Sep 21, 2010

Don't Mess with this Mama or To Catch a Thief

A thief broke Amanda Ennayati's car and ran off with a backpack, blackberry and a wallet filled with cash. That was his first mistake, for Amanda, as in her description below, is no ordinary woman:
See, aspiring thief, you just never know what you're stepping into when you hit up a random car on a random street. However badass you think you may be, there is someone on the other side of the robbery. And in this particular case it was someone who escaped the Iranian Revolution as a child; who roamed the world alone for five years because her parents couldn't get out; who watched from a dozen blocks away as the twin towers crumbled; who had just barely clawed her way out of that concentration camp known as late-stage cancer, if only because she was intent on raising her babies, come hell or high water. And all of this before she even turned 40. Can you see how that someone might be way more twisted than you?
Amanda Enayati


Her attempt to find this thief reads like a thriller. Read the full article, My relentless pursuit of the guy who robbed me, in Salon.com. Image from her Facebook page.

Sep 17, 2010

Project Runway 8 Episode 8: Jackie Kennedy Inspires a Snooze Fest and Dog Fight

Blame the judges for aufing all the colorful characters of Project Runway, resulting in last night's sleep-inducing episode. With this 8th installment of Season 8, Lifetime has found a cure for insomnia - Heidi and her merry band of producers could rake in millions selling the DVD to sleep clinics the world over.
The Jackie Kennedy American Sportswear challenge should have been exciting
For over 45 minutes of this 90-minute episode, my head kept nodding. I literally napped through the middle section, even during Tim's critiques, and woke up every once in a while only to see Gretchen making judgments of other people's designs, Valerie questioning herself, Michael C. making one new outfit after another, and Ivy frantically sewing at a machine.

Yawn.

However, I sat up and remained wide awake when the judges entered the pitbull arena. They then began to tear the bottom three contestants to pieces to the point where I squirmed at the verbal evisceration. All participated in the blood bath, except January Jones, who had been sleeping along with me.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, style icon
I intectually understood the judges' frustration, for they must have been working up their excitement to see the results of this challenge: To reinterpret Jackie Kennedy's classic American sportswear style and give it a modern twist. The challenge should have been a shoe-in for the designers, instead all of the outfits, except for Mondo's and Ivy's, fell short of the mark.

No other First Lady influenced fashion in the 20th century they way Jackie did
I began to wonder if these folks had ever seen an image of Jackie Kennedy, the style icon of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Her style hallmarks were good taste, impeccable fit, simplicity, perfect proportions, rich materials, and classic lines. Her clothes were “boxy”, angular, and lacking over embellishments.

It was apparent that 7 out of the 10 contestants left in the competition had no idea what Jackie's style was about.And only two figured out how to pair their Jackie-O-influenced designs with outerwear.

The Top Three

Mondo nailed it with his modern reinterpretation of Jackie's look.
Mondo's winning design...
...was definitely influenced by his Muse...
...from the short boxy fitted jacket to the short fitted skirt.

Ivy understood the challenge as well. While she is one of my least favorite PR designers ever ...
...she channeled Jackie's elegance and came up with a winner.
Christopher's dress was beautiful, though not sporty. Michael Kors mistook the wrap for a toilet seat cover, and I am convinced that Jackie would not have been caught dead wearing an assortment of bath towels around her shoulders...
...as the wraps in these images clearly show.
The Bottom Three
I agree with the judges: Valerie's color sense is vile. And why she chose these Piperlime shoes is beyond me.
Jackie liked large lapels on her fitted raincoat classics, but they were sharp and stiff, and played an important role in framing her face and hair, a detail Val forgot.
I am switching the order of the bottom  three, since I sincerely believe the wrong designer got aufed. I do agree with the judges - almost every proportion and detail about Michael D's outfit is wrong. Michael Kors described it as "schizophrenic Jackie Kennedy: an old lady on top and a cheerleader on the bottom." Ha!
Jackie always pulled together a look, even when going casual, and seldom got it  wrong. Her casual clothes were tailored and slimming and pulled together...
...even when the event was extremely casual.. 
An now for the design that should have come dead last: "MC Hammer meets the Beverley Hills grandmother." The judges this year have have been so obsessed with spouting clich√©s like throwing "someone under the bus" or accusing the designers of creating outfits for old folks, that their decisions have been out of whack all season.  I have rarely agreed with their top and bottom choices.

