Friday, December 05, 2014

PR All-St★rs 4 Ep 5: A Bear of a Challenge Design for a Duchess London Calling

So, we kickoff this week with a movie preview starring a bear … Paddington Bear … and I think, Are we designing for toys? Are we designing for children? No, we’re going to London, to Paddington Station — okay, train station … stuffed bear … toys on trains? — to meet up with, no, not a bear, but Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.

Stuffed animals, train stations, London, Fergie. I’m flummoxed. Luckily the fabulous Zanna Roberts Rassi is there to tie this all together with a big bow: coats. And now I get it: cold London coats.

The challenge is to design a winter outdoor coat inspired by the sights, sounds, and feel of London. They will have £200 — about $324 American — and a shopping trip to London Mood and then back on the plane to Parsons with one day to design.

But first, the designtestants board a double-decker bus to tour cold and foggy London on a bright sunny day. Benjamin feels like he has this in the bag because he does coats and he lived in London for ten years; I say, Ruh roh.

So, on that note, let’s rip …
THE SAFES
GUNNAR
In the interests of fairness, y’all know I don’t like Gunnar; and I don’t like the frayed edges because, even though designtestants always call it deconstructed, it looks unfinished to men, like they ran out of time and just gave it a cute label. But, other than that, I like the coat; it’s edgy and rock-n-roll, and I like the white plaid.

HELEN
Um, so Teddy bears are what kids take to bed with them and that works because this coat is a snoozefest. I can’t with it, I just can’t.

MICHELLE
I like the fabric, the texture of the fabric, but other than that this looks like any other coat you see in any shop in the world; not new, or different, or special, but pretty.

SONJIA
This is new and different and edgy, but, for me, the color choices ruin it. I get it, London and fog and rain, but that doesn’t have to mean gray.
THE BOTTOM THREE
JAY
He is so adorable, I just wanna scoop him up and put him on a high shelf and keep him as a pet; just sayin’.
As for the challenge, he says he’s making a long coat, that is military-inspired, but Zanna, while she seems to like it, worries that the finishes need to be perfect.

WHAT HE SAID
My model is looking really strong.

WHAT I SAID
It looks less like a long coat and more like an oversized sweatshirt, and what’s with all the loose fabric at the neckline?

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Alyssa said she had Good News and Bad news; good is the back, bad is the front; it’s just too much going on. She also felt the color choices made it seem too sporty. Isaac said some of what Jay did works, and some of it doesn’t, but he loved the top. Guest judge, actress Debra Messing, said there was just too much going on, while fellow guest judge, London model, Karen Elson said it didn’t seem to represent London at all.

 WHAT HAPPENED
Jay gets saved because of some other bad crap on the runway.

SAMANTHA
She was inspired by the architectural details she saw in the old buildings of London, so she picked a print to bring that out. Sadly, the print was so light, so almost plain, that it was hard to see at all. But, she was also inspired by the mod vibe of London, baby, and decided to create an oversized moto-jacket.
Zanna was worried, both about the print and the size; if it’s to be oversized then all the details need to be exaggerated.

WHAT SHE SAID
I feel like it has an edge to it that I was looking for.

WHAT I SAID
It looks less oversized and more like a jacket bought two sizes too large.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Karen Elson doesn’t think I says London at all though she thinks the print says, ‘Curtains;’ she also called it crumpled and untidy. Debra Messing liked the top half, but felt the fabric on the bottom was tortured and badly sewn, and she hated the fabric as well. Alyssa loved the back, but unless you’re backing into, and out of, rooms, is this a coat you want? Isaac called it a robe, and said the fabric became Samantha’s enemy.

WHAT HAPPENED
Though it looked like curtains, it wasn’t curtains for Sam this week because, well …

BENJAMIN
It starts off with everyone thinking Benjamin has this because he lived in London and he’s made a coat. Now, that means we know how this ends up. I’d say ‘Cue ominous drumming,’ but while on the tour through London the bus drove past Benjamin’s old design studio and it had been torn down to make way for something better. That was the ominous drumming.
Then, at London Mood he and Sonjia chose the same fabric and when she decided to keep it, he chose something else, and then whined about not getting his fabric. I kept thinking he should have chosen the same fabric and then out-designed Sonjia and won; ultimate victory. But he just complained about not getting what he wanted and about being jet-lagged.
Zanna shut that down: “I’m not hearing that as an excuse.” So, Benjamin showed her his look, with see-through pockets and vinyl shoulder details, to which Zanna sniffed, “I need this not to look like a trash bag."

WHAT HE SAID
It’s modern, it’s very me; it’s exactly what I wanted to do.

WHAT I SAID
It’s cute, I guess, but a little too cute, and blah.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Debra Messing said there was something junior about it, like you’d buy it for a teenager; and she hated the flounce … a flounce? Karen Elson liked the fabric … seriously … because well, it was vintage, but hated the see-through pockets, and Alyssa agreed because they didn’t seem to fit in with the design. Isaac loathed it, called it offensive — and then said it was Benjamin’s’ Letter of Resignation — and asked, “Why so drab?” Even Benjamin couldn’t come up with an answer to that one.

