Archive for the 'Fashion' Category

Project Runway Season 4 Ep. 9: Even Designers Get the Blues

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

I’m with Tom and Lorenzo of Project Rungay on this one: Christian was robbed. Yes, he made the same 80’s era shrunken jacket, but he did the most with the most. The jeans, especially with the sleeve detail, were more impressive to me than Ricky’s or Sweet P’s, though both of theirs were probably more retail-able.

My favorite moment was Jillian’s weird meltdown where she whimpered, “I’m bleeding everywhere.” Rami came over and said, “I don’t see anything,” then Sweet P told her to hold it together till midnight. Her “breakdown” was barely above a whisper.

Readers at A List of Things… hijacked a comment thread till they got their own.

Has anyone else noticed that Heidi Klum is dressing as if she’s hiding a bump? Any rumors out there that’s she’s pregnant?

I caught Road to the Runway, the prologue to Season 3, and was interested to see Simone, Jillian and Steven auditioning. Were they Season 3 also-rans, I wonder, or did circumstances prevail against them?

Project Runway: On Garde!

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

I don’t have much time to devote to last night’s show, “On Garde.” There were a few surprises, one of them the designer who was auf’d. Also, how is Ricky’s teflon butt escaping being kicked out each week? Mostly, though I’m left with the question of whether Jillian and Victorya have one emotion, between them? They’re not women, they’re FEMBOTS! The only time I saw V. look animated was when Team Fierce won, and it was almost as if her processor told her, “You are human, yet must be a good loser. Look happy when others win.”

Why did she look happy then, and as if she were sucking lemons the whole rest of the time? And why did the design seem so much of J, and so little of V?

Oh, how I wish I’d been on the couch chez Project Rungay.

Project Runway Season 4, Episode 7: What a Girl Wants

Thursday, January 10th, 2008


I loved this week’s challenge–to work with a high-school girl and design her prom dress. Christian’s snippy comment that prom was awful and tacky and horrible made me laugh out loud. It’s both true, and yet so snobby of him. Then to see him and many of the others in their prom photos? Priceless.

Christian also nailed it when he said that it was a ridiculously hard challenge–make a dress, please the client, make it representative of him as a designer, plus make it age and event appropriate. Seeing him struggle, both with his demanding client and with the dress itself, endeared him to me, finally, as did his many attempts to hold back tears. His youthful bravado took a big hit this week.

I suspected Ricky would be the one to go when they did the bit with him on the phone to his mother, and how poor they were when he was growing up. He was delightfully self-deprecating when he noted that he’d made his date’s prom dress in high school. Chris played it safe, I thought. Rami may be a one-trick draping pony. Jillian’s effort was surprisingly uninspired, given her general excellence at girly designs. Sweet P’s was great; I wanted her to win simply because she’d so much more likeable then the weirdly animatronic Victorya. Victorya was vindicated from finding out she was the last one chosen with her deserved win. It was a good dress, in a striking color with good detail.

Ricky got off easy, and Christian had to sweat, but it was Kevin who went home, and deservedly so. Ugly color, ugly dress, sloppy execution. So no more of him protesting too much his straightness. I’m glad Christian is in, and hope he learns some humility along the way.

They guys at Project Rungay disagree with me; they think Kevin was unfairly auf’d and that Victorya unfairly won. And I can see their points–Kit’s awesome dress never even got mentioned, and Ricky’s was worse than Kevin’s, and Ricky’s been doing consistently low level stuff. But there it is. Life’s not fair, certainly in fashion.

Project Runway Season 4, Episode 6: Eye Candy

Friday, January 4th, 2008

I’m beginning to suspect that Project Runway has indeed jumped the shark. I’ve recently watched Season 1 and most of Season 2. They feel so much more compelling than the season 4 group. Perhaps there are still so many designers that it’s hard to separate any from the pack. The Eye Candy challenge seemed fun, though contrived. More contrived than season 2’s plants and season 3’s recycling? Probably not. Elisa and Sweet P both deserved the boot. It had to be Elisa, though, because as soon as someone makes a statement like, “I wanted to be here so I could prove myself after that horrible car accident that cracked my head wide open,” well, that’s tempting fate. Christian’s arrogance and haircut are both ridiculous. Perhaps he’ll end up as the deluded crazy of the season. Is it just me, or do best buds Rami and Jillian seem far too talented and reasonable to be much fun? I did think Jillian deserved the win for doing something more difficult and using the Twizzlers. Oh, and I loved her comment that her model smelled good, too.

