Project Fail

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Sometimes I wonder - pointlessly - how much my opinions are shaped by reading other users' content regarding some of the pop culture stuff I consume. Granted, I realize I may be doing the same in writing this blog, but whatever. Specifically I'm thinking about the blogs I read regarding some of my favourite reality TV shows - Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Project Runway.

On the latter, I am addicted to Tom And Lorenzo (formerly Project Rungay), which is probably the pre-eminent voice for all things PR. And while I love and appreciate their thoughtful commentary on everything - far beyond Project Runway - I also wonder how different my viewing experience of PR, or The Walking Dead, or Boardwalk Empire, or Mad Men would be if I weren't reading their blog.

This comes on the heels of last week's disappointing (in my mind) finale of Project Runway, where beauty queen / sex scandal Caribbean girl Anya took the grand prize. TLo (as they're known) aren't her biggest fans, and I've been wondering how much of that rubbed off on me. Going into the season I latched onto Anthony Ryan, Laura, and Anya as my three favourites - and indeed, all three made it pretty far into the competition (obviously in Anya's case).



As the season carried on, I fell for Viktor, recognizing that it was unlikely AR or Laura would make it to the end. I saw everyone's finale collections via TLo before the finale, and I liked Viktor's, even moreso once I learned where the prints he was using came from. What blew my mind was that he wasn't even in contention for the top two. It was between Anya and Josh.

I'll concede this. When the judges broke out Viktor's collections into two side-by-side images (which was super cool btw!), I did see the break in his collection. None of his black pieces (save for the mirrored top) really stood out to me before the show, or during it, and based on editing it looks like he actually eliminated some prints in favour of more black shadowy pieces...it could have been that decision that cost him the win quite honestly, because his printed looks were amazing. That dress up above...I'm in love. That would've won me over.

When I saw Josh's collection I was kind of horrified. The outfit with the day-glo lace-up shorts felt like a gay man that bought into every gay man stereotype ever was dressing women in gay pride clothing. I'm not even being a bigot there, I'm just saying...his clothes felt very bizarre, and not in touch with what women would want to wear. I hated the colours, and while I understand the judges' desire to encourage an interesting use of materials, I wasn't attracted to any of them. That being said...he did have very well-made pieces. Which is more than I can say for Anya or Kimberly.

I don't have a ton to say about Kimberly's final collection. There were many pieces I liked that I would probably buy if they were hanging on the rack at H&M, and seeing the collection on television did wonders compared to the photos since she did so many interesting back details. Some of it felt a little poorly made. Some of it was pretty boring. The overall effect was not a show that gave me any sense of progression. Kimberly is very fashionable, but I don't know that she's fashion-forward enough to really hack it. At least not for what this competition is hoping for.

I feel like someone in the editing room was staging a minor protest at Anya's (somewhat) shocking win. They had her confess this wasn't her best work. They had her say a weird little goodbye to Tim that didn't go unnoticed by the other competitors. While some may look at Anya's triumph as an example of self-doubt, any sage fan would look at Anya's clothes, shake their head, and go WTF???? I will say I loved that dress up above though, but that was more a print love than a dress love. In fact when I saw Anya's collection I was reminded a lot of Uli's beautiful Season 3, similarly beachy collection that ultimately lost out to Jeffrey's Japanese ghost story line.

Here's the worst of it all. By casting Josh as the villain all season and having him be the most vocal about Anya's lack of skills in the final episode, AND by having Josh and Anya in the final two, it should have felt like a triumphant moment for good reigning over evil. But it didn't. Who had the better collection? I'm hard-pressed to answer that question. I tend to agree with TLo that were Laura in the finals, she should / would have won. Between the final four I'd still have gone with Viktor, between Anya and Josh, I'd hesitantly tip my hat to Josh. I just don't think Anya's clothes showed any real ideas or growth outside of what she did in the competition and I'm genuinely baffled by the judges decision.

This inspired me to do one last PR exercise. Look at the finals of each season, remember who I wanted to win, who I thought deserved to win, and who actually won. I present to you my findings:

SEASON 1
Who I Wanted To Win: Kara Saun - I was her fan the whole season through. She totally deserved to make it to the end.
Who Deserved To Win: Jay McCarroll - despite liking Kara's collection, I was blown away by Jay, who up until that point hadn't really impressed me.
Who Won: Jay - I was pretty happy with this outcome. I remember feeling a tad letdown that my fave hadn't won, but ultimately happy because Jay's collection was kick ass.

SEASON 2
Who I Wanted To Win: I generally liked Chloe and Daniel V. in equal parts. I had high hopes for Daniel V.
Who Deserved To Win: *Pulls face* Hard question to answer. I didn't like Chloe's final collection, and Daniel's was very low-key (although that jacket above is adorbs). Santino's collection surprised me for being so pretty.
Who Won: Chloe - one of the few seasons where I really didn't care. I wasn't blown away by anyone's finale collection here. I like Chloe though, so that's fine. Her fabrics were just meh.


