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Project Runway Episode 11 - Make it feel good

Althea won the best design with her oversized sweater and paper bag waist pants.
Irina continued her Aspen look from last week with a tiny strapless brocade dress and voluminous sweater.
The judges praised Carol Hanna’s dress for its pockets and quiet elegance and her brilliant use of chiffon over charmeuse. They said, “We could all wear that dress.”
Christopher’s dress had no favorable comments. Irina asked, “Why is one dress throwing up the other?”
This dress sent Logan home. One judge said it looked like Space Odyssey 2001.
The judges weren’t fans of Gordanas outfit, but it has nice details and is the most comfortable of them all.
Althea won the best design with her oversized sweater and paper bag waist pants.

Althea won the best design with her oversized sweater and paper bag waist pants.

Photo: mylifetime.com

Lined up on the stage were previous winning or outstanding ensembles, one for each designer. Their challenge was to use that design as the inspiration for a complementary companion piece. As the designers are eliminated I enjoy the chance to see more of how each garment is developed. Each week as the designs unfold, I try to find a common characteristic in the designs. This week, about a third of the way through the runway presentation I realized that none of these clothes were comfortable. Something from each one kept it from feeling good. I’ll explain.

Althea won the challenge with a paper bag waist pants and an oversized sweater. The judges praised the construction and proportion and said the sweater was architecturally strong, yet cozy and comfortable. Irina continued her Aspen look with a voluminous sweater over a tiny strapless dress. The dress looked like a saloon girl’s brocade corset—Nina called it cheap looking, but they praised the ensemble as uptown chic, elegant yet cozy, millionaire arm candy. I think both outfits are useless. The oversized cuffs make it impossible to wear while eating and impossible to get into a coat arm.

Christopher’s dress looked like an unmade bed with a pile of whipped cream in the middle. Heidi likened it to bed skirts. But it had two major flaws: the proportions made the model look like she was standing in a hole. And when the model walked the middle poof moved like an apron full of potatoes.

Clearly, the best use of fabric was Carol Hanna’s layering black chiffon over pale green charmeuse. The effect was enchanting, but the bodice moved independently of the body, which greatly diminished the charm and comfort of the dress.

For me, the biggest discussion of the night regards the last two designers left standing: Logan and Gordana. I don’t know how Logan could have made his dress uglier. It reminded me of a jogging suit with night lights all over the skirt. I could feel those zipper teeth pulling hair. I agreed with the judges, it did look like a student fashion project. However, I didn’t agree with the judges about Gordana’s design. They were particularly brutal in their criticism. Heidi called it old, drab, and sad. Nina thought it looked dated. I’m not a fan of the Elvis collar and the jacket did look a little limp (an unfortunate by-product of deconstructed edges), but both the skirt and jacket had some very nice lines. The skirt had horizontal tucks down the length, and the jacket had a number of beautifully flattering seams. I thought it was a very sophisticated companion to her best look dress.

Which of these garments would you want to wear?

stitchhappy judith neukam, senior technical editor
Posted on Oct 30th, 2009 in sewing, design, Project Runway, episode 11

Comments (11)

FineTexan FineTexan writes: I wanted Gordana to be in the final 3 and get a chance to create a collection. The other designers made fun of her and her age (I can see that). Her dress was true to the challenge. I could not believe that they judged it by the zipper alone. That was just an excuse to get her off because she is older. Remember what her background is and that explains her depressing color choices. Irina is cold and uninteresting in personality as well as clothing design. Actually I liked the last dress she did better than any of her others. I am glad to see there are no males in the final three this time. They pick guys (no offense) that are gay and design wierd clothing normal people would not wear. I thought Chloe was a good choice on a previous Project Runway. It is true that these people are not as interesting as the designers on previous seasons.
BY THE WAY I LOVE PROJECT RUNWAY AND WOULD NOT MISS IT. I WATCH THE RERUNS OVER AND OVER. I always notice something I missed. Where can you get the DVDS??
Frankly I like to check out the flabby thighs and cellulite of the judges when they are sitting on their stools in their short skirts. Being skinny is not all; being toned is. Heidi is gorgeous and I can't get enough of looking at her
Posted: 8:11 pm on November 9th

indifly indifly writes: Sigh....
For a few episodes back I've been wondering why they're sending designers that have true potential home and keeping Christopher and Logan who've been making hot messes in the same episodes.
I still think Shirin was sent home too early. And I mean they weren't my favorites but they sent home Epperson ( who sews impeccably), Ramon and Nicholas before they sent home Christopher and Logan... I'm baffled as to what goes through the judges minds sometimes when they choose who's going home.
Christopher's dress had schizophrenia and well Logan was sent home for his space cadet, alien outfit.
Posted: 6:28 pm on November 6th

Skymom Skymom writes: I love this point in the competition where we really seem to know the designers as people and artists, and we have enough history to evaluate their latest efforts. (Also, I just discovered that my "On Demand" cable offers slightly extended edits of the judging, and that's fun!)

