August 20, 2009

it's garment time

They're back. Project Runway returns to the screen, with a 2-hour appetizer: The All-Star Challenge, which turned out to be not quite the delicacy I had hoped it would be. A little stale, perhaps. Santino Rice seemed to think he was in a "The biggest jackass" competition, while Korto Momolu seemed to follow the script of a show "The biggest whiner". We saw some pretty dresses, but nothing really stood out. Uli Herzner's collection, with a fabulous structural dress (my personal favorite of the evening), was waved off as "sophisticated," but without "spirit" (read: there were no flowy print dresses).

In the end, quite predictably (though not necessarily based on the quality of his athletics-inspired mini-collection), nice guy Daniel Vosovic won and Tim Gunn confessed to be "more proud* of you than I have the adequate words to express." Sweet. Less sweet, but more fun, however, was Heidi Klum's comment on Daniel's first look, confessing that she goes "all dizzy when I see boobs going all over the place". You wouldn't expect anything else from the woman who is the voice of "The perfect bra" for Victoria's Secret.

On to the main course. Season 6 opened with a red-carpet challenge (a little bit of a yawn, since the all-star challenge had also incorporated that). As always, in the beginning it's hard to keep the designers apart and we don't get to see too much of Tim Gunn. (However, Lifetime makes up for it by posting extended workroom critiques on their website.) It doesn't help that everybody finds their garment amazing and wouldn't change a thing -- at this point, nobody stands out, neither sartorially nor linguistically, unless you count weirdly spelled first names, like Qristyl, who designed a dress to match (read: It was a mess.) Underdog Christopher won the challenge with a dress that was deemed "cute** and edgy", with "a dark romantic attitude" and "a bit of youth." Ari, this season's Eliza, sent a "disco soccer ball" (Michael Kors) down the runway and was out. Perhaps she should have listened when Tim Gunn used the words "halter diaper" to her in the workroom. On the other hand, she imagined a client who would go from a Hollywood red carpet affair straight to Norway, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. What do we know what such people would wear.

*In English, one-syllable adjectives normally form the comparative with -er and -est (bigger, cheaper, largest). Sometimes, however, speakers make the decision to form a synthetic comparative and superlative (with more and most). According to linguistic research, the underlying motivation may be to reduce the processual load for the hearer. More proud signals the comparative more clearly than prouder, since the comparative element (more) comes first and is meaningful in itself. Still, it's a non-standard form for one-syllable adjectives.

**The meaning of "cute" changed quite a bit over time. Derived from the Latin verb acuere (to sharpen), it originally meant "clever, keen-witted, sharp, shrewd", as the non-truncated from acute still does.

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