Friday, August 14, 2015
House of Fashion Cards: Project Runway Season 14 Episode 2--the Unconventional Materials Challenge

Last night (Thursday) was Episode 2 of Season 14 "Project Runway". It was the dreaded (to most of the designers) Unconventional Materials Challenge. they were to create a look using Hallmark Signature cards. It was a rather "Meh" runway with what the designers created; a lot of OK, some good and some messes. Judge (and Marie Claire Creative Director) Nina Garcia used the word "phenomenal" A LOT to describe some of the creations. I wouldn't be so effusive in my critiques. Now, before we get to my RECAP, here are some Low...and Highlights:

Culturally Insensitive Blake:
During the episode, Swapnil Shinde--one of the designers, who hails from India--was trying to explain something about certain machines in the back of the workroom, and after some back and forth between him and designer Blake Patterson, Blake decides to show a bit of ignorance by saying "I don't speak Indian!". You can read my "two cents" on this in my RECAP at the end of this blog or HERE. Although, I am sure you can guess what I thought! I bet Blake will have a difficult time ordering gorgeous fabrics and or beading from India for the next TWENTY YEARS! #JustSaying

Throwing Taste Shade
At one point, during the "closer inspection' of the runway looks, Nina Garcia--as well as Zac Posen--question the taste level of one of the designer's creations, and without missing a beat, he turns to guest judge actress Ashley Tisdale saying "But it's you're kind of taste!" (or something to that effect) Oucheey. I think Zac just called her tacky.

Runway Good:
Me Likey: I liked these looks from last night's Runway (L to R) Hanmiao Yang, Kelly Dempsey, Candice Cuoco, and Jake Wall--Season 14 "Project Runway" Episode 2 Unconventional Materials Challenge

Swapnil Shinde: Swapnil did a nice job of transforming his Hallmark Signature cards into this fun little cocktail dress. He cut the card's flowers and placed them like Couture-like applique. It reminded me of...
Giambattista Valli Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2014 dress (above)

Edmond Newton: Edmond's design was the clear winner (no contest!). he created this "Wedding Gown" using the cards. he even made a "Wedding Bouquet" out of the paper cards. Very well done Edmond. The voluminous skirt was a bit reminiscent of...
 "Project Runway" Season 5 winner Leanne Marshall's creative folds in her designs

What did Edmond use to create THAT skirt?? I wondered what cards he used to make the "petals" of the skirt section. I don't think there were Hallmark Signature cards that were that large so...I wonder?? The only thing I'm thinking is he possibly used the shopping bags somehow?? I'd love to know what you guys think?

The "Uh Oh's":
Amanda Perna: I liked the top of this look and the colors of the skirt were great did look like piñata and mop all rolled into one skirt.

Ashley Nell Tipton: Last week's winner, Ashley, made this poncho/cocoon coat. I got the whole "monastic"/enveloping design (Valentino's Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo  Piccioli have been showing it for many seasons--top right photo--Valentino Pre-Fall 2013 RTW...for that matter THE Valentino Garavani has been showing it even LONGER, of course!). But Ashley's look had too much muslin and little card. If she hadn't had immunity, she might have been close to the bottom for sure.

Blake Patterson: Not sure what the judges were drinking. They thought Blake's design was one of the top designs. This was Prom-a-Licious papier-mâché tacky. His model, however, is one of my favorites of this season; gorgeous!

Gabrielle Arruda: Oh no! Speaking of papier-mâché, this creation was stiff, unflattering and let's be honest, it look like a Shrimp Sushi Ebi. It was too shapeless and that "Hi, that's almost my butt!" back length...Hello!

Merline Labissiere: Merline loves a good extension on her garments (take a look at what she did last week). This time she used the Hallmark Signature cards to add her "signature" to her creation. Not cute. Her fellow contestant/designer Amanda, correctly compared it to a Manatee. Yikes!