This week they were more correct in comparing Andy's outfit to a costume Nicole Kidman would have worn in Cold Mountain.In no way did this design evoke Jacqueline Kennedy in any way, shape or form.

The fact that Andy liked his final product, while Michael D understood that his outfit sucked, should have clued the judges on who to auf.
Nothing in Jackie's extensive wardrobe resembled this hot mess...

...which she would not have been caught dead wearing, not even for a stroll in NYC or a ride in the park.
Michael D. was robbed! As for Michael C, Gretchen, and April, their designs were off too, especially Gretchen's, who continues to be inspired by Nottingham Forest and fabrics dyed with natural substances by primitive tribes.

Note to Lifetime: Piperlime has to go. These granny boots are seriously ugly.

Since Episode One I've been suffering from a serious case of Mondo worship. After this week, there's no question in my mind that he will be among the three designers to compete in NY Fashion week.

Sep 11, 2010

Project Runway: In which dood-doo heads collide, and one contestant rides into the sunset via a wheelchair ramp

Tim Gunn, that wise sage of Project Runway and Parsons School of Design, knows that the key to any good working partnership is communication, a trait that most people lack. He lulls the remaining 10 designers into complacency by taking them on a brunch cruise.


There they meet Michael Kors, who gives them all identical sunglasses and tells them about their next assignment: creating resort wear.


At this point, Mondo nearly pees in his trunks. “WTF? I never take a vacation. My idea of relaxation is walking around my apartment in my underwear!”
Andy thinks about resort wear
“Easy as pie,” thinks Andy. “Resort wear are like ordinary clothes in Hawaii, just like I am wearing now.”


Hurry up! Hurry up! Yes, uhm, let me grab a bite ...
The group is told to sketch for 30 minutes, but since the cruise barely lasts for 32 minutes, the designers hardly get a bite to eat.

And so our hungry group trundles off to Mood, where Ivy heads straight for the section with fabrics that lack any vibrancy or color. “Oh, I can execute these!” she thinks proudly as she chooses four Golden Girls pastel fabrics.

Meanwhile, Michael D falls in love with material as black as coal. “Perfect for a playful romp in the Bahamas,” he says to himself. “I am blinded by my vision, which is a Gift From the Gods!”

As April wanders around Mood, she is chaneled by the inmates of a crazy-assed creapy asylum. Instantly she thinks: “Punk baby doll pajamas” and starts pulling out an assortment of black fabrics that are as suspiciously dark as Michael D's.


Mondo is clearly struck by my mom's 1960's shower curtain, while Casanova rummages around the crocheted doily section.


After their purchases, the designers head back to their workstations at the Parsons School for Design. Then Tim walks in holding up his lovely gold-tasseled sack.


Uh, oh!. “Tim has a bag,” they think collectively. Mondo is so pissed at the thought of what is in Tim's sack that he is about to scream.


You could have heard a sewing needle drop on a plush carpet just before Tim anounces: “You will be working in teams of two. Each of you will wear two hats: that of designer and sample maker. You will have to communicate your vision. You will have to TRUST that you can execute each others' design work.”

This challenge is very Michael Kors This is not my challenge
“I know all about execution,” thinks Ivy smugly. “I AM execution. I INVENTED execution. No one but me can out-execute me, myself or Ivy.”

Tim then announces the teams. Some unions get off to a rocky start, while others instantly begin warbling and making goo goo eyes.

Michael C and Mondo
Macho Mondo butts heads with Michael C. “Your construction is awful, and you have immunity.”

