress, and, what colors and styles are available.


But, I think they're all too old to consider what is fashion forward to a person who doesn't want the 'grunge look', or, is not a size 2, or, super thin model size; or, a person who actually works in a place where the "right look" is a clean, classic, decent, kind of thing, that you can actually wear for years; that, will last for decades...


I totally disagree that Nina, Heidi, or Michael are too old to be effective judges. I don't always agree with them, but more often than not, I think they get it right. Not that an astute 25-year-old couldn't be an effective judge, but I wouldn't want to see a panel of younger judges just for the heck of it.

The original title of this thread indicated that the first season was the only good one, and I beg to differ. I've loved and hated things about all the seasons. Season Three was my least favorite overall, mainly due to what I felt was a nasty tone - the focus on Jeffrey's behavior, the way the models were picked in the Everyday Woman challenge, and the fact that they were allegedly blindsided into modeling, etc. Yet there were still things I that loved about that season. The doggie challenge, Michael and Laura's friendship, and Uli's calm demeanor and her way with prints all come to mind as favorite things from PR3. We had PR-The Musical in the second season and Santino's hilarious imitations of Tim Gunn.

As far as the clothes, IMO, there have been some great outfits, along with the failures, in every season. Chris March's dress in the first episode of PR4 is one of my all-time favorites, and so is Andrae's gutter-water dress from PR2. Michael Knight's Pam Grier hotpants and coffee-filter dress and Uli's couture dress are also favorites of mine.

I guess it boils down to what you want out of Project Runway. Up to this point I don't feel an urge to figure out who I like or don't like as a person and / or a designer among 13 or more competitors, especially if it means enduring an uninteresting runway show. A boring runway show is the worst offense in my book. Making a connection with the designers will come in due time. The herd will thin out, I can wait.


I really agree with this. This is a larger than usual cast (I think), and we'll probably get a better feel for each designer once the season progresses. In the meantime, I'm enjoying watching both the hits and the misses along the way. For me, the shark definitely has not jumped. Every season has been different, so for me, it's way too early to see how this one will stack up against the rest.

Sure, there are things I'd change if I could, like getting a better view of the clothes, and cutting down on the interviews that are just useless soundbites. But I do love the premise of this show, and there are a few designers who intrigue me this season, so that's enough to keep me watching.

Edited by carmelized, Aug 8, 2008 @ 8:51 AM.

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#10

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Posted Aug 8, 2008 @ 9:56 AM

I think the reason I haven't warmed up to S5 as much as I did to other seasons at this point is wholly the result of the horde of designers they started with this time. The math just works out to less -- less time seeing each designer in the work room, less time seeing each outfit in the runway show, less time with the judges. I have less of a sense of them as personalities. Time will take care of that.

On the other hand, we've had four individual challenges and have a portfolio of four designs from each contestant. None of the challenges have been a highly structured "commercial" challenge. I think I have a better picture of who these designers are artistically than I did at this point for the S3 and S4 people. I haven't been tremendously excited by any of them, except maybe Terri who seems to have a strong, classic sense of sportswear going back even to the grocery store challenge, but I think that's because the designers are limiting themselves. No one told Daniel he had to do a cocktail dress for every challenge, and frankly every outfit I see from him makes me less impressed with his plastic cup dress. Great, he tore up plastic cups. To make a cocktail dress. With the same silhouette we've now seen three times from him. I do know a lot about Daniel as a designer. I'm just not impressed.

Each season has it's own dynamic and feel, but its similarities as well. Each season has spectacular failures, even S1. Anyone remember the "future" challenge? Almost as laughable as the Olympics challenge. Each season has its schemers and famewhores, pioneered by one Ms. Wendy Pepper. I'm looking out for Kenley on that front. Each season has the designer you grudgingly come to respect. Now that we're down to the number of designers that usually start a season, let the games begin.
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#11

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Posted Aug 10, 2008 @ 12:23 AM

This show started out with the concept that the person who won, would be a fashion leader, and, in Season 1, there was a real sense of that. No one put out ugly clothes. They knew that at the end of the day, they had to sell them to make money.


