Project Runway: The Height of Avant Garde Fashion
February 28, 2020 11:56 AM - Season 18, Episode 12 - Subscribe

With only one challenge left to make it to New York Fashion Week, the remaining designers must think big to create an avant garde look that is anything but ordinary. In a fashion first, the runway begins with a season-long retrospective, outside and 16 stories high, at New York City’s dramatic Vessel.
posted by kitten kaboodle (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I so badly wanted to hear "Sergio...congratulations. You are being YEETED INTO THE SUN."
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:03 PM on February 28, 2020 [6 favorites]

Whew, that product placement of the Vessel was awkward as hell.

I hate to defend Sergio, but the very fact that multiple Western designers have attempted to draw on perceived-medieval-Japan for inspiration means that it's not "copying" any one of them to do so yourself. I didn't fully agree with the Celine Dion critique but felt that one was at least much more on point.
posted by praemunire at 5:30 PM on February 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

Whyyyyyy can't Sergio do anything without appropriation? The SECOND he said "Japanese samurai" I did a full-body cringe.
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:35 PM on February 28, 2020 [4 favorites]

Geoffrey is way more accomplished than Sergio and way more humble about it!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:13 PM on February 28, 2020

It's almost exactly like Sergio confused confidence for survival with toxic masculinity and misogyny. I swear, each one of his "takes" is so bad it feels like a horribly done SNL sketch. With what he thinks pregnant women should wear (!!!) or want to wear or want to spend money on despite actual women telling him otherwise (!!!) and now that we need to show that women are strong though warrior fashion (!!!). Women have always been strong. We don't need a man to do an appropriated look to show that. Notice how he didn't share that aspect of his inspiration at the runway critique. I also feel cringe about the source idea and styling. I already cannot stand these types of people/men, but especially those who PROFIT OFF MAKING CLOTHING FOR WOMEN. Big yikes.

I liked Geoffreys. I wish it had some more latex detailing. I'm a sucker for latex. I adore Nancy, even if I wouldn't wear most of her things. Victoria's admiration baffles me.

I liked Brittany's color choice. But overall I think most people's looks were still quite tame and not as over-the-top as I expected.

Honestly, this is probably the last season of PR I'll watch, unless something miraculous happens. I enjoy Christian as the mentor. I like how the judging panel has changed and they speak a lot about the politics of clothing and beauty as well as the fashion and I appreciate that.

But the casting has just been...bad. I rewatched the last couple season of PR all-stars and it was like "OH! Remember when they cast people with BIG personalities? Most of them were likeable too!" But the past few seasons of regular PR has been bland, and not just in terms of boring fabric choices, but also in terms of casting.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:40 AM on February 29, 2020

Do you think it’s possible shows like this, that are focused on a specific skill set, just run out of talent after awhile? I wonder the same thing about Drag Race.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:05 AM on February 29, 2020

I am so happy Geoffrey won this challenge (or at least was the first to be announced as going to Fashion Week). He's been my favourite for most of the season, and his looks have always been interesting and well-made.

Of course Victoria is in the finale. Unless she has a complete brain-change, there'll be ten asymmetric, cut-out, strappy one-way monkey garments on the runway that the judges will gush over and give her the win.

Nancy I love - as an older woman myself I am full of admiration for her making a new career at a time when many people are thinking of retiring. I loved the story of how she met her husband on a golfing singles website.

Sergio, oh dear God man, shut your damn mouth. His dress this week was gorgeous, but I don't think we've ever had a more arrogant, self-aggrandising contestant on the show.

Brittany's outfit was probably what I'd make if I had to make an avant-garde outfit. And I have very little imagination when it comes to clothes, so I think this challenge showed her limitations.

As much as I like Marquise, I think the challenge was too much for him. That silver jacket made his model look like an oven-ready turkey.

But the casting has just been...bad. I rewatched the last couple season of PR all-stars and it was like "OH! Remember when they cast people with BIG personalities? Most of them were likeable too!"

Yes, I totally agree that this season has lacked drama. We could do without the ridiculousness of scenarios such as those idiotic twins who couldn't sew from a few seasons back. But overhearing a bit of gossip in the kitchen isn't on the same level as the Alexander/Ken meltdown (complete with ironing board throwing), the joyous brio of Chris March or the villanous Gretchen which made past seasons so much fun to watch.
posted by essexjan at 7:20 AM on February 29, 2020

I don't think we've ever had a more arrogant, self-aggrandising contestant on the show.

Time heals all wounds *cough SANTINO cough* I guess.
posted by praemunire at 10:23 AM on February 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

(Santino would flip Sergio like a table.)
posted by praemunire at 10:23 AM on February 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

I was just stunned that Sergio would bang on and on about making a look to call to mind women samurais and then put her in geisha makeup. Fashion is terrible about this sort of bullshit but I honestly don’t get why anyone thought that was okay. (And yeah, how did she feel having to do that? It’s not like they’d ever address that!) Nina calling him out for copying other appropriation by fashion designers but not that is really disingenuous.

