Thursday, September 23, 2010

Technical Difficulties

A month or so ago, someone decided to relieve me of my wireless card. It was very kind of them, as I was certainly stressed out about my writer's block. Certainly, they were just watching out for me. They gave me a whole new level of stress to worry about, i.e., not being connected to the Web, but the writer's block, well, that was broken. Somewhat. I didn't really have a way to post entries.

Well, not quite true. I have an iPhone, but have you ever tried to post a blog entry on an iPhone? My iPhone is convinced that the word "have" should be "gave" and "been" should be "Bern." It automatically "corrects" them every time I use the text. Seriously, how is Bern a more popular word than been? (Not that I wouldn't mind being in Bern. I hear it's lovely and cold and Austin, Texas, in summer, is none of those things. It is hot and humid, with a chance of more hot and humid.)

At any rate, my mother rallied to my defense and handed over to me her new laptop. I should have been suspicious of this. Really, I love my mother, but warning flags should have gone up as soon as she handed her new mini-top to me. It's cute and tiny, half the size of my old Toshiba Satellite and the keyboard is a bit cramped, but I was so excited to be connected back to the Internet. Those are the good things. The bad thing is my little brother -- bless his heart -- had taken it upon himself to dumb down the technology so my mother -- bless her heart -- wouldn't download a virus and kill off mini-top. See, my mother is one those who subscribes to chain letters that involve loads of hearts and love and puppies and kitties and prayers and -- usually tacked on at the end as a disclaimer -- a curse of eternal damnation if you don't pass along the good stuff. These letters usually have viruses hidden away in their sicklingly cute pictures of babies cooing at teddy bears, and my mother is exactly the kind of sucker who loves babies cooing at teddy bears. Unfortunately, I now have this mother-proofed machine in my possession and I'll be danged if I can figure out all the safety protocols my brother has set up. (He, of course, thinks it is dead funny I can't figure them all out, but my fancy college degree was in history and anthropology and I had a habit of crashing my college computers with horribly dense history theses.)

And so here is my disclaimer: I will be posting a few stories I wrote during the Winter of the Summer of My Technological Crisis. These include a couple of football scandals, Project Runway recaps and fashion stories. I apologize for the lateness and also if things go wonky from time-to-time, but I suppose there is a learning curve involved every time you get a new piece of technology. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Project Runway Season 8, Episode 1

Project Runway kicked off its 8th season last week with 17 contestants in a fast-paced first episode with a new set of crazies. Now, I luv me some Project Runway. I’ve been an avid fan from the beginning. But since the switch to Lifetime, I can’t help but notice the show has lost some of its focus. This episode, for example, had way too much going on.

The challenge: Each contestant had five hours to make a garment from another contestant’s suitcase. Result: cracktacular. Kiddos, I don’t know what to tell you. This was a tough challenge and I didn’t necessarily agree with the auffing. There were intimidating hats, cheap fabrics and cheaper shots. Too many characters were introduced that meant absolutely nothing. Nina got to work her native tongue (not bitch, but Spanish); Michael Kors is a lovely shade of burnt umber; and Heidi is not pregnant. Oh, and they sewed some good garments, but nothing stuck out at me and waved, “Look at me, I am the next winner of this madness.” It was sort of a disappointment.

The Judge’s Winner: Gretchen’s LBD.

It’s a Little Black Dress. I disagree with the styling of the dress. It’s cute to a point and that point is that fugly fishtail hem. I just can’t stand that hemline. And to pair the fishtail hem with booties? It made the leggy model look shorter when she stopped moving. Keep on strutting because the judges were dead on about the movement of the dress. This dress had great movement. Gretchen picked an easy fabric to work with, smart for the amount of time she had, and she worked it well. She also chose against using more of the jacket’s beading, and stuck with using only epaulets, possibly a good choice.  Still, nice, basic and in a group of spectacularly ugly pieces, a stand out in its stark simplicity. Not my favorite design, but a safe enough winner.

The Auffing:

McKell’s blue shirt dress

Not worthy of an auffing, IMHO. Sorry. It isn’t the worst design out there and, yes, the pink purse was a tragically school-girl choice for a stylist to make, and McKell is on there to be a stylist, not a designer. And her dress, while it had it’s issues, wasn’t the worst thing on the runway by far. Not a fan of the shiny bottom fabric, but the top bit was cute. Execution problems in the back made the dress look a little off, but to be honest, Casanova’s entire dress is an execution problem, and Jason's (The-Straight-Man-Who-Loves-Model’s-Boobs) backward kimono was an exercise in testing Nina’s patience. So, for McKell to go and them to stay means only one thing to me: Casanova and Straight Boob were kept to ratchet up the drama. Sorry you were so boring, McKell. Good luck.

