Posted on August 8th, 2008
With the 2008 Olympics just around the corner, Project Runway assigned designers with the task of designing an outfit for the U.S. Olympic team to wear during the opening ceremony. To help them gather inspiration, the designers got to browse through a gallery of photos from previous opening ceremonies throughout the years.
The Design Room
Just watching the designers draping and constructing their garments, it was plain to see that most of them had no concept of what today’s Olympic athletes would wear. The skirts and dresses created by most designers would be great for a regular dinner party or some other occasion, but they definitely didn’t say “athleticism” or “American pride”. Admittedly, I’m not a big follower of the Olympics myself, but honestly gang, could you really see a muscular female athlete marching in the ceremony wearing a flounce circle skirt?
I don’t know what was going on this week, but there really weren’t any designs that stood out as fantastic. Too many designers translated past Olympic ensembles a little too literally. Jerell’s pinstripe pencil skirt and matching hat looked like his model had stepped out from the 1940’s. Suede’s red, white and blue circle skirt would be perfect for a sock hop, and Daniel’s piped pencil dress nodded towards the 60’s. Just a thought, but I think the point of looking at pictures from the past opening ceremonies was to show how the fashions of each period were translated into ensembles for the Olympic team. The designers should have based their designs off of current trends instead of designing garments for previous generations.
Fortunately some designers did seem to get the point of this challenge. Terri’s patriotic coordinates were very current, wearable and versatile. Joe’s design was the most athletic of the bunch, even though the skort took me back to the 90’s and I’m not crazy about the large “USA” letters on the front of them. Blayne’s asymmetrical fitted sweater paired with skinny pants reflected current trends and Stella’s futuristic design portrayed a strong female, but the girl needs to lay off the leather. If her black leather ensemble was worn by the Olympic team, they would all pass out from heat exhaustion.
Finally, the judge’s decided to give Jennifer the axe. I don’t know where she got the idea that she was a surrealist, but from what she’s shown so far, her designs are super “blah” and nothing out of the ordinary. I’m glad the judges called her out on not being able to separate her personal design aesthetic, with the requirements of the challenge. That navy scoop neck cardigan was very matronly, and nothing about her design looked even remotely patriotic, unless you want to represent America with a Stepford wife.
Korto was the winner for this challenge with her wide leg linen pants paired with a sporty red white and blue vest. Although I must say that it would have been interesting to see her make a statement by making the vest from a more environmentally conscious fabric than leather. I was also surprised at how much the judges praised the choice of linen for the pants. While linen does look clean and crisp at first, it wrinkles very easily, and after a few hours would look very sloppy. Like I said, none of the designs in this challenge really blew my hair back, but Korto was definitely one of the few designers who actually understood the challenge, and was able to combine current trends to create a sporty patriotic ensemble.