December 06, 2007

cohesive and relevant

That was the motto for episode 4 of Project Runway. It could also have been "been there, done that" -- another team challenge with rather uninspired results (due to the parameters of the challenge) and a predictable pattern (never, ever volunteer to be a team leader on PR!).

But let's talk about cohesion/cohesiveness (which the judges used interchangeably) a bit: The stem is related to the Latin verb cohaerere ("stick together"), but the two nouns don't mean exactly the same. "Cohesiveness" is the state of being "cohesive" -- the noun is derived from the adjective. "Cohesion" is derived from the verb "cohere", it is the act of sticking together, in particular the force with which molecules cleave together (OED). So, what the judges were looking for was cohesiveness rather than cohesion. Ah well.

It was also the night of mighty concern. Steven was concerned about Chris' upholstery-like bolero jacket, Elisa was concerned about miscommunication in her team (Ricky condescendingly translated tailorese into sculptorese for her), Kit was concerned that her fabric was too muted, and Tim Gunn just voiced a general concern: "It's not looking refined. That concerns me." He may have referred to a garment, but the statement can easily be applied to the whole episode.

Yet, Nina Garcia writes on her Bravo blog:
It was great to see how harmoniously some teams worked together and how other fell apart at the seams, literally.
I beg to disagree, what's so great about watching three people who can't cooperate? The only entertaining thing that came out of the Ricky/Victorya tiff was Ricky's complaint that V. "didn't have the balls* to be leader". Am I the only one who thinks this is an odd metaphor to apply to a woman?

The results? Three wrongs (such as pleather**, gigantic shoulder pads, and a zoot suit***) don't easily make a delightful right. Gillian won with a Charlie-inspired mini-collection in denim, and Chris was out because his sofa-fabric bolero wasn't deemed relevant (it earned the dreaded mother-of-the-bride label from Michael Kors), his collection wasn't considered cohesive, and "the totality of his garment [was] not flowing". Now, if you thought the last statement was a quote from Elisa, I have to disappoint you, it was from Donna Karan (who sounds just as pretentious, but completely lacks Elisa's sweet sincerity).

Wishlist for next week:
  • Please, no "most dramatic rose ceremony ever" stuff (which the previews seem to hint at)
  • Please, a challenge that will inspire the designers and that will be fun to watch (if not, there's always Project Runway Canada, thanks to the blessed Ms. RoyalT)
  • And as usual: Please, more air time for Tim Gunn (and for Elisa)!

*According to the OED, this metaphor was first used in 1928 in Lady Chatterley's Lover ("You say a man's got no brain, when he's a fool... And when he's got none of that spunky wild bit of a man in him, you say he's got no balls.")

**A blending of plastic and leather, coined in the early eighties.

***Reduplicating rhyming formation on "suit", first used in the 1940s.

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