Didja ever just want to cry because something incredibly wonderful got fucked up by idiots?
Here’s what shoulda happened:
5Pointz Aerosol Art Center is this amazing place in Long Island City, NY (in Queens) that features a 200,000-square-foot factory building as a canvas for graffiti artists, who come from all over the world to show off mad skillz. And if you have any doubt that this is art, check out this time-lapse video of the creation of “Fire Marshall Bill” by 5Pointz Curator Meres One (aka Jonathan Cohen). I promise, during the last minute, you’ll swear tree stumps just sprang up out of the cracked ice.
These three artists meet the Project Runway All Stars to introduce them to the techniques (like these) they’ll need to create their own art on white fabric, either cotton or chiffon, which they’ll then design and construct into wearable art.
And what we got instead:
Blondie #1 sprains an eyelid doing her sing-song “Your challenge is to create WEARABLE art but instead of using canvas or walls you’ll be creating your own patterns using this …” with a Price-is-Right reveal of crates of spray paint. And she had a helluva lotta nerve taking credit for the logo, even in jest, even for a second.
Suede and Joshua read scripts that prove no one’s ever used the phrase “aerosol art” in a spontaneous sentence.
Blondie #2 (Laura) explores new depths of idiocy with: “I’m not a graffiti artist but I like to spraypaint old furniture.”
Ivy: “This challenge is really exciting for me because it makes me think (pause…what was that phrase again? Oh, yes – ) out of the box.”
Suede: “Suede has NEVER in his entire life held a can of spray paint.”
Lest you think this is an impossible situation in which to say anything remotely intelligent, Althea manages (she does her own prints so she’s excited to be creative) and Emilio hits it out of the park (“the people who do [graffiti] well, do it really well, and if you try to do an imitation of it, I think it just comes out looking amateurish” so he’s going to be inspired by graffiti, not try to imitate it). So it can be done. Of course, if you’re Laura, you’re worried about your expensive clothes, and who’s helping whom, and who’s using the same colors as you. And if you’re Ivy, you’re worried about Laura bragging about how rich her family is and how good she had it growing up. And if Suede is Suede, Suede is Suede.
This made me sad.
So I watched the Fire Marshall Bill video again, and I felt a little better. [addendum: to feel even better, watch the NYT slide show of the development of subway art in the 80s and 90s by Henry Chalfant. Real graffiti, the way it was meant to be]
Then the Lumberjacks arrived, and I felt downright giddy.
These particular lumberjacks just so happen to be Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra, actual fashion designers. And their clothing line has nothing to do with plaid flannel. And2, they’re really nice, really thoughtful judges.
So the hell with those Lifetime morons…
Let’s do clothes:
Kings and Queens:
Emilio has drips, but he turns them so they’re dripping up, which is so cool I could scream. When his model comes out on the runway, I could scream again, this time from the colors drilling into my brain. I’m not a big fan of super-bright colors, and I hate orange, but once I put on sunglasses, I have to say, it’s amazing workmanship, and decent use of the graffiti idea, as well as print placement. The problem is: it’s too big. The model looks like a linebacker. Some of that is deliberate – he specifically used the way the fabric was stiffened by the paint. But the jacket sleeves have too much fabric, don’t they? None of the judges have my issues, though. Georgina sees a divine silhouette; Isaac loves the marble top and graffiti bottom, and the Lumberjacks think it feels honest though they’d prefer a brass zipper for the back of the skirt to the black one; they aren’t crazy about the belt either. But they’re all salivating over it. I’m surprisingly ok with that, first because I’m glad Emilio is finally getting some love, and second because the parts I don’t like are about my personal preferences. But come on, I’m not saying it shouldn’t be in the Top Three, I’m just wondering, isn’t it a little huge?
Ivy goes with a suit for the meeting between girl power, superhero, and pop art. She tells Joanna she’s thinking of Lichtenstein (presumably the artist, not the country) and superheros which is why she spraypainted words (like “Passion” and “Tenacity”) on her clothes. Joanna asks her, “Looking around the room, how important is taste?” Ivy says you’re born with it, or you’re not. I wonder if Joanna’s trying to tell her something. Georgina thinks it’s modern and sensual, with a juxtaposition of flirty and feminist. Isaac doesn’t like the word choice, but he likes how the front is pristine and the cutout back is a surprise. The Lumberjacks wish the white skirt was a color rather than white. These guys are good, y’know, because they’re right. Georgina does notice it’s the same jacket Ivy’s made before.
Anthony Ryan makes a fabric I’m sure he (or someone on PR) has made before, or used before – three horizontal, three vertical, I’m sure of it,
but I’m overwhelmed with work so I can’t be bothered to go search for it. If you know what I’m talking about, please tell me (never mind – found it). He used to be a graphic designer, so this is a good challenge for him. His dress is adorable. Georgina loves the proportion and the cutout in back, as does Isaac, but thinks it ‘s a little safe. The Lumberjacks (forgive me for lumping them together; there’s no way I’m going to be able to distinguish between two Lumberjacks sitting next to each other on Project Runway) love the print and that it’s young; they aren’t sure it’s art gallery, but hey, what on the runway is?
