September 10, 2009

now that you've said smurf...

Another boring challenge: Make a pretty dress for a pretty woman. You'd think the designers would have used the openness of the challenge to create a signature look that would leave a mark, but not so. So let's not even talk about the dresses, especially since I didn't "get" the winning look. The skirt looked like bloomers to me, and like Heidi Klum, I'm not a big fan of a look that "needs help up top" (only that HK said this about another designer's look. She elaborated: "They have to be perky and they have to be in the right spot.")

Let's talk about... smurfs instead. The Oxford English Dictionary doesn't recognize them, but if you grew up in Germany in the late 1970s, there is no way you could have escaped the smurf craze. And this is how they dress (from Wikipedia):

Almost all the characters look essentially alike — mostly male, very short..., with blue skin, white trousers with a hole for their short tails, white hat in the style of a Phrygian cap, and sometimes some additional accessory that identifies a personality...The male Smurfs almost never appear without their hats, which leaves a mystery among the fans as to whether they have hair. ...Smurfette [a Barbie-type female smurf] is not one of the original smurfs because she was created by Gargamel, the evil wizard.

Despite their sartorial shortcomings, the smurfs were very successful in the entertainment industry. They even topped the German (and Dutch) charts.

As warm as these memories are, there are probably not too many contexts in which a dress that can be described as a "smurf prom dress" is a good decision. Logan seemed to hope that Tim Gunn would contradict him, but he didn't: "Now that you've said smurf...". Another conundrum. (Now that's an idea for a challenge: Create a prom dress for Smurfette!)

Unlike Logan, Carol was praised for having created a "sophisticated" look, which made Heidi almost forget that Carol used the Southern expression "y'all". It just shows that speaking a dialect doesn't mean you're a country pumpkin.

Somebody who missed the mark was Johnny. His dress also earned the much-dreaded label "bridesmaid". He was told to "push the envelope," an expression that originated in aeronautics. The "flight envelope" refers to the set of combinations of speed, altitude, etc. that are possible for a particular aircraft, and from there the meaning of "envelope" was extended to non-aeronautical contexts. The "envelope" is a boundary, and "pushing the envelope" means..., well, you get the idea.

The greatest shocker in this episode was the rudeness of guest judge Jennifer Rade (Jennifer Who?). True, Cristyl's design for Valerie was not very sophisticated, but her client, Valerie, liked it -- to which JR responded "but that's why Valerie is not a designer". And that's why you, JenniferBadmouthRade, will never be asked to write a book on wit or style.

Please come back soon, FashionDirectorOfMarieClaireNinaGarcia and AmericanTopDesignerMichaelKors, or we'll all end up in Smurfville.

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