The Good:

Kristen’s design

Using an extremely fug skirt made of scraps of jeans, Kristen made a chic origami ensemble. OK, this is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but for having only five hours of work to create it? I thought it was rather brilliant work. This is what April was trying to do when she tortured her outfit into shape. Kristen used a heavy fabric that was hard to work with but I love the origami look she managed to coax from it, the pleats and folds. There is a lot of detail in this look, not the least of which consists of that jean skirt collar. There may be a bit too much fullness in the skirt, but in all, it was a great look, very Commes des Garcons and Junya Wantanbe. You can really see that inspiration here. Well done.

If I had been given that piece of tacky skirt as the foundation piece for my design, I would have cried buckets and then tacked on the tulle in some sort of hideous Madonna Like a Virgin tribute. It would have been all shades of tragic.

Second up:

Sarah’s Romper

I dig this. There is a lot of detail on this garment, given the time limit; and it  well worked, even if the sleeves are a bit wonky. I like the gold detail at the neckline.

The Bad:

Ivy’s capri pant.

The only thing that can make a pair of Chico’s chic capri look cheaper than a fantastically hideous French Provencal pattern, is to add ruching to them. Really, ruching? Why?Why?! To shorten the leg and add a female erection? As for the gray top, unimaginative, which, considering Ivy’s imagination apparently runs toward ruched capri pants, is probably a good thing.

Mondo’s wannabe Missoni

This is awful: the seams are pooching, the model looks bloated and breastless. I almost preferred the ugly green bodice he obviously reconfigured before the runway, because this some how makes the model look like she has no chest whatsoever, even with the helpful wavy bit underneath her breasts to give the suggestion of what is supposed to be her bossom.

The Fugly:
Casnova’s “Pole-dancer in Dubai” look

Though Kors may have been a bit harsh on Dubai-pole dancers. I’m sure they could afford something better than these strategically placed bits of shiny cloth. Casanova conjured up a version of the infamous J-Lo Versace, if Donatella Versace were a martini-holic, completely unable of figuring out where to drape fabric in a way most flattering to a woman, which she is not. Thank the Lord.

This dress is all sorts of wrong, a godsend for Michael Kor’s and his Tan to drop witty bons mots. It’s amazing to me that he managed with so little fabric to make a woman with a kickass body look short, squat and dumpy. Kudos, Casanova. That took talent, although not of the designing sort.

The Rest:

Michael: Rejected street walker look from Pretty Woman, right down to the hair and makeup. Not only does this man come off as a jerk, he also appears to have taste issues.

A.J.: Worked for Heatherette and designs club clothes. You can tell from his design. I love Heatherette. And this? The corset part is cute, but the rest looks a bit cobbled together. Still, you get an idea of what he is about.

Christopher: Boring. He took a boring halter dress and made a boring halter dress with a ruffled collar. Color me unimpressed.

Valerie: Takes a thousand-dollar pair of Prada pants and makes .,. boob flaps out of it? Oy. Sad fit, sad design, sad use of wrinkly fabrics on top of the Prada material. It’s just a very sad thing to behold, this dress.

Nicholas: Got hammered for his long sportswear evening gown, but I have to say, if this had been shorter and in a different fabric, it might have worked better. I liked a lot of the details in the dress, even if they were a bit confusing on a long dress. I think if he chopped off that long skirt and had tailored it in, we might have had a more interesting dress. I can see something there, even if it is unfinished. I think Nina did, too, or he would have been sent home.

Peach: Missed her capris so much she used a similar fabric for her dress. Ugly, but the judges always seem to like this sort of dress and it wasn’t the worst of the night, even if she only used a smidge of the fabric. I want to like her, but she’s coming off a bit sour to me. Please don’t make me nickname you "Lemon," darling. And please, bust out of the Chico’s chic mold.

Andy: Over-styled, but interesting. A kimono done well and the cut-out back was interesting (and on trend). Those pants sure are unflattering, though. Still, a well-fleshed out, if easy, vision.

Michael: I liked this look, but it looks like something you would buy off-the-rack at Marshall’s.  Like Peach, he didn’t use a lot of the original garment (which was a black top), but the fabric he used was pretty. Also, the beading at the waist looks cheap, but I really like the beading and draping in the back.

April: Design-school project. Too much deconstruction, not enough attention to detail. The fit was off, too.

Jason: It really does look like Straight Boob turned the kimono around backward and then stapled it closed. Yikes. Also, having discovered his model had breasts, he did his best to hide an evidence of them.

The Results:

This episode gave me a headache. There was too much going on, too many personalities thrown in and not enough fashion apparent.

---Jenna Boatman


Official Site:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Food Food Food

Food Food Food

One more frolic

One more frolic

Fashion Bug

Fashion Bug

More Frolic

More frolic

And frolic

and frolic