Friday, September 19, 2014

PR 13 Ep 9: Living Dolls, Dying Designs

We open with Sandhya complaining that no one likes her, and then a quick edit leads to the guys saying they don’t like Sandhya, and Amanda and Korina — who didn’t like each other a few weeks back — bonding over their shared confusion about the Judge’s Love of All Things Sandhya. Yeah, this is the week Sandhya snap, or naps.

But first the designtestants head down to the American Girl Place where they meet Tim and Heather Northrop, Senior Design Manager for American Girl. After a brief introduction, the models come out; all young girls, all with American Girl dolls.

Here’s’ the deal: each designer is paired with an American Girl Beforever character and model, and they must use the doll’s era, style, and story  to create a modern, updated look for their young model’s.

Be inspired by a doll to design an updated look for a girl; m’kay? American Girl is providing some fabrics that the designers are welcome to use if they want, but they also have $150 for extra fabrics at Mood and one day to do it all.

Let’s rip ….
THE SAFES
ALEXANDER
He had Kit, a Depression era doll, and he ran with that idea: depression. I was depressed by the mix of prints which didn’t work; and I was spiraling downward by the ill-fitting, too-tight pants.
AMANDA
She is given Addie, a doll who escaped slavery—who comes up with these stories—and she was inspired by a quilt, though how she used a quilt in this look is lost on me. It’s just another Amanda-B0Ho look, and another yawn.
THE TOPS
CHAR
Char has the Kaya doll, whom she calls a ‘horse-riding diva’ who cares for her blind sister—a blind sister! Kaya is a Native American doll, so Char decided to go fringe vest, which, to me, was too literal an idea; to Tim, who stopped by to chat, It was ‘cheap and tawdry,’ but she decided to keep it.

WHAT SHE SAID
I’m lovin’ the vest; it turned out better than I thought it would.

WHAT I SAID
It looks cute and fun, and young girl; and, yeah, I like the fringe — though why there is so much fringe-love this seasons still remains a mystery!

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Guest Judge, actress Elisabeth Moss called it cute and fantastic, and looked like she was going to try the vest on during the Up Close segment of the judging. Nina loved the fringe, and called it the most updated look out of all the designs; it was youthful and age appropriate and it made Nina happy, which is the best thing ever. Heidi, too, was a fringe happy gal and called the look cool, while The Adorable Zac Posen™ dubbed it modern and fringe-worthy; he also liked that Char used the American Girl Doll fabrics the designers were given. Guest Judge Heather Northrop also was a fan of the fringe, which leads me to believe that we need a special season of the PR: Fringe!

WHAT HAPPENED
After her Tim Gunn Save, Char finally lands in the top, though she gets just a Safe this week.

KORINA
She doesn’t know children; she can’t tell if a kid is five or fifteen. Uh huh, she said that, and she’s just twenty-eight.
Her doll is Josephina, who lives in New Mexico in the 1800s, and whose mother just died. Oy! The stories! She noticed that Josephina always wears dresses with a tier detail, so that’s her jump-off point.
Tiers, or tears; because she was having trouble and very nearly didn’t finish.

WHAT SHE SAID
She has all the energy in the world and she makes the dress look perfect.

WHAT I SAID
It’s cute, but looks a little too artsy-craftsy to me with the square tiers. It was okay … not high praise. I did, however, like the pops of yellow

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Heidi also liked the yellow — and loved how it was done to incorporate the story of the doll wearing yellow flowers to honor her dead mother. God; these stories! The Adorable Zac Posen™ thought it was a great update, with great movement; he called it a kind of modern-day Annie Oakley, because of the hat which Korina didn’t make but, instead, borrowed from the Aldo Wall. Elisabeth Moss loved all of it, and wondered if she could get an adult version of it. Nina really loved the graphic nature of the look, the bold color, the almost Mondrian-esque take on the design.

WHAT HAPPENED
Korina is safe and still unsure exactly how old her model is …

KINI
He wants to win; he wants to win every challenge from now on and win the whole show; that annoys me, but, I’ll set that aside because he is really good, at times.
His doll is Samantha, whose parents are dead—seriously—and she gets adopted into her rich grandma’s house, so he opts to think of her as a young girl with a credit card on the loose in the Big Apple.
He’s going hound’s-tooth coat, made to perfection, and a pretty white dress, until Tim comes by and puts the kibosh on the dress for being too old. Kini scraps it and uses some of the provided fabrics to make a red plaid dress which looks cool with the coat.

