Friday, February 05, 2010
Red, White and Soup:Tim Gunn and The Campbell's Red Dress Muses This last week's Project Runway episode, "Design Your Heart Out", had promise of a good thing. The designers were told to create a signature dress for the Campbell's AdDRESS Your Heart Campaign, to be worn at the Red Dress Awards during NY Fashion Week by women who had been impacted in one form or another by Heart Disease. Monsieur Gunn also instructed them that the color red must be prominent in their design and the Campbell's Logo/Branding must also be present in one way or another. Of course, the first thing that came to my mind was the iconic "Andy Warhol Souper Dress": I'm sure a lot of jaded fans of Project Runway scoffed at the Ain't-Got-No-Shame use of branding and I agree that there are ways in which it is used that are oh-so-tacky (NBC's Biggest Loser and the "Chew some Extra sugarfree gum and it will curb your appetite!" brand plug comes to mind). But I had no problem with the designers instructed to make a dress for Campbell's and such an amazing campaign. The designers met with their "real women" models, discussed their heartwarming stories and proceeded to design the outfit that would make everyone gasp as they walked into a room full of New York fashionistas. On hand for the runway judging was Mrs. Harvey Weinstein, the gorgeous Georgina Chapman, co-founder and co-designer of Marchesa. Now onto the runway:Let me just begin by saying that I really hate to be a "Negative Ninny" but what I witnessed on the runway--for the most part--was a mess! I was shocked. For two years in a row, I have been privileged enough to have either hosted or judged the Macy's Seattle Project Red Dress Gala and Competition for the American Heart Association. And these dresses, which were made by local Seattle design STUDENTS (with only 16 hrs and $200 for material) were all much better than anything I saw on this week's episode (save for Amy Sarabi's winning design). Why so much shiny cheap-looking fabrics, why so many uninspiring designs and why the absence of contemporary looks? With that in mind, let's just praise the one good dress in this challenge. As one dress after another came sashaying down the runway, I thought to myself: "OK, this is not looking good for anybody". Until Amy's dress appeared. Her strapless Silk Chiffon Empire Gown looked glamorous and appropriate to create a statement at the Red Dress Awards. The fit was perfect and it was ideal for the model's body-type. Congratulations Amy! I was thrilled that the judges felt the same way and awarded her the Top Prize. The Not-so-Good "Campbell Soupers":Anthony Williams' look made great use of the Campbell's branding (on the top) but that stiff satin fabric did not help the model, the sleeveless design is a definite no-no and the skirt was three inches too short. But, Lordy did she work that runway! She gets points for that and I loved the interaction between Miss Anthony and his muse. Mila's red and white "Star Dress" was not a red carpet NY Fashion Week dress. It was more Fourth of July-meets-Drag Queen Bingo Night at Hamburger Mary's in West Hollywood! Again, why the stiff taffeta fabric? I know that this was one of the judges favorites, but it was too costume-y for my taste. And now, let's take a trip to the Mall, circa 1985:Oh Jesee. You are everyone's new hottie boyfriend and could be a shoe-in for a Christian Bale look-a-like contest but why this dress? I know the judges somehow liked it (what are they drinking backstage?), but I just didn't get it. It was not flattering or contemporary. The cropped sloping-shoulder on his white satin jacket came straight out of the closet of a Van Halen groupie from 1985.I did like the plunging sweetheart neckline (even though the construction is questionable) which showed off her Cha-Cha's. And everyone knows how much I love me some Cha-Cha's, but was there really no other fabric than shiny satin?! And now, let's take a drive to Laguna Beach:During his Direct-to-camera interview this week, designer Jesus Estrada told us that he was sure he would be in the top this week. I think he was drinking the same thing the judges were backstage. Too-tight and shiny red satin (again)? Diamante crystal straps? Was she competing for the Mrs. Bakersfield Pageant or going out to her anniversary dinner at the Chart House in Newport Beach? It was SO Vicki of "Real Housewives of Orange County"! Compare Jesus' face to the rest of the designers: Amy, Mila, Emilio and Anthony need "Pop Up Bubbles" saying "Oh Dear!" I have to agree with Michael Kors on this one, saying that it was a "checklist of everything that can turn tacky...and combined into one garment ". Even his fellow designers couldn't keep their "Oh Dear what is that?" looks off their faces when his design came down the runway...Enough said. With that Jesus Estrada was out--surprised to be out--but out none the less. See you next week kiddies!