Wendy's Candy Hooker Outfit? Starr's Paper Foil "Dress"? I can't forget those :(

I liked the first 3 seasons a lot and I do think Jeffrey has talent (his Couture and Jet Setter Outfits were among my favorites that season) but yeah Uli was robbed.

Season 4 was very blah to me... I liked Kevin, Kit and Jillian.

I kinda like this season because it reminds me a little of season 1 but I agree, at first there were too many designers and couldn't tell them apart(I mean Jennifer/LeeAnn and Emily/Ken Lee) also I'm with carmelized about the personas, specially Blayne and Suede... they are trying way too hard.
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#12

carmelized

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Posted Aug 10, 2008 @ 5:26 PM

Moved from the episode thread:

I fully believe its the intention of the producers to finally have a black winner. Heidi even proclaimed this 'the most diverse season' in the opening show.
I'm annoyed they all havent been diverse. Each season up til now has had tokens. And not just black; asian, latin and usually an individual much older than the rest of the competitors. You cant convince me that only a single black, asian, or person over 40 applies each season! Why did we wait til the 5th season for 3 black contestants?


I don't deny the possibly of a degree tokenism in the selection of the competitors over the seasons. However, I don't think it gives enough credit to the people of color who have been cast. Whatever Bravo's intentions in casting, I believe that people of color have as much of a chance on this show as anyone. Chloe Dao won and Santino Rice was a finalist in Season Two, and Michael Knight was a finalist in Season Three. Michael Knight is one of my favorite contestants of all the seasons, and he's a talented guy, but his Bryant Park collection wasn't worthy of the win. In the first season, Kara Saun was a frontrunner throughout the season, and was a real contender for the win. I think the shoe controversy hurt her chances, and that controversy was of her own making. That's not to say that she would have definitely won, even without the shoe debacle. Although I liked her collection better than Jay's, from a "point of view" perspective, I understand why Jay won. But Kara Saun didn't need producer intervention to get as far as she did; her talent did that for her.

As far as the proclamations of this season being the most diverse by Heidi, and I think Tim also mentioned this, I believe they are speaking about diversity of style, and that seems to be true. Ethnically, this season isn't all that diverse. As far as I know, there are no Hispanic people (someone correct me if I'm wrong), only African-American and Asian. The numbers are higher, but it's not exactly the United Colors of Benneton. Last season we had Rami, an Arab, so I do think they are trying to widen the horizons. Ideally, every season, we'd see much more diversity, but I don't think they've done badly in this respect. I want to see talented designers, and as an African-American woman, I certainly want to see people of color represented. But I don't want to see people of color cast solely for their ethnic background, because that could lead to them being mostly cannon fodder.

IMO, it does a disservice to people like Korto and Terri to say that it's preordained that a black woman wins this year. Unless it became obvious that one or both were getting pushed through despite consistently for crappy designs, I'm not going to make that assumption. I'd change my tune if I did see that happening, but so far, it looks like one or both have the chops to make it without producer interference. I think they're both talented.

Plus, I don't see what TPTB have to gain by pre-selecting a winner of a certain color. Because people of color have done well on this show, I don't think there's been a widespread perception or accusations of discrimination on PR. I do believe that the judges and producers have their favorites, just like the viewers do, but I really don't it has been based on race. I thought they were quite biased against Chris March last season, possibly due to his weight or his background as a costumer. I think sizism on this show is a bigger problem than race. TPTB could definitely do better in all areas of casting for diversity and some other areas, but they are far from the worst on TV in this respect. In general, once a person has gotten cast, I think the playing field is pretty level.
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#13

marty118

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Posted Aug 10, 2008 @ 6:08 PM

moved from the episode thread:

As far as the proclamations of this season being the most diverse by Heidi, and I think Tim also mentioned this, I believe they are speaking about diversity of style, and that seems to be true.


Based on some of the interviews, I believe they are speaking about geographic (home state) diversity. On that basis, this is definitely the most diverse season.

