Saturday, February 18, 2006


We're now in the limbo between FW and choosing the final winner of PR season II, sort of like the iceskaters at the Olympics waiting in their box for their scores. Yes, there's the Reunion, which should be a blast, and purging for the designers. It seems from the previews that Nick in particular dredges up a lot of angst from his subconscious. Old wounds die hard. And there's Tim's series of "at homes" with the designers. That's always both charming and illuminating, like everything else that Tim touches. It'll be especially fascinating to hear what he has to say to them about their concepts, and whether they incorporated his advice (which has usually proven to be very perceptive and even prophetic) or not. Then it's on to Fashion Week (no matter that we on the Blog have [vicariously, it's true] already been there), and then final critiques, "grades" and awarding the golden crown to the Victor. It's hard to imagine that for two million viewers tuning in they'll be experiencing FW for THE VERY FIRST TIME!!!!! We've been spoiled, which is perhaps not the blessing that it seems at first glance. It makes the rest of the season mildly anticlimatic.

My Scores (for FW): Daniel and Chloe, even odds; Santino, the dark horse (a role that he seems to play quite naturally). As I've already stated elsewhere, I feel that he should have gone bigger, more outrageous, more in-your-face, more Santino. He can never beat Daniel at his game, which is exactly what, it seems, he has tried to do. (Kara's startlingly fine and inventive collection, my personal favourite --for its risk, vision, stretching the limits, fun, distinctive personality and POV--is unfortunately out of the running. But hopefully some magic happened for her at FW, and she made some valuable connections within the industry.)

If I had any power at all over the final decision (Lots of Luck!!! lol), I'd make it a three-way, or at least a two-way, tie. But that won't happen. You can bank on that. I'm afraid that the Banana Republic judge will tip the balance toward timid, bland and impeccable, their industry signature.( Does anyone here know whether the runnersup win ANYTHING, other than the national exposure which is, of course, priceless??)

We can now do an overview, albeit slightly preliminary, of PR season II, especially the high and low points. Here are mine: please chime in with yours.


High: BR team challenge/with Chloe
Low: lingerie team challenge/with Santino+Nick
Comment: More than any other designer he seemed ready to leave when he was aufed. He left with characteristic good grace, even humour--not the usual teary exit with undertones of either exaggerated gratitude or "I was robbed"

High: Inspiration challenge. Runnerup: BR team challenge/with Daniel.
Low: Clothes Off Your Back challenge+accompanying runway meltdown
Comment: Should have won Inspiration. Meltdown totally understandable, if totally "inexcusable". It certainly individualized and humanized Andrae, if it rendered him somewhat eccentric. (By the way, I LOVE eccentric!!!) Andrae's Inspiration design was for me the most beguiling, magical, delicious and sensuous garment of the season.

High: Barbie challenge.
Low: the Zuleema raid on his model, the exquisite Tarah.
Comment: Nick was a favourite of many, especially after Daniel F's elimination. He may simply have peaked too early, or not wanted the win passionately enough. He also seemed to start missing LA (friends, partner, favourite haunts) desperately about midway through.

High: Fashion Week collection. Runnerup: Garden Party challenge
Low: TIE: BR challenge, Zuleema in s/m mode; the makeover challenge (Santino)

High: NHilton, need you ask?!!!!
Low: Kara's makeover, need you ask?!!!!
Comment: things are always so clear with Santino. He doesn't evoke a shred of ambivalance in either his friends or his enemies.

High: BR team challenge/with Emmett; Runnerup: Makeover challenge (Nick--at least it allowed Nick to exit in High Style)
Low: lingerie team challenge/with Daniel F. The Freakout that caused Daniel's early , and probably undeserved, departure
Comment: Some here have speculated that her comment to Daniel, it's better to be a great human being than a great designer, carried a nasty. negative vibe. I don't buy that for a minute. I felt genuine compassion, affection and support in her remark.

High: Inspiration challenge. He really pushed the envelope in this one.
Low: Chloe's makeover. Was it deliberate, was he subtly/subliminally thumbing his nose at the judges because of his immunity??
Comment: his spectacular, eyecatching design for the Inspiration challenge was pure Objet d'Art, minimally wearable, if that, except on the runway.