Althea makes a graffiti giraffe print; Joanna notices it looks very much like the print she’s wearing at that moment. Which is also a print Althea designed, so no surprise. She makes a very pretty dress but she herself figures it doesn’t stand out.
Casanova also makes a very pretty dress. In fact, it’s possibly my favorite thing Casanova has ever made on any PR episode. I even like the touches of sparkle. But the graffiti aspect is minimal. I like the placement of skyline stencils, but at first, I thought they were price tags, and I was so excited by that concept, I was disappointed when I found out they weren’t.
Uli makes – wait for it – a very pretty Star Trek dress – hah, fooled you there, didn’t I. Joanna asks about graffiti on the Wall in East Germany (isn’t that the sort of thing that would get you killed at one time?) but we don’t really hear much about that; we do find out Uli took off like a bat out of hell as soon as the Wall came down, because no one believed it would last long. It’s the kind of conversation I wish they’d have more often on this show, instead of the lunchroom sniping.
Joshua tries to convince Joanna his hairstyling technique makes him an aerosol artist. Oh, do shut up. His design isn’t as bad as I was expecting – I actually like the highway around the waist – but it doesn’t fit, it isn’t made well, the peplum looks disgusting, and the skirt belongs to another outfit. I would’ve put him in the bottom instead of Suede, in fact.
Andrae made a joke for his model to be in on. That isn’t fair – our little lamb caught the spirit of the challenge pretty well, but I don’t get the green panels reaching around the sides from the back, gaping open on the bodice. The bow, well, obviously we could do without that, but it does have some element of graffiti, with a solid center and netting blowing outward. In fact, if he neatened up the bodice, he’d have something, with the explosions of sheerness mimicking the fade of spray paint.
Laura annoyed me so much this episode, I just wanted her to go away, but I don’t completely hate her dress. It’s more tie-dye than graffiti (a common issue on this runway), it’s way too short, and the horizontal bands in the back don’t work – I get that they’re structurally necessary, but part of the work of design is to accomplish what’s necessary in an aesthetically pleasing way. I don’t hate the fringe as much as I hate the netting that goes with it. I;m kind of surprised she’s in the bottom, actually. Georgina loves the top, but the bottom cheapens it. The Lumberjacks like the spatter effect, but it’s too short.
Suede kisses up to Joanna by designing for a bra-wearing woman. She asks if he can win this challenge; he should’ve listened to that. And here’s where I get myself in trouble: I like it. Let me clarify that: I like it for a graffiti challenge; I think it very cleverly captures a lot of graffiti elements. The grayness of the skirt speaks to an urban vibe, the chiffon is spray-painted, and since tagging is a subset of graffiti, I love all the “tags” on the bodice, tapering off and sprinkling down the skirt (though I have no idea if that’s what he was thinking). Also, graffiti is the art of putting artsy stuff on practical stuff, and that’s what the circles do. And I think it’s kind of pretty (though who knows what it looked like in person). And when they did their six-pack critique, I didn’t realize Suede was in the bottom. Georgina loved the feminine approach, but felt the circles lost the spray paint feel. Isaac doesn’t think it’s wearable, and the pailletes are costumey. As opposed to having words painted on a jacket? The Lumberjacks love the softness of the handkerchief hem, but not the waistline.
Kayne – no, I’m not going to address his dinnertime cattiness – tells Joanna he’s using velvet ribbon as brush strokes. Joanna tells him it’s a fine line between hideous and fabulous, which should tell him something. But he thinks his model looks like Kate Middleton. Maybe in some weird alternative universe only he can see, she does. I don’t know much about Kate Middleton, but my impression is she’s got way too much class to wear a plunge-to-the-neckline halter or a kindergarten project (for the record: Kayne sent a tweet during the broadcast that this comment was a technical foul: “BTW! Editing nightmare! I said the Kate Middleton comment about next weeks dress. Stay tuned. #imnotstupid”). Poor Kayne, it’s a replay of his Recycled craft project. But you know what? Tidy up the plunge, get rid of the mermaid tail, and it’s not a bad look. He thinks the black ribbon is like the outlining of graffiti letters. Isaac acknowledges it’s dramatic, and he loves the top, but there’s a disconnect. The Lumberjacks don’t like the stripe across the knee creating the illusion of girth, stopping the flow. Georgina lost the fun in too many ideas. Isaac brings out the word “tacky.” “Almost tacky,” to be exact.
Emilio gets his first gold star.
Even the worst looks weren’t bad this week, but someone’s got to go, and Suede gets his airkiss goodbye. He’s just too creative, see. His last words: “Make daddy cat proud. Suede out.” Oh, Suede, I was all set to defend you, throw Joshua to the wolves, but that, no, that did it. Buh Bye Hon.
In Blondie’s words: “The first… … … … interactive … … … … … challenge … … … … EVER!” What the hell is an interactive challenge? Don’t worry, I’m sure… … … she’ll … … … … EXPLAIN it!