September 08, 2006

getting on and off

the project runway community is happy: vincent libretti is "out", or, to put it in pr jargon, he was "auf'ed".* in a challenge that asked for a striking couture** dress, he produced a lame, ill-fitting, poorly executed (how many bottles of glue did he use?) two-piece with a skirt that looked "like a sofa" (uli) and a top with "oddball sleeves" (m. kors) that looked as if it had been put on the wrong way around (nina garcia). oddly enough, he had even paid tribute to angela's "fleurchons"*** by putting a monstrous one on the back of the skirt, adding a not-so-subtle playboy bunny touch to his design. eminent designer and guest judge richard tyler absolutely hated "that thing on the back", and eminent and very chic designer and guest judge catherine malandrino simply wrote "no! no! no! no!" on her scoring card, which summed it up nicely.

so, despite laura's monstrous inverted pierrot**** costume, michael's sweat-inducing attempt at ruching***** and kayne's explosion of vegasness (which at least fit and showed some lovely details), there could not be any doubt that vincent would be out. jeffrey won the challenge with a refreshing westwood-inspired plaid design in yellow and red (sounds like a scream, but worked like a dream).

since there is not much of a signature libretti design element, let's take a moment to reflect on vincent's signature phrase, which was "it gets me off". many people found offensive because of its sexual connotations, while others thought it was justkind of slang-y. who's right? both camps are. the phrasal verb "get off" can mean different things, it was first used as an intransitive verb and later became transitive. here are just some of its uses (as listed in the oxford english dictionary):

intransitive ("to get off")
  • To dismount from (a horse). Also (U.S.) to alight from (a train).
  • To be disinclined for, to give up.
  • To obtain release from.
  • To escape, get away; to start on a journey, or in a race.
  • To succeed in falling asleep; to fall asleep.
  • To escape from punishment, defeat, etc.
  • To become acquainted or friendly with (one of the opposite sex), esp. with amorous intentions.
  • Of a jazz musician: to improvise skilfully. U.S. slang.
  • To deliver (a person) from punishment, or procure a modified penalty for
transitive ("to get something/somebody off")
  • To learn, commit to memory.
  • Orig. U.S., to become intoxicated with drugs; to get ‘high’; (first documented in 1969)
  • To achieve sexual satisfaction; to experience an orgasm; ... (first documented in 1973)
  • To experience an emotional ‘high’; to enjoy or be ‘turned on’ by something (first documented in 1973)
well, at least someone experienced an emotional high looking at vincent's dress. but not many, and that's what got him off the show. let's bid him good riddance (first documented in 1596).
A good riddance of bad rubbish!.. Get along with you, or I'll have you carried out! (Charles Dickens, Dombey and Sons, 1847)
* "auf" is based on heidi klum's use of the german phrase "auf wiedersehen" (goodbye, literally the same as the french au revoir).

**literally, "couture" means simply "sewing".

*** i'm not sure about the word "fleurchon". it's used a lot on project runway, but i didn't find it in an english dictionary. the oed lists "fleur" (the french word for "flower"), "fleurette" (for a small flower-shaped ornament), and "fleuron" ("flower-shaped ornament, used esp. in architecture or printing, on coins").

****pierrot (a version of the french form of "peter", "pierre") is a stock character in pantomime, "usually played as a sentimental lovesick youth with a whitened face, characteristically dressed in a loose white costume with a neck ruff" (oed)

***** "ruche" (used as a verb here, but only listed as a noun in the oed) goes back to the french word for "beehive". think of the way plaits of straw are arranged in a beehive.


shirlsd said...

visiting you all for the 1st time (saw mention on BPR website). liked your OED take on 'to get off' ... when i am faced with slang or whatever sayings, i'll check out urbandictionary ... simply for the here/there chuckle (and shock, at times). i'll make a point to drop my to check out your next PR post. (btw, i was pretty stoked on this past week's outcome!)

riddiculus said...

hi! is cool, but it's more like using google than like a dictionary. would you have thought that merriam-webster adopted words like "soul patch", "drama queen", or "unibrow" only this year into their collegiate dictionary? when it comes to new words from pop culture, is your best friend!