Ripping the Collections: Kara, Part One

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 by

Darlings, now comes the time when we examine the great tragedy of season 2: Kara Janx's decoy collection. Why a tragedy? Because if she'd still been in the game, we're firmly convinced this collection would have garnered her the win. Put bluntly, it blew the other collections out of the water. For whatever reasons, she struggled in the competition but when left on her own she produced a funky, urban, wildly colorful, up-to-the-minute collection that we think would have looked incredible photographed for the pages of Elle - or any other magazine for that matter.

Since photographs never really give you the entire story and one needs to see clothes moving on a body to get a sense of them, watch the video first. We love the walking music!

Let's start the show.



Gorge. This is what we mean by sophisticated colors. She has a color sense that rivals Jay's (and that's a huge compliment coming from us). Compare this to the rather basic pinks that Chloe used.

We've never been big fans of the skirt-over-pants look, but Kara managed to do it in a way that no one else does.




One thing Kara really excels at is fitting a woman's bust. It seems like a minor compliment but considering all of the other collections had fit problems of varying degrees, it's one that should be made. She always manages to highlight and support the girls without looking vulgar. She should do a line of bras. If she can get these two 'mos to stare at racks...


GORGEOUS colors. Love the full, high-waisted skirt, which is very much on trend.

Don't love the tights, but unfortunately, they're also on trend.



We also loved the styling in this collection. The hats weren't a gimmick; they were a through-line that brought the whole collection together and gave it a youthful feel.


*clunk*

We tried to like this one, but it's not working for us. Too much of a fleeing-Chernobyl-with-all-
your-clothes-on-your-back feeling. Sometimes the high-waisted full skirts work and sometimes they don't. And we really don't like the jacket fabric.



Tom's mother had that couch through most of the '80s.


We're not big fans of this kind of look but we're fussy middle-aged queens, so take it with a grain of salt. It's very much on trend, youthful and well-made.


Love the jacket and the shorts and kinda-like the sweater, but you're never going to get us to love the white tights or the orange fingerless gloves.


When it comes to that layered, "urchin" look, we'll take this one over the previous one. We're not too keen on the fullness of the pants (or is she wearing a skirt over them?), but that's about the only criticism we have.


Love the fabric and tailoring for the jacket. The green shirt is an unexpected bit of color and girliness. Kara has a great sense of styling. She can put things together that others either wouldn't think to or wouldn't be able to.


This is Kara's 13th look and it's stunning.Who thinks of putting those two colors together? Yet it works beautifully.


Not much more to say than that.


[Photos: FirstView]


Post a Comment

63 comments:

Alden V said...

This was my favorite collection!!! I love her color story.

Andrea said...

Did the judges collectively kick themselves in their collective butts after this show?

Okay, in conlusion. . . Santine, DV, and Chloe's each had some lovely pieces, but just about everything looks off the rack. That's why those collections were such let-downs. Kara's, on the other hand, shows vision, identity, a look, uniqueness. One doesn't have to love every outfit to appreciate the overall esthetic.

As for the judges. . . oops.

Anonymous said...

well she struggled to be in top 4, so, don't think "if she were in top 3, then..."

her works in the show are underwhelming.

but i love her collection.

her model eden is the fifth girl

profp said...

I LOVE this collection. I'm a 40-something professional in the conservative mid-west, and there are STILL ideas here that I can put to use. This is something a good collection should do - have pieces that the walking racks can actually put on right off the runway, but still inspire the rest of us to make adjustments in our wardrobe to keep fresh and forward thinking without looking freakish. Her execution is beautiful, and I agree that her color story is wonderful. Thanks for including the video clip - made for a great addition to the post!

Allen said...

I wondered why this wasn't a part of the extras on the DVDs. It needs to be!

Anonymous said...

I said this in the last thread. Yes this collection is unquestionably the standout. It's bold, thoughtful and exciting. I am not sure how much the judges were actually kicking themselves since Kara really didn't show this level of output during the competition.