WHAT HE SAID
She’s giving the sass, she’s strutting her stuff.

WHAT I SAID
I love the coat; it seemed very sort of New York rich kid. But the dress underneath seemed far too old — with the cutouts and the wack-a-doo peplum — for a child.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Heidi thought it was fantastic, calling it Chanel For Kids—somewhere, someone at Chanel is copying that idea—and loved the dress underneath. The Adorable Zac Posen™ loved the cut-outs—seriously? I may have to rethink Zac’s title because it seemed a bit too sexualized for a nine-year-old to me. Heather Northrop said it connected very well to the doll and her story and Elisabeth Miss said it was a fu, cool, modern party dress and she wants one. Nina loved the coat, loved the fit, and called it perfection.

WHAT HAPPENED
Kini gets his second win in a row and then begins to imagine himself at The Tents.
THE BOTTOMS

SEAN
Sean got one of the best dolls ever—Julie the 70s American Girl Hippie and whose parents died from a bad acid trip … I kid about that last part—because you could go wild with color and detail and design … so please to explain why he went pale blue??
At the critique, Tim sees that Sean will also do fringe on his vest and urges Sean to rethink it because it appears too retro. Sean says Tim is always right and rips away the fringe—he should’a taken a page from Char and kept it, because, well, the outcome might have been better, if not different.

WHAT HE SAID
It looks polished. It looks clean. It looks like it could be sold in a store today.

WHAT I SAID
Trouble was, it looked like Sean had skipped out of the workroom and gone down to a really cheap clothing store and bought this look. It was blibbety blah blay in blue.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
The Adorable Zac Posen™ said “It ain’t groovy.” He loved the print, but said it wasn’t funky enough, and called the appliqué peace sign on the back a cliché. Heidi then noted how it wasn’t a peace sign because it was missing one of its legs; it looked more like a 70s version of a Mercedes hood ornament. Sean’s face turned the brightest red as he struggled to explain that it was an updated peace sign and I thought he was just more adorable than ever. Heidi then said what we were all thinking, that it was a McCall’s pattern and not worthy of the PR. Nina liked the vest a bit, and she loved the print, but she wished Sean had gone with more of the 70s design ideas and colors.  Elisabeth Moss didn’t hate it—ouch—but also wished for some of the crazy 70s colors, while Heather Northrop loved the silhouette but said it wasn’t Bohemian enough.

WHAT HAPPENED
Luckily for Sean there were other crap dresses on the runway.

EMILY
She tells us at the outset that she has her own children’s line so she has this in the bag; never a good move, because, well, it means you don’t have it in the bag.
Her doll is Rebecca, a Russian Jewish immigrant; luckily, she still has both her parents and doesn’t have a sibling with a disability. But, Emily decides that Rebecca loves to play dress up, so she makes a sweater and a shiny skirt and tons of tulle. She says she’s going to make sure the look is not too young and not too old; she was half right.
Tim liked her fabric choices, especially for the sweater, but he was worried about the proportions and the lack of a waist. Cue ominous drumming and cue Sean saying, See? Told you Tim was always, er, sometimes, right.

WHAT SHE SAID
I think my look is really polished. It’s different.

WHAT I SAID
Different isn’t always good, and I worry that Rebecca’s old Russian Grandmother won’t be happy that the girl is wearing her sweater.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Heidi was on the fence about it; she didn’t like the shiny fabric, and wasn’t a fan of the drab color. Heather Northrop called the silhouette frumpy, and wondered if a shorter skirt and a more defined waist would have helped; it would, just ask Tim Gunn. Nina said there was no joy in the dress; the top was sweet, but the colors are drab and said. The Adorable Zac Posen™ muttered Oy vey and said there was no magic to the look; he apparently knows all about the American Girl dolls, especially Rebecca because he began talking about pickles and, well, I don’t get it. Elisabeth Moss liked the sweater, but thought maybe a cute sweater dress over the tulle might have been better.

WHAT HAPPENED
Emily barely dodged a bullet this week, so her time may be dwindling.