This week, every design had some flaw in my book. Althea's was, to me, a cool silhouette that I'd love to wear, but probably couldn't pull off. Irina's sweater neckline was attractive but the sleeves were overwhelming with the fur, and the dress seemed a little upholstered to me.

Carol Hannah's dress was adorable, for sure, but I ask myself how original it was. More interesting in this case was the role of Tim Gunn's input: first, encouraging her to stay within her comfort zone with a dress, and then in being the one to suggest layering the charmeuse and chiffon. Hmmm...he should really get some credit for the finished design!

Logan and Christopher...what can I say? They're personalities more than designers to me at this point. Dispensable.

Gordana: I've liked her all along. She's done some wonderful, often subtle things in her designs, and she doesn't get crazy or over the top. This week's suit had loads of potential, and probably would have looked terrific if it had been modeled and photographed as in an Eileen Fisher print ad. Not great on the runway, unfortunately, but the harsh criticism seemed unwarranted--I mean, you could wear that, unlike Logan or Christopher's designs. I'd really love to see what she can come up with for an entire collection. She's mature and has a good grasp of the classics, but often adds a twist that takes things to a new level. I feel I could wear what she designs. Also, I enjoy seeing what she wears each week to the runway shows. Of all the designers, Gordana is the one I'd like to know as a person and the one I'd trust to dress me (I'm slightly older than she is).

So, Gordana, good luck in your future as a designer--hope to see your line in stores soon!
Posted: 11:06 am on November 3rd

Soli Soli writes: I did like Althea's winning look. It's totally California casual, would work for someone who is middle aged like me wanting to hide the saddle bags, wanting to be updated, casual, but cozy at the same time. I have big shoulders so I could carry off the shrug, but I can see where someone who is petite couldn't carry the proportion off.

I think Irina is talented, but she has a bit of an ego/attitude problem. I don't think that they emphasize the collaborative nature of the fashion industry enough. Unless you're a one-person operation like Rami from a previous season, or Gordana, you have others to answer to (including the market), and there is more than one way to think or approach a design brief. I know that editing is probably done with maximum drama in mind, but she really comes off like a major egotistical be-otch.

I like Gordana's style at it's best - but then again, I like elegant sophistication, a la Carolina Herrera or real YSL or Valentino, real Givenchy. There is still a need in fashion for flattering tailoring/dressmaking that isn't too young or trendy, that suits those of us who are over the age of 35 who don't want to look like our daughters.

I'm not sure how Logan got this far in the competition - his designs were always pretty uninspired and somewhat sloppy in my eyes, although I think his p.o.v. might work for the Hot Topic crowd. I feel so bad for Christopher. It's so obvious that he's hungry for this, but being self-taught is becoming more and more of a handicap as the competition goes on. He cares so much, and he tries so very hard, and I think his will power is the only thing that has kept him in the running. I hope he gets out of Missouri and gets to NY or LA to work with a mass market design house so that he gets more experience behind himself. He might not be a great designer, but I think he could eventually do something with the cocktail/evening ware market that's sold in stores like Macy's and Nordstrom.

Althea and Carol Hannah are both talented girls with fresh takes, but again, their designs are very, very youth oriented.

I'm always rooting for the Wendy Pepper clones like Gordana - the older women who bring experience and sophistication to the challenges. What they bring to the runway might not be the freshest of looks at all times, however, 95% of the time, their style and garments are utterly wearable. All things considered, how many of the winners have gone on to do great things? Christian may have been on Oprah and Ugly Betty, but are his clothes selling across the country? I know Santino didn't win, but has he done more than knock out a handful of commissions and continue his endless stream of self-promotion? Jeffrey Sabala has done a little, but I haven't seen any of the winners doing a major line in NY or elsewhere.

I would like to see the contestants skew a little less young so that the competition involved more people who had actually produced some significant work, rather than people who seem to be two or three years out of fashion school. I'm curious to see who wins this year, because I don't find anyone over the top appealing, but I always enjoy observing the process that they go through.
Posted: 12:41 am on November 2nd

KL48 KL48 writes: I love watching Project Runway and I give a lot of credit to ALL the designers.I can just imagine how nervewracking it must be to come up with fabulous designs and flawless executions each week.They never seem to have enough time or money to create top notch clothing.Kudos to all the talented hopefuls.Thanks for letting me vicariously get the thrill of being a designer each week right along with you.
Posted: 7:26 pm on October 31st

Kate_W Kate_W writes: I interpreted Althea’s and Irina’s oversize sweaters and sleeves as outerwear. I would wear Althea’s paper bag pants. And the spaghetti-strap top, well, never.

Irina continues to irk me with attitude. Although I find most of her designs ho-hum and predictable, she is talented.

Gordana -- if the sleeves and jacket were shortened just a tad, I would not only wear Gordana’s outfit, I would look for the pattern. I liked the “Elvis-y” collar, loose construction, and middle details but why, oh, why the sad grey again? Although as presented, I could see the jacket with jeans. She is closest to my age and I'd like to see what she would do with the time to construct a whole collection. My husband thinks some of her presentation/self-confidence issues are rooted in her culture of origin.