I have seen very little diversity of style compared to previous seasons. With the exception of Stella and Jerrell, many of the outfits could have been done by just about any of the designers. In the Olympics episode, Keith, Kenley, Leanne, Kelli's, and Suede's designs could have been swapped around among the 5 of them with no difficulty. Even Blayne's might have fit into that group. I haven't seen any particular design point of view expressed with any clarity again, excepting Stella. Jerrell does wildly different things, but they're also wildly different from episode to episode, it's not like Austin or even Santino where there's a clear personal style.
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#14

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Posted Aug 10, 2008 @ 6:26 PM

I agree with marty that there seems to be more diversity this season in geography than in personal styles, at least so far.

I agree with carmelized that there's no reason for the producers to pre-select a winner of color. Also, I don't think it's possible for them to pre-select a winner, since the designer still has to create a worthy final collection (see Michael Knight in Season 3, as carmelized mentioned). I don't see any indication that the judges have been giving preferential treatment this season to people of color, particularly considering that Teri was overlooked in the first couple challenges.

I can't say for certain that the judges weren't biased against Chris March because of his weight, since I don't know what they were really thinking. But I didn't see any indication of it on the show, and Jay did manage to win the first season even though he wasn't super skinny. So I'm guessing that this wasn't really an issue for the judges. I do agree that the judges may have been biased against Chris because of his background as a costumer, or at least they had certain preconceptions about Chris that he had to overcome (and using human hair in his final collection was probably not the best way to do it).
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#15

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Posted Aug 10, 2008 @ 7:23 PM

When I say I'm not excited about Season 5, I can't say it is because of the designers, personalities, diversities, etc. What I believe is that I'm just used to good PR so if the show is just good then bleh, I don't get wowed by good anymore. Think of it this way. One year you get a High performance rating at work, which is #2 from the top. The next year you do the same standard of work - which is excellent - and you get a #3 rating. WTF, right? What's happened is that your boss has increased his expectations of you so what was excellent one year is just your "regular" so you don't get the High rating. Is it fair? Hell no (yes I'm still bitter). For me, that is what happened with PR. The show, in my opinion, has gotten to such a level of excellence that this "regular" stuff - that is still pretty good - they are showing us now inspires no awe and amazement.

As for not having a favorite yet, I agree. I'm impressed with some - Korto, Terri, Suede (to a lesser degree than the others) - but I won't call my friends on Thursday to discuss because most stuff doesn't "stick" with me. I can still visualize Michael Knight's coffee filter and Pam Grier outfits and Chris/Christian's couture dress like I just saw them today. Even with the best outfits of Season 5, I can't really recall the details of most. In Seasons 2-4 I had a favorite by this point - Uncle Nick (Season 2), Michael Knight (Season 3), and Christian (Season 4). I wanted to wear so much of what they put out - even some of their misses; my taste level must be questionable because I FANTASIZED about wearing some of Mike Knight's collection (except that I'm only 5'6 and have a big booty so I probably wouldn't have pulled it off like the models) because it was so sexy and "All Eyes On Me", which my alter ego would just LOVE. This cycle, I wouldn't mind wearing Korto's black pantsuit/jumpsuit, Terri's Olympic outfit (with a better fitting tube top and a smaller scarf), Jerrell's NY night out dress (with different colors), and Suede's red/white dress.
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#16

marty118

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Posted Aug 10, 2008 @ 9:10 PM

The show, in my opinion, has gotten to such a level of excellence that this "regular" stuff - that is still pretty good - they are showing us now inspires no awe and amazement.


This makes a lot of sense, and normally I'd agree with you, except for one thing...I've also been watching PR Australia (it started a week or so before S5 USA, so they're basically filmed at the same time), and I'm really enjoying that season. It's the same format, so it should have all the same expectations issues. But the designers have distinct styles and the challenges have been, to my eye, much more clever than S5 USA.