Tim Gunn’s blog entry about the ep is good, and check out Project Rungay, where they have fewer nice things to say about Jillian’s Twizzler dress.

Project Runway Season 4 Episode 5: What’s the Skinny?

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Last night’s “What’s the Skinny?” was a great challenge, I thought. The “models” are all women who have lost a lot of weight; take their former favorite garment and make something new and chic for them to wear. In the meantime, add a splash of drama when poor Jack gets sick and has to quit to seek medical treatment. This seems awfully harsh–couldn’t PR spring to bring a doc in for him? And to up the contrivance, last week’s eliminee, Chris March is brought back on short notice, just so he can round out the losing trio on the runway. Unkind, but not as unkind as some of the things the judges said in front of the women. “50’s Paris hooker, totally.” Oh, Michael Kors, you are the king of the cutting phrase, but you were referring to this women’s former favorite outfit. Ouch! “Like a french maid, going to a funeral.” That comment, though, on loser Steven’s design, was deserved by him, and vindicated the poor woman whose wedding dress he snubbed. Nina correctly called him on the carpet for the huge opportunity he missed. Again, as I noted last week, Steve’s snark seemed much more honed than his design skills, and he deserved to be off. Now if only one of the other, better, nicer designers would take a crack at the wedding dress, we could all have a happy ending.

In my opinion, Jillian should have been chided, not lauded for not using her raw material. I thought both Rami’s and Ricky’s outfits were better within the confines of the challenge.

I am fervently wishing for fewer tears. Since Jack is ostensibly gone, and I think Ricky is likely to go soon, perhaps things will dry up in the next few weeks.

Project Runway Season 4 episode 4: Outdated Trends

Friday, December 7th, 2007

Has Project Runway jumped the shark? I am excited to watch the new episode each week, then feel “meh” once it’s done. It’s gotten easier to tell who will be at the top and bottom simply based on the talking heads. For whatever reason, though, season 4 isn’t working for me.

This week’s challenge was for each designer to take an outdated trend, then group together into threes and update the trends to form a cohesive trio. The challenge was both difficult and complex, and made we wonder if PR has already peaked; it feels like they’re working awfully hard to come up with something “new”.

Since there are still so many designers, it feels more like a whirl of personalities. Christian had a pissy, immature expression when Jillian’s team was named the winner. Jack’s features are ostensibly handsome, but strangely off-putting; I sense some plastic surgery. Ricky is right; Victoria _is_ passive agressive. Is Ricky talented? It will be interesting to see. Steven’s snark is sharper than are his designs. I felt joy for Sweet P when Donna Karan singled her out for praise. And Chris’s jacket was ugly and costume-y, in spite of his delusional love for it.

Jillian, Rami, and Kevin turned out to be the dream team, though Kevin was only able to pull off those shorts at the last minute. I liked the “agree to disagree” discussion between Rami and Jillian about Kevin, and appreciated that they came across as quietly talented. Team Christian, on the other hand, was a lot of sound and fury that signified little.

I’ll keep watching of course, but I’m more compelled by the reruns of Season 2 on my Tivo than the brand new episodes.

OMG! Jack and my favorite Big Gay Chef Dale are dating! I may have to be nicer about Jack.

Remember to check out what others are saying: Project Rungay, Blogging Project Runway.

More Project Runway 4.3 links

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

From the Manolo, who cried foul on the challenge:

Menswear does not fall under the purview of the fashion designer. It belongs properly and only to the tailor, to men who have devoted their lives to the arcana of button holes and pick-stitched lapels and French facings, and who know that what matters most in menswear is material, cut, fit and detail.

But had a hilarious analysis of why Tiki Barber is fashionable:

Left to his own devices, [Barber's] ebullient personality would riot in color and flash, but restrain and encase that magnificent athlete’s body in traditional English-cut suiting, and then allow him to pick the colors and the accessories, and he becomes the epitome of style. Undoubtedly it is his beautiful but stern-seeming wife who is the genius behind the suits, and it is this tension between exuberance and restraint that makes Tiki what he is fashion-wise.

Project Rungay agrees with my LCD complaint:

By its very nature, the Today Show is meant to appeal to the broadest possible demographic, which means the people who populate these shows tend toward bland personalities in bland clothing. To ask the designers to design something to be worn by such a person is basically handing them an assignment that says “Boil it down to the lowest common denominator you can.”