SANDHYA
This was the week of Sandhya and those who don’t like her—nearly everyone but Emily—and her thick skin. Thick skin that lead to her begging for a little compassion.
Her doll is Caroline, 1802, and she wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a ship captain.
So, Sandhya wants to use sailing appliqués on a jumpsuit. In pink. Tim wasn’t having it, and began telling her that he has serious difficulty understanding her color choices, even though the judges seem to like it. But, as Sandhya does, when people, question her taste level, or design level, or color choices, said it would be beautiful.
And we all know how that will end.

WHAT SHE SAID
She’s making my look look even better.

WHAT I SAID
It’s a toddler, with a full diaper.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Heidi liked it … for a one-year-old, but not for a girl aged 8-to-12. And the snaps in the back — easy access for changing a diaper — made it seem even more childish. Sandhya said she liked the feedback but disagreed. Nina called it Teletubbie, not at all age-appropriate, and wondered if Sandhya was working on an entirely different challenge. Sandhya said she liked the feedback but disagreed.
The Adorable Zac Posen™ called it circus flamingo. Sandhya said she liked the feedback but disagreed.
Elisabeth Moss said it wasn’t mature or cool or modern. Sandhya said she liked the feedback but disagreed.
Heather Northrop hated the pant length and also agreed with Zac about the circus.
Sandhya said she liked the feedback but disagreed.
At the Up Close, Heidi asked the girl if she really liked the look and she said, ‘No.’
Backstage, Sandhya said she liked the feedback but disagreed.

WHAT HAPPENED
Nina liked Sandhya’s use of color better than Emily’s drab, and Elisabeth agreed, But, it appears, that Heidi, Zac and Heather hated Sandhya’s look even more and so she was finally Auf’d.
She was last seen walking down Seventh Avenue saying she liked the feedback but disagreed.
MY TAKE
I loved that while the other designers were scurrying around to complete their last minute details, Kini was sitting at his table wondering how they get the dolls hair to be so curly.

How has Heather Northrop, Senior Design Manager for American Girl been with that company for 22 years? That must make her at least forty, but she looks far younger. I think she’s an American Girl Doll who comes to life each day and then is put back in a display case each night.

Emily stays? She’s been safe, or bottoming all season, and always seems to be designing something old — as in, seen it before — or too old for the client — as in Grandma Dolls. At least Sandhya has a POV as wack as it may seem to some.

That said, I have a note for Sandhya: if you’re in a group of nine, and seven people don’t like you, then you need to take a look at yourself. If you’re in a group of nine and one person doesn’t like you, then that person needs to self reflect.

Also, each week during the show, they mention this week’s fan favorite, and every single week it’s Alexander of the Gaping Maw. How is that possible?? Seriously.

Next week … real women models and we all know how that ends.

What did YOU think?



5 comments:

the dogs' mother said...

Oh, I have lots to say!!
Sandhya put a school age child in a garment that she could not undo if she needed to use the bathroom!! WTH?! And yeah, it sure is realistic to think you can be a ship captain in the early 19th century.

Also the American Girl story lines -- I tutor struggling readers and more and more they are in the program because their domestic situations impact their learning. They don't need those story lines. That is their reality.

The little girl models were pros and very good, bless their hearts. I'm sure they work as child models but still must have been a thrill to be on PR.

Daughter had a Samantha doll who packed away for some future grandchild. We never did matchy clothes, not even sure they were available back then.

Bring on the real women!

Miss Lisa said...

Sean's 70s look was so disappointing. I grew up in the 70s in the San Francisco Bay Area and yeah--it was a dynamic time for prints, textures and shapes, indeed.

Sandhya's look was super-unfortunate but I liked seeing what she put together every week because it was all borderline crazy. I mean, innately wacky. That was her point of view. It wasn't flattering but I enjoyed it.

Bob Slatten said...

@Miss Lisa
She was never boring, that's for sure.

Biki Honko said...

I so dont understand the Alexander love either! He is just like a cardboard cut out holding place for an actual person! I thought Char should have won, that look was made for an actual little girl. Kini's look was amazing, but for a little girl, yeah not sure....

Thank heavens it was a low Amanda edit week! Man, am I tired of her.

Gene Perry said...

SANDHYA's gone. At last