For S1 Australia, two of the first few challenges were to make a sporty outfit out of car parts from their car sponsor (FIAT there, like Saturn here). The parts were given to them, so they all had the same starting set to work with. The end results were very different, clearly represented them as designers, and some of them were very well done.

Another one was quite brilliant. They had as clients the girlfriends of football stars, and their challenge was to make a red carpet dress for their client for the league's big awards event. The clever part was the young ladies were all absolutely stunning but, to be honest, some had somewhat questionable taste levels. So it was sort of like the S4 prom challenge except that the clients were all of a similar body type, all tall statuesque startlet-types. It was fun to see how the various designers dealt with what is actually a fairly common couture dilemma.

Since PR USA has aired in Australia, all the participants were very familiar with the PR format also, there was nothing special about that.

So I still have to go with the feeling that something is a bit off about S5 USA, more than just the age of the show. And I think the problem is the designers. As much as Santino played to the room, I also felt that he was truly, deeply, emotionally invested in his work. (Well, except for the skating dress, but I count that as the equivalent of writer's block.) Jeffrey also. He may have played the game to win, but he did care about the fashion.

With the S5 designers I get more of the sense that they want to be successful as designers than that they'd rather starve than give up designing. Maybe that's unfair, and we just haven't gotten to know them well enough yet. But even in the audition videos, Terri is the only one who gives me the feeling that she designs because she has to. That she won't give it up whether she succeeds or fails commercially.

With all of the other S5 designers, including Korto and Daniel, it feels more to me like a conscious career choice. "I'm creative--this would be a fun way to make a living."

There's nothing wrong with that as an attitude. It leads to a lot of good work. But it's a very different attitude than that held by Robert or Vincent or Nick or Andrae or Kara or even Ricky.

With Stella, I can't tell yet. Terri, I think, lives for her art. But other than that...If 5 years from now they're doing something other than fashion design, I think they'll be fine with that. And that gives the show a very different vibe.
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#17

carmelized

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Posted Aug 10, 2008 @ 9:51 PM

Wendy's Candy Hooker Outfit? Starr's Paper Foil "Dress"? I can't forget those :(


Thanks for that link, Saintz. I can't imagine what the hell craziness was going through Wendy Pepper's mind with that mess, and I don't even want to know.

Based on some of the interviews, I believe they are speaking about geographic (home state) diversity. On that basis, this is definitely the most diverse season.


I haven't read any interviews about this season, so maybe I'm completely off-base about the diversity issue, marty118. I'm not sure why geographic diversity is such a big deal, but maybe it is. Perhaps they think it gives more of the audience someone to root for from their area.

I can't say for certain that the judges weren't biased against Chris March because of his weight, since I don't know what they were really thinking.


I can't say for certain, either, Number Seven. It's just speculation on my part. In the first episode, they had the designers race across the grass for the material grab, and TPTB had to know that it would be a handicap for a person of Chris' size, in comparison to the other designers. I thought it was a little tasteless, like, "Ha, ha, let's watch the fat boy run." Why else would they have something like that where one designer was at a clear disadvantage? Then they decided to have a contest for the third spot at Bryant Park between Chris and Rami, and I suspect that they did that in order to eliminate Chris. They could have gone with the precedent that was set in the third season of having four designers as finalists, instead of three, but they didn't. Chris was also criticized for having two similar silhouettes, while Christian sent several similar silhouettes down the runway throughout the season, as well as in the finale.

I know that Chris' choice to use human hair was controversial, but I always thought that had Christian done it, it would have been seen as edgy and fashion-forward. In the case of Chris, IMO, he got labeled as only a costumer, and never shook that label in the eyes of the judges. I could have misread all of this perceived prejudice against Chris; it's just a sense I got that they didn't want him, in their minds, he was "Not our kind,dear." In the end, they picked the designer they thought was best. Even though I don't agree, fashion is definitely subjective.

I wanted to wear so much of what they put out - even some of their misses; my taste level must be questionable because I FANTASIZED about wearing some of Mike Knight's collection (except that I'm only 5'6 and have a big booty so I probably wouldn't have pulled it off like the models) because it was so sexy and "All Eyes On Me", which my alter ego would just LOVE.