However even Kara agreed with Tim that she was able to pull this off becuase she was NOT in the final 3. She was under no stress and was not second guessing herself to death. She could throw caution to the wind since she had nothing to lose. Therefore Kara could show everyone where it counted how talented she actually is.

Kara is proof that is what matters is getting to show at Bryant Park not whether you actually get declared the official winner.

Frank

Anonymous said...

However even Kara agreed with Tim that she was able to pull this off becuase she was NOT in the final 3. She was under no stress and was not second guessing herself to death. She could throw caution to the wind since she had nothing to lose. Therefore Kara could show everyone where it counted how talented she actually is.


Frank


Good lesson for her. Good lesson for us all.
Gorgeous. Inspiring.

Anonymous said...

KICKY. YOUNG. INNOVATIVE. POW!
THE WINNER.
(music was totally cool. any lines on who made it?)

John said...

Kara's line was much more hip, stylish, and unique with its point of view. You can easily tell that these are Kara Janx pieces. Kara truly showed what she was all about in this decoy collection with her use of color, fabric, textures, etc. This collection was "BAM!"

JP :)

Sewing Siren said...

Frank said.."However even Kara agreed with Tim that she was able to pull this off becuase she was NOT in the final 3. She was under no stress and was not second guessing herself to death. She could throw caution to the wind since she had nothing to lose. Therefore Kara could show everyone where it counted how talented she actually is."

I think that was a rotten thing for Tim to say to her, regardless if she agreed or not. No one could say for sure whether she would have done this collection if she had been in the final three. I imagine it is quite a lot of pressure to complete the collection for OFW whether or not it will be on the tv show.
I agree with you Frank that it is getting to "show" at OFW that is the real prize , though getting the collection on TV is even better.

eric3000 said...

LOVED this collection! Thanks for covering it! I was disappointed that it wasn't included in the DVD extras.

And yes, I'm sure it was so good because she WASN'T in the final three. Kara does not do well under pressure.

snaillady2 said...

Two years and one Kara Janx kimono dress later, hers is the only PR website that I still check and wish I had extra $$ to buy another dress.

Stacie said...

Two of Kara's dresses are in the new May 21 issue of Us Weekly. They're being worn by Jaslene of America's Next Top Model.

I have scans:

http://sammie323.blogspot.com/2007/05/us-may-21-2007.html

Scroll down to near the bottom of the post :)

slutty girl to the left said...

"We're not big fans of this kind of look but we're fussy middle-aged queens, so take it with a grain of salt."

I love self depreciating humour.I think I'll start calling myself a fussy middle aged queen :).

Jim&Amy said...

The 13th look is my favorite piece out of all 3 seasons of PR. Laura Bennet's final runway look for Camilla and Jay's Chrysler Building dress are tied for a close second.

Bill said...

Too much of a fleeing-Chernobyl-with-all-your-clothes-on-your-back feeling.

Where does that come from? Too funny!

As for the fabric being from Tom's mom's sofa in the 80's, she must have gone shopping with my mom because mine had the same one.

Kara's really was the most polished, cohesive and professional looking collection.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED KARA'S COLLECTION. The minute I saw the video, I knew she would have had it in the bag had she been in the finals.

Just a question, how did you know that that was her 13th look? I don't recall seeing that in the finale.

nso said...

Wow, I had no idea till now that the teal/rust dress was the 13th look. It is stunning--one of my favorite things ever from Project Runway. As much as we all griped about the cruelty/unfairness of forcing them to do the 13th look, it's hard to argue with results like this (why was that 13th look among the best for all the collections?)

It is a fabulous collection and it is a true shame that it wasn't eligible to win and wasn't seen on television. It's impossible to know how different Kara's collection would have been if she had been in the final three. But I have a hard time believing she did so well just because the "pressure" was off. I agree with sewing siren that, decoy or not, there's still a lot of pressure involved in showing a collection at Bryant Park, and that the opportunity to show there at all is the biggest prize. So the pressure may have been a little less, but it was still there. Also, if the decision to make them do a 13th look was as last-minute as it seems to have been, it was equally last minute for Kara--she sure didn't buckle under to that extra pressure.

