Ripping the Collections: Kara Saun, Part Two

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 by




Okay, no. We have quibbles with several of the pieces in her collection, but this is flat ugly. First and foremost, that fabric is both an unattractive color and way too shiny. And the only "person" who can get away with a pink fur collar is Miss Piggy. Even if we ignored those two aspects, there's just way too much going on here. The ruffled skirt, the puffy sleeves, and all that...stuff going on in the bodice.




Hmmm. We really like the top part of the dress. The gold lace is retro glam updated. The skirt is '80s prom dress. She really likes those Minnie Mouse gloves, doesn't she?




There's just way too much shininess and metallic-iness going on in this collection. And this dress hardly looks distinguishable from the rest of them. Too many keyholes, Kara Saun.




This is gorgeous and she should have put it earlier in the runway show to break up all the gold digger dresses. Love the sleeves but we're not sold on that fur trim halfway up. And yes, we realize we're not supposed to look at them, but those boots are fierce.




Okay, it's getting harder to offer a critique with each new dress without sounding repetitive. This is just a skosh too hooker-esque. And those gloves make her look like she's ready to perform a prostate exam.




Absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, for a signature look, there's way too little to distinguish it from most of the other dresses in the collection. Doubly unfortunate that this was the most clearly derivative dress out of the collection. When the very first thing your model says in her first fitting is that it looks like Gucci, you need to step back and reassess. Speaking of models, Jenny is a beautiful girl and an excellent model, but her styling doesn't make her look good here. And those little gloves with a floor-length gown!

It's funny. We maintain what we said earlier - that this was a beautiful collection. It's just that, reviewing it now, we're seeing more and more of what we would consider flaws: too derivative, too shiny and furry, and some really poor accessories choices. As pretty as most of the gowns are, what we remember and (not coincidentally) what remain the best parts of the collection, were the aviatrix outfits. Several of our commenters have asked "What kind of woman would wear that?" That's a criterion for judging an outfit, but it's not necessarily the criterion. In fact, quite often in runway shows, it's not a consideration at all. It's about making an aesthetic statement; about offering choices that can be edited or re-arranged by a potential consumer, and, in this case especially, it's about showing the world what you can do. We may have discovered some heretofore-unrealized quibbles with this collection, but in our opinion, that's exactly what Kara Saun did.


[Photos: FirstView]


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57 comments:

GothamTomato said...

The fur on that dress that is on the red-headed model really ruins it for me, but I didn't notice how bad that was still I saw the screen grab.

But as far as your critiques of too much shiney on the dresses, I found that surprising coming from you guys when you love Laura's work so much. LOTS of shiney in her collection as well.

I think both Kara & Laura went wrong in the same place--too much repetitive evening wear. I would LOVE to have seen both of them take their aethetics (which are quite similar) and send some daywear down the runway; something for the career woman.

THAT would have been something to see. (And probably would have won the day for each of them)

--Gotham Tomato

Embeedubya said...

In most of your shots here, you did NOT show the shoes, so it was easy for us to ignore them. But those boots absolutley make that coat outfit. And when people comment, "Who would wear that?", I think they've missed the point. Your comment that this kind of collection is about showing what you can do is exactly right. But then, aren't you always?

jinxy said...

I think Laura was WAY more versatile than Kara Saun, so I won't even make the comparison.

It seriously looks to me like Kara made a few pattern pieces that were admittedly gorgeous, but she used them over and over, mixing and matching them with each other to try and achieve different looks.

Her keyholes were tastefully done, but she did them too many times.

At the end of the show, all of her work was flawlessly executed, but it almost looked like my daughter's mix-and-match dress up game that "designs" gowns for Barbie on the PC. It almost seems to be coming from a "Kara Saun template."

Anonymous said...

"But as far as your critiques of too much shiney on the dresses, I found that surprising coming from you guys when you love Laura's work so much. LOTS of shiney in her collection as well."

