Although I’m not sure of the credibility that Apollo Ono has to judge fashion, I really enjoyed this challenge and the runway looks were better than what we’ve been seeing so far this season (well… better made, not very good at fitting the challenge). I always joke that the way to get through Project Runway is to just make a cute dress every time and Nina will like it, so I really enjoy when they present a challenge that a cute dress is NOT what they want as an end result. I don’t think there’s enough opportunity for the designers to work with sportswear and I like that they crafted a challenge around that.
Unfortunately… not many designers embraced the idea of designing athletic sportswear and there weren’t many outfits that could have won. It’s been hard to critique the designs because so many would be decent at other times, but were completely wrong for this specific challenge. Also, as a designer, I understand that red, white and blue isn’t the most trendy or fashionable color palette, but we’re talking about the Olympics here people. If there was ever a time appropriate and trendy for red, white and blue, this is it!
On your marks, get set, GO! (Thanks BPR for the photo montage! Click for larger image.)
Blayne: Blayne’s outfit definitely had a few problems (those pants for one), but conceptually I thought it was one of the few that actually worked in the challenge. Overall it had a young sporty vibe and I could see it easily be translated into a men’s outfit (although maybe not one-shoulder for the boys!). I liked the asymmetrical top and thought the collar was constructed really well, but maybe a long sleeve sweatshirt wasn’t the best choice for summer. I also liked the idea of the racing stripes, but didn’t like that he chose pink and turquoise instead of red and blue. As for the pants, they looked decently constructed, but the styling was way off. Skin-tight white pants are not typically flattering on most people and especially some athletes that would have fairly large thigh muscles. Maybe a pair of white shorts or a sporty skirt would have worked better?
Daniel: I’m sorry to say, but if it had been my decision, Daniel would have been the one going home this week. His design was completely wrong for the challenge (much like many others), but it also didn’t stand very well on it’s own. The red and weird blue/purple color didn’t work together and I think some white contrast in there could have actually helped out a bit (and made it appear a little more sporty). Other than the color, the actual dress is pretty simple and not very flattering. The bodice and neckline make the model appear wider and the contrast band at the waist doesn’t help either. I also think the buttons don’t make any sense on the skirt like that, although I do like the piping detail and think he should have worked with that more to give the skirt more interest.
Jennifer (OUT): Although I understand that Jennifer’s outfit didn’t fit the challenge at all, I definitely don’t agree with her being out this episode. There were other designers who didn’t fit the challenge and I thought their garments weren’t well made or thought out. Jennifer’s outfit on it’s own is cute with a little bit of retro thrown in there. I really liked the high-waisted gold-striped skirt and the little gold embellishments on the cardigan were a nice touch. Overall it is a bit simple looking, so I guess in the end the judges didn’t see anything new and that’s probably what lost it for her.
Jerell: Okay… so bear with me on this one… if you disregard the challenge, and the hat, and the leggings, then I actually think Jerell’s outfit was cute. I have a couple of friends who would wear that skirt and top (and probably even the neck-kerchief thing) and would totally rock it. From a design point of view, I liked the high-waisted skirt and it’s completely on trend. I also liked how he changed up the direction of the stripes. The shirt is cute too and I really like the little puff sleeves. With all that said, sadly, it was completely and totally inappropriate for the challenge (even more so then Jennifer’s I think) and was also WAY over styled (why in the world would that skirt need leggings?). I wouldn’t have been surprised if Jerell had gone home on this outfit, but it also happened to be one of the only designs of his that I’ve liked so far.
Joe: I know with many of the other designers I’m saying it’s not sporty enough or not patriotic enough, but with Joe I think he might be the only one who went a little too far on both those themes. This is not to say that he wasn’t one of the strongest this week, but I think his design was a little too overdone and maybe a bit expected. I liked his jacket a lot and the color-blocking details were done really well (and the 2-color zipper was awesome! I have no idea how he did that). The jacket was pretty cute, but the skort is where he lost it for me. I understand what he was trying to do with a skort, but I think either a skirt or shorts would have been better. Even sticking with the skort idea, I think he should have evened out the length of the skirt front and either matched it to the shorts or lengthened the shorts. The way it was on the runway made it look like an apron. That said, I thought the color-blocking on the front was done well, but I would have preferred it without the USA (and having USA on the front and back was a little overkill I thought).
