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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TFS S2E9: Rip Synch for Your LIFE

Love is a bird, she needs to fly.

That was a pretty damn good episode, we have to say. The challenge was just interesting enough, there were lots of clothes to look at, they managed a twist or two, and the elimination was probably the most dramatic of the season.

We're just gonna do this stream-of-consciousness-style because we're hopped up on cold medicine and because there are so many dresses to talk about that we're going to save all that for two more posts to come.

Like we said last week, this show has a lot going for it, but it wasn't quite coming together the way it should or as often as it should. This episode gave us a glimpse of what the show can be when it's firing on all cylinders.

We think part of the reason for that is, even though they were nominally "houses" and "collections," it felt like all the designers were off working on their own. There was some collaboration, but for the most part, everyone was so busy working on their own personal mini-collections for it to really feel like a team effort.

And maybe that's the direction the show should go if it wants to be successful without being a note-for-note recreation of Project Runway. Maybe each week, we could have individual designers producing mini-collections, rather than "houses" that ultimately have no meaning since the rosters change all the time.

Calvin had his Moment, and we all pretty much saw it coming from Week One. We'll get into the analysis later on, but we'll say this: his team's collection sprung almost entirely from his head. It was all him. Dominique was definitely doing her thing and she deserves praise, but she was following Calvin's lead.

We can complain about producer manipulation and how Calvin should have gone home many weeks ago. We can opine that he was only kept in because he's so obnoxious and (apparently) entertaining. We can do that. We might even be correct.

The thing is - and we've said this before about people like Santino and Jeffrey and to a lesser extent, Gretchen - fashion people naturally respond to outrageously self-confident people, even if (s0me would say especially if) that self-confidence is all for show. We're not saying the producers didn't try to keep Calvin in for his entertainment value; we're just saying that we can honestly see why the judges themselves would be inclined to keep him in. They admired and responded to his bravado and he did just enough interesting work to keep them intrigued.

And those judges would probably say their faith in him paid off with this collection. Even if people hate these clothes and think they're ridiculous, that fact is, a collection like this would get more people talking than Cesar and Jeffrey's.

There were lovely pieces there, but there were also some sour notes and nothing stood out as particularly awesome. Some good pieces, but not enough great ones.

We did like the little 45-minute twist they pulled. It was like lip-synching for your life, fashion style.

As we said, we'll get into the dress analyses in later posts, but we're a little astonished that they thought Jeffrey's work here was better than Cesar's. Both of the original looks were horrible, but Cesar managed to turn his around far more effectively than Jeffrey.

But if it was a cumulative score (and it always is, no matter what the judges say), we think Jeffrey makes the more promising finalist, given his work over the whole competition. He has very good instincts and he pushes himself to do ever more interesting things each week.

Cesar, we're sorry to say, was just a bit tripped up by his own experience, which caused a rigidity in his thinking. He's sweet and charming, but he's also pretty stubborn. He was inexplicably insistent about manipulating or dyeing his fabrics each week, whether the challenge suited such techniques or not. While some of the dyeing this week worked to his favor, his time could have been better spent if he'd simply bought fabrics in the colors he wanted and worked more on making his other design choices look elegant and cohesive.

[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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