I’m actually okay without the drama, I’ve always hated that sort of thing, but I do feel like the longer a show goes on, the less true undiscovered major talent you get to pull from. The length of time this show’s been on means the younger ones grew up with it. They probably have a set of expectations based on that and certainly seem to think that kind of behavior is acceptable.

I know Victoria will probably win because they seem incapable of recognizing her limitations but I’ll keep hoping for a Geoffrey win. I’d hope for Nancy but I honestly don’t think she will get it, she’s not quite as outside chance as Sergio but I doubt she can pull it together. The thing I’m least looking forward to is seeing a ton of black and gray stuff. This has been such a dreary palette season with few forays into color.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 3:05 PM on February 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

Sergio's garment was really lovely (though I think it's a stretch to call it "avant garde" but I gasped out loud in horror at the makeup. Being inspired by female samurai, okay, fine. But what on EARTH does that have to do with putting her in a sort of mask of geisha makeup that makes her look like an anonymous doll? And it's infuriating to see him literally not accept that his work being criticized. He just flat-out does not believe the judges.

I am relieved to be finished with Brittney's shitty attitude toward her fellow contestants and her endless parade of floppy pink clothes. That underdress was so incredibly pedestrian. That fabric would make a beautiful party dress for a little girl, or a comfortable summer maxidress for an adult, or a very sweet print for wrapping paper with a few extra butterflies cut out and taped to the top of the box.

I love that Geoffrey saved his latex skills as a show-stopper surprise for this episode, and it was an technically impressive fabrication for latex.

I didn't love Nancy's garment, but I am very glad she's in the finals. Victoria finally did something a tiny bit different...which ironically reminded me strongly of Nancy's aesthetic.

(Watching them walk down the vessel was undeniably dramatic, though my calf muscles were twitching in sympathy with the models over all of those steps.)
posted by desuetude at 12:41 PM on March 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Being inspired by female samurai, okay, fine.

I know nothing about female samurai, but whenever he'd start talking about them, I'd scream at the TV, SHUT UP SERGIO. Was anything he said true?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:46 PM on March 2, 2020

From my quick googling when he brought it up, yes, there was a period in time. Mostly trained to defend homes/villages when the men were away. The artwork briefly shown on the screen when he talked about it, this one I think, does show similar makeup and hairstyle though surely not practical in a fighting situation, artistic license and all that and here is a contemporary photo, probably from a tv show or film, with a different hairstyle.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:18 PM on March 2, 2020

Thank goodness for Elaine. I wish she had been able to save both Nancy and Marquis (and send Victoria home!), but I feel like (especially given Nina's very anti-Nancy comments), that they let Elaine win on one of two. Brittany's white dress reminded me of cheap pajamas. Terrible choice of fabric and she has no one to blame but herself. So glad we've reached the end of her gallery of sour faces. I am still surprised that Brittany is out and Nancy is in. Surprised and thrilled for Nancy!

I was really happy they got to pick two additional looks from the season, and hope they continue that in the future. Of course, Nancy could not bring her one winning look (athlete challenge), but I really liked her three pieces together. I thought the nautilus design was really nicely done.

I am looking forward to all of these collections. Though if I'm being honest, I hope anyone but Victoria takes it.

I wonder if Brandon expected not to be able to climb the structure when he heard where the runway was being held? I was glad they didn't make too big a deal of it. (I think I could have managed the stairs, probably.)
posted by Glinn at 9:25 AM on March 3, 2020

I think knowing that Geoffrey was saving his latex skills kind of explains his Mood meltdowns earlier in the season, it's like he used all of his faculties to avoid latex and didn't have any left to choose a different fabric.
posted by Duffington at 4:26 PM on March 3, 2020

BTW, did anyone ever figure out what the hell Brandon was talking about when he said Geoffrey’s look was “a little ‘Land Before Time’”? Even the judges were confused. Granted, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but I’m failing to draw a parallel between that look and a 1988 animated dinosaur movie.
posted by Bunny Boneyology at 5:45 PM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Spikey sleeves = brontosaurus (or whatever they're calling that poor thing these days), was what I thought of.
posted by praemunire at 8:20 PM on March 3, 2020

> Spikey sleeves = brontosaurus (or whatever they're calling that poor thing these days), was what I thought of.

Stegosaurus, I think. Brontosaurus is the smooth one. Anyway, that's a weirdly petty frame of mind for a designer judging an avant-garde(!) fashion challenge. If that's your perspective, then let's also snicker at the dinosaur-esque fabric spikes going down the spine of Sergio's coat (though I believe the effect turned out considerably more subtle than what he intended) and the fact that Nancy had her model's torso emerging from a shell?

Focus, Brandon. Do try not to sound like the comments section on newspaper articles about runway fashion.
posted by desuetude at 8:12 AM on March 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

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