Logan and Christopher continued to amaze me with their haphazard designs. I will miss Logan’s sliver pants and sneakers and bow legs. All the zippers, meh, not so much.

Posted: 6:49 pm on October 31st

ejlee ejlee writes: I've been watching Project Runway for several seasons now. I really have been underwhelmed by the outcome of each challenge. Although the current designers show a degree of promise, more so, it greatly shows that they have not done a lot of research before they went on the show. They didn't seem to understand or show how the present challenge was suppose to relate to their other garment. I believe Althea won because she came the closest to executing what they were being asked to do. Furthermore, I question whether they will be able to pull off creating a cohesive collection, not just for the finale, but for their continuing business.
Posted: 3:38 pm on October 31st

seattleyarnthing seattleyarnthing writes: If anyone was closely paying attention - it was Irina that changed the final design for her jacket for Challenge 11 NOT Althea. Althea's sweater jacket looks exactly like what she sketched. Irina's jacket looks nothing like what she initially sketched, so for Irina to accuse Althea of "stealing ideas" from her on the runway is inexcusable, it's the tactic of a loser.

That said, I feel that Carol Hannah had the best design. Her dress was feminine, soft, and utterly wearable. It would be flattering on the widest range of bodies and had a playful, sexy, yet sophistacated feel. She totally should have won. I like her style AND her personallty. I sincerely hope she's in the final three.

Logan should have got the boot. Christopher should have gotten it more. His clothes look like he's been using 80's Goodwill rejects. They are cheap, ugly, and badly made. Why he's still taking stuff down the runway, two challenges away from Fashion Week is beyond me. Somebody AXE this guy already and let the real designers work.

Gordana, does have a serious confidence problem... and she's trying to hard to please the judges and not her own design sensibility. Her "voice" is getting lost. I felt that the reason she did so well on the wedding dress challenge was because it was personal for her; she was able to dredge past her dread of elimation precisely because she could relate so deeply to those women. I hope she gets it together because she has promise. But I suspect that Althea, Carol Hannah and Irina are going to be the top three.


Posted: 1:50 pm on October 31st

Cherlyn Cherlyn writes: I would wear Athena's because the perportionally it is the better look. Irena does show a great deal of talent, but I could not see many people wearing her dress. The fur on those sleeves made them look bottom heavy, almost as bad as Christopher's dress. I don't know what he was thinking with that dress. I was glad to see Logan finally off the show. His design probably would appeal to a limited young population. I loved Carol Hanna's dress. I was a little surprised she didn't win this one. I thought it would be between her and Athena. For fuction, Carol Hanna dress would allow one to wear it to a dinner party. You really cannot wear Athena's or Irena's to dinner without removing the sweaters.

I don't find the jealousy appealing among the designers. I think that the contest will come down to Atena, Irena, and Carol Hanna. They have shown the most talent for the limtied amount of time they have to sketch and shop.
Posted: 10:15 am on October 31st

Filatura Filatura writes: Many may object to Irina's people skills, but she is the most accomplished designer, in my opinion. I thought her dress was very sophisticated. And don't forget, she did not just follow Tim Gunn's suggestion to layer 2 fabrics, she created that design by isolating it from the original fabric. Logan's poor effort seems to reflect the stage in the show when all the competitors begin to exhibit mental and creative fatigue. As for the "copying" of another designer's sweater idea, who said only one designer is allowed to offer a sweater per challenge? I'm fascinated by the fact that the designers are required to sketch and THEN shop for a challenge. This is the exact opposite way I create garments. Touching and playing with a fabric tells me what it wants to be. For these challenges, the designers are at the mercy of what's available at Mood that they can "make work" for what they have previously sketched.

Posted: 7:12 pm on October 30th

sews4fun sews4fun writes: I have to say for the first time that maybe, just maybe, Irina finally knows how it feels to get the short end of the stick. The IDEA of both her and Althea's jacket was nice but the final product was baggy and sloppy and totally unwearable. Something a little more proportioned would have been ideal. I DO feel that Althea took her idea from Irina and it was ironic that Althea won using Irina's idea >-)
I'm SO glad Carol Hannah stuck to what she knows because its way too important now to veer off her strengths. Even Irina knows that. Carol hannah should make her pants outfits for Bryant Park and just get to the final three before she takes a big risk. Hey, it has worked for Irina so far! Christophers dress was one of those old fashioned music box ballerinas dancing atop a mountain of toilet paper. Had he left the ballerina, he would have been fine. But then, it would have been too similar to the first look. I personally believe Gordana has multiple personalities! This woman can make a dress one week that is just beautiful and the next, a fashion abomination! I felt her suit looked like that of a female prison warden circa WWII Germany. I totally agreed with Heidi on this one. As for Logan, his Judy Jetson dress was so bad, it was embarrassing, even for him. He said he doesnt design for ninety percent of the population, that his stuff is limited to certain tastes. If thats true, his "career" is over because designers design for the general public, NOT space aliens.

Posted: 2:52 pm on October 30th

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