Laura's dresses aren't really shiney all over, though, which is what I like about them: they come alive when the wearer moves on them, but they don't scream all the time.

I also think that (surprisingly) Kara's eveningwear was more repetitive than Laura's...you didn't see the same two necklines from her (keyhole and plunging V as with this collection). But then, Laura's collection was ALL evening wear.

I'd love to see some daywear from either or both of them too.

Lisette said...

Prostate Exam! I spit coffee all over my computer! And I work in a medical building

Bean said...

"But as far as your critiques of too much shiney on the dresses, I found that surprising coming from you guys when you love Laura's work so much. LOTS of shiney in her collection as well."

Laura uses meticulous beading and sequence for shine. Sometimes it's all over. Sometimes it's in accents or gradations. But she makes sure to do individual looks so that it's not all the same dress walking down the runway.

Anonymous said...

My main problem with Kara Saun's collection was her damn keyhole neckline on every other outfit. I was sick of them halfway through the season.

Anonymous said...

Ditto on the keyhole necklines and the general repetitiousness. And what's up with the dresses being so long that the models have to hold onto them to walk down the runway?

Aesthetically, I enjoyed the use of the fur. But does anyone besides me have a bit of an issue with fur, a la PETA? It is pretty horrendous what they do to the animals. Even if it's not the real thing, there's the argument that real-LOOKING fur helps to drive the demand for the kind you get from torturing small animals...

Jake

Anonymous said...

"quite often in runway shows, it's not a consideration at all. It's about making an aesthetic statement; about offering choices that can be edited or re-arranged by a potential consumer, and, in this case especially, it's about showing the world what you can do."
THANK YOU!! At last someone said it, I worked for Ralph Lauren for 11 very long years and he would send out seer tops with nothing underneath and no one seemed to get it.
As far as the Laura vs Kara shiney dress debate Laura's dress shine and shimmer because of her flawless beading and sequining not because she chose a metallic material. Two completly different approaches

Anonymous said...

During the competition--esp. the first half or so--Kara seemed a sure bet. But seeing her final collection a picture at a time, I see several hits, but too many misses.

The standout hit for me is the white outfit with the boots -- it's killer. (Did we ever get to see what was under the coat?) It works best because it's reminiscent of the past but looks modern, and if slightly costumy, is still wearable. On the other hand, the 2nd dress shown today is a disaster; as the Boys pointed out, it's like two different eras stuck together.

Gotham Tomato said: "as far as your critiques of too much shiney. . . you love Laura's work so much. LOTS of shiney in her collection as well."

I was never a Laura cheerleader, but Laura did shiny with beading, etc., whereas Kara's fabric here looks cheap. Shiny fabric probably should be used sparingly.

Jake said: "does anyone besides me have a bit of an issue with fur, a la PETA?"

Yes, I posted about that yesterday. I thought a lot of the fur-&-leather stuff looked good, but yeesh, it was a bit much.

Gotham Tomato said: "I think both Kara & Laura went wrong in the same place--too much repetitive evening wear."

I agree, and it might be even more true for Kara since her evening gowns were not the stronger pieces.

Anonymous said...

There is alot of craftsmanship in this collection, but I think that's it's strongest point.

Too many keyholes, too repetitive or too costumey.

Kara is a costume designer and hopefully will make more of a name for herself in that industry.

As for comparing her collection to the other contestants' across the seasons:

Ok, I don't know about anyone else, but ALOT of the dresses in Kara's collection remind me of some of the dresses in Mychael's collection in season 3. And not in a good way.

Jay did creative better, Chloe did charmeuse better, Uli did keyholes and even shimmery fabric better, and Laura certainly did evening wear better.


SNF in VA

Sugar said...

i think the dresses are, like, all the same mostly. the keyholes didnt help. one or two would have been great, but like seven!

The Scarlett said...

Those boots are fierce indeed! Wouldn't you love to know exactly what the judges were told about the shoes?

