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Project Runway

Runway Report




Nick Verreos breaks it down on "Top 5 OMG Moments of Project Runway" Episode 11, YouTube

This last week's episode of Lifetime's Season 15 "Project Runway", the remaining six designers got to design a garment that was supposed to be Avant-garde using Unconventional Materials (metals and machinery) , as well as Conventional ones (textiles and notions from Mood). For my latest "Top 5 OMG Moments" video of "Project Runway", I explain how everyone--from Heidi, Tim to the Lexus guy-- told the designers to "GO BOLD!" Unfortunately, it still wasn't enough and they somehow missed the "Avant-garde" directive...

Click below to watch my Top 5 OMG Moments of "Project Runway" Episode 11 on YouTube: we go:
 #1....OMG! Go BOLD or Go HOME! OK...So even before Tim announced this week's Challenge, Heidi greeted the designers and told them that they needed to be BOLD and that their designs should STAND OUT. Then, the Lexus guy says that his company's automobiles are BOLD, right before Tim tells the designers to GO BOLD for this Challenge. If that wasn't BOLD enough, Tim announces that it will not only be Avant-garde but also, an Unconventional Materials Challenge...

HELLOOOO DESIGNERS!!! RED FLAG!!! You better be ready to GO BOLD!!!

 #2....OMG! Uh Oh. This is BOLD??? When we see the designs in the workroom as Tim gives his Critiques, Rik is doing a Cocktail Dress. We then switch to Laurence, who's doing a....Cocktail Dress! Then, it's time for Roberi and guess what he's creating? A Cocktail Dress.

Not to be outdone, Cornelius and Mah-jing join the bunch with....You guessed it! Cocktail Dresses!!! Sooooo....This is an Avant-garde Challenge....Right??

#3....OMG! I Have a Bone to Pick. It really took all of my self control not to hurl my bowl of popcorn at the TV screen when the judges started their critiques. Heidi somehow thought it was a positive that several of these so-called Avant-garde designs could be worn on the Red Carpet. I'm starting to wonder if Heidi's life is one big long Red Carpet, because she can't imagine any garment functioning in society, unless it's walking down one! Let me ESSSPLAIN to you and Miss Klum the following: Avant-garde is NOT meant for the Red Carpet--unless your Bjork or Lady Gaga (and even Miss Gaga has stopped that!). This is NOT the function of these garments. Avant-garde is meant to disrupt, provoke and illicit conversation, it is meant to inspire and dream. It's the closest FASHION has to "Modern Art". While it seems that some of the designers had questions regarding what Avant-garde was (Mah-jing especially), it seems that the judges had little clue as well.

#4....OMG! The Winner is...ERIN? Honestly, if I was a judge, I don't even know who I would have picked. And certainly not because there was a plethora of fab designs to chose from. But....I'm assuming Erin secured the WIN by being the BOLDEST?? And most Avant-garde?? I will say that, at least I give her points for using color. I guess that counts for something?? Sooooo....Congrats to Erin for getting the Win and being back on top!

#5....OMG! What Happened??? While I understand that the competition is stressful and the pressure of the Finale looms ever closer, it's imperative to realize that the Avant-garde Challenge is THE moment to express yourself and really WOW the judges with not only your ability to step outside the design box, but also a chance to marvel them with your technical prowess. In other words I wanted to see a COAT that SPANS THE LENGTH OF THE RUNWAY! Made out of CHICKEN WIRE! And...make it COUTUUUUURE! I'm starting to  worry that these designers don't have the ability to Wow the judges , or for that matter, us. Let's hope they can prove me wrong and end the season with a BANG!

And now, here's my FULL RECAP on for Episode 11: "Didn't You Hear? I Said Bold!"

Now that we have moved on from overindulging on turkey, pie and cyber shopping, it’s time to get back to more important matters: “Project Runway”! This week’s episode tried to merge the avant-garde with the unconventional as well as conventional. With all that, it had the prospect of design gold! Instead, we got aluminum, copper and a wire mesh mess. Time to recap!

