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Project Runway 5 – Episode 2
Posted on July 24th, 2008

Grass is Always Greener

The Challenge

P
roject Runway finally decided to go green. (Ironically, a show about staying on top of the trends picked up on this one after it’s already become mainstream). This week’s challenge: to create a cocktail dress for their clients (the models) from environmentally friendly fabrics. And it wouldn’t be a real challenge without throwing in a deliciously evil twist: this time, the models would shop for fabrics. Watching the models scurry around Mood, I wasn’t sure who I should have more sympathy for: the models that clearly had no clue what they were doing, or the poor designers who would have to make something wearable from those odd combinations of fabric.

The Design Room

The models reviewed their fabric choices and design preferences with the designers, who were less than happy about the materials they were given to work with. Unfortunately, some designers only had a couple yards of fabric to work with, and a few got stuck with the same ugly brown satin. The group set to work on their garments and we saw some interesting ideas in the works. Suede cut countless skinny strips of bias fabric and narrated his actions in the third person as he sewed them together. While Suede seems like a sweet guy, and an imaginative designer, Suede really needs to stop talking about Suede in third person. If I’m getting annoyed watching it through the highly filtered TV, I can only imagine what it must be like for the other designers who have to deal with the unedited version.

Joe, Leanne, and Wesley, a.k.a.: “Team Ugly Brown Fabric” made varied attempts at making their designs unique. Joe went for a more traditional silhouette with a jeweled cutout just below the bust, while Leanne went in the complete opposite direction, sticking pockets and circular pieces of fabric all over her dress. Meanwhile, poor Wesley tried to “make it work”, but found himself limited with only 2 yards of fabric to work with.

Project Runway 5 - Episode 2
(click on images to enlarge)

Stella, determined to stay true to her design style, took a chance by disregarding the model’s initial vision to create something more “Stella”. While I commend her decision to stick to her individual design aesthetic, (a must for any designer who wants to stand out from the crowd), once again her attitude disappointed. Complaining about how she only wants to work with leather through most of the challenge, she pushed even the Tan-alicious Blayne to the point of annoyance.

Project Runway 5 - Episode 2

The Runway

On the runway, there were a few garments that I liked immediately. Terri’s ruffle necked design and Kenley’s high collared dress, were both classy and sophisticated. Stella’s asymmetrical lace up dress proved that she can go outside her box without losing her style. The fit was great and the dress was fun, sexy and elegant while successfully expressing Stella’s rocker personality. Suede’s bias strips came together beautifully in a dress that was as adorable as it was unique.

Project Runway 5 - Episode 2

Amongst the group, the bottom three were pretty easy to spot. Leanne’s idea crazy ensemble had way too much going on to be deciphered. Wesley’s garment lacked the proper fit to have any chance of looking polished. Although Korto’s inside-out concept was intriguing during the design phase, she took a wrong turn somewhere, and the “winged” finished product was unflattering.

Project Runway 5 - Episode 2

The Elimination

This week, I can’t agree with the judges’ decision to auf Wesley. True, his garment was fitted poorly and the satin looked manhandled, but he was very aware of this problem and was unable to fix it with such little time and fabric to work with. However, Leanne (who was part of the tablecloth brigade in the first challenge), was proud of her dress and saw nothing wrong with it, despite the fact that it suffered from a severe identity crisis.

Suede won this challenge, hands down and all his hard work paid off. His dress was just amazing. As a designer, I completely appreciate all the effort that went into it- and it was beautifully executed. As winner of this challenge, Suede’s dress will be mass-produced and sold on Bluefly.com. I’m just curious to see how this production nightmare will look after patternmakers and production teams get their hands on it.

Project Runway 5 - Episode 2

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