Anonymous said...

I feel like Kara Saun's collection is the bizarre lovechild of Michael Knight and Laura Bennett - or rather, what would have potentially happened to Laura's collection if she let Michael "revamp" it or something.

I miss Laura. Can she be the new Tim Gunn if he doesn't come back for PR4?

nso said...

I think the first half is much more interesting than this second half. That first outfit is way too much. And once you start looking at the screencaps of each piece, the repetitiveness of the dresses stands out more. For the most part, it's pretty stuff, but it doesn't wow me. I agree with the previous poster who pointed out that Laura did the eveningwear better, & Uli did the keyholes & shimmery fabrics better. I also agree that there's a big difference between shiny fabric, which tends to look cheap (Kara Saun & Michael) and adding some sparkle through accents and beading like Laura did.

Anonymous said...

I thought a lot of her stuff was too costume-y. Wasn't as enthralled of the aviatrix look as you guys were. I do agree with the fact that it was very repetitive, which I didn't even realize until just now. Some of the garments were wonderful, and I loved the white coat even with the fur halfway up the sleeves. It took me 2 years to come to these conclusions, imagine the pressure on the judges to do it in a few hours!
kath

Anonymous said...

Re: the keyhole thing. Maybe she could design for Beyonce, since she too is into too-shiny fabrics and keyhole cutouts? Just asking....

Anonymous said...

Several of the gowns are too long. When's the last time you saw runway models bunching up the skirts in their hands? The gold one in this set of pictures? Take a look at the model walking away (in the same frame as the killer white coat and boots.) It looks like the hem stuck on her heel and that she's pulled a piece of dress off -- it seems to be flapping behind her.

I'm not as bothered by the keyholes, which are a consistent part of her design philosophy, as I am by the needless use of fur (the fur trim halfway up the arms just looks ridiculous to me) and the length. (And yes, it's real fur. She was on PETA's hitlist out in L.A. before she ever came to Runway).

I concede that runway need not be real-life wearable. But the best runway shows make you WANT to wear things, even if they are a little out of the ordinary. The aviatrix outfits just didn't do that for me.

GothamTomato said...

"But does anyone besides me have a bit of an issue with fur, a la PETA? It is pretty horrendous what they do to the animals."



Actually, it is pretty horrendous what PETA does to animals!

Personally, I just don't like fur period - be it real or fake. I just don't see the attraction. I do believe very strongly in animal welfare and conservation & the reality is PETA is very bad for animals. They are simply media whores who spend almost all the money they collect on publicity stunts and other administrative costs. They don't actually do anything for animals (though they do attack other groups that DO have actual programs for animals). They're kinda like conservative Republicans of animals.

--Gotham Tomato

GothamTomato said...

"Laura's dresses aren't really shiney all over, though, which is what I like about them: they come alive when the wearer moves on them, but they don't scream all the time."


True. Those beads (as opposed to fabric) do add great movement to her dresses. I especially loved that short dress with the long bead strands.

But I wonder how much of that movement is the fabulous walk of the model. I wonder if a flat-footed geek like me would get the same great movement with that dress. Somehow I don't think so.

--Gotham Tomato

Brian said...

About runway shows "offering choices that can be edited or re-arranged by a potential customer" even more important is how the smaller manufacturers, retailers and the fashion press pull the runway shows apart and offer the pickings to the customer. Twice a year the pictures show up in every media and you hear this same general remark, "Who would wear that?" I think the more important question is "What's this going to look like, once it gets to my store?"

Kara's collection made me think of comic strips where the plot takes place in a mash up of time periods from the past and future.

Brian

Alisa_Benay said...

I thought Kara's collection looked like she just didn't quite ask herself the right questions. Instead of saying 'how can I take this element and re-work/ re-style/ re-invent it so that it's recognizable and cohesive yet fresh?" she just said "damn this is a really cool belt/keyhole/metallic knit! I like this. I'm a great designer. Where ELSE can I put this. How about here, here, here, here, here, here, and umm...maybe...here!"

jlp said...

