Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Project Runway has a Foreign Affair with Furstenberg,Top Design sets up for season two and Tabatha takes control

Nina Garcia was still AWOL on Project Runway this week(don't worry,folks-I saw from the previews that she'll be back for the next round)so sitting in for her on the Judges' panel was Fern Mallis,who sets up the fashion show at Bryant Park every year and of course,the special guest spot went to Diane Von Furstenberg,who gave the designers quite the challenge and golden career opportunity that many fashionistas would truly kill for.

The challenge was to create an outfit for Von Furstenberg's fall collection and the winning designer would have their ensemble produced and sold to Amex customers exclusively,with a portion of the proceeds going to the CFDA(Council of Fashion Designers of America) fund.

The inspiration for Fustenberg's fall line is the 1948 film,A Foreign Affair,where Marlene Dietrich plays a night club singer who may or may not be a spy. Dietrich's character travels from Berlin to Shanghai to New York during the course of the story,giving the designers several vintage styles to work with and from. Here are a few clips from the film to give you an idea of what DVF was looking for:




Kenley spent most of this challenge in tears,being that overwhelmed by DVF and the chance to be in her collection. I appreciate that,but after awhile,it was time for her to use some Kleenex and get ahold of herself there!

She whip up a very simple chic dress that invoked a Shanghai Lil look,which I thought was lovely and so did most of the judges(including the big D herself). Heidi,for some reason,got her feathers in a ruffle about it,saying it looked "too easy". I think Kenley had a real shot at the win if not for Heidi's disapproval.

Kenley's dress may have been a one piece wonder(something even the other designers looked down on her for,since most of the DVF fall line is made up of layered clothes) but at least it fitted the model better than the dress Suede put together,which as DVF pointed out,floated too far away from the body. Not to mention that vest looked like a throwaway item plucked out of a thrift store dumpster.

Korto pulled off the dress & vest combo much more successfully,with a good choice of patterned material highlighted by yellow(very generous of DVF to let the designers select cloth from her own workroom). I wasn't a hundred percent sold on the shrug jacket at first,but it does grow on you and can be worn in different ways to accent the dress well.

The big winner was Leanne,making this two for two-you go,girl! Her mini trenchcoat paired up with that elegant deep blue gown was in perfect accord with the spirit of DVF's line and with Marlene Dietrich's style.

As much as I like Korto and Kenley(when she's not crying or laughing inappropriately,that is),Leanne is fast becoming a favorite of mine this season. This seemingly quiet little designer girl is now a real contender and prove to be the Fanny Price of Project Runway this year.

Up on the chopping block was Joe,for his Shanghai inspired number that went over as well as Shanghai Surprise did at the box office years ago. The material he use for the cowl and the blouse was way too shiny,plus the open back of the top didn't work at all.

Stella was sent home,for her tweedy vest and pants number that had a less than flattering crotch. Also,the cape that she made really wasn't of the right period(DVF pointed that out,saying that capes from the forties were vertical fitting)and looked more like something either a magician or a vampire would wear.

Stella took her loss in her usual stride,telling Heidi that it was just as well,since "my ego's too big for this place." and signing off by saying "If you don't like it(her designs),then keep on walking." Yeah,way to build up a good customer base there,hon.

Top Design started it's second season with a few changes;while Todd Oldham is still part of the show,he's more of a Tim Gunn type. India Hicks(daughter of famed decorator David Hicks) is the hostess who is on the Judges' panel along with Jonathan Adler,Margaret Russell and Kelly"Crazy Hair" Wearstler from last time. Oh,and Adler dropped that "see you later,decorator" line for the loser-a good decision,if you ask me.

The new kids on the block were divided up into four teams and were given a main elimination challenge of designing a loft apartment for one of the judges. They had two days and a budget of two thousand dollars,which they whined about the most. Come on,people-I've watched HGTV and I've seen folks with half that amount of money re-do homes,plus even come in under budget by a couple of bucks(that includes kitchens!). Hell,I've seen HGTV shows with less than half that amount turn out some good rooms.

In addition to the Elim,the decorators were given "Pop Design"(the equivalent of a Quickfire on Top Chef or a Shortcut on Shear Genius)where each one of them had to make a shadow box that represented their creativity. Those who did well won immunity and some like Serge only raised a few eyebrows for their odd results. Serge called his "Breaking The Rules"-what beer and peanut butter have to do with rebellion is beyond me.

The team for Jonathan Alder's loft did great,bringing his notion of a "chic and dreamy" style to life. They also got into his good graces by making a lovely little dog bed for his pooch,Liberace(I am not making that name up,I swear!). Alder did caution them about being a little too "Golden Girls" but was pleased overall.

The winning team was Kelly's,who really pulled together the "form over function" look that she wanted. Nathan,in particular,did an excellent job of shopping at the thrift store that everyone was sent to. He picked out the right amount of accessories to fill the spaces that needed it without making it appear to be cluttered.

Team Margaret made many mistakes,a big one being no lamps or lighting. While Robert did plan to make a couple of lamps,time ran out and it really reflected poorly on the team. Also,Margaret requested hot pink and cobalt blue as her colors and Preston brought a dusty rose sofa and love seat instead.

The closest that they got to Margaret's "crisp and glamorous" vibe was in the dining room area. I did like the iron gate doors on the wall and the urn on the table;too bad the rest of the loft couldn't match up to it(plus,the paintings that Preston made for the place were hideous,in my opinion. There's abstract and then there's awful.)

Team India was asked to make their loft "Caribbean Classical" and while the bedroom turned out rather nice(thanks to Andrea,who is married to Rick Schroeder but doesn't want to advertise that fact to her fellow competitors)but everything else was pretty sad sack,to say the least.

Shazia was a ripe candidate for dismissal,especially with her story about the lack of stuffing in the couch after Andrea cleaned up the fabric(buying a used white sofa was not a good move)that bored Adler to tears. Serge,however,was named as the weakest link by his team mates and since the most he did was work on the floor,he was the first to go. So far,Top Design is off to a decent start and I look forward to more dazzling design fun this season.

Tabatha's Salon Takeover started off slow,but by the second episode,things really got going. The first salon that she dealt with had a laid back couple running things into the ground,which didn't stir up a lot of fury. However, the De Cielo Salon and it's mouthy incompetent owner Michael really riled our gal up:

See,Tabatha is at her best when she gets to yell at someone and if that person really deserves it,that's just the cherry on top,folks. Tonight's episode looks to be just as fun and hopefully we get plenty of Tough Talkin' Tabatha this fall.


KITCHEN NIGHTMARES: The second season premiere is next Thursday and it's a two hour show,oh boy! Appetites will be whetted and killed at the same time:

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