February 25, 2009
Project Runway Canada 2 – Episodes 4 & 5 Redux
I am posting my thoughts on each episode of my favourite show, Project Runway Canada, in case you are watching too and want to discuss it. More after the gap —
Here in the studio, I get to watch PRC2 in two ways – on a big fuzzy screen (yes I have rabbit ears) or on a small clear one on the website, where at least I can rewind a bit if I missed something.
Having missed Episode 4 when I was in the states, literally the second thing I did when I got home late on Friday night (after pouring myself a glass of red wine) was turn on the wee website player and watch my show.
On the internet and among my friends, people were talking about how this show takes competent, accomplished designers and by giving them insanely restrictive deadlines forces them to hack out the most atrocious garments they have ever made. The argument is that it looks bad on Canadian design and even reflects badly on the show. I was all like “yep that’s what reality television is” until Episode 4 took it to a whole new level. From my notes as I watched it:
“This challenge is literally torture for the designers. Imagine having to be compared to master couturiers when you have only hours and some old rags. No matter what they do its going to be a mockery of couture, an insult to the greats, and indignity to any designer who respects the history and importance of our industry’s highest standard.”
Sadly, so it was. One one end was Kim’s assertion “its couture streetwear” (!?) and Brandon’s arrogance “YSL who?” (!!???!!!?) demonstrating some designers would throw a real legacy under a bus in the name of reality television. Then there were the designers with hearts that break when trying to accomplish the impossible – Jessica’s usual confidence cracked in the face of this monstrosity of a challenge and I was right there with her. When the judges protested for look after look “this is not couture” – ugh, obviously. Sure it was the most exciting episode yet, and we got rid of a designer who ashamed all of us with his ignorance, but it left me a little angry with my favourite show.
Redemption came in Episode 5. I’ll never stop watching you, Project Runway Canada. This challenge was the most intense yet – to create a new outfit for a divorcee from her old wedding gown. Here the designers could get lucky and randomly end up with a sassy, outgoing lady like Jessica’s or get stuck with a dud like Jeff’s fashion-shy lady.
It was fun to watch Brian be all feisty this episode! He was encouraging all the designers to sexy it up.
At this point all of the exhaustion is making all of the designers bitchy and emotional, but we are seeing the pack begin to separate in terms of those who thrive on the challenges and those who can’t hack it anymore. Two designers – Jason and Sunny – automatically pull ahead. They focus on their clients, they are positive and inventive, and completely transform their bridal gowns into something new. Their confidence is exciting to watch and their competitiveness with eachother is both friendly and fierce.
Others struggle. They focus on their limitations or what other people are doing. They fight with their fabrics, they fight with their clients. They allow negativity and doubt to overwhelm them. In this episode, both Kim and Jeff were on a race to the bottom, and both of their designs were neither transformative or attractive. On the runway, Jeff ended up being “safe” – sadly, because he played it safe and his design was merely boring. Kim ended up in the bottom two, because her dress was the worst piece of ugly we’ve seen on the runway yet.
But before the judges deliberated, Kim stood up for herself – twice. First with a passionate plea that she deserved a second chance. Then, a diatribe against Jeff’s design. On twitter, the consensus was that she was a goner – Baylor was the other designer in the bottom two – he’s a strong technician though he fought with the fabric on his design. Still, his wasn’t half as ugly as Kim’s.
Kim’s gutsy speech got her the producer’s vote though, and quiet Baylor was sent home. Can she step it up and wow us? So far her designs haven’t hit the sweet spot. I hope for her sake that she can do that, because being drama-fodder on a reality show isn’t the kind of infamy any committed designer would want.