Thursday, March 09, 2006

Usually Female Conscious Chloe Triumphs

I watched the nail bitingly tense Season Finale of Project Runway last night with Boyfriend, Boyfriend's sister and her boyfriend. We were sooo excited because we had been avidly awaiting the climax of a show that had provided us with hours of increasingly suspensful entertainment these last few weeks. Who would win? Female friendly Chloe, dashing Daniel V. from Michigan, or the black sheep Santino? Rooting for Chloe I was outnumbered 4:1. The majority of the crowed were pulling hard for Daniel V.

My girl Chloe won, and I should have been jubilant, but I have to say that instead of feeling celebratory I felt oddly disappointed. Chloe's collection was a bit of a let down. I'm not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination, but I know what I like and satiny poofy explosions of pink and gold just ain't it. See Exhibit A. Her blue creations were a bit more palatable, and the one pictured above had a splash of sophisticated sass to it that I enjoyed. The blue one also fit the model's body perfectly, illustrating Chloe's familiar signature ability to work with the female form.

In addition to feeling a little let down by Chloe, I felt bad for the boys. Shock of all shocks, I felt the worst for Santino! Can you believe it? He was the one I enjoyed "hating" throughout the season. He was rude, obnoxious, and cutting to the other contestants, and his clothes for the most part were impractical, unflattering, poorly fitting, shredded rags or tie-dyed eyesores that hung on the bodies of his models like freakish creations. But for all that, I will admit that I found his impressions of Tim Gunn and his steady stream of humorous banter amusing. I also respected his self-confidence. Throughout the show Santino appeared to have a strong sense of self and his own unique, dare I call it style, and the ability to make light of the whole competition. He had perspective, and that was apparent last night as well, when he said at one point, for example, that whether his 13th model walked out on the runway with a 13th piece or naked, it would not be the end of his career in fashion. I like that pluck. I like that ability to not take everything so seriously, and to have faith in yourself that one event will not be the death of you. Perhaps because it's sometimes hard for me to keep that perspective. I found myself actually thinking that I would like to be just a touch more like Santino in this respect.

I also actually liked Santino's clothes!! Wonders of all wonders. At least on the hangers. On the models' bodies it was a different story. The one on the left was gorgeous (both on and off the hanger), but as the judges pointed out, most of Santino's clothes simply did not fit well, and there were more than one set of boobies in the wrong place. See for example the sea green dress on the right. It looked so cute and uncharacteristically-Santino on the hanger, but on the model's body it's completely unflattering. It hangs off the sides of her torso, the boob placement is all wrong, and it looks like it's 3 sizes too large. It does nothing for her and she's a model!

His collection showed that beneath Santino's outrageousness, there were real problems with his technical abilities to design clothes that fit the female body and to execute well put together pieces. Who can forget that god-awful jumpsuit he put together with scotch tape for Kara? Ugh! And though I felt that the taste exhibited in his collectino was eons beyond what he had displayed before in terms of practicality and grace, I understood the judges' disappointment that he had played it, to use their words, so safe. However, despite his loss, Santino will be just fine. He has his unshakable self confidence and judges emphasized that he belonged in the fashion world. I think we'll see more of Santino, so though I'm a bit sad for him, I'm not worried.

I'm not worried about Daniel V. either. Looking back on his collection, I actually liked more of his pieces than I did of either Chloe's or Santino's collections. I loved this cute little number to the left with the voluminous swishy cream skirt, purple top, and navy vest. It's fun, sexy, light hearted. I like it. I hated some of his other work though. What was up with the breast plates he attached to some of his dresses? Though he said he was going for an asian and militaristic inspired "viewpoint," I didn't see it, and neither did the judges. Several of his clothes also did not fit his models or stuck out awkwardly in strange places, like under their arms. Who wants that type of puckering action? And what is up with his milkmaid inspired outfits?? See picture at right. Come on Daniel! He tried the same thing with Chloe and it was a dismal flop. Get rid of the odd patches and fake corset look and then you'll be good to go. Daniel clearly has talent, and though he didn't win the competition, he'll be able to set himself up with the success he's earned from this show. Micheal Kors all but offered him a job on the spot. Not to shabby Daniel V.

In the end, I think the judges made the right choice. Although her collection was not what I had hoped, based on the whole of Chloe's performance throughout the show, she deserved to win. Many of her clothes (ignore the metallic poofballs in her collection) have a simple elegance about them. They are flirty and classy, and look like they would be fun to wear. I also like her and her family's story. To escape from Vietnam with your parents and 7 sisters (all of whom survived), and then to turn yourself into a successful businesswoman in your adopted country is pretty damn amazing. She made it work, and she pretty much kicks ass in my book. I wonder if she has a store in NYC yet? I'd like to go.

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