Heidi greets the designers by telling them that there are only two challenges left (mon Dieu!). She then cryptically says that they better “buckle up because it’s going to be a thrill of a ride.” Before sending them off to meet Tim, she warns, “You better be BOLD and make sure your designs really STAND OUT. Go BIG or you’ll be going home.”
Heidi greets the designers by telling them that there are only two challenges left (mon Dieu!). She then cryptically says that they better “buckle up because it’s going to be a thrill of a ride.” Before sending them off to meet Tim, she warns, “You better be BOLD and make sure your designs really STAND OUT. Go BIG or you’ll be going home.”...
Click HERE to continue reading my RECAP on 

SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss Supranational 2016 Finals: Costumes and Gowns Recap!


SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss Supranational 2016 Finals: Costumes and Gowns Recap!

SupraCrowned: Miss Supranational 2016 Srinidhi Shetty of India
Photo courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook

This past Friday were the Finals of the Miss Supranational 2016. the international beauty pageant was held in Krynica-Zdroj Poland (population 11,000; known as the biggest spa town in Poland) with 71 contestants from the globe vying for the crown. Miss Supranational is in its 8th year and has quickly grown in status as one of the most important "Grand Slam" beauty pageants, along with Miss World, Miss Universe, Miss International, etc.

Golden Gal: India's Srinidhi Shetty wins Miss Supranational 2016 in Poland
                                        Photos courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook

The winner was the representative from India, Srinidhi Ramesh Shetty. Shetty is a 24 year-old 1.73 (5' 8") tall model from Mangalore, who studied engineering and worked as an IT professional in the past. She becomes the second Miss India to win the Miss Supranational crown.

A Ten for Prodcution: Miss Supranational 2016 
Photo courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook

The Production: The production of the show was top notch featuring great music, fab staging and a great array of "Outfit/Gown Changes" by the contestants--from National Costumes to Evening Gowns, Cocktail wear, Activewear to even more Gowns (in Metallic gold/silver tones!) to keep fashionistas like myself visually content. Overall, it was on par with a "Miss Universe" and some of the most recent "Miss World" productions (I say "most recent" because I can remember those epic super-drawn-out "Miss World" shows during the 90's that could have been easily cut in half and lacked any excitement and anticipation...thank goodness that kind of show has changed!).

The Top Two:
OMG...Me??!!: Miss India Srinidhi Shetty's (R) reaction after learning she won "Miss Supranational 2016", with First Runner-up Venezuela's Valeria Vespoli (L)
Photo courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook

Miss Supranational India (and eventual winner) Srinidhi Shetty in swimsuit and white cocktailwear--Miss Supranational 2015 Finals
Photo courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook

First Runner-up Miss Supranational Venezuela Valeria Vespoli in White and Red Cocktailwear--
Miss Supranational 2016 Finals
Photos courtesy of  Missosology/Bong Tan (L) and  Miss Supranational Facebook (R)

Valeria was one of the favorites to actually win the Miss Supranational 2016 title and she almost did. If you're a pageant fan, you might recognize her from the Miss Venezuela 2015 pageant where she was Miss Monagas. She wore this gown above which was designed by Gionni Straccia

National Costumes:
Best Costume Miss Supranational Vietnam Kha Trang 
Photo courtesy of Missosology/Bong Tan

Winning Costume: The winner of the Best National Costume title went to Vietnam and contestant Kha Trang for this. The almost 100-pound weighing costume was deigned by Vietnamese designer Le Long Dung and named "Vietnamese Golden Lotus". Supposedly, it took three months to make (I believe it!), boasts a 3.5 meter train and is inspired by the tale of Lac Long Quan and Au Co, who are believed to be the parents of all Vietnamese people. The arms are in the shape of a lotus and the headdress is highlighted by pheasant tail feathers...

Yep! I can see how it won!--Miss Supranational Vietnam national costume

SupraCostume: Miss Supranational India's costume was pretty fabulous too: The eventual winner of the Miss Supranational 2016 crown wore this costume entitled "The Fusion Bride of the Indian Tribes". The silhouette of various parts of the garment cover various regional tribes of India. The crown is inspired by the North east and Eastern Bengali tribes, the choli (blouse) is inspired by the North with tribes from Kashmiri, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh; the skirt and the mask draw inspiration from the Southern tribes, while the skirt holds in colour the Western Warli tribes of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Fusing khadi cotton, yak wool and Indian silk brocade, the garment features textiles of the country. The national animal the tiger and the national flower the lotus are symbolically represented in the garment. It was designed and created by Melvyn Dominic Noronha.

