Which isn't to say the looks were bad. Quite the opposite, in fact. It's just that both looks had, shall we say, conceptual issues. Let's start with Mystery Maya.
In many ways, this is the dress we've been waiting for Maya to make all along. The ruffles, the interesting seam placements, the dramatic neckline treatment - these are all elements that Maya has used before, but never to such pleasing effect.
The other problem with this look is that in many ways, it's "just" a pretty dress. Unlike a lot of the entries this week, you can actually see the inspiration for it, but that's a bit of a double-edged sword because it's almost a cliche to use floaty ruffles to evoke water.
The problem? Well for one, Nina insisted that she saw Nina Ricci when she looked at this. It's possible, especially the Spring '09 collection, which had a lot of soft, flowy ruffles. But it's not like such a detail was unheard of before then and besides, we take such a criticism with a huge grain of salt just for all the times she's publicly praised Christian Siriano, quite possibly the MOST referential designer Project Runway has ever had.
In other words, it's a really pretty dress and it's very much her point of view, but it's not the best answer to this challenge and it's not exactly innovative.
Gotta love Seth Aaron. Most of the time, when a designer stubbornly refuses to attempt what the challenge requires because it's not their thing, they come off pretty obnoxious.
Not S.A. He happily forged ahead and figured he'd just make a killer look and bullshit his way through an explanation on the runway. Normally, that kind of plan has the stench of disaster all over it, but God bless him...
This look had absolutely NOTHING to do with "air," and we don't care how much S.A. tried to justify it by saying "night" and "flow" a lot," he just wanted to make this outfit because he liked it.
And we can't really argue with that. We like it too. We love the way the coat drapes in the back.
And the effect on the collar. Sure, you could argue that these details evoke wind, and they sort of do, but let's face it: overall, the look is thematically very far away from the concept.
Oh, we also liked this detail too and we thought he was adorable the way he giggled with pleasure at Roland Mouret's compliments.
And his tailoring skills are insane. They're also a direct rebuke to the argument that the designers aren't given enough time to complete their looks. It's a competition and if one designer can knock out something this detailed and flawless, every designer should be able to. Otherwise, it's auf-wiedersehen, baby.
As an aside, we were curious as to whether the one-day challenges are as unprecedented as some of the commenters are claiming. If you go to the wikipedia entries for each season of PR, you'll see that one-day challenges were quite common going all the way back to the very first challenge on Season 1.
Anyway, it's because the judges didn't award him the win that we can enjoy it for what it is. Because if they had given it to him, we would have been a little annoyed.
Still, it was a gorgeous and stylish look and it was perfectly executed. Designers ignore the dictates of the challenge to their detriment, but that doesn't mean they can't take the opportunity to impress the judges.
Tim Gunn's Workroom:
[Photos: myLifetime.com - Screencaps: projectrungay.blogspot.com - Video: myLifetime.com]
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Labels: Lorena Angjeli, Maya Luz, Project Runway, Project Runway Season 7, Project Runway Season 7 Episode 8, Seth Aaron Henderson, Valeria Leonova