It is a huge disappointment that they didn't include this as a feature on the DVD--In addition to including her runway show, they could have had a whole segment about it--e.g., Did Tim pay her a house visit? Did she choose one of the other designers to help with her 13th look? Was she working at the same location as the others and was she part of the same model selection session? Does anyone know any of the details?

Andrea said...

Thinking about people's comments that Kara struggled throughout the challenges. . . I agree she didn't seem as confident as the others, but I'm not sure she had any fewer successes in than Santino or Daniel did (whereas I do think Chloe had more, though her final collection isn't my taste at all). Kara had the flower dress & the Santino make-over, both of which were really strong contenders.

Anonymous said...

Actually Kara had said in an interview she had an extra outfit made. So the 13th look was a moot point for her. She also was present at all the selections and fittings but she had to be positioned physcially so the camera would not show her.

Tim did pay her a visit and heaped mounds of praise for what she produced. He had recounted how at first Kara was not even keen on trying to put a collection together-her attitude being "why bother since I am ineligble". Then she decided just to do it and go for broke.

I think Tim's comment had as much to do with the fact that with the pressure to try to win no longer hanging over her, Kara was willing to take much more risks in her designs and be more trusting in her own judgement. He had often remarked that was her worst enemy and he joked she would need a staff not to help her design but to maintain her confidence.

I personally dont believe that if kara had made it to the final 3 her collection would have been awful. But I feel it would not have been as good or as memorable. Just my opinion :)

Frank

eric3000 said...

Kara was certainly under a great deal of pressure to create an impressive collection for Bryant Park. The difference is that she didn't have the pressure of having to please three specific people. I think that gave her more freedom. Santino, for instance, might have created a different collection if he were not trying to please Micheael, Nina, and Heidi.

I just think some people respond well under pressure and other people do well with more freedom and I think Kara is one of the latter. That isn't a criticism; just an explanation of why her collection was so much stronger than her work during the show, when she seemed to have a nervous breakdown during every challenge.

Anonymous said...

I love this collection.

But! There sure were a lotta people raggin' on it at the time. Wonder what changed their minds?

Maybe there's a legal reason DVD doesn't include Final Kara: her OFW show or Tim's visit or what it's like to be a decoy. Surely they know we want more not less...

-- desertwind

macasism said...

Brilliant, simply brilliant. I agree that she would have flubbed it if she were really in the game.

I disagree with you boys about the music. Boring & repetitive. And what's with all the closeups of Nina's pencil? I want to see the clothes!

jlp said...

Gorgeous collection, on the whole. (I, too, though not a middle-aged queen, am not a fan of the Horatio Alger street urchin look - but she did it well!) I did the the hats, while kicky on the more casual clothes, were out of place on the evening wear.

RE: the 13th look. That color combination isn't as unusual as you think. Over the years, I've had more than one piece in my wardrobe in rust & teal.

I am crazy about the colors in the first look! It's Haagen-Dasz raspberry swirl frozen yogurt, a personal favorite.

The entire collection was cohesive and well-thought out. Brava, Kara!

(And weren't the expressions on the faces of Nina, Heidi and Debra the perfect illustration of "to covet"?)

Anonymous said...

PS - Watching the video again.

It's clear the judges are excited about the clothes, enjoying the show and genuinely happy for Kara. (there's a point early on where, I swear, MK is whispering to Nina & shaking his head. Regrets?) Or did they just sit back and enjoy the de-coy-ness?

BTW - Did Debra Messing know Kara was decoy?

I remember that Fern Mallis (not a judge that year) told Tim she thought Kara had the win in the bag,

Anonymous said...

Ehm, Anon 2:35 pm is desertwind...

personette said...

"This is Kara's 13th look and it's stunning.Who thinks of putting those two colors together? Yet it works beautifully."

I believe Howard Johnson's had some luck with those two colors...

Erica said...

My biggest complaint is the styling for the 13th look dress. The hat is just gimmicky there and does nothing for the outfit.

I wonder who K.J. picked as her sewing assistant?

Anonymous said...

Hot DAMN! That is one fine collection. FIERCE! (as Nick might say.) Love the colors, fit and fabrics. Not too crazy about the hats on all the looks though, but that's just my taste.