Is that Nelson Mandela on her head? Miss Suprnational South Africa's national costume               (second from left)--Miss Supranational 2016 Finals
Photo courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook

Photo courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook 

Pink Llanera: I also loved the costume worn by eventual First Runner-up Miss Supranational Venezuela Valeria Vespoli designed by Douglas Tapia. It was a "Fantasy" Traje de Llanera" dress featuring multi-tiered layers/ruffles. I loved it because it reminded me so much of a sketch I did years ago (being that I am a big "Pageant Fan" growing up in Venezuela), which I included in my book "A Passion For Fashion"...
Miss Venezuela Fashion Sketch by Nick Verreos--From "A Passion For Fashion"

Photo courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook

Oh No She Didn't!: there was one other "national Costume" I wanted to highlight and that was the one worn by Miss Supranational Trinidad and Tobago Lia Djemila Ross. How do I say this politely? SHE WAS ALMOST NAKED!!!!! I think that her nipples were actually partly in view when she introduced herself on LIVE TV, in view of millions and millions of viewers! I don't know how that got through the censors but it was kind of a "Oh Nooooo She Didn't!' moment. She gets "Atta Gurl" points for that!

Now, let's get to THE GOWNS!!!:
                                              Gown Gals--Miss Supranational 2016 Finals
                                                 Photo courtesy of Missosology/Bong Tan

The Miss Supranational 2016 Finals were fabulous in many ways but especially because the contestants had two gown changes through the evening (those backstage dressers were working OVERTIME!). They first came out in their own individual gowns (after the National costumes and Swimsuits) and then they changed into Golden Gowns at the end when the Top Five were named and for the crowning when all the constants wore golden/metallic gowns which was kind of a great idea! Kudos to the pageant's producers for such a Gown-Tastic show!

Best in Gown: The Winner of Best in Evening Gown was Miss Supranational Romania Sinziana Sirghi. She wore this black design featuring over-sized ruffles, a "Mermaid Lite" silhouette and patent leather-like band details. I loved this gown and said so in the Recap of the Miss Supranational 2016 Preliminaries Evening Gown blog post HERE.
Photo courtesy of Missosology

Last year's Miss Supranational Stephanie Stegman from Paraguay did her Final Walk in this stunning white gown. I thought she looked quite glorious and I loved the drama of it and the beautiful lace-like details
                                         Photo courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook

    Golden Beauties: Stage images of the Miss Supranational 2016 contestants during the Finale of               the pageant, wearing their golden/metallic gowns--Miss Supranational 2016 Finals
                                         Photo courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook

Time to discuss the Top Five Golden Gowns:
Photo courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook

India Srinidhi Shetty: The eventual winner from India, Srinidhi wore this gold gown featuring leaf-like "fringe" sequins that fluttered beautifully as she walked. I thought the design had a strong gold color and stage presence. The gown fit well and looked perfect for her.
Score: 9.45

Photos courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook (top) and Missosology/Bong Tan (lower)

Venezuela Valeria Vespoli: First Runner-up Valeria Vespoli wore this blush/nude gown with gold and silver sequined leaf (a theme of "Miss Supranational 2016" I guess!) appliques. The Alejandro Fajardo-designed gown featured dramatic cape details and was super-fitted with a dangerously high center front slit. It was a very Haute Couture-looking gown, made beautifully by the Venezuelan atelier and while I give it points for making a definite gown statement (which I love), this was still A LOT, and that center front slit was just too-close to her you-know-what which made it go into an almost Couture Hoochie territory. 
Score: 9.10

This is a photo of what she wore during the Miss Supranational 2016 Finals as her first gown:
Disco Ball Beauty Queen: Silver "mirror" sequined gown worn by Miss Supranational Venezuela Valeria Vespoli designed by Alejandro Fajardo who also designed the golden "cape" gown. I liked the gown just for its sheer audacity of "Notice Me B*tches!" but the fabrication with the long sleeves was overwhelming and I wish she wouldn't have worn THOSE shoes!
Score: 8.55