SEASON HIGHS AND LOWS, FOR THE VIEWER (this one at any rate):

BR challenge. All of the designs were wonderful, probably better then BR deserved. AND Daniel/Andrae's winning design was not, in my opinion, the best. True, it had very clean lines and was, for once, very wearable.
Runnerup: Daniel Franco taking the hit for his lingerie collection, refusing to blame anyone else. Compare this to Santino's now famous/infamous, if unheard, tirade/defense of his collection, too characteristically blaming everyone else in the universe, except, of course, himself. (In hindsight, however, the collection does seem to have staying power. Who can remember anything about Daniel's, except for the bustier?
Santino's is edgier, and as only he is capable of accomplishing, marries kitch to high concept in an astonishing fusion. Wow!!!)

Hands down, the Makeover Episode. There was all-around bad chemistry and lethal vibes floating through that on!!. Chloe alone seemed to stay out of it, AND WON. I call this episode "Andrae's Wake". His presence was critically missed, especially by Santino. All of the designer's work this episode, Chloe excepted, was "off the mark".
Runnerup (by at least five or ten heads, but still grueling emotionally): Andrae's meltdown. Being almost pathologically empathetic by nature (simultaneously a blessing and a curse), I responded deeply to the inner panic, grief, trauma and chaos that he so clearly was experiencing.That one was a REAL rollar-coaster ride.


Don here, signing off.


Aunt Gina said...

the season's low point was the makeover episode, specifically when the judges asked the designers who they thought should be eliminated. It was hideous on two levels (1)that the producers went that shallow and mean spirited and (2)that Kara and Santino and Daniel unanimously sold Chloe out.

Biggest rip-off of the season (my own category): Andrae's Gutter Water Gown was not only the best offering of the Inspiration challenge, but in my opinion, it was the finest offering of the entire season.

Most annoying judge (again, my own category): the Freddie moron who thought the jumpsuit on poor Kara was anything but godawful...famous stylist, my foot.

love this blog

Irene Done said...

Uncle Nick's win in the Barbie challenge is a sentimental favorite moment of mine. I liked how he mixed his aesthetic with what he thought would catch the eye of a 10-year old girl. Sweet! And the low moment? When everyone picked Chloe to be out. It made everyone look petty. And I don't know what shocked me more -- that they would turn on her instead of Santino or that it revealed Daniel to be so totally manipulative and unlikeable. I think he picked Chloe because he wanted her and her talent out of the way. Since it happened just after he told Santino that he can't sew, it seemed like Daniel had a plan to mess with the people who would be a competitive threat to him. What a smug little tool.

Of course, even smug little tools can create beautiful frocks.

Anonymous said...

Season: Hight Point- Inspiration challenge, Runner up: Barbie Challenge

Low point: Any time I got the feeling that designers were being aufed based on things that didn't make sense. It happened a lot this season, and it appeared to be more about what the producers thought should happen versus what this competition should have been.

Runner up: The trashing of the model Rachael.
TPTB are at fault for not giving each designer a model at the same level, in NY, no less. Or did they stack the deck from day 1? The girl takes lovely photos, but seems to not be the perfect runway model. And given that many runway models should probably be in the hospital I'm not sure that what we see among the good ones is such a good thing.

Anonymous said...

High Points:
-Santino, period. I offer no apologies for the dude. I get why some people don't like him. But I love him. Yeah, I was "WTF" 'ing right along with the masses at his lingerie, ice skating, and makeover designs. But I also liked his COYB, Nicky Hilton, and another design I'm blanking on right now. And based on the pictures I've seen from OFW, I loved some of his designs. I also found his Tim Gunn and Michael Kors impressions absolutely hilarious.
- The boys of 35D (Pre-Andrae Auf'ing). I loved the dynamic of the boys, and I liked each of them individually.
- Tim Gunn. I love him, 'nuff said.
-Bonus Videos. Yeah, not shown on the show, but I have loved them. It really gives you more of an inside look at moments that haven't been edited within an inch of their lives. My favorites were Andrae and Santino's conversation on the bed(I saw a tiny bit of vulnerability in Santino, of course with some major ego thrown in), and I loved the ones from the last episode, with Daniel and Santino getting ready for bed, and the "what do you love" convo in the workroom. I thought the comments Santino and Daniel made about the anticipation of sex and having sex in a bathroom were funny. I know Kara and Chloe were disturbed, but I found it hilarious.

Low Points:
-Makeover challenge. Ick. To all of the designs.
-Michael Kors. That Cheeto lookin' fool drives me insane.
-The obliteration of the dynamic of the boys of 35D that I loved so much. It really did die when Andrae left. I think his absence really affected the boys, most notably Santino. I think he was kind of Santino's outlet so to speak, and when he was gone it just screwed everything up. I hated watching it, it really tore me apart.