Maureen Ryan wondered:

Where was the love for Steven’s outfit? I thought it was very polished and smart, especially given the time constraints. He’s one to watch, and I’m not just saying that because he’s a Chicago guy.

Steven also received a lot of love in the comments on the PR4.3 post at ALoTT5MA.

Instant Esteem

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Want to feel loved by a child? Wear velvet pants. They are hug magnets.

Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style

Monday, November 19th, 2007

I am helpless to resist the powerful tractor beam of Tim Gunn’s charm and fashion sense. I don’t even really like his show, and at the end I feel guilty for having watched it, but there’s something about Gunn that manages to transcend my gripes.

Some of the fashion advice is useful, some of it’s not so. One of the moments in their makeovers that’s meant to shock is when sidekick Veronica Webb insists on going through the makeover-ee’s underwear drawer. This is played for awkwardness, but there’s sound reasoning behind it. In this week’s episode, Webb surprised contestant Elena when she announced that bras were only meant to last six months.

I got some flak when I wrote about this once, but a former bra-fitter assured me it’s true. If you machine wash them, hooked and in a lingerie bag, they will stay supportive and fitting for about 6 months. Hand washing will extend this to about a year. Wearing old, stretched-out bras isn’t comfortable, and isn’t flattering. They’re not called foundations for nothing.

Now, don’t let this imply that I take my own advice. Most of what’s in my drawer is way older than six months, and those that aren’t don’t fit really well–I fall between band sizes, and my size is tough to find. I’m not sure I can really condone going bra shopping (and spending) every six months. Or the mock seriousness of Tim and Veronica Webb when they insist on examining the unmentionables. But I can’t argue that it’s a good ideal.

Project Runway 4.1 Links

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Oh, Manolo the Shoe Blogger, you make me laugh:

sweet and gentle Simone, you had the banging eyebrows, but your dress sucked.

Adam’s PR assessment is good, but the comments are the thing at ALLoTT5MA

The fabulous Blogging Project Runway babes

And, of course, Bravo’s own Project Runway page

But, hello?, where’s the love at Everybody Loves Saturday Night?

The Bitchiness is Back! Project Runway Season 4, Episode 1

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Oh, how I’ve missed Project Runway. Not enough so I enjoyed the lame, awkward “introducing the new designer” snippets that Bravo has been running. But in a way perfectly captured by the classy Tim Gunn commercial that announced the new season: “Finally.”

Once again, we have fifteen designers competing for a big-ass prize. This season, though, the group of designers are the most talented ever, according to every mention of Season 4 anywhere. And it certainly sounded like it from the designer bios. Many owned their own stores or had done lines before. Also, more are nearer 40 than 20, which is a definite departure from seasons past. These aren’t amateurs, they’re more like semi and actual pros.

Spoilers ahead:

The first challenge was easy compared to what past contestants have had. The designers were given tents full of fabulous fabrics and told simply to make something that showed their individual designing selves.

The claws came out in the creative process, as people scrambled to snatch choice fabrics, and later as they looked around at each others’ work. Assymetrical haircut young diva Christian was one of the bitchiest of the bunch, though his second place finish hints that he’s not to be underestimated, even at the tender age of 21. But the win went to Rami, an Israeli who can work wonders draping silk georgette. Michael Kors did get his jab in, though, with his comment about the shoulder flower looking very MOB, i.e., Mother-of-the-Bride.

The two bottom spots were ably filled. Elisa’s bizarre fabric train was supposed to look like a fountain. Instead, it caused her model to trip; Heidi Klum said it looked like the model was pooping fabric. Simone’s dress had been hastily finished. While she talked a good game about mixing feminine styles and eras, the result was a clash, not a complement.

The lesson for the week was to listen to Tim Gunn. He’d told Elisa to clean up the train, and warned Simone that she had too much finishing to do. If either had heeded his advice, they might not have been called on the carpet.

(Insert pun on ‘bag’ here)

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

I’m sure I can’t come up with a title about handbags that hasn’t been done before, and to death. I admit, though, I love bags. I just took several to the charity shop yesterday in order to make space for the two new ones I have for fall, one black, one brown. On my recent jaunt to NYC, my friend LA needed a new bag, so we shopped on Canal St. I advised her to buy a dark-olive suede one for fall, because the olive would be more interesting than black and brown, yet still go with almost everything. She rocked that bag for the rest of the weekend.