Is it the photography, or does Jenny have twigs for arms?

"But does anyone besides me have a bit of an issue with fur, a la PETA?"

Not me! I love fur! How else would I deal with a Chicago winter? And fur collar & cuffs, a muff, a throw, etc. is the height of elegance, done properly. But KS just sort randomly threw bits of fur on. That doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

"They're kinda like conservative Republicans of animals."

Gotham, will you marry me?

Anne

Anonymous said...

Alisa Benay said

"Instead of saying 'how can I take this element and re-work/ re-style/ re-invent it so that it's recognizable and cohesive yet fresh?" she just said "damn this is a really cool belt/keyhole/metallic knit! I like this. I'm a great designer. Where ELSE can I put this."

No, No, No! I'm sure what you REALLY meant to write goes something like this:

"Instead of saying 'how can I, Kara Saun, take this element and re-work/ re-style/ re-invent it so that it's recognizable and cohesive yet fresh?" she just said "damn this is a really cool belt/keyhole/metallic knit! I, Kara Saun, like this. I'm Kara Saun, a great designer. Where ELSE can I, Kara Saun, put this."


;o)

I, SNF in VA

eric3000 said...

The most shocking aspect of her collection is that the models could not walk in some of the long dresses. Tripping over your skirt is bad enough, but having to carry your skirt down the runway is absolutely unacceptable!

Granite Janet said...

Ha! Who cares about fur on clothing? You all should be really concerned about animal testing aka the medical research establishment. Scary is not the word for it.

Some of these outfits were nice, but I keep thinking of the movie Aviator everytime I view them.

Anonymous said...

If Kara keeps doing what she is doing, the next time you may see her is accepting hardware at some awrds show for some awesome costume design.

I hear bits of snickering when you mention costuming. What is fashion design afterall ?.Costume design for the masses or those that can afford it.

This woman has massive talent as do the other 2 . A good costume designer will always be working and most likely get to see places and things that regular design doesn't afford.

I hope she can become the next Edith Head if she choses.

Anonymous said...

Don't you mean that Edith Head would become the precursor to Kara Saun?

Anne

Anonymous said...

"A good costume designer will always be working and most likely get to see places and things that regular design doesn't afford."

Do you really think so? Films and TV shows that are set in the present day require 'off the rack' clothing for the wardrobes, and not really custom designed garments.

Period pieces or futuristic works require costume design, for sure, but when the time comes to translate those costumes into wearable fashion for the public, its the fashion industry that steps in.

She has a bright future ahead of her, but the clothes shown in this collection were costumes. It was a fashion design competition, not a costume design competition. That's where she went wrong, I think.

Anonymous said...

Hey, what happened to "Ripping the Collection: Part Eins & Zwei" ?

I miss the foreign language homage. :)

Anonymous said...

After seeing all this fur and leather, I'd love to see Kara Saun's receipt bundle for all this. Must have cost a pretty penny! (How much were they allowed for their collections, again?)
And er, I love fur/leather, but this was a lot of dead animal strutting down the runway.

The collection stumbles a bit at this part. I prefer the aviatrix look to these gowns, which aren't terribly interesting or original to me. I would wear that white coat right now. And the pink, I would wear if it didn't have those sleeves giving it a clunky shape.
-Em

Anonymous said...

"Actually, it is pretty horrendous what PETA does to animals!"

"Personally, I just don't like fur period - be it real or fake. I just don't see the attraction. I do believe very strongly in animal welfare and conservation & the reality is PETA is very bad for animals. They are simply media whores who spend almost all the money they collect on publicity stunts and other administrative costs. They don't actually do anything for animals (though they do attack other groups that DO have actual programs for animals). They're kinda like conservative Republicans of animals.""