For what it's worth, scruffy73, I loved some pieces of Michael's collection, and would wear them. Other pieces I didn't love, and I didn't think his collection as a whole was the strongest. That didn't lessen my good opinion of him, or make me think that his collection was an all-out failure.

BTW, that was interesting what you said about having different expectations for the show by the fifth season. My issues and nitpicks with the show are different than yours, but I can really see you point.

Edited by carmelized, Aug 10, 2008 @ 10:05 PM.

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#18

marty118

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Posted Aug 10, 2008 @ 10:23 PM

I'm not sure why geographic diversity is such a big deal, but maybe it is.


The fashion industry is often accused of caring only about New York and Hollywood.

This season they have designers who live in Washington State, Massachusetts, Sacramento, Italy, Houston, Michigan, Columbus, Little Rock, Portland, Chicago, Queens, and a couple who came from elsewhere and now live in NYC.

In S4 Elisa lived in New Mexico (but had previously lived in London and had an international reputation) Steven lived in Chicago and Marion had a shop in Dallas, but I believe everyone else lived either in NYC or Los Angeles. The designers all came from a lot of different places, but they were living and working mostly in the big fashion centers.

In S5, we get a lot more "freelance designers" and boutique owners, and I believe less than 1/3 of them live in NYC and LA combined. That's a very big difference.
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#19

she eats lemons

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 12:03 PM

carmelized, I think you have a bunch of good points about how the judges responded to Chris in S4. I think that another key element there is that the producers were not ever going to allow Chris, who'd been eliminated already, to win. And having him compete with Rami for that third spot was more of a ratings-ploy/keep-the-audience-hooked move than anything else. That was how I read the whole situation. I was a huge fan of Chris's use of hair as fringe!
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#20

BeanyMalone

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 12:38 PM

I also think the biggest problem the judges had with Chris was that they had already kicked him off once, and deservedly so. Putting an ousted contestant into the final potentially calls into question the whole shebang. But Chris helped them out by playing straight into their "taste level" misgivings by featuring the human hair among his three best looks.

I can't think of any other person with "questonable taste level" who made it into the finals. Certainly Nick and Kayne didn't. And although Santino had his spectacular failures, his success weren't that far out there. What the judges are looking for consistently across seasons, in my opinion, is "conventional unconventionality" -- like Santino (until the final), or Jay or even Jeffrey. A faux edginess, which makes Chloe's win a little more understandable given that Santino seemed to take a step backward in the final collection and Chloe a step forward. Chris, with his use of that particular material, was just unconventional.

Edited by BeanyMalone, Aug 11, 2008 @ 1:05 PM.

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#21

marty118

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 12:57 PM

Given that the $100,000 prize money was provided by Tressemme for that season, I just couldn't see any way that Chris' line could have been allowed into the final. I felt he truly shot himself in the foot in that regard.

From season to season, based on various blogs and interviews, Nina has apparently been the driving force when it comes to the selection of the final winner, based on her sense of whose line is promotable. (Reportedly she was the one who argued forcefully, for literally hours, for Chloe's win, and eventually convinced the others.) Now that Nina is leaving Elle and going to Marie Claire, it will be interesting to see if she has the same kind of influence in S5.
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#22

carmelized

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 3:03 PM

Given that the $100,000 prize money was provided by Tressemme for that season, I just couldn't see any way that Chris' line could have been allowed into the final. I felt he truly shot himself in the foot in that regard.


I don't understand. How would letting Chris' line into the finals be offensive or problematic for Tressemme? Because he used human hair? I don't quite get that, because I can't see how it's a slam in any way to Tressemme. I'm not saying Chris necessarily deserved to win, but I do think he should have been given his chance to compete at Bryant Park, and not just show as a decoy.

I think that another key element there is that the producers were not ever going to allow Chris, who'd been eliminated already, to win. And having him compete with Rami for that third spot was more of a ratings-ploy/keep-the-audience-hooked move than anything else.