AJ said...

I'm going to start with my low points...

The Garden Party challenge: I hated the timing for this challenge! I think the producers introduced a foreign materials challenge far too late this season and far too early last season. It's easy for a really talented designer to mess up with a material that is not fabric, thus getting them the boot they don't deserve.

Last season's materials casualty was Daniel Franco who is clearly a wonderful designer but didn't get a chance to show his goods because it was the first challenge. I'm glad we got to see more from him this season.

This season, the casualty came in the form of Andrae, our little lamb. In the episodes between his breakdown and his aufing, Andrae showed such incredible progression and became one of my favorite designers. I really would have loved to see him at Fashion Week and actually shed a few tears when he was taken out by leaves. I think that for the coming season, the producers should have a materials challenge later in the season to weed out the expendable designers. To me Andrae was not expendable and along with Nick was the worst loss this season.

Speaking of Nick, my next low point comes from the Makeover Episode. I liked the episode overall, but by the end of it I felt as though my intelligence was being insulted. I can somewhat understand keeping Santino over Daniel F and Emmett in previous challenges, because I don't know that they had the vision to make it to FW and I can relate to the idea of "going to far" or "not going far enough". During the Makeover Epsiode, it was blatant that Nick's garment was better and w/ Nick being a favorite of the competition and a clearly talented designer, it's the first time I've been in agreement with the whole "Santino is only here for shock value" theory. I think he's a great designer, but I don't think he's better then Nick and I felt a little insulted that the producers would keep someone for entertainment value over design talent this late in the competition.

High points: There are so many! Santino impersonating Tim comes to The one I want to touch on though, was during the Nicky Hilton Challenge when I first really took notice of Daniel Vosovic. Even with the lingerie win I didn't really see him as a front runner...then I saw how graceful he was under pressure during the Hilton challenge and how stunning his dress came out. I became a Full Dan Fan that night (he became my #1 w/ Nick) and his progression from that point forward really solidified him as one of the best in my book.

So I just wrote a book on three points from the!

Sorry so long!

PhillyKat said...

i didn't like most of kara's line, but i understand why you did. i expected something a lot more fun and over the top from santino, but i liked what i saw. i liked chloe's as well. dan's was good but boring. however, it did fit his gown. i think he'll win it all because he listens, he's classic, and he wants it. i agree that santino is the darkhorse. if he wins, it will partly thanks to debra i think. the other part will be the producers wanting to make a project santino to air next season.

well, i guess we shouldn't mention the obvious low for the designers of being aufed, huh? i don't know. i think some of the highs and lows came not in design, but in their personalities. laura, i agree that emmett seemed ready to go. i think the class he displayed, as well as, his demeanor & humor he used during his exit. the low for the designers as a whole came from nick in my opinion. as much as i loved his designs pre-rachel (not so much post), i felt his catty/snotty behavior during his last challenge was uncalled for and nasty. if he'd designed men's clothes before, he certainly failed to prove it.

many if not most of the designs bored me this season. i thought that they were lackluster. i also feel the judging was poor and the producers should keep their dang fingers out of it. i expected the designs to get better as more designers were aufed but they didn't. they got more boring and expected. i feel like i know what dan v. and chloe were gonna do before i saw it. that to me is a show low.

the only show high, and i'm not sure it counts, is the tim time. heidi could have missed a few episodes and i wouldn't have batted an eye. tim missing a few episodes would probably have had me not watching and checking out the designs online.

the designing high is andre's topiary garden dress. though, i didn't choose it as one of my top 5, it definitely makes the top 10. it took a risk, accomplished what he set out to do. the man made an audrey hepburnesque breakfast at tiffany's dress out of moss for god's sake. overall, i actually think we saw the best/most creativity out of the designers in the coyb and rtr challenges.

there are so many designing (and judging) lows i haven't a clue where to begin. i could point to almost everything zulema created as a low. the aufing of dan f over santino's hideous lingerie is a low. honestly, i think the lowest low is the judging. it was all over the place and..and (dare i say it?) vulgar.

nsa said...

The show started losing its appeal with the loss of Andrae and Nick. (and prior to that, the loss of Diana)

It started off so great though! I loved COYB, Barbie, and the Nicky Hilton challenges.

Dinah said...

My favorite was the Barbie episode when Nick WON!!! I loved what he made so much.

When everyone picked Chloe to go it totally made me loose a little respect for Daniel since he complained about Santino in the beggining of the show. I think Daniel is threatened by Chloe and well he should be.