The looks on the judges' faces really say it all.

When the "decoy" collection turns out to be a stunner like this, do you think it influenced the producers' decision in season 3 to send all of the final four out with a "real contender" collection?

vera said...

I had never seen anything from Kara's collection before, and I just love it. I can't wait to see the rest of it. I think you guys are spot on that she really floundered during challenges despite being incredibly talented.

mina. said...

I'm convinced that Kara's AMAZING showing, was what half made the PR producers say, "Go for a four person show."

She had them beat with that collection, hands down. And I love her street-urchin wear.

Sewing Siren said...

OMG! I just watched the video. Phucking Phenomenal! I love everything,the styling, the fit, the looks! The best by far!

sarah said...

Yadda yadda, Kara's collection is awesome, BUT.

Is it just me or did she choose unbelievably skinny models? I find it very distracting when watching. Or maybe it's just the camera angle. Or maybe I'm crazy.

Dishes said...

Thank you for showing us Kara's collection. I never realized how impressive it is. I think the bottom line for Kara is she is a designer and not a reality show contestant. And her success has been amazing, as it should be.

I watched the video and enjoyed seeing the live show... but why was Nina taking notes like she was still judging the show? It just confused me.

Jenn said...

My first time seeing Kara's work at Fashion Week, I am so disappointed this isn't in my DVD! I want a refund.

From what I've seen so far, this is the best of season 2. Color, fit, styling, innovation. It is all there. Accessible while maintaining a "designer-y" feel. Well done, Kara!

P.S. that very sofa is currently sitting in my mother's living room with a slipcover over it....viva la sofa!

Anonymous said...

Well I could see Nina taking notes for 2 good reasons. 1) To not let anyone know Kara was the decoy. 2) As editor of Elle, I would think she might want to jot down notes to give Kara feedback

Looking at Kara's collection again I could see her as the designer most likely to be asked back from Season 2-this based on the merits of the collection.

Frank

trish said...

loved her collection, but i'm not a fan of the skirts with leg holes. looks too drop crotch, but since the 80s are back...

ToddNY said...

I LOVE LOVE this collection. My favorite look is the last one, the 13th look. It's an amazing gown/color combination.
Thank you for this post and for the video, Boys!

Sarah said...

Fucking gorgeous collection! I'd wear all these outfits. Kara ROCKS!!

Greg said...

Regarding you question about the fifth outfit -- is it a skirt? is it shorts? -- I can't see it as clearly as I'd like, but I think it may be a sort of modified dhoti. Hedi Slimane sent very similar low-crotch wrapped shorts down the runway in his most recent Dior Homme show

GucciGirl said...

"She always manages to highlight and support the girls without looking vulgar. She should do a line of bras. If she can get these two 'mos to stare at racks..."

ROFL You bitches are the best. Funny and witty commentary with GORGEOUS pictures. I love your blog!!
I'm so glad Kara is doing so well. She deserves it! Anyone can see how talented she is.

Anonymous said...

I always thought that Kara consciously mimiced Jay's show from the year before--the use of graduated color, layering, the disheveled urban urchin look all seem very Jay.

The funniest part was I assumed she did the hats as a version of Jay's matching headphone headgear in S1, but she used hats that looked more like the one Jay himself used to wear!

Coincidence?

Vanessa

Chris Rogers said...

It was my favorite collection as well. :] But her 13th look was the multi-layered dress, not the satin jersey gown.

Anonymous said...

this collection has jay all over it with the hats, the deconstructed urban "so chic its trashy" look.

it seems copied and personally i don't "respond" to any of it...

sorry.

David said...

"Anonymous said...

this collection has jay all over it with the hats, the deconstructed urban "so chic its trashy" look.

it seems copied and personally i don't "respond" to any of it...

sorry."

They both have used a lot of colors, but they're style are completely different.

Anonymous said...

I really hate the hats. But, the beauty of the pieces are so great in comparison I didn't even notice that they existed until you mentioned them.

Agnes Gooch said...

