17 February 2012
Project Runway: All Stars: Broadway
I was engrossed in this week's episode. Not only do I have training in fashion design, but I also worked as a stitcher in a costume shop for three years to help put myself through a second round of college. I didn't design anything for the shop, that was reserved for students in the costume design program, but I did learn a lot about how clothes and fabrics work for the stage. So my creative mind was all abuzz during this episode.
Even though I've never seen Godspell, the criteria that was set out for the costume, based on staging and character, was quite clear. Since the character was being dressed on stage, separates were a must. The character was described as a wealthy and ostentatious woman who literally takes the clothes off of the backs of the poor to enhance and enrich and flaunt her wealth and appearance. This tells me that layers are also a must, and the the look should be eccentric. (It made me think of this incredible preview for an upcoming documentary.)
And who's better at eccentric than Mondo, this week's winner! The second his model stepped out on the runway my brain said, "That is stage-ready." I loved it. You can tell from the costume that the character is dark, eccentric, and concerned about their appearance. There's also plenty of shiny bits of fabric and jewelry to convey ostentatious wealth. I particularly liked the ties that trailed behind the model as she walked. For some reason those were the icing on the cake of the costume for me. Plus Mondo's styling, which has been off the past few challenges, is spot on.
Austin's design was also completely appropriate for the challenge. I adore that brocade he used. (I thought it would have looked great as a corset for this challenge.) His design also looks as though it came from different sources, but it all works together, which is exactly what was prescribed for the character. It could have used more glittery additions. A legging with a wee bit of sparkle and a few rhinestones sprinkled through the fur would and a richness that would read well from stage. (I'm not a shiny, glitzy person, but it really can change a costume to a wow on the stage.)
Michael rounded out the top three. While his design was good, it was more appropriate for regular fashion and not for this challenge. Costumes often push boundaries that don't really fly in everyday fashion; bold strokes are needed to make ideas read from the stage. I love the idea of that skirt and the fabric in the top is glorious.
Mila's outfit was horrific. The proportions were completely wrong and the model looked bulky on top and skimpy on the bottom. Sutton Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Women) had it right when she suggested Mila's model looked like a prostitute. I didn't understand any of the design, from the fabric choice to silhouette choice.
Kenley's outfit looked so cheap, from fabric to design. The judged oohed over the cut of the jacket, but it was nothing special. The outfit looks like a little girl playing dress-up rather than a woman who flaunts her ill-gotten wealth. It looks like student work.
Kara went home this week. The thing is, I think her ideas were in the right place, but they were a) not executed properly; and b) did not push far enough. I thought it was a great idea to have lots and lots of pieces that the character keeps stacking on her body, kind of like a bag lady with access to couture fashion. But none of the fabrics looked rich enough and Kara should have pushed each piece of the design to be more grandiose and flashy.