Your kidding right??
i mean how ignorant can you be ?

Anonymous said...

How come on all 3 of the designers only 10 looks were shown???

Kara Saun: they left out that ugly pink piece and the one with the gold lace

Wendy: Who cares

Jay: The black and Gold piece

Anonymous said...

"Kara Saun: they left out that ugly pink piece and the one with the gold lace"

It was mentioned elsewhere, but the model wearing the gold lace gown was on ANTM. (The season that had just finished.) I kind of love that we didn't see her walk.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah is that ann the man from season 3 of top model ??

Anonymous said...

Doesnt the girl in the short gold dress look JUST like Anne from ANTM? It totally threw me off!

Ms. Place said...

First, my distaste for her behavior towards La Pepper and the shoe incident totally clouded my perception of Kara Saun's collection. I found it too retro and costumy. Though well executed, there were few pieces I liked. I'm so not into leather and furs.

Anonymous said...

"Your kidding right??
i mean how ignorant can you be ?"

I'm certainly not pro-fur, and I don't eat meat very frequently, and I'm very much an animal lover (4 geriatric dogs, 4 cats, all rescues), but I would NEVER donate money to PETA.

Considering that the good folks at PETA have 'liberated' captive bred animals in areas to which they are non-native and ill-equipped to fend for themselves, or in the case of some predators (minks, e.g.)which wreak havoc on the ecosystems where they have been 'set free' by out competing native species for food or wiping out populations of prey species, I think they do more harm than good.

Or how about their practice of simply euthanizing domestic animals that they 'rescue' from the pound which actually adopt out animals, or letting the REAL heroes do the REAL rescue work, by providing veterinary care and spay/neuter services to the animals before actually finding them homes?

No, the folks at PETA are not doing much of anything truly productive for animal welfare and don't exactly live up to their name, because they don't treat animals in an ethical manner when it comes right down to it... Its a shame really, because the animals lose.

If you're anti-fur, then don't buy it.

Sorry everyone.
I'll put my soap box away now.

GothamTomato said...

"Your kidding right??
i mean how ignorant can you be ?"


Not ignorant at all. I just know the facts about PETA: What they do, how they spend the money they collect, and what they do & more importantly don't do with & for animals.

--Gotham Tomato

GothamTomato said...

"No, the folks at PETA are not doing much of anything truly productive for animal welfare and don't exactly live up to their name, because they don't treat animals in an ethical manner when it comes right down to it... Its a shame really, because the animals lose.

If you're anti-fur, then don't buy it."



All true. Then there are the cases of them attacking and harrassing the workers (and families) in legitimate animal welfare groups; including things like digging up the grave of a dead zookeepers to steal the corpse, picketing funerals, and calling the media to hold 'photo ops' of them dancing on the graves of other animal workers.

--Gotham Tomato

LisaSabatier said...

Kara's collection looks like a better made, less sluttish version of Michael Knight's. Not even in the same categorry as Laura's.

Operakatz said...

It's amazing how ignorant folks still are about PETA and how little good they actually do FOR animals. Well-meaning people would be much better served donating time/money to animal-welfare organizations that actually spend their money on helping animals, not publicity stunts.

PETA militants go to dog shows or cat shows, steal animals and "set them free"...where they die because they're not wild animals. PETA wants zero relationship between people an animals...not for food, not for fur, not for pets, not for service animals (aka guide dogs for the blind), etc.

When the south had those horrible floods a few years back, it was animal welfare organizations that sent personnel and money down to rescue folks' pets from tops of roofs...PETA didn't spend a dime.

Anyhow, I'm a bit torn on fur for fashion...I tend to encourage folks who want it to recycle existing furs...Ritz Thrift Shop, etc.

Suzanne said...

I think her biggest problem was she didn't show enough range. That, and she was a bitch.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"I feel like Kara Saun's collection is the bizarre lovechild of Michael Knight and Laura Bennett."