The gown is VERY "Miss Venezuela" Pageant-like and featured the same mirror effects originally done WAAAAY back in the day by Venezuelan couturier Guy Meliet:
Miss Tachira 1988--Gown by Guy Meliet

The gown is also in the same vein of this:
Miss Apure in the Miss Venezuela 2015 Pageant--gown designed by Alejandro Fajardo

Continuing with the rest of the Top Five, Miss Supranational 2016:
Photo courtesy of Missosology/Bong Tan

Suriname Jaleesa Pigot: Jaleesa got the 2nd Runner-up title at Miss Supranational 2016. She was also one of the favorites to win and she was one of my Top Gown Divas in my recap of the Miss Supranational 2016 Preliminaries Evening Gown Competition HERE. Jaleesa was so gracious that she even wrote on my Facebook HERE to Thank me for that; what a true class act! She wore this halter style gold ballgown style for the final top five moment. She looked regal and the gown fit well but the fabric in conjunction with the ballgown shape was a bit much for her tiny figure. However, I am thankful it was the right length (no pumps visible!). 
Score: 8.99

 Photo courtesy of Missosology/Bong Tan

Sri Lanka Ornella M.J. Gunesekere: Ornella was one of the most stunning Miss Sri Lanka contestants in a while. Not surprised she made it this far to be Third Runner-up. For her Top Five "Golden Gown" moment, she wore this sequined fringed dress that delicately draped to one side. The gown was OK, but I wish it didn't have that side drape detail. But that didn't bother me as much as the fact that it was about 12" TOO SHORT and showed those super tacky platform "stripper" shoes! It almost ruined the entire thing for me.
Score: 8.00

 Photo courtesy of Missosology/Bong Tan

Hungary Korina Kocsis: Korina was the Fourth Runner-up and she wore this semi-sheer blush/nude sequined gown. The dress was simple yet elegant and it had nice sequined detail. I liked that the lining wasn't too mini short but yet we could still see her legs. I also loved her semi-slicked back hairstyle; it was very red carpet movie star. One critique though: And yes, it's the shoes. While I am thankful they weren't the tacky ones Miss Sri Lanka wore, they were still the wrong style for this dress. She should have worn simple strappy heels, in gold.
Score: 9.00

Photo courtesy of Miss Supranational Facebook

CONGRATULATIONS to the new Miss Supranational from India Srinidhi Shetty!
And Thank you to the Miss Supranational organization for bringing us such a GOWNTASTIC show!


ROYAL COUTURE....."The Crown": Costumes vs Reality!


ROYAL COUTURE....."The Crown": Costumes vs Reality!

Fur, Satin and Diamonds: Actress Claire Foy playing Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix' "The Crown" TV series

In case you have been living under a rock, "The Crown" is a fabulous new drama series on Netflix. The first season premiered on November 4th. The series chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II, from her marriage in 1947 to the present day and has been dubbed "the most expensive TV series ever!". So far, I have only watched the first seven episodes and it's followed her relationship with her husband Prince Philip, her sister Princess Margaret (and her love affair with Captain Peter Townsend), her mother, as well Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and many others. I am obsessed with the series and besides all the drama, yes, it's ALL ABOUT THE FABULOUS COSTUMES!

Gown Royals: Cast of "The Crown", Netfilx (L to R): Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, Matt Smith as Prince Philip, Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary and Victoria Hamilton as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

Emmy-winning Costume designer Michele Clapton and her amazing team were responsible for all the Royal Couture of "The Crown". The "Game of Thrones" costume designer (she designed the first five seasons and returned to do four costumes in two episodes of season six) combined historical accuracy as well as vintage Vogue magazine research to inspire and help her with the immensity of such an epic show, according to this article.

