Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Project Runway - 4x07 "What a Girl Wants"

Between Ricky recalling how he made a prom dress for his girlfriend (gay clue!), or Kevin and Sweet P separately concerned about the chastity of their respective clients, Runway finally flexed some of its old charm again, though it was sort of wasted on a dull challenge. Screw these teenage girls (but not like that!) and their "plunging in the front, plunging in the back," "just a bit of lace puked all over the front" notions of style -- this challenge was the sartorial redux of season 2's ice skating outfit cack. Being an exhibition of tastelessness, prom even brings out the worst in the season's self-anointed Fashion Jesus:


And usually Christian needs Jack to carry him in a basket to look ridiculous; yet the fulsomeness of prom was so endemic that this time around, a mere towel made him look ridiculous.


Though I have to say -- and I will only admit this if it doesn't call my heterosexuality into question -- Christian looks kind of sultry there. As you might guess, it's all about the glasses.

Let's pretend I never typed that last bit and move to a world where irony is still dead and people and things amuse me because they are awesome...


When Victorya's client Jessica flashed her vee -- yikes! Not that vee! -- I cracked up, because it was totally the gangly and dorky maneuver that I would have pulled had I been stomping down the runway. Out of all of the girls who came in like Pokémon trainers ("Rami! I choose you!"), I can safely infer from this single frame that Jessica is the coolest (read: nerdiest) of them all.

Even while I make underage transgender double-entendres without qualms, I was bothered whenever anyone explained any color choice by their model's skin color/tone, which to my ears sounds as euphemistic and backhanded a compliment as you can get -- white is the default, and if someone is of another color, it has to be remarked upon to mark its conspicuousness. In other words, do designers ever have to worry about skin tone for white models? Or are we witnessing the corollary to the "black people can make anything cool" rule, that skinny white chicks can look good in any color? Oh well, like I'm in a position to complain.

For an industry that regularly employs 14-year-old waifs, the Runway panel bizarrely and uniformly discussed the kids as "clients" (i.e. noncommittally asexual and above all consumerist), rarely if ever as "models" (i.e. objects of desire). Right there, international modeling convention collided with American squeamishness about pubescent youth, because even as the industry primes these girls towards sexualized roles, U.S. fashion discourse has a hard time addressing them in such charged terms. The girls and the dresses were "cute," or "matronly," or "sophisticated" (which strangely enough was a bad thing, because the judges were using "sophisticated" as double-speak for "uncomfortably sexy teenager"), though of course only the Frenchy used the word "sexy" anywhere near the girls. But even then, he took care to refer to the dress as "sexy," not the girl. Still...


Doesn't strike me as babysitter material.


I wonder how Mom honestly feels about her daughter's dress.


Jillian collapsed under the combined weight of a) the difficulty of designing evening wear for teens, and b) her hair.

Indie rating: Serge Gainsbourg - "Lemon Incest"

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