SEASON 3
Who I Wanted To Win: I genuinely liked all four designers that made it to the finals, but I was rooting for Mycheal Knight and Jeffrey Sebelia.
Who Deserved To Win: Mycheal choked. While I loved many of Laura's pieces, I thought it was a tad one-note and mature overall. Uli's collection was beautiful but she was probably my least fave of the remaining designers (on a season-long basis). Jeffrey FTW!
Who Won: Jeffrey! One of the few times this happened.

SEASON 4
Who I Wanted To Win: Poor Jillian. In any other season she would have sweeped it, but alas, this season was branded the Christian show from day one. I was cheering for her though.
Who Deserved To Win: I guess Christian. His looks were not to my taste or realistic whatsoever, but the dramaaaaaa! There was so much work that went into his looks. He was in it to win it, and he gave a RUNWAY show.
Who Won: Christian. Not surprising, ditto on the fact that he's been as successful as he has been. I loved Jillian's finale collection, but I knew going into this finale it was all but locked up so it was hard to be too disappointed that the wunderkid won.

SEASON 5
Who I Wanted To Win: I was part of the small faction of people rooting for Kenley Collins.
Who Deserved To Win: Really hard for me to say. I think I'd lean towards Korto because I just liked her clothing better, but much like with Jillian / Christian, I saw why they chose Leanne. Although it was a tad one-note in colours and application of her 'petals', it was a stunning show.
Who Won: Leanne - Kenley's collection was definitely the weakest of the three finalists. While I was sad to see her (somewhat) choke, I was pleased to see three solid entries up for the win at the end.

SEASON 6
Who I Wanted To Win: I call this the 'lost season' because I always forget about their unfortunate foray into shooting PR in LA. Anyway. I liked Carol Hannah but knew she had no chance - she was like a poor man's Laura (S3). I was mostly cheering for Althea as the bridesmaid to Irina's bride.
Who Deserved To Win: Meh. Another season where I didn't care much for any of the finalists collections. I felt like Irina's was the poor man's Christian Siriano show. I liked Althea's street chic clothing and what she did with knits (like the green dress above), but it didn't feel like a SHOW, much like Kimberly suffered with this season. Carol Hannah's collection was no good.
Who Won: Irina. Did the judges have a choice? Althea's didn't blow your mind and Carol Hannah's was poorly made and just so...satiny. Irina was smart and did the SHOW.

SEASON 7
Who I Wanted To Win: Seth Aaron Henderson. Did I think he had a shot at winning? Not for a second. He'd been quite under the radar all season, producing consistently good pieces but never being a judges' pet like Mila or Emilio, his fellow finale competitors.
Who Deserved To Win: Seth Aaron. Emilio's collection had a blah colour scheme and his ego just made me dislike him. I was never a fan of Mila's aesthetic, although I did enjoy her sequin gown for the finale.
Who Won: Seth Aaron! The second time my fave person actually won - and deserved it. I suppose the two should go hand in hand. I'm willing to admit not all of my fave designers have wowed me at the end.

SEASON 8
Who I Wanted To Win: Admittedly I got a little tired of Mondo by season's end. His constant praise was a little annoying. But Andy underwhelmed me, and while I loved Gretchen the character, I never liked her designs much. So I was on Team Mondo, fully ready to embrace his inevitable win a la Christian Siriano.
Who Deserved To Win: Mondo Mondo Mondo. His inspiration has been used by MANY a designer since then, and I literally loved almost every single piece he created.
Who Won: Gretchen Jones. I mean. WHAT? Probably the most shocking and hateful win ever. I hated her finale collection. Genuinely hated it. The fabrics, the clothes, the styling - everything was not to my taste. I don't know that I've ever disliked someone's finale collection as much (except for, sadly, Mychael Knight's). A total runway robbery.

So there you have it. The final tally is -

Two Seasons I Was Totally Happy With: 3 & 7 (Jeffrey and Seth Aaron - similar esthetics, so not surprising I gravitated towards them)

Three Seasons I Understood The Outcomes Of: 1 (Jay), 4 (Christian), 5 (Leanne)

Two Seasons I Didn't Care About: 2 (Chloe - I liked her, I just didn't like her collection), 6 (Irina)

Two Seasons The Outcome Royally Pissed Me Off: 8 (Gretchen), 9 (Anya). Yikes...not a good pattern!

Obviously I'm still watching the show. It inspires me, despite the fact many people are ringing the alarm that it isn't the same show it once was when originally conceived. I don't disagree - although T LO has a lot to do with my perception of things - but I still enjoy the show above most other reality competitions.

- Britt's On

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