Anonymous said...

Highlight: Andrae's growth from the meltdown (oh please..) to the Inspiration Gown (OH PLEASE, what do you mean he didn't win????)

Lowlight: Bravo's producers manipulating the drama with mean spirited stupid questions and aggressive editing instead of trusting the designers and their designs to remain the focus. BTW I think Santino would have hung in there if the drama angle had not existed because his highs can be so very high it's worth the investment to not dump him. I know, the lows are pretty bad too.

Honorable mention: BPR I needed my daily fix and Laura and friends you were always there, thanks!

Marsha said...

Season Fashion High = Kara's OFW show, because it was delightful & so lovely to see her finally "be" Kara!

Season Fashion Low = the whole Garden Party challenge. What was that supposed to prove??

Season Behavior High = Kara helping Chloe glue on leaves. How dear was that?

Season Behavior High Runnerup = Santino's Tim-pressions

Season Behavior Low = Santino lying about the jumpsuit falling apart.

Anonymous said...

Daniel Franco redeeming himself- and exciting gracefully- Santino's impression of Tim and Andrea at Red Lobster-Kara and Chloes designs at Fashion Week-Andrea's Inspiration dress-Nick!
the betrayal of Chloe-Jay as a jerk, I mean judge-Santino fighting on the runway

Anonymous said...

/// High points, for me: ///

- Everything Tim, especially his Podcast

- Seeing Austin again (even oh-so-briefly)

- Andrae's Gutter Water gown

- Santino's Timpressions

- Nick saying "Whickety-Whack."

- Heidi saying "Let's eat something!" at the end of an episode 11 bonus video (- I dunno why that tickles me)

- Watching Kara's exaggerated cartoon mouth enunciations during her interviews

- Emmett's beautiful black brush stroke sketch for the BR display

- Guadalupe's hair. I just adore it. And her. I know. I'm the only one!

/// Low points ///

- Santino saying to Nick about his makeover suit for DV "You can't polish a turd." - I was *over* Santino forever after that.

- Andrae's meltdown - too incredibly painful to watch.

- The entire "What's Your Line?" episode. I think the production of it was just forced and stupid beyond belief.

- Michael Kors' meaningless fashion declarations.

/// Simultaneous Low/High point ///

- Ann Slowey referring to "down there" as "Tootie."

KCF said...

* the rush of the first episodes and taking in all the new faces and talent.

* Everything and anything Tim -- the world's ultimate teacher. Wouldn't you love Tim by your side? And, of course, his podcasts and blog.

* Daniel V making his steadiness and grace first known via the Nicky Hilton episode.

* Kara's sweet goofiness throughout.

* The tim-pressions. Like Santino or not, they were sooooooo funny.

* Seeing andrae evolve from a train wreck into a talented, thoughtful, fascinating character.

* The outing discussion between Nick and Daniel V.

* Heidi Klum, who looked glorious and who we got to know as more than just a pretty face this season.

* All the designers looking so silly and having fun on the ice together.

* The inspiration challenge -- a wonderful and thoughtful exercise.

* The clothes off your back -- another well-thought out and fun challenge.

* Daniel F. getting a 2nd chance to show his spirit and talent.

* This blog, which has made my enjoyent of Season 2 so much richer.


* Santino's mean-spiritedness during the lingerie judging.

* Andrae's breakdown on the runway.

* The makeover episode -- just plain dumb in my opinion. How can you have your competitor be your client?

* The whole FW decoy thing drives me nuts. Just call it a win for 4 and get over yourselves.

* Nick's bellyaching about the Zulema model thing. I am no big fan of Zulema and I really do love Nick, but I think bitching about her taking advantage of the fair rules is babyish.

* The whole model thing, however, was whacked in my opinion. I think the winner should have had first dibs on sticking with his/her model or switching, and then everyone should have had a chance to switch, as drawn by random from the funky velvet bag!

* That stylist who let the unforgivable jumpsuit fly.

* That editor who was just plain stupid about Emmet's skating costume. It deserved to lose because it was boring, not because it was vulgar. Not.

* All the judges who showed how clueless they are about real life prices when demanding lots of flowers on a slim budget.

* The dress that was supposed to be about your line. Oh no, for imam. Oh no, your line. Whatever.

* The timing of the cocktail party. As much as it was fun to see beloved faces from last season, it seemed unfair to spring it on our exhausted designers right then.

* The fact that the last competition is always underwhelming (remember, last season), since the designers are so exhausted. Come on guys, give them a little more downtime in between challenges.