Keith: I’m having a hard time looking past the overwhelmingly large scarf on Keith’s outfit. I don’t think it’s a great outfit, but without the scarf I think it would be a lot better. I’m not entirely sure of the look he was going for and the proportions seem a bit strange. I don’t mind the bubble skirt in concept, but the jacket/vest thing seems to be too long and pushing the skirt down. I really like the blue and white stripe fabric he used and would have liked to see more. As for the vest, it’s hard to comment on it because I can’t really see any of it behind that scarf. I think the collar is a nice idea, but could have been scaled down a bit.
Kelli: Kelli’s dress is another one that didn’t fit the challenge in any way (well, I guess it was red, white & blue), but was cute and well constructed on it’s own merit. It’s definitely a retro look, but overall I thought it was well done and I liked the proportions and fit (the big bow doesn’t even bother me much). It’s not something that would fit my style, but if you like to have a retro 50’s feeling, then this is perfect.
Kenley: While this was not my least favorite, I don’t understand how it wasn’t in the bottom. How is Kenley’s dress any more athletic, patriotic or appropriate for the challenge then Daniel’s or even Jennifer’s? It looks like a purpley-blue and white cocktail dress that isn’t particularly well made. I like the fabrication and the colors better than Daniel’s and the button detail is cute, but the whole outfit looked a bit sloppy and wrinkled. I don’t know if this is a construction problem or fit issue, but it looked especially messy in the back.
Korto (WINNER): I have to say that I was surprised when the judges declared Korto as the winner. I felt like they talked a lot more about the other 2 designs than Korto’s, so I thought she’d be in 3rd place. I can understand why they chose her design for the win, but I’m not sure I’d agree with it. It definitely has a sleek, modern, athletic feel to it, but very few women could pull of a high-waisted, wide-legged trouser, especially in white. I also think the boxy top would have made the athletes look even wider (and some of those women have broad shoulders) and doesn’t flatter the waist. I did like her use of color and thought it had a good patriotic feel without looking like a flag and the construction looked nearly perfect.
Leanne: I liked Leanne’s design a lot and it was one if my favorites on the runway (I might have even put it up in the top 3 instead of Joe or Korto). I thought it looked sporty (with out looking like a sweat suit) and modern, but still had an interesting fashion twist. I liked the collar detail a lot, but I think it might have been a tad more successful if it was a bit smaller. I also liked her simple use of red white and blue, which gives it a patriotic feel without going over board and the detailing on the jacket were simple, but interesting (like the slightly off center buttons). I thought the peplum on the jacket looked cute on the model, but I’m not sure if it would be very flattering for most women. The shorts looked really well made and they are a good length (no shorty shorts!).
Stella: I’ll definitely give Stella credit for sticking to her own style and still somehow working within the challenge. I don’t mind that she used black as a ground color (it was a nice change from all the white), but I’m not so sure about the silver, blood red and black (or was it a navy blue?) for the stripes. It’s all a bit “dark” and for the Olympics we probably want to give a slightly happier feel (maybe this could work for the closing ceremonies if we don’t win much). I thought the pants fit well and the stripes on the waist were a nice touch. The jacket wouldn’t be too bad if she had made it zip all the way down (belly baring is just not attractive on anyone). I like the idea of the stripes on the sleeves, but they look a bit stiff and more like shoulder pads a football player would wear.
Suede: Suede’s outfit was cute and looked well constructed, but the design was inappropriate for the challenge and would have made the athletes look like cheerleaders. Plus, we’ve seen this silhouette from him already in the green challenge. I can’t remember exactly what it looked like, but there was some detailing on the back of the top that I thought was unique and interesting. I also liked that he used blue as a ground color on the skirt instead of white like so many other designers.
Terri: I loved Terri’s outfit and it would have probably been my pick for the win. That jacket alone is SO cool and wearable; I’d love to get my hands on one. The navy and red striped fabric was really interesting, but still low-key enough that it didn’t scream for attention and the buttons were a nice pop of red. I liked the combination of the 3 stripes together and thought that was well done (the key is to choose a mixture of subtle and bold patterns). I even thought the scarf/ascot thing was interesting and cute on the runway and could probably be toned down a bit for real life. The main issue with the top half is the fit on the tube top (was it a tube top?). It looks WAY too low and too tight. On the runway when the model was standing still and the jacket was able to lay flat it looked fine, but while she was walking it was more open and that’s where it looked not so hot. The white pants were a simple compliment to the top and I liked the one-sided stripe.