I think you really hit on something there, she eats lemons. Once they eliminated him the first time around, his chances were probably doomed for the long run. However, I think they made a mistake, if that's why they did it. Often, it's a toss-up as to gets cut each challenge. For instance, Leanne could have easily been cut two challenges ago. If she had been cut, then circumstances allowed her to return and make that great black skirt and top, I think the elimination should be ignored and she should be judged like any other designer for the rest of the competition.

That should have been the case with Chris, especially after Roberto Cavalli's effusive praise. I don't think it did the judges any credit that they didn't treat Chris with a little more respect. Maybe they saw letting him into the finals as admitting that they had made a mistake in eliminating him in the first place, but I don't see it that way. IMO, Chris proved himself as a contender with what he did when he got a second chance.

What confuses me about the whole human-hair controversy is that throughout the seasons, they've touted the virtues of being innovative and fashion forward. I'm far from an industry insider, or that well versed in the fashion business, I'm just an everyday person who loves clothes. From my view, what Chris did was innovative. It might not be the first time anyone used it, but I had never seen it before, and it was certainly different from anything else I had seen through the seasons. I don't understand why the judges wouldn't embrace his human-hair embellishments from that point of view, even if they didn't feel his was the best overall collection in the end. I thought it was pretty audacious what he did, and prior to their reaction, I would have thought that kind of audacity at that stage of the game would have practically guaranteed that he'd be a finalist. It certainly wasn't boring, and they've let some crazy shit through on that basis, like Blayne's insane bathing suit, or whatever the hell that was, in the Gristede's challenge this season. Oh well, it's not the first time I've been perplexed by the judges.

Edited by carmelized, Aug 11, 2008 @ 4:01 PM.

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#23

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 4:14 PM

Given that the $100,000 prize money was provided by Tressemme for that season, I just couldn't see any way that Chris' line could have been allowed into the final. I felt he truly shot himself in the foot in that regard.



I don't understand. How would letting Chris' line into the finals be offensive or problematic for Tressemme? Because he used human hair? I don't quite get that, because I can't see how it's a slam in any way to Tressemme.


Actually, I agree with you carmelized. Tressemme should have thanked him and wanted him to succeed. Just think of the extra hair care products they could have sold to maintain those outfits.
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#24

BeanyMalone

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 4:39 PM

The product sponsorship has become more strained each season, even as it has become more prominent. But I don't think it's become so dominant a sponsor would be allowed to dictate who would make it into the final or who wouldn't. I think the judges decided human hair was too gimmicky, even if creative (which they acknowledged), all on their lonesome.

Rami's overall body of work was stronger in the judges' eyes than Chris's, too, which is a fair consideration at that point in the competition. I can't think of a finalist with a body of work as weak as Chris's from the judges' perspective other than Wendy Pepper. Chris's biggest success (the "fashion forward" gown) owed as much or more to Christian than him, if what we saw was accurate. Chris's biggest failure resulted in his aufing. His very first design, which I really liked, wasn't in the top three, was it?

But as a comment on the current season, I find more interest in hypothesizing what Chris would have done than in what these contestants actually have done. I wonder about an Olympic outfit from Chris. It's easy to suppose it would have been in the costumey bottom, but the guy did have a sense of pageantry and it could have been quite cool. Kayne might have rocked that challenge as well.
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#25

duckgirlie

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 4:57 PM

Is it just me, or are the challenges much shorter this year? I was re-watching some S3 over the weekend, and they had quite a few two-day challenges. Could this be part of the rushing-it-out effect?
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#26

marty118

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 5:57 PM

I don't understand. How would letting Chris' line into the finals be offensive or problematic for Tressemme? Because he used human hair? I don't quite get that, because I can't see how it's a slam in any way to Tressemme.


I'm not saying it's true for all people, or even a majority, but a significant number of people found the use of human hair repellent, with concentration camp overtones. I am one of those, but there was plenty of discussion at the time about it in the general press. "Creepy" was the usual adjective.

