July 26, 2006

Project pooch, live-blogging (sort of)

It's Project Runway day. Is there anyone who is not addicted to this show? Anyway, the previews indicated that this episode would be about "one of the hottest fashion accessory", and there was a lot of speculation about which accessory that would be. [Spoiler warning!]

The consensus on Blogging Project Runway was that the accessory would be a dog, and while the notion of a dog as an accessory makes me flinch, the actual sight of Tim Gunn in Central Park holding the leashes of 13 dogs (all little dogs, I'm afraid to say) was ...priceless.*

There were a miniature poodle, a Boston terrier, a Yorkshire terrier, a pug, a Chinese crested, a Pomeranian... and some other dogs, mostly terriers. One contestant said that basically every designer picked the dog that was a canine version of herself/himself. I think I would have picked the Corgi. What does that say about me?
The Pembroke's brave, steady temperament, physical agility and easily-kept, compact size are paramount characteristics of the breed.
What would Queen Elizabeth II have to say about her beloved Corgis being categorized as fashion accessories?

The challenge for the designers is to design a dress for a woman who could be the owner of the dog that they picked - and also some kind of, er, garment** for the dog. Can it get any sillier? Ah well, let's just roll with it. There's a German designer on the show, her name is Uli, and she picked a pug named "Einstein" (she pronounced it the German way, /'ainshtain/). I haven't seen any of the designs yet, but I think I'm rooting for them, they're a cute team. Make it work![to be continued]

So here they are, the models and the dogs are strutting down the runway. Einstein looks happy enough. He wears some kind of giraffe-print sweater, and the model who walks him down the runway wears a flirty halter dress in an interesting combination of prints. Cool. Hm, here's a dog that looks as if he's in diapers (ah, it's actually a hoodie he's wearing). The Yorkie is fitted with a silly hat he absolutely wants to get off. Vincent, when will you learn that "kooky hats" [>>see update below<<] are just not your thing? Some dogs are carried down the runway. Well, I think it would have been better if the model with the poufy pink taffeta bubble skirt (decorated with "little rosettes"***) would have been balanced off by something natural...like a dog walking at her side.

The judges smile. That's the dog effect! Models may make you think "wow", but dogs make you smile.

Eventually, six designers remain on the runway - the ones with the highest and the lowest scores. That means that once again Michael and Laura are almost invisible. I quite liked Michael's design -- too bad we haven't really seen a close-up of his work. The coffee filter dress was outstanding!

The designers tell their story -- what kind of woman were they imagining when they designed their outfits? Uli and Einstein go first. She thinks he's "a funky cool guy". And he is! The judges love both the model's dress and like the dog's outfit. Very playful, a quirky combination of prints. And the model even has a jacket. Well done, Team Germany! The judges stress that "she thought about the dog". They also like Team Poodle, a woman in an elegant white dress (also with a jacket!), accompanied by a white poddle in a white vest. Nice construction, but no quirks or surprises here.

Surprise -- they praise Bradley's design (Stanley - is that a Cairn Terrier? He's totally adorable**** and very vocal!) and call it "the most original" -- he was struggling with it all through the challenge and was simply relieved that his model didn't have to walk down the runway in the nude, and he can't seem to believe his luck (plus it's his birthday). Frankly, I didn't get why Vera Wang like the outfit so much, but I'm happy for shaggy Bradley and his shaggy little dog. Keith made no outfit for the dog. But he put a lot of thought into it! (His dog was the Chinese crested -- just the kind of dog that you really want to see covered in something.) The design with the pink bubble skirt gets called out. The story about the woman - assistant director at an art camp for children in Paris? - is preposterous, and the outfit looks skimpy. Nina Garcia "really didn't like this at all". Ivanka Trump - she's no Hilton, don't mess with her! - thinks the model looked like a streetwalker.
"One of you will be named the winner, and one of you will be out."
Yeah! Uli and Einstein won! The judges loved the design and the choice of colors. Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Click here to see a picture of the design.

Katy, who designed the green outfit with the very simple dress for the model and the very complicated doggie hoodie that looked like a diaper to me, is "out". The judges called her design "poorly executed and uninspired". The dog will be happy to have it stripped off.

Click here for Tim's Take.

*The dogs were recruited through a dog agency in New York and their owners or trainers were present in the background.

Garment goes back to Old French garniment ("equipment, armor, vestments"), so does garnish. I was surprised to learn that garnish was used by Shakespeare synonymously with garment in The Merchant of Venice ("So you are sweet, even in the lowly garnish of a boy"). The original meaning of the noun garnish was that of "a set of vessels for table use", derived from the verb to garnish, meaning "to supply with men, arms, and provisions" [Oxford English Dictionary].

***Tim Gun called them "crafty flowerettes" and felt reminded of Kleenex. In a preview of episode four we see them again. Angela, Laura, and Michael are working on an outfit, and Laura and Michael are both exasperated with Angela's continued love for "rosettes". In another preview, another designer referred to them as "mac(c)aroni art". As they say: Enough already. (
Crafty, by the way, is related to the German word for "strong" (kräftig). Nobody seems to be sure, though, how the word came to change its meaning in English.)

****In his podcast, Tim Gunn referred to Stanley as an adoringly "schlumpy looking Terrier", in other words, a dog version of Bradley. He had first been picked by Allison, who then noticed that Bradley and his poodle didn't make a good pair. So they swapped, and Allison designed an elegant outfit for Team Poodle, and Bradly cobbled together something for Team Schlump.
Schlumpy is of course a word from Yiddish, just like those other fantastic words beginning with this kind of consonant cluster (schlep, schmaltz, schmeer, schlock, and shlong). Shaggy, on the other hand, is related to the Old Norse word for "beard" (OED).

>>Update: You probably guessed this - kooky is related to cuckoo, which -- according to the OED -- was first used in the meaning of "crazy" in 1918. <<

1 comment:

Arabella said...

Delighful. Look forward stopping by here again. Carry on.