WHAT HAPPENED
He's out.
THE TOP THREE
JUSTIN
Justin’s coat reminds me a little of Benjamin’s; the same kinda drab fabric, but he’s upping the ante by lining it with a cranberry fabric, and, well, by actually designing a coat.
Zanna loves the look, and loves the pop of color.

WHAT HE SAID
I thought she looked great

WHAT I SAID
I liked the plaid, but the slit was so high in the back that it kinda looked like she had the coat on backwards.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Both Debra Messing and Karen Elson hated the high butt-baring backside, but Karen loved the colored lining and Debra loved the look … from the front. Alyssa loved that he made a coat that was figure flattering, while Isaac said it was smart and cool, and loved the plaid.

WHAT HAPPENED
The high slit was his undoing. Justin is just safe.

DMITRY
Arrogance personified; and when he has issues, he has issues. He was also inspired by the old and the new of London, so he chose a neoprene that didn’t travel well; it was crinkled and unsteamable at Parson’s. So, he chose to lay some mesh tulle over the neoprene and make an ode to London architecture by creating a skyline.
Zanna didn’t see that, and she didn’t see modern or classic, or the things that can take a coat to a higher level, like collars, closures and pockets.
But, for Dmitry, her remarks are wasted: “Constructive criticism: it is extremely important. But if I don’t agree with it, I’m going to proceed and do what I think is right.” And he’s right, but maybe he should’a listened a little.

WHAT HE SAID
I went very, very ambitious with it and I’m loving the result.

WHAT I SAID
I don’t see London skylight, I see Germany’s Black Forest. It’s a cute coat, a cute housecoat.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Karen says he got London in his design, but noted that the hem was uneven—I noticed that the collar was also uneven but the judges missed that. Isaac loved it, and especially loved the idea of the tulle mesh overlay, and said Dmitry was the definition of an All-Star. Alyssa said she could not come up with words to tell how much she appreciated Dmitry’s design, calling it kind of rock-n-roll, while Debra Messing loved the masculinity of the design.
WHAT HAPPENED
Dmitry is safe, and not happy about taking the second slot behind …

FABIO
I like Fabio; he really seems to think about the challenge and how to put his own spin on the designs. His inspiration was an ancient cathedral with modern glass building behind it; old and new, classic and modern.
And Zanna gets it; she loved his use of mesh neoprene and a standard wool fabric; and she loved his short sleeves, which caused a Dmitry eye-roll, saying it wasn’t a coat, but a dress.

WHAT HE SAID
I feel like I achieved something I never knew I was capable of.

WHAT I SAID
At first it seemed so dark, it was hard to read, but the mesh and the wool, and the pleats and the buttons really worked; modern and classic.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Isaac loved it, called it something new; he loved the way it moved and loved the length of the sleeves—causing Dmitry’s eyes to roll again. Alyssa says she’s becoming obsessed with Fabio’s thoughtful creativity, while Debra Messing called it impeccably well-made.
WHAT HAPPENED
Fabio is the winner, and now calls Duchess of York a new client.
MY TAKE
So Paddington Bear? That was a stretch, because nothing about the challenge was bear, or cartoon. Sometimes they really stretch themselves just to include a promo or a product placement.

And the Duchess of York? She says ‘Hello’ and then serves tea and then she’s gone? She isn’t a judge? We don’t see her in Fabio’s coat?

Gunnar is so schoolgirl in London — and I guess I would have been too if it was my first time — but he really amped up the shy girl attitude when Fergie was talking to him in the hotel room. Too precious. I hate precious.

Line of the night — because it’s exactly what I was thinking as she said it — was Michelle’s comments on Dmitry’s skyline: “Dmitry’s got stiff icicles. It’s like stalactites or stalagmites. I don’t ever remember which ones…one goes down. One goes up.”

So, the finale? I’m seeing Fabio and Dmitry, but that Third slot is still up for grabs, well, except for you, Samantha, and you, Gunnar, and you, too, sadly, Jay. I can see Michelle or Sonjia or Justin taking a spot.

What did YOU think?

4 comments:

the dogs' mother said...

Justin's coat looks like a perfect garment for Kim Kardashian. Just take away all the undergarments and you're there.

I think we should lobby for no more black garments. So hard to see even with their improved lighting. That said we did like Fabio's and Dmitry's coats.

The Engineer and I were in London 30 years ago (gah!). We rode bicycles all over England. When we were in London and finding our way around we found ourselves riding on the street,
and right by the front door of Number 10 Downing street. I about fell off my bicycle.

Helen Lashbrook said...

Short sleeves on a winter coat? The winners' outfits were about as useful for winter outer wear as a BLT. Baring your bum may be cutting edge but it's also cutting cold.

Susan said...

What Helen said. Who buys a winter coat with short sleeves or with no back? I expected more sense from Justin.

Mark in DE said...

I think a short sleeve coat is a dumb idea. But my bigger concern is the poor color and fabric choices. Why do all designers think people only want to wear black coats/clothes? How much more "London" could you get than for one of the designers to make a cute red wool coat with a red and black plaid collar, cuffs, and pocket flaps?