“Yeah, well, so what? I'm here for a reason, aren't I? Besides, the judges LOOVE me.”

“Just so you don't rain on my little-boy-cut bikini parade!”

Christopher (center) and April
April is over the moon with the pairing. “Me and Christopher work exactly the same way!” she crows.

Christopher dances around the room, singing, “She knows how to cut and she knows bias! We're going to work well as a team!” They then waltz to their work station together.

Andy and Valerie
Valerie and Andy are a little less moonstruck, but she remains optimistic. “I am really trusting that he will bang it out!!”

But his only comment comes with a hint of foreboding, “I worry about Val.” The viewers begin to think: is she getting the loser's cut or is she a decoy?

Ivy and Michael D
Some unions are so dysfunctional that they never get off the ground, as with Ivy and Michael D.
“Do you know execution?”
“Ah...”
“Do you know that this is a challenge?”
“Ehm..”
“Can you sew? Construct?”
“Er..”
“How comfortable do you feel constructing pants?”
“I'm at level two..”
“Oh, you CAN speak. I thought you were dumb. Still, I will have to dumb down my design for you.
“Uh, ok.”
“A word of warning: My mother is trying to crawl out of me. You don't want to mess with an angry Korean.”
Gretchen and Casanova
From the moment Gretchen and Casanova are paired, they begin to behave like two hormonally challenged teens.
“You like little old ladies.” “An jhor construction ees awesome.” 

They follow the ritual courtship gestures of designer couples

They bat their eyelashes, and she shows him her stuff. They then sew with a vengeance, flirting and sewing and flirting some more.


And so our couples snip and snipe away, until Tim and Michael Kors make the rounds. How's your union coming along? asks Kors of Valerie and Andy.

Andy speaks first. “Like I said to Val, I wanted the crotch part outside of the vee, and the butt part, like, low. And she delivered.”
Dayum, that hurt my feelings
“Good for you,” said Michael Kors. Then he turns to her outfit and makes a face. “Your color preferences are AWFUL. I worry about your addiction to military blue and bordeaux.” A stunned Val staggers to the phone and calls her mother. “I've been on the top four times! What more do they want?!”


Tim and Michael move on to the next pair, Mondo and Michael C.. “How solid is your union?”


“Well, at first I was a dick,” confesses Mondo. He turns to Michael C and whispers, “Sorry for being such a bitch, Bud.” And then he says loudly, “But Michael caught me off guard and now we have made two beautiful garments.”


“Mondos's stuff is just insane,” gushes Michael C. “He made me this hat and I think it is so amazing.”

Unimpressed with their love talk, Michael Kors turns to Mondo. “Just make her look like a fabulously sexy girl at the beach. As for you, Michael C., she's glammy puss over the top. Keep it simple.”


Tim and Michael K visit each couple at their work stations, dispensing advice. Kors takes one look at Casanova's fabrics and exclaims: “A seventy year old woman would think this is too frumpy.”


“Huh? But I LIKE leettle ol' ladies. I love my Granma an Bettee White an ...”

Michael K. holds up his hand. “Traditional couture is for older clients. Start hacking your garment to pieces and deconstruct it or add thigh high boots and some assymmetry, so we judges will like it.”
Cassanova's 20 something model has no clue that she is wearing Betty White's outfit
I think I look classy enough to go to a country club or a dance at a retirement home
Gretchen pats Casanova's arm with propriety, smiles down at Tim and Michael K, and says with condescension, “As you can see, Casanova has fallen back to his age esthetic. While I don't think it will take him much further, his little old lady outfit will go very well with my granpa sweater, don't you agree?”


