Thursday, February 09, 2006

everybody and everything sucked this week, but I make a case the show anyway

Remember how I was missing that Santino that got into a huff and ate people?
Well, he's back.
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I know, I know, the producers manipulate the footage, Santino's probably not such a big bully and drama queen in real life, etcetera. Also, the clothes he makes outside of the show are probably kicking or swell or chic or whatever adjective the cool kids use in your part of the world. All of that doesn't mean I can't love to hate this mean-spirited character they magnified him into, and it doesn't mean that he should keep getting passed just in case he ever designs something remotely attractive again.

Santino's is particularly awful piece of clothing for Kara somehow escaped the judge's scrutiny, while the early golden boy, fan favorite and sure runner for the final three, Nick Verreos got the boot for making Daniel V a slightly more boring but altogether higher quality outfit.
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Nick's been slipping since he lost his prized model, and this week he finally fell out of the competition.
But hey, he's the first one to get his threads on a famous person. I messed up the link to his blog entry about it in a former entry, I guess links are just giving bad luck.

The challenge was designing a makeover for another designer. Which sounds like a totally cute, innovative, fun challenge. The problem being, Andrae is gone. I'm serious- the whole dynamic of the cast changes ever so slightly. He had this earnest quality, this total belief in the clothes that he made that was displayed through both a quiet sophistication (still serious- dismissing the early breakdown) and an unbridled enthusiasm. It's really missed this episode.
The designers discussed what they wanted to do as if they were playing dress-up rather than actually trying to achieve a new look with their doubled budget and timeframe. I guess I've jumped on Team Kara now (underdog love), as I think she's the only one that really nailed it. I'll make a breakdown of who designed what, and what the original goals were.
Daniel designed for Chloe. The goal was to make her a party girl. Sounds ok. I personally think she could work party girl by herself.
Chloe designed for Nick. The goal was, quote, "Euro-trashy". Sigh.
Nick designed for Daniel. The goal was some kind of super-tight 80s suit with shoulderpads. I was worried from the get-go. Why emulate the 80s, or ever mention shoulderpads, ever? That's something I never liked about Zulema, her fetish with big shoulders.
Kara designed for Santino. The goal was "preppier", cleaner. Keeping Santino very Santino without freaking out the norms. Such a good idea.
Santino designed for Kara. The goal was, as usual, laser-focused in the first ten seconds by Santino. He wanted a jumpsuit that showed off Kara's usually-hidden curves. He invoked the word "granola".

Ok, so listen. I'm just going to say it: Chloe and Kara looked like sex objects. They did not look sexy, which was the goal in both cases. They looked like minor female characters in a tacky secret agent film that the government operative gets to have sex with.
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Even when designed by gay men (well, bisexual men), girls with personalities you could base a collection on end up getting a makeover making their T&A the stars of the show.
I hate to invoke the word "whoreish" for Chloe's look, because it's abhorrent, and it's obvious. My first thought when I saw her was "Oh God! How is she going to breathe?" I know Daniel Vosovic has been to a few more parties than me, but do you really dress like this for a party- in a leather corset that gives the impression of a big circle around your boobs? I don't think she could dance in that thing, she could barely walk.
As for Kara, she leaned far more into Bond-girl territory. I suppose a jumpsuit is automatically reminiscient of that, so it was a risk. As if Santino has a problem with risks. I wish, for blog purposes, that they had a picture of it from behind. For Kara's sake, I'm glad they didn't show that image more than they had to. Santino's model complains of wedgies and itchiness for a reason. Besides instantly drawing the eye to Kara's bum, the thing looked horrifically uncomfortable. She admitted it was dreadful to the camera, but still felt bad for not defending it on the runway. What a sweetheart. The colors were great for Kara, but when designing for a hippie, you need to consider comfort. Also- why's it all wrinkley?

Unfortunately, the stereotypes went both ways. While the girls were made over in a theme of sex-sex-sex, the boys (or at least, two of them) were under the heading of, in Nick's famous words, "g-g-g-gay".
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First off, I hate to say it, but Daniel V seems to suffer from Cara's runway lobotomy face syndrome. Except he does it with his mouth open to be sexy, and it just comes of as skeeeeevy. Also, his hair is dumb. Don't worry, Dan-fans, I still consider him a beautiful man. The outfit for him was outed for being too feminine, which I didn't think would be a totally awful idea for a makeover for a "straight-acting" gay man, as long as it was tongue-in-cheek. I did agree the fabric was wrong for the look Nick was allegedly trying to acheive, but I didn't really give a damn about the buttons and pockets business. I also liked the fact that it didn't, you know, fall apart, and that Nick didn't subsequently lie about why it fell apart to cover his ass.
(I guess, props to Santino for not saying something along the lines of "you know, I really couldn't finish it because I was too busy practically making Kara's outfit for her". Sick of helping others? Refuse to do it. That's fine, it's not your job. Just stop complaining and work on your own garment.)
Nick happily proclaimed that he felt like a British flight attendant, which I think is exactly what he was hoping for. I was ok with Chloe winning this one, as it was her first attempt, Nick was so thrilled with the result, and, hot damn! Look at those pinstripes! I had forgotten that Chloe is really good at this.

Now, let's look at my favorite, Kara (underdoglove).

Here, Santino feels like Santino rather than a superhero, flight attendent, histronic hip-hop star or, uh, guy from the 80s. It's comfortable, it's wearable, but unusual enough to catch the eye. She keeps the layers and hat, but loses the Jesus hair (actually, the hair is now reminiscint of Salvador Dali, mustache down- perfect for Santino, I think). While Chloe's is the best constructed and perhaps most ambitious outfit, Kara captured the nature of a makeover. As often uttered by Carson Kressley: it's not changing, it's making better. It's not birthing the subject anew, it's polishing the subject up. No turd jokes.

So, the elimination sucked. As Laura K at BPR noted, the rules seem to change with every challenge. That's my beef with the show right now.
As others (mostly livejournalers) complain, there's no one spectacular this season. There is no Kara Saun, Jay and Austin, no three big personalities with blinding talent you're sure are going to duke it out at the end. This is not my beef with the show. Actually, this is why I'm still in love with the show.
After all my complaints, here's my case for why the show is still loveworthy:
Season two is not season one. Every person the audience puts up as this season's golden child quickly falls on their face. Santino starting stumbling on the lingerie challenge, Nick lost his model and his momentum, and Daniel V, well, dressed Chloe like he did this week. Well-loved designer after well-loved designer is cut out, and there's this uncertain group left from which to cull the final three.
Look, in season one, you knew from the first few episodes who was going all the way and who was dropping out pretty fast. There were no big fan favorites other than that final three- of course, Wendy went and disrupted our predictions, which is why everyone got so hooked and the second season is so sucessful. Unlike season one, there's no clear winners for season two. Everyone has made something beautiful at some point, everyone has fallen on their ass at some point. The clothes coming down the runway are a complete surprise, good or bad, every week. I love it, I love not knowing, or thinking I know, who will be in the final three. Kara really has a shot- she's been pulling it out towards the end, and I think her fashion week collection would/will be fabulous. Then, so would/will Santino's, and Daniel V's, and Chloe. We don't know what they're going to pull off. I don't think it's boring for the designers to have flaws- I think it's refreshing.

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