When we went to the PR finale show last week, it was our first chance to meet most of the S6 designers face to face. Some were happy to meet us; some decidedly less so. But one who really made an impression is Althea, partly because she's insanely tall and gorgeous - she really is one of those girls you notice from across the room, even if that room is a Bryant Park tent - and partly because she was so sweet and had such a good sense of humor. She won the Miss Photogenic category of the T Lo awards more than any other designer and we had great fun making fun of her bird's nest hair on the runway each week. Tom, being the sophisticated, worldly type he is, blurted out upon meeting her, "Ohmigod, so you DO know what conditioner is for!" And she guffawed. You gotta love that.
As for this collection, we mostly like if not love it. What we like it for most is that it represents a clear step forward for Althea, whose BR collection was overworked at some points and too simplistic at others. There's a clear through line here and she seems to have calmed down a bit as a designer, meaning she's not throwing every technique she can think of at the dress form. Beautiful necklines, draping and some embellishments make up the bulk of her tricks here. If there's one area that really needs to be discussed, it's the poor fit on most of these garments. We realize when you're a struggling designer without wads of cash at your disposal, things like casting and staging take a back seat to just getting the collection done and out the door (and getting people to show up), so we're willing to give her a pass for that, but the bottom line is, it affects the pictures terribly seeing all this pulling and drooping.
All in all, it's a good, but not great, second effort. There are a lot of really solid, salable pieces here, but if we can give her one more bit of unasked-for advice, it would be to pay more attention to the fit when producing a show. It can ruin even the most beautiful garments if it's not done correctly.
Labels: Althea Harper, Fall 2010 Collections, Project Runway Season 6
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