Yes! I hadn't thought of that, but that's exactly right! I think I liked KS's collection more when it was originally aired than I do looking at these still photos. She's talented and smart and she's got a lot of what it takes for a successful career (which she seems to be having). But, yes -- the idea of sexy -- tight skirts, keyhole necklines, etc. paired with the idea of elegance -- in this collection, anyway.

Pittypat said...

Hmmm, I wonder if it was Kara Saun's collection that turned Jay against fur . . .

Anonymous said...

Looking back now a year later, I am not as impressed with Kara's collection as I once was. Maybe because after seeing Laura's it is clear that Laura's is much more impressive IMO.

OT: Time for another Laura update guys. I am suffering withdrawal symptoms. How about another photo dump of extra Finn, Laura, Peter pics?
Did Laura have to have a C-section or induction being she was so overdue?

Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

Typo alert!
"....or letting the REAL heroes do the REAL rescue work"

That should have read "...INSTEAD of letting..."

My bad.

I get a little ticked off about PETA, in part because I know alot of genuine dedicated animal rescuers, wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians, and even a couple of bona fide conservation ecologists who do alot of amazing hard work, many without financial assistance from anywhere. It takes alot of dedication to do what some of these folks do, and they do it because they truly care about animal welfare.

PETA, on the other hand, is well funded and does more harm than good in the long run.

As far as Kara's collection goes, I don't think that some of the fur added to it much, because I don't think she used it as well as she might have in some instances.

nso said...

By the way boys, thank you for including photos of the looks that didn't get shown on the show--I hadn't even realized till now that they hadn't shown us everything.

charlotte mom said...

Seriously, this site should just be renamed "Worshipping Laura on a Daily Basis" -- it's just tiring. Someone points out that Laura does a lot of "shine" and that person gets beaten down and made to sound like he/she doesn't know what the word "shine" means. Honestly. I like Laura but it's just wearing on my patience. Guess I'll go back to Blogging PR where they are at least fair.

Anonymous said...

Yes, charlotte, it would obviously be best for you to go back to the blog where everyone is forced to have the same opinion or risk having their comments deleted.

Anonymous said...

"Someone points out that Laura does a lot of "shine" and that person gets beaten down and made to sound like he/she doesn't know what the word "shine" means."

WTF? A few people pointed out the nuances in a very civilised manner if you ask me. And if you ever wear evening wear, you surely recognize the difference those nuances can make.

Anonymous said...

I think Laura gets unbelievable preferential treatment and kudos from many people, most noteably T & L who fall at her feet for the smallest of deeds.

Maybe there is a hidden connection somewhere ?

TheGayBoys said...

Maybe there is a hidden connection somewhere ?

You've figured us out. This whole blog has been a front to promote Laura. Tom and Lorenzo don't really exist. They're just stunningly beautiful actors that Laura hired.

GothamTomato said...

"Anonymous said...
Yes, charlotte, it would obviously be best for you to go back to the blog where everyone is forced to have the same opinion or risk having their comments deleted."


That would be BPR, right? LOL. Yeah, you've gotta drink the kool-aid over there.

--Gotham Tomato

GothamTomato said...

"Anonymous said...
Looking back now a year later, I am not as impressed with Kara's collection as I once was."



I think that ALL lof the collections look completely different in the still photos, than they do walking down the runway in the show. But it was on that runway that they were all judged.

The thing that I've often wondered is if the judges closely inspect the looks after the shows, and before they deliberate.

--Gotham Tomato

trixie b said...

The use of fur just isn't necessary: Look the kind of luxury and elegance Laura was able to achieve using other materials.

An innovative designer might have seen this as one way of updating the look of the 30s. But the truth is that she wasn't updating..

I think the shoes and the music were her attempts to cover for the fact that she was basically doing a costume period collection.

And not for nothing but given her posturing about how she has such a clean conscience etc I wonder what those animals would have to say about the purity of her soul.