That would not have been good for Tressemme. Even if most people didn't look at it that way, by the time the discussion was complete in the press it would be pretty much of a disaster for them from a publicity standpoint.

Should that dictate the winner? No, but complete insensitivity to a sponsor's needs doesn't fit the desired profile, either. This isn't an art contest. It's about someone who can be commercially successful in a well-established industry.

I'm just finding in the S5 designers very little left of the artist. And that does seem to me a contrast with previous seasons.

Edited by marty118, Aug 11, 2008 @ 5:59 PM.

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#27

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 6:54 PM

I'm not saying it's true for all people, or even a majority, but a significant number of people found the use of human hair repellent, with concentration camp overtones. I am one of those, but there was plenty of discussion at the time about it in the general press. "Creepy" was the usual adjective.


That criticism is one of the things that really bothered me about the Season 4 wrap up. People wear human hair all the time in the form of extensions, wigs and weaves. It's not repulsive to me at all. Humans didn't die to produce the hair, unlike animals which are killed for fashion. I think it was an unfair critique. Of course, YMMV.

In my mind it's much too soon to judge Season 5 designers. I don't think any of them get in the groove this early.
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#28

carmelized

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 6:58 PM

That would not have been good for Tressemme. Even if most people didn't look at it that way, by the time the discussion was complete in the press it would be pretty much of a disaster for them from a publicity standpoint.


I disagree that it would have been a disaster. JMO, but I think it takes a leap for people to turn on Tressemme, even if they were repulsed by Chris' use of human hair. I guess it's because I don't see how it's very different from the weaves, wigs and extension that are sometimes used on models. I simply can't see the big difference between having human hair attached to a model's head and brushing against her neck, and the same hair brushing against her neck on a collar. But I respect that some people did find it creepy.

Should that dictate the winner? No, but complete insensitivity to a sponsor's needs doesn't fit the desired profile, either. This isn't an art contest. It's about someone who can be commercially successful in a well-established industry.


I can't speak for Chris, but my impression was that his motivation was to stand out and do something different, but not to be insensitive to the sponsor. I'm guessing that it never occurred to him that it would be offensive, any more than it occurred to me.

I think we're just going to have to disagree on this.

ETA: Somethyme beat me to the punch!

In my mind it's much too soon to judge Season 5 designers. I don't think any of them get in the groove this early.


I agree. For me, time will tell how the designers as a group measure up.

Edited by carmelized, Aug 11, 2008 @ 7:33 PM.

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#29

TWoP Nikita

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 7:03 PM

Just a note about a thread like this: When different seasons are discussed in one place, it's natural for conversation to eventually turn exclusively to one designer, one episode, one challenge, etc. When that happens and the conversation is no longer about whole-season or comparative-season discussion, the conversation needs to move to the topic-appropriate thread.

Please keep an eye on that sort of thing and move the conversations when and if the time comes. Thanks.

#30

marty118

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Posted Aug 11, 2008 @ 7:06 PM

I agree that Chris wasn't thinking about the issues...I just suspect that thinking about the sponsor's issues is a valuable industry skill. In a great designer, there's always a balance between art and commerce. I respect that Chris was trying to be true to his own vision (he wanted to use fur, couldn't under the rules of the contest, and had what he thought would be a brilliant substitution). I think he was driven by true design choices.

All in all, that's much of what I liked best about the first four seasons-it did seem like just about everyone there was there so that they could get a stage for their work. They care about other people seeing the clothes, not just about being famous.

Well, we'll see what happens with S5. So far I'm just not getting the same vibe from them. I'm hoping that's editing, and the large number of designers in S5.

Which reminds me...I think so far in S5 four different designers have said they were tired of making money for other people, and they wanted to make it for themselves. I don't remember that as a theme from previous seasons. I remember designers feeling creatively stifled by working for someone else, but the talk was more about freedom to pursue their own vision, not make millions of dollars for themselves. But perhaps I'm just misremembering.

Edited by marty118, Aug 11, 2008 @ 7:13 PM.

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