Designer and her Designs: The Crown" costume designer Michele Clapton during a "The Crown" Costume Presentation in London back in October

As the big Royal Couture fan that I am , I was curious to check out some of the show's costumes vs. the actual fashions these real-life royals wore (if there were photos of course!). I think that Ms. Clapton did an exceptional job. I cannot even imagine having such a task. She said that over 95% of the principals costumes were custom made while many of the extras (and there were LOTS!) wore vintage garments from costume shops. Lets take a look at some of the gorgeous "The Crown" costumes for some of the main "characters" and what they actually wore:

The Wedding---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The TV Wedding: Actress Claire Foy as Princess Elizabeth (left) and Jared Harris as her father King George VI (right)--Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip Wedding Scene--"The Crown" Netflix

The Real Thing: Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark Wedding: Her wedding gown designed by British fashion designer Norman Hartnell. Princess Elizabeth used clothing ration coupons to pay for the dress. The gown was made of ivory silk and 10,000 pearls imported from the USA. At first when I was watching the series and the wedding scene, I thought that the "costume" wedding gown was a bit too stiff and crinoline'd--as opposed to the actual photos I had seen of the wedding and the gown. In some of the photos, her wedding dress does look less crinoline'd (as if there's no tulle underskirts) while in the museum display photo, it looks more like it was made for the TV series .

Commonwealth Tour-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Polka Dot Queen: Actress Claire Foy  as Queen Elizabeth (left) in "The Crown", and the real Queen Elizabeth II (right) during her Commonwealth Tour 1952 Kenya. 

Coronation Gown: Actress Claire Foy as the soon-to-be-crowned Queen Elizabeth II in "The Crown

For the Coronation Scenes, costume designer Michele Clapton received a replica of the actual gown worn by the soon-to-be-Queen Elizabeth from Swarovski. The Austrian crystals company created one for an exhibition and they offered to loan Clapton the dress. At first, she declined but after realizing how much she had on her costume designing plate, she said "Yes!". 

The Coronation Gown was designed by Norman Hartnell: The silk and sequined gown took eight months to make and featured floral emblems of the countries of the United Kingdom and those of other states within the Commonwealth of Nations.

Movie Premieres----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fur and Satin: Actress Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II (left) in "The Crown" and the real Queen Elizabeth II (right) with her husband Prince Philip at the "Neapolitan Carousel" movie premiere in 1954

Flight Style-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Travel Style: Actors Matt Smith (as Prince Philip) and Claire Foy (as Queen Elizabeth II), as they board a B.O.A.C. airplane on "The Crown"

Mink Travel: Queen Elizabeth in mink fur coat and silk dress, and Prince Philip in uniform disembarking a flight on B.E.A. British European Airways

Princess Margaret--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Belted Dress Princesses: Princess Elizabeth (left) and Princess Margaret (right)

 Smokey Princess: Actress Vanessa Kirby portraying Princess Margaret (top photo, left lower photo) in "The Crown", the actual Princess Margaret (right, lower photo)

Michele Clapton-designed costume for Princess Margaret character in TV show "The Crown", Netflix

Princes Margaret was Queen Elizabeth's Fashionista sister. She was like the Princess Diana of the 1950's/1960's/1970's. A devoted fashion-lover, she loved Dior Haute Couture as well as many other fashion designers. While Queen Elizabeth's creations seemed as if they took one fitting (no one can imagine the Queen having the patience for more!), Princess Margaret's fabulous creations looked as if they took FOUR fittings! Gotta love her for that (well, as a designer I do!).

Diamonds and Satin: Princess Margaret

 Princess Margaret on her 21st Birthday in a Christian Dior Haute Couture gown, 1951

 Pink Princess: Princess Margaret in pink tulle and sequins

 Fashion Diva: Princess Margaret at an event in a one shoulder Duchesse Satin ballgown, fur shawl and diamond necklace

Queen Mary of Teck------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen Mary of Teck--Queen Elizabeth's grandmother (on her paternal side), was very Edwardian in her style and this was seen in the costumes created by Michele Clapton (left), followed by the looks seen on the real Queen Mary of Teck (right).

Duke and Duchess of Windsor-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Couture Divo and Diva: Actor Alex Jennings as Edward VIII Duke of Windsor, and actress Lia Williams as Wallis Duchess of Windsor in "The Crown" Netflix

The Real Fashionistas: Wallis, Duchess of Windsor and Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor

Family Drama: Cast of Netflix' "The Crown"

I'm excited to watch the rest of "the Crown" Season One! Let me know what you think of this season and the costumes!