This piece on the handbag from The Smart Set (link from Arts & Letters Daily) didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know, but it was still fun to read. My current bag strategy is to get an idea from the fashion mags of what’s in, find a reasonable facsimile at Target on the clearance rack, use it for the season, then give it away. I did it this summer, and will try to stick to it this fall/winter, too.

Watch Shopping

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

My friend The Hoff complimented me on my watch today.
Nixon Big RigI told her it was actually my husband G. Grod’s, and said we were fans of the Nixon watches, and have another apiece, his and hers. Nixon isn’t a common brand. It’s sold mostly in skate and specialty stores. G. and I have often gone Nixon watch shopping on a date; we’ll have dinner and ice cream at Crema Cafe, then head down the stree to Lava Lounge, which carries a good selection of Nixons.

Nixons are well constructed, and have a price tag to match. I was surprised on my last trip to Target to discover a wide selection of men’s fashion watches by Timex and Mossimo. The styles were good, and the prices reasonable, most between $20 and $40.

What to Pack for a Weekend Getaway: Clothes

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

For a long weekend, I want to pack light and not check bags, but I don’t want to wear the same things. I want to look nice when I go out, but want to be comfortable walking around. Here’s a theoretical mix-n-match shopping list (for the store or from your closet), all from Target for us budget babes:

Walking shoes: Dress boots:
Skirt: Pant:
Midrise Dark Wash Jean: Midrise Dark Jean
Blouse: Blouse
Sweater: Sweater
Long-sleeve T-shirt: Tee
Fitted Blazer: Blazer
Trench Coat: Trench Coat

And to round things out, the basics:

Opaque tights
Bras: two
Socks: three
Underwear: three

Coming Soon (I hope): Toiletries, and how to follow the TSA guidelines!

Tim Gunn’s Ten Essentials

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

I was surprised to find that I couldn’t find a list of the ten essential wardrobe items prescribed by Tim Gunn, on his new show Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style. Fortunately, the list wasn’t hard to find elsewhere, thanks to the Budget Babe. (I don’t call myself Girl Detective for nothing; Google is my friend.)

After my sister Sydney helped me rock Value City over the weekend, I own one of everything on this list except a trench coat. I think this short list could meet almost all the dress up/dress down occasions in life.

Tim Gunn’s 10 Essential Items Every Woman Needs
- Basic black dress
- Trench coat
- Classic dress pants
- Classic white shirt
- Skirt
- Blazer
- Day dress
- Cashmere sweater
- Jeans
- A comfortable alternative to a sweatsuit

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

#19 in my 2007 movie challenge was The Devil Wears Prada. I couldn’t read the book when it came out. I put it down at the 50-page mark because it was so poorly written, and because the main character was so unlikeable. I wanted to see the movie because I’d heard good things about the performances. Streep, Tucci, and Blunt all bring nuance and dimension to characters that could easily have been caricatures. I’m not sure that the creepily doe-eyed Hathaway did much to redeem the main character for me, though. She was still a fashion-ignorant intellectual snob who underwent a Cinderella makeover and saw the humanity in her co-workers; no surprises here.

Streep’s platinum forelock looked so distinct that I suspect it was a wig. And the gag reel was well worth watching for the many shots of the main characters falling down in their high heels.

Shoe Miscegenation

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

For your edification, a few shoe definitions (these are mine, but there are lots more at Kristopher Dukes):

Clog: shoe with heavy, possibly wooden, sole.
Mule: closed-toe, open-heel shoe.
Slide: Open toe and heel.
Loafer: casual leather shoe.

The definitions are confusing, and this is more specificity than most people need. But yesterday I saw not one, but two, people commit the same foot faux pas, a loafer mule. One was on a woman, another on a man. Loafers and mules don’t mix. Mules in the animal world are the sterile offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Use the animal world as your guide. Mules are meant to be cute and kicky. Don’t try to force unnatural alliances like the open-backed loafer.

Further, mules are not meant to be worn with socks. Neither are sandals. Loafers can be worn with or without socks. And the term “casual clog” is redundant, because it implies that there is such a thing as a “dress clog.”

These rules are here to protect not only your feet, but your image. If you have questions, or disagree, spend some quality time in the archives of Manolo’s Shoe Blog. Manolo, he is a man who knows the thing or two about the feets. I’m fairly certain he’d back me up on all of the above.

