Ah, denim, the all American cloth. Denim jeans were first invented in 1853 by Leo Strauss for gold miners who needed sturdy clothing as they grubbed for gold. Denim is now one of the favored cloths of gold diggers who troll for rich veins in less confined spaces.
Let’s face it, denim is available everywhere, in every corner of this world, in upscale boutiques in Paris or tucked away on a dusty shelf in some general store in a tiny town in Vermont. When I heard this week’s PR assignment – to create an iconic denim look that captures the spirit of 501 legacy - I knew I would have trouble staying awake. As far as I’m concerned, denim has been done to death, and there’s not much one can do with it that surprises me any more.
This week the Project Runway designers brought out my fears in full force with their tepid creations.
First, let’s just dismiss these two coats right away. Jillian and Victorya were coasting on their previous success. I could just read their thought processes: 'Mmmm, a coat nearly won us the competition last time; let’s try it again!'
Here’s where denim’s stiff unforgiving and unyielding nature came to the fore – those coats were bulky and awkward. They made the models look short and dumpy, and that’s quite a feat. But because Jillian actually attempted to construct a garment from scratch, she was saved from being Heide-whacked. My thoughts about Victorya sit on a previous post.
Then there are these problematic denim tube cocktail dresses to consider: Where on earth would you wear them except to a party, play, or restaurant? And having worn these novelty dresses once, would you wear them again? To my way of thinking, an iconic denim outfit should be worn in many different settings and become dramatically changed with accessories. These three dresses are so limited to where they could be worn, or how they can be changed, or by the type of figure that could wear them, that most women would be wasting their money purchasing one.
And how is Ricky’s dress better than Rami’s? Both are chuck full of interesting detail. Please don’t tell me that Ricky won because he’s never won before and because his model resembled Amy Winehouse. Please don’t. And how many women would really wear a pleated ruffle so high above their knees? Count how many times you've seen such a ruffle on little girls clothing, and tell me you would seriously wear such a design. (Ooops, enough people apparently, for the darned dress based on Ricky's design sold out in a New York minute.)
Chris’s outdated and unflattering dress isn’t worth much of a look. Been there, done that. When I saw the design in progress, I began to get worried, thinking, ‘Uh, oh, he’s gonna get Heidi-whacked for sure.’
As an aside, has anyone notice how fit Chris is getting? Compared to his first run for the fabric in Epi One, he was almost able to keep up with the group. You go, Chris! One of these days you’ll beat them to the punch!
Which brings me to Kit! - My Name is Sweet P. Will surprises never cease? I think her design won Nina and Heidi over, but it didn't wow Ms. 501. This dress is wearable and can be worn in a variety of settings, depending on the accessories. Yeah, it can be a cocktail dress, but add a casual jacket, and you could easily wear this to the office, since the skirt is modest in length. Our office water cooler crew noticed the defects in construction, especially where the seams met at the waist, but we quibble. Compared to Ricky’s too youthful winning design, this one attracted the notice of almost every woman at the office, regardless of age. Food for thought.
Kit! - My Name is Sweet P has come a long, long way since Epi One, and I am beginning to think she just may last longer than some people suspect.
And now we come to my vote for the winning look in my book – Christian’s. He took an old tired look and brought it forward. One of the younger snarkers at the office remarked, “But you’re too old for that look, Ms. Place. You couldn't possibly wear it.” After I decked her and bloodied her nose, I observed that I could take that look and modify it and make it my own. I love how this outfit reflects Christian’s design point of view and how it stands out from the others. He ‘invented’ something new, adding jacket sleeves to the pants legs, extending them and creating spats with the cuffs. Yeah, that stiff fabric was unwieldy, but this look could be recreated with stretch denim. Even my stumpy legs would look long in those fabulous pants. And this look is flexible. It is equally suitable for a walk in the city, to an art gallery opening, at a restaurant, in a grocery store, to a rock concert, to class, to the museum, hanging around with friends, a trip to Europe, or casual Fridays. Need I say more? Well done, Christian, you should have won.
Now we come to the reason for my title for this post. I snoozed through the runway show. I kid you not. I’d already made up my mind about the winning design before the models strutted in front of the judges, and nothing anybody said made me sit up and take notice, so I took a nap. I woke up just in time to throw my shoe at my TV set when Ricky won. Wrong decision, judges. Ricky’s design was not a fashion forward iconic look.
By the way, WTF were the designers wearing? Would you folks, meeting these folks on the street, ever mistake them for clothing designers?