Before we get down to the nitty et gritty, that was a sort of fun two hours, yes? Like checking in on a bunch of old friends again. Well, old friends and one or two people you deleted from your cell phone years ago.
Although it has to be said: we expected Santino to act like a jackass (and he didn't disappoint on that front), but we were pleasantly surprised by the relative low-key nature of Jeffrey. In fact, he was practically invisible. If anything, there was some unexpected bitchery coming from some unexpected quarters (but we'll get to that later).
As for the challenge, we were a little disappointed. It was so basic.
Sure, they added a twist - and it was a welcome one, sort of. Doing an unconventional materials challenge was practically a given, but Lorenzo in particular found the scenes of designers destroying a restaurant a little tiresome and a little ... how to put this? Undignified, maybe?
Of course, dignity wasn't exactly on the menu last night.
In fact, if we could pin point any one problem, it was that all of these people were too experienced in the pitfalls of reality television and a bit too aware of the camera. Mychael barely uttered 10 sentences the whole night and they were all monotone.
And Chris could barely keep himself awake. Santino would no doubt argue that he was the only entertaining person on the show, but dude, you only came off as a huge lamer. It was embarrassing to watch.
Okay, we admit it. We hate to complain after such a long trek through the desert, but frankly, 3 1/2 hours was a little bit of overkill last night. We would have been happier if they'd aired this special on another night. It was fun seeing everyone again, but after the initial pleasure wore off, those 2 hours dragged.
Oh, and Nicole Kidman? LAME.
In case you can't see her behind all those graphics, that's Diane Von Furstenberg and she was a perfect choice for the guest judge. She's probably (although feel free to check) made the most guest judge appearances, so it makes sense that she would be on the All-Stars show. She gives the best damn critiques.
But don't think we don't have huge problems with some of the judging decisions last night, many of which seemed totally arbitrary. We will, again, get to all of that in future posts.
So, congrats Danny V! We know a lot of you don't think he deserved the win. Truth be told, he would not have been our pick, but we think the judges had one overriding criterion even if it wasn't stated outright: they were looking for the designer who had shown the most growth since their last time on the show. On that front, Daniel excelled.
And we also want to point out how smoothly professional and comfortable he was throughout the process. Not that he was ever unprofessional back in S2, but there was a real "pro" attitude coming off him this time around. He was focused and clear about what he wanted to do and completely ignored what was going on around him.
So let's get to the clothes.
We're not defending the judges here, but we do have to say, sportswear is as valid a choice for a runway show as say, gowns and cocktail dresses. We think the relative casualness of Daniel's collection threw off a lot of viewers who didn't understand the judges' reaction to it. It was actually a pretty savvy move on his part, because his collection instantly stood out.
We hated the styling, though.
Do we love this look? Not particularly.
We like each piece separately for the most part, but we can't get all excited about seeing them paired up.
This look, on the other hand, we liked quite a bit.
Very sporty and stylish and modern. We especially like the little pleat that runs down the side of each leg. There were a lot of little touches like that. It's a subtle collection.
And with only two looks, he established a through line and sense of cohesiveness. He was very economical with this collection and we think that's another thing that the judges responded to. There was a laser focus and clarity to it. In fact, if you listen to the judging again, "clarity" was used to describe it again and again.
Okay, we can't really defend this one and this is where the judging went off the rails for us. The standard response to this seems to have been "suicide bomber," and that's true. She does look like she's getting ready to blow herself to kingdom come and take the rest of the models with her. But our first thought - and subsequently the only thing we see now when we look at it - is that she looks like she's wearing a giant version of one of those change dispensers the guys in the stadiums wear when they're selling hot dogs.
There were at least two other "restaurant challenge" dresses that looked like real clothes; high end clothes, even. That the judges couldn't bring themselves to point out that this is exactly what you're NOT supposed to do with an unconventional materials dress (i.e., fail to make it look like a real dress) instantly makes their decisions a little suspect.
Here it is, girls. Here's what won him the prize money. And to be fair, we really can't argue with that.
It's not just a pretty, stylish, trendy look; it's also unconventional and the judges eat that shit up like pudding.
He chose an interesting material to work with.
And then turned around and did interesting things with it that, if you have any familiarity with his prior work, perfectly summed up his style and aesthetic. It was Danny V. 2.0, from the cute little sleeves...
To the color-blocking and dramatic embellishments. Maybe we're too much the PR scholars, but we would have known this was a Danny V original without being told.
Again, we really think that's what the judges responded to. They ALWAYS had a hardon for Daniel. Like Christian Siriano, he embodies exactly what they think a rising young designer should be and if you remember the finale of S2, their disappointment in his Bryant Park collection was obvious and palpable. He let them down last time and they were just looking for the chance to give it to him again.
So it seems to us they unconsciously decided on a certain set of criteria to give him the win: they placed a ton of importance on the red carpet look because it was his strongest look, and they decided that growth and improvement were more important than producing 4 flawless looks (something that at least 2 other designers managed).
To be fair (and clear), we love Daniel and we're happy for him. We're not at all suggesting that he didn't "deserve" this. As we said, it all goes down to what the criteria are for giving the win.
[Photo: David Russell/myLifetime.com - Video: myLifetime.com - Screencaps: Projectrungay.blogspot.com]
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