August 03, 2006

Of squids and villains

Project Runway, Episode 4: "This is the challenge that everyone has been waiting for".

Sadly, after all the hype generated by the previews the actual episode lacked sparkle. That's what you get when you take out the dogs and let oceanless squids (Bradley about Bradley) and love-starved hyenas (Robert about I-love-color-I'm-from-the-South Kayne) roam. The challenge was quite drab (did you know that "drab" is also a color?), the designs were nothing to rave about, and the contestant who got the boot for foul play was the contestant who all along had been portrayed as not exactly being the most,er, ruthful. His expertise was "not in jersey"* – and not in playing by the rules either.

"I always break the rules a tiny bit because I think I'm right".

Ah well, sometimes a rose is just a rose, and a villain** just a villain (sorry, Keith, that's a competition you can't win - everybody's favorite villain is Severus Snape, and he still has the chance to redeem itself). Tim Gunn was concerned that he had been ostracized*** by the other constestants, but he soon learned that there was a reason. When confronted by Tim about the design books he kept in his room (and supposedly took into the shower at night), Keith looked a bit like a deer caught in headlights and put up no fight. He left. He's not really that much of a good story teller after all.

The challenge was to design a three-piece outfit that's "ageless" and at the same time "on the edge", plus it must be "ready for Macy's". Tricky****, eh? One good thing about it: finally, we'd get to see some pants.

Bonnie, self-declared designer for the masses, who thought her design was "a little bit fashionable, a little bit safe" found out that it was neither, and was "out". You know you are in real trouble if the judges use the kiss-of-death adjective "dowdy" and if Heidi Klum points out that your design looks "cheap, no?". She likes her plants shiny. Go Heidi!

Ms. Bubble Skirt, Angela, who wisely changed her opinion about not doing sketches, was first selected as a team leader and later declared the winner. The inspiration for her outfit – now for sale at Macy's – was a sunrise over the Empire State Building, in case you didn't notice right away. (There's something that tells me that – unlike Jay McCarroll's Chrysler Building dressAngela's garment will forever be known as the Macy outfit with the rosettes rather than the "Empire State Building suit".) Heidi was very pleased that the outfit looked expensive. However, her judgment may have been impaired – clearly she was under some sort of bubble skirt spell of her own, or, judging from her culottes - if that's what they were -, she came to the show straight from her audition for the part of Romeo in an all-female post-modern Renaissance production.

Runner-up was Keith's truncated team, Jeffrey and Allison. They produced a garment with an upside down tank top, which reminded me of a fencing jacket, strap and all. It was pronounced sexy, beautiful, active, and hip.***** To everybody's surprise and disappointment, Team Robert's outfit was rather uncharming, with a skirt showing altogether too much tootie, sorry, wrong season, the judges criticized the split skirt for going "up her fanny".*****

I hope next week everybody will be back in the ocean, and that includes the sorely missed Big Orange Shark.


* Jersey (the material) is named after Jersey (the Channel island), known for its knitting industry.

**I see the word villain misspelled all over the Internet. Perhaps it helps to know that the word is actually related to villa. According to the OED, a villain originally was "a low-born base-minded rustic" – based on villa, which originally referred to a "country mansion or residence, together with a farm, farm-buildings".

*** The origin of the verb to ostracize is a custom in Ancient Greek whereby a citizen who was deemed dangerous to the community had to leave the city. A vote was held and the name of the person to be banished was written on tiles. The Greek word for tiles is ostracon.

****Tricky is related to treachery, but that's just an aside. Oh, just let me add that challenge "is originally the same word as calumny" ("False and malicious misrepresentation of the words or actions of others, calculated to injure their reputation; libellous detraction, slander"). Not to imply anything.

*****So when and how did "hip" become an adjective? Both OED and Webster consider "hip" a variant of "hep" ("well-informed, knowledgeable, ‘wise to’, up-to-date; smart, stylish"). The word and has been around since the early 20th century, but its exact origin is not known. One attempt to explain it runs as follows: "'Tis said that back in the 1890's Joe hep ran a saloon in Chicago...Although he never quite understood what was going on, he thought he did...Hence his name entered the argot as an ironic appellation for anyone who thought they knew but didn't. The ironic sense has now largely disappeared" (1941, from the linguistic journal American Speech, via OED).

*****Neither OED nor Webster list "tootie", but you can go to to look it up. Regarding fanny, one should note that in American English, it's used mainly to refer to someone's backside, while in British English it has, er, gender-specific meaning. This can account for embarrassing misunderstandings, as in the line "And three small boys on three bicycles smacked her young fanny in passing" (by Ezra Pound, via OED).

1 comment:

Franco said...

schnaufblog very nice blog!
Would it make fun for you, to make money in the Internet?
more information
important see the video