Like all right-thinking people everywhere, we J'ADORE Jonathan. Once we saw him singing to farm animals in his audition tape, we had him pegged as the quirky, funny one and we were right. Nothing against Anthony and all those who love him, but we'll take Jonathan's quietly funny sarcasm over Anthony's look-at-meism any day.
But the problem with Jonathan as a designer, at least insofar as a reality competition like Project Runway is concerned, is that he really, and we mean really, tends to overthink his designs.
The other problem, at least from Jonathan's perspective, is that we could have told him going into it that Michael, Nina, and Heidi were not going to respond well to his "pretty meets gritty" aesthetic. At least, if we'd understood at the time what that little catchphrase meant.
Jonathan also seemed genuinely offended when the judges (once again, derisively) compared his print to a dirty tablecloth. We thought this print was very pretty in an understated and yes, sort of dingy way. And okay, once they made the tablecloth reference it was hard to un-see it, but we think those bitches were being a little narrow-minded, frankly.
We'll come back to that. First, here's what you're dying to know: what we think of the look. We think the jacket was a bad idea. That dress and the print should stand on its own. The jacket is a huge distraction from it and frankly, a not very pretty one. The addition of a metallic into this look seemed like a really bad choice to us. And just look at all the elements to a simple jacket. Not only is it backwards, but it has a huge metallic collar, and a bow sash (in two colors), and double hemmed sleeves (in two colors), with little metallic tabs, with little snaps or closures on them. Jonathan! At some point you HAVE. TO. STOP. DESIGNING.
As for the dress, there were parts we disliked, like the weird seaming on the cups.
And the sad - not aesthetically, but genuinely sad-looking because it's so badly done - kickpleat.
But we liked the ideas behind the dress way more than the judges did. The jacket was bad and the dress wasn't without its issues, but we could see the potential chic in the idea with some time and tweaking.
What we're trying to say is, it deserved critiquing and it even probably deserved to be in the bottom, but we were somewhat as annoyed as Pixar was at their barking derision for the whole thing. "The judges don't get me," is all too often the excuse offered for a poorly made garment, but this time, we think there's an element of truth to it.
Look, here's the blunt truth about the judges: Heidi is an enormously successful model, but the vast bulk of her career has been centered around modeling very broadly marketable, mass appeal garments. Michael has also found extreme success as a fashion designer, but he never sent anything down the runway that hadn't been sent down in some form already by somebody else. Nina, for all her success in the industry, is not and never has been Anna Wintour. These are three people who have found success in the fashion industry by sticking to the very straight and narrow. We love these judges, we even mostly respect these judges, but it cannot be denied that collectively, these three judges are not always the best arbiters of anything outside the mainstream.
It's no coincidence that the most successful designer in Project Runway history is Christian Siriano. God bless him for his success and we even love some of his designs, but like Kors, he has yet to send anything down the runway that hasn't been seen before. It's also no coincidence that the show has awarded innovation in the past with Jay McCarroll and to a lesser extent Jeffrey Sebelia and neither of them covered the show's name in glory like they no doubt hoped they would. The fact of the matter is, for all the lip service given to innovation in this competition, it's not always the best venue to showcase it. We've long said that when it comes to Project Runway and the fashion world, it's best to remember that rarely the twain shall meet. PR is a television show first; in essence it's a game show.
We aren't offering any of this as a defense of Jonathan's entry's shortcomings. All we're saying is, we feel a bit bad for him because he obviously has a deeply felt aesthetic he wants to express through his designs and he presented it to a panel of judges expecting an appreciative and respectful critiquing and got bitchy barbs from the Match Game '77 panel instead.
And we are DEFINITELY not offering it as a defense for switching up his model after Cerri went to bat for him like no other model has on this show. Granted, it's nearing the end of the competition and he just got drubbed by the judges, so he's casting around frantically looking for anything to increase his chances of staying until the end, but still. That was COLD, Pixar.
Tim Gunn's Workroom:
[Photo/Video Credit: myLifetime.com - Screencaps: projectrungay.blogspot.com]
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