David Giampiccolo: Awww David. You barely used any card to create the shape and silhouette of this garment. Strike that: you used ZERO cards. It's a muslin that's been dyed and glittered (sounds like Blake's design!). I knew he was going home from the minute they showed him having a teary eyed phone call with his husband...and that was the day before! Lots of muslin showing: You're Out!

Here's my RECAP of this "Unconventional Materials Challenge" Episode:

Unconventional. The word means unexpected, not conforming to what is generally done, out of the ordinary. On “Project Runway,” the Unconventional Challenge means using materials not typically used in creating fashion/garments. It’s always a challenge that fans LOVE even if the designers themselves, for the most part, dread. (I did back in Season 2!) We are only in the second week of the new season and it was time for the Unconventional Materials Challenge. Some of the designers rose to the occasion, while most created expected and rather apathetic looks. Let’s delve deeper.
The episode began with the designers in their apartments musing on about the first challenge. Finally (After a cue from one of the producers perhaps?), the designers read a card that just happened to be on their kitchen tables. The card was from Heidi and it read, “It’s important that you play your cards right.” My first thought was, “A card to give out a hint of the next challenge?" As the scene progressed, I was fixated on how weird it seemed that the note was written on such a formal greeting card. (Usually it is just a plain ol' note card) I subsequently feel bad for the poor P.A. who had to make a trip to Walgreens to pick up "Heidi's" card...
Soon enough, however, we realize why it was a card: The designers...

To keep on reading my Episode 2 "Project Runway Blog" RECAP, click HERE --and make sure to leave me your comments! I LOVE reading them!


Lisa said...

HI Nick,

You are so right on in your comments! I thought Edmond's was the best but were there that many large bags to make the skirt? And did he iron the folds out of them or what? Amanda's top was cute but the skirt, yikes... she should have copied the symmetry of the top in the skirt and flattened out those crazy loops. Blake's dress looked a like Las Vegas showgirl with all that glitter. Gabrielle had a cool technique - maybe if she made a long gown in those colors but ombre, it would have worked better. Merline's dress looked like a female Tin Man. Thank you for your report on this - I love this show and miss seeing you on tv.

Lori Stephenson said...

I think those were made out of Giant card envelopes at least that is what I thought when I saw the dress.

BeckyW said...

Edmond's skirt had to be paper for pattern making from the workroom. It was not as stiff as the bags and had no folds or crinkles. I don't know whether to fault him or applaud him for that.

anakemas said...

I don't think Edmond should've won. Was his design the best? Sure. But he cheated. He didn't use greetings cards or the paper bag or envelopes for the skirt. It was made from craft paper - he was cutting out the petals for the skirt from huge sheets of white paper. Had he been using gigantic white envelopes, there would've been hints of creases still because no matter how diligently you iron out folded paper, the crease will still be evident. Yet the petals on the skirt were perfectly smooth, no crease marks. So essentially half of his outfit was not made out of Hallmark products.

But I don't think that's entirely his fault. I believe the designers were allowed to use paper to support their designs, only it wasn't said out loud to us, the viewers. Because the top front and grey side panels on Hanmiao's dress were also made out of huge pieces of paper that were also perfectly smooth and crease-free.

As for another top-scorer, the majority of Blake's dress comprised of dyed muslin - they even showed him dyeing it! And surely all that glitter didn't come from greeting cards? Is it even possible to extract glitter dust from a greeting card? In abundance?

So I believe the designers were actually allowed to use extra craft materials (i.e. paper, glitter, fabric dye) for this challenge, which I think should've been made known to us from the start. Because if we're led to believe that all these dresses can only be made out of Hallmark cards, then both Edmond and Blake shouldn't have scored so high.


Cassie Bailey said...

Please stop being so sensitive and PC! Blake just made an innocent remark and meant to say he didn't understand his accent. Oy. That is why the word racist means nothing! Do u really think Blake thinks he is superior to the people of India just for indicating he didn't understand him? It's pretty embarrassing of you. Pick your battles that matter.
I did enjoy the rest of your recap. I usually do, except when PC sensitive crap comes up.
Other than that....good job.

Craig said...

Thank you. You're spot on. I thought the same thing myself.

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