Fashion as Therapy

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Guppy was born over a year ago, but the depression and anxiety that came with him are not diminishing inversely to his growth. In spite of medication and the help of a good team of healthcare professionals, I have continued to struggle. To get me unstuck, my team recommended an outpatient therapy program instead of the sporadic therapy I have been doing, and I started this morning.

A small part of me hoped that someone would wave their hand and tell me I didn’t need to be there, and send me home. And, as has happened at every step of this depression, no one did. So I guess I belong.

What does one wear to a partial hospital program? As I’ve noted here before, I take care with my appearance, perhaps more so when I’m feeling worse, both as compensation and as a way to demonstrate some control when I don’t feel I have any elsewhere, e.g., Drake won’t listen, Guppy’s screaming again, but my accessories match my outfit AND I’m wearing mascara, so things can’t be too bad. I attempted to mesh style and comfort, and found myself wearing an outfit and accessories made up almost entirely of things I got from family and friends:

Black Max Mara sweater and black Tod’s bag, presents from friend N.
Blue, green, and black patterned top and jade drops on white gold hoops, from sister Ruthie
Green spring leather jacket espied years ago in Nordstrom Rack by sister Sydney, later tried on and purchased with sister Ruthie.
Navy Gloria Vanderbilt pants with a bit of Lycra, a bargain from Valu City courtesy of sister Sydney
Nixon Mini GTO watch, picked out with and also from G. Grod
Blue Venetian beaded bracelet made by friend S from my parents’ church, given while I was pregnant with Guppy
And the only thing I bought myself: $9.99 black Chuck Taylor knock-offs from Target

I had layers, and I was comfortable yet still stylish. The therapy program went pretty well, too.

Quick Oscar Review

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Tivo is perfect for watching the Oscars. We started late, forwarded through all the commercials and boring awards and speeches, and only got to real time at the end.

Fashion, good: Kate Winslet’s dress’s old-time glamour, though the shade was a bit too pale. Cate Blanchett’s dress flattered and dazzled. Helen Mirren seems to own the definition of “age-appropriate”. The color of Jessical Biel’s dress looked good in general and on her.

Fashion, not so good: Nicole K’s red dress looked like she had a giant red mushroom on her shoulder, and only served to accentuate how ghostly pale and weirdly non-human she looks. She’s done too much to her face; it doesn’t seem to move. Her hair color is too pale, and too straight. The skirt of Reese Witherspoon’s boring-black dress was distracting, though the shape was flattering. And she’s gotten too thin for her chin; it’s going to take over the world. J. Lo’s jeweled bodice was also distracting, and the dress wasn’t flattering to boot. Plus where’s the color, people? Bleige is not flattering or interesting. Kirsten Dunst’s dress had a collar at the top, and feathers at the bottom. And what was that shove she gave Toby when they presented? Play nice, kids. Clive Owen’s weird collar and blue suit did not enchant.

Ellen did a good job as host, though her her last pair of pants were not flattering. The extra ceremony stuff was pretty good, though I found Michael Mann’s America montage a little bizarre. And oh, yeah, the movies that won awards were pretty good. I didn’t feel there were any egregious mistakes. For the record, though, I think Children of Men deserved better attention.

For more gossip, visit Perez Hilton and Go Fug Yourself.

Complementary Colors

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

For several years now, I’ve tended to favor colors in pairs. These color combinations are then reflected in our home, and my clothing. Before we got married, I chose the towel colors of amethyst and peridot, though to be exact, the tones were too smoky and dark for those jewel names. After that came my flirtation with hot pink, paired first with bright orange, then with light lavender. For a long time, my infatuations with color pairs were sequential. Of late, though, I’m finding the mixing and matching too much fun, and too full of possibility, to confine to just one pair. Perhaps this is also a reaction to the drear of winter.

My current favorites are combinations of blue and green. Blue teal with olive, sage with navy, light blue with forest green. Shades are also good: sage with olive, and light blue with navy.

And while basic black is a mainstay of corporate drab, dark brown is a richer shade to work with. I pair tobacco brown with light purple. It also goes well with grey, though I have to be careful not to leave out an accent of some sort. Light blue is a lovely and striking contrast with brown. Camel is a good contrast of shades, but again, it can be drab without a bright accent like a colorful bag or piece of jewelry. Bright pink over camel is a way to brighten up that basic neutral.

If I feel at a loss, scarves are a source of inspiration. Great scarf makers, like Hermes, Ferragamo, and Missoni, are skilled at putting together unexpected and vibrant colors.