Wow, I always thought the Kara Janx Decoy Collection was an urban myth!

Anonymous said...

Kara discusses her 13th look here and her decoy collection here.

girlincity said...

My only complaint...that first pair of shorts doesn't fit well. Kara may do good boobs, but she needs to work on crotch. And, yes, her models do look extra skinny, but that may have been to compensate for having so many layered looks. Not everyone can pull that off and look good.

jrt said...

Where in the hell was that 13th look for Iman? Jesus Christ, she would have won this competition hands down with that one look. Sorry for the language, it just confuses me.

s.j. donovan said...

I nearly cried when I saw how good this collection was. Kara would have won it, hands down. Her final dress is kinda "meh" though; I have no idea why she didn't send her 13th look down the runway, you know, since it was gorgeous. I also like the fact that despite the obvious deconstruction thing going on, the clothes are still sewn, fit and made beautifully. And dammit those tights are blue.

Roxy said...

Oh my Gawd! This is absolutely fantastic! I've always thought Kara should have been part of the final three and the judges probably did kick themselves over this (unfair) outing... because one season later, wonder of wonders, all four semi-finalists got to go to Bryant Park after a less than stellar final challenge.

I've said before that Kara was robbed of a place in the final three, as both Chloe's and Santino's dresses were bad with a capital "B"... but the judges had decided beforehand it was her time to go, IMO. Now I feel she's been robbed of $100,000, a mentorship wherever and a shiny new car. But she's got the last laugh, because they must've been trampling all over themselves trying to find out where her clothes were being sold, and I doubt there's any trampling happening over either Santino's or Daniel V.'S collection.

Didn't Debra Messing look awfully impressed during Kara's runway? I think the Duchess and Heidi did too, but it was less apparent. One thing you can say about celebrities: they know gorgeous clothes when they see them! After all, they spend most of their lives hunting them down.

kat said...

Hey T & L...

The 13th look colors choices are actually opposites on the color wheel. I've been merchandising with that combo for years.

Kara's a smart girl.

TokyoDoll said...

Fabulous collection! SHE'S A WINNER!! SHE'S A WINNER!!

AJ said...

That last dress was my favorite piece out of anything in the PR fashion week. I COVET it!!!

Frakkin' GORGEOUS! Plus, Kara's online store is quite amazing. If I ever get a raise, I'm totally buying me some KJ clothes!

bungle said...

Big huge props on the exclusive, PRGs. By that I mean, aren't you the first major media outlet to show the Kara Janx OFW show? Thanks for finding, posting and analyzing that gem in the rough.

snf in va said...

This collection is fabulous!!! You could see it on the judges' faces, too.

GothamTomato said...

This is the first that I've seen Kara's collection & I agree: It is GORGEOUS! And if she had done that 13th look for Iman, I think she might be in the final (though who knows what the producers had in mind).

But shoulda, woulda, coulda...

I wish there were a parallel PR universe where we could see the Bryant Park collections of some of the eliminated designers. I would loved to have seen shows by Nick & Emmett at least.

That's what I think the next batch should do- even if the producers don't: They should keep working , after being eliminated & put on their own PR Reject show during fashion week.

--Gotham Tomato

Anonymous said...

gothamtomato said...
That's what I think the next batch should do- even if the producers don't: They should keep working , after being eliminated & put on their own PR Reject show during fashion week.

Project Reject!
Love that! Maybe the producers could enlist the designers to at least construct a collection on paper and the fans could vote for(and maybe get prizes too) a cash prize to the winner.
Andy Cohen & Bravo,
Everyone knows you scour this blog for everything, what say you?

Julia said...

Wow! I'm very impressed! She did an amazing collection.

thyrza said...

Wow. Just wow.

Ms. Place said...

I...Want...These...Dresses. Kara made a fatal mistake - she played it too safe in the competition.

Ah, well. She's successful now, and I am happy for her.

Anonymous said...

I loved Kara's collection. She should have been in the Final 3 instead of that hack Santino.

Hands-down the best collection in the bunch.

No surprise that Chloe and Kara, along with Emmett, have had the most post-show success.