Michael and Tim roll their eyes and stop at Ivy's and Michael D's work station. Michael Kors gazes in horror at her fabrics and makes a mewling sound.
“It's Michael's fault,” she says defensively.
“Why did you choose SEVEN different kinds of fabrics that all look like they've been bleached!”
“I only chose four,” she retorts, adding, “It's ALL Michael D's fault.”
“And what about you, Michael D? How do you feel about Ivy's accusations?” Kors asks.
“She is handing over her neurosis to me, and I suck at sewing.”
“Well, well, then. You are one lucky designer to have the best technically skilled seamstress sew your garment. Your design is awesome, whereas Ivy's, well...”
Perhaps I can't sew, but I can wag my tongue in victory!
As they move towards another work station, Ivy hisses at Michael D, “Go SEW my garment and don't come back until you're done!”

Tim and Michael pause at April's and Christopher's station, where Michael salivates over April's garment.
“I have a whacky idea! Do a tailored boy short - but NO ass cheeks.!”
Is that a pun? And what about MY outfit?
“OMG, OMG,” April says, jumping up and down. “That's just what I planned to do! Didn't I Christopher? Look, look at my drawing!”
After Tim and Michael Kors leave, the contestants slave over their work until the models arrive to get fitted. April immediately tells her model to strut her stuff in her baby doll punk dress.

Whose ass?
“Now don't get offended but I'm going to watch your ass as you walk.”
“OMG, OMG, I can SEE her ASS!” says Andy in horrified tones.
“Then cover her ass, so my ass is covered! You heard Michael Kors. NO ASS CHEEKS!”

Racing against time, all the contestants finish sewing, except for poor Michael D., who has grown a tumor on his right arm in the form of an avenging Korean who bounces crazy energy off him.
“Hurry up!”
“I'm trying.”
“You can't sew.”
“I know.”
“My garment sucks.”
“You get no argument from me there.”
“IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT.”
Smiling like a Chesire cat, he says, “I feel really awful about that.”
Musical sewing chairs
Tim tells the designers they can have ten minutes to work on their garments and Ivy steamrollers over Michael D, flattening him on the floor to get to the sewing machine.

Sweet Jesus, help me.

To recover from the Ivy-Michael D drama, here's a gratuitous moment from the producers at Lifetime:
Michael Ds model gets her spray tan smoothed by some strange dude
It's finally time for the runway show.

Kristen Bell has been chosen to guest judge because she wears clothes.
Michael C's dress looks shiny under the lights but it flows beautifully as the model walks.(See the designs in this link from Lifetime)
Wondering if she looks ridiculous, Mondo's model forgets to smile in her Forever 21 outfit.
Michael D's design has been well executed by Ivy. She stares daggers at him.
Ivy's outfit looks boring and bland and kinda like the statue of liberty. There was no design there.
Christopher's beautiful top is ruined by long tight shorts.
Aprils baby doll dress is a dark romantic vision of someone being captured.
Casanova is comfortable with his look and he knows he is going to be ok, but he forgets to check Nina's expression.

Gretchen's model looks like she stepped out of a Renaissance Fair resort. 
Valerie's side flaps resemble fish gills.
Andy's resort ensemble is a stunning gray and violet bathing suit and removable skirt. As she struts down the runway, Michael K. nods his head in agreement.

The big winner is April, though either Michael D. or Andy should have won, since both men designed outfits that actually looked like resort wear. Plus her man panties looked odd.

Casanova, who was aufed, is very confused. He is certain Ivy's name had been called. After all, hadn't the judges said she was a mere seamstress, while he designed couture outfits? Had they not said she made no design, while he at least had made an outfit for a litlle old lady? Had they not indicated that Ivy's outfit was a big yawn, while his was warm and mumsy? And while he had treated Gretchen with respect, Ivy had steamrollered over Michael D. until he turned into a doubting mass of blubbering manhood.

Dejected, Casanova tries to auf himself before Heidi aufs him with her teutonic smile.


The contestants give Casanova a big send-off while Lifetime takes the viewers down memory lane, showing a montage of Casanova moments.


And then Casanova says goodbye in his own unique way: "I have to say, right now I grab one ball of New York and New York grab one of mine."


In next week's episode, a designer tries to give Jackie Kennedy camel toe.

Two best buds in a "Gift from the Gods" moment. Now don't this beat all?