We tried, minions. Really we did. Much to the chagrin of probably most of you, we really tried to look at this collection with a fresh set of eyes and with the judges' critiques still ringing in our ears. And to be fair, there are some pieces here that we like. But overwhelmingly, our impression remains the same: this is not a collection that is going to generate the kind of excitement from buyers and fashion journalists that a struggling designer will absolutely need in order to move ahead. These are catalogue clothes. They always have been. From Day One, Gretchen has produced low-level chic clothing (at its best) that was salable, but not particularly exciting. To be fair, the judges seemed to acknowledge that. Suddenly, "exciting" was something to roll one's eyes at. So last year.
Let's start the show.
We liked this look, but we don't understand why it was the opening look. When you think of Gretchen's collection, you don't think knitwear and structured jackets; you think flowey, '70s-inspired looks in a "Stevie Nicks meets Joni Mitchell" kinda way. We think this look belongs in the collection; we just don't think it represents it all that well, which an opening look should.
We like the jacket and can see it paired in a lot of ways. The knitwear is mostly awful, though. Let's get one thing out of the way: granny panties. Like it or not, they're very on trend right now, at least for the runway. That's not a mark in their favor; it's just that she wasn't "wrong" for including them. In fact, given how trend-focused Nina and Michael naturally are, it almost certainly worked in her favor.
This, to us, represents her collection the best and should have been her opening piece. Of the dresses in this collection, this is the only one we like. Of the prints in this collection, this was also the only one we liked. When this came out on the runway, we tweeted that she seemed to be doing a DVF riff. If only that had been true.
We like the flow of the skirt and the detail in the sleeve and neckline. What we DON'T like is Gretchen's seeming aversion to straight lines. Both the neckline and the hem are asymettrical. Which wouldn't be so bad, but then she puts these weird bumps or dips in places, like in that neckline. We suppose she thinks it looks more "organic" but to us, it just looks badly hemmed.
Nina praised those pants. NINA PRAISED THOSE PANTS.
As for the top, it's essentially the exact same top as the previous dress made into a blouse. Same bumpy neckline, same sleeve detail. This is a different print, but we don't blame anyone for not noticing since her print selection was too similar to tell them apart.
Catalogue clothes. You have ten looks to impress the world and you show the simplest top and pants one could ever hope to see. Just to jazz things up, she completely fucked up the crotch area. It's literally all we can see in these pictures: her wrinkly, camel-toed crotch. Very fresh look for Spring.
About the jewelry: we like it, and we think there's a sort of chicness to it, but we also think it was overdone in this collection, not to mention it looked a little crafty to us. More about that at the end.
Don't hit us, but we don't hate this look. We don't FLOVE it or anything, but it is what you'd see on a starlet getting her afternoon Starbuck's and trying to avoid the papparazzi. In other words: it's very Lindsay Lohan. Scoff all you want, but fashion pays attention to her.
Nina loved this.
NINA LOVED THIS.
We just don't get it. That leather is an ugly shade of green and in any other instance, Nina and Michael would have criticized heavily the shininess of it.
Seriously? We've been trying to be open-minded (failing miserably, but still), but we look at this pictured and think "This is a piece from the winning collection of Project Runway Season 8." Honestly, we can't think of anything more damning to say about the decline of the show than that.
Apparently she thought she could mix prints like Mondo. Well, she can't. As we said, her prints were tonally way too similar too each other. Pairing them in one outfit only makes her look mismatched. And what is going on around her crotch? There are all these folds and puffy parts, and seams. IT'S A CROTCH, GRETCHEN. The world was not looking for fashion designers to come up with new ways to make their crotches and asses look decorative.
Again, don't hate us but we kind of like this look. We still hate the shiny leather, and there are still all sorts of weird crotch things going on, but this looks even more Lohan than the previous Lohan look.
Again, Lindsay Lohan has her issues, but she'll be looked at as one of those young women who defined the period, speaking from a fashion perspective. If Gretchen had done more looks like the above, we would have understood the judges' excitement.
Nope. We tried, but we still vehemently disagree with the judges. Yes, there is a low-key, earth-tone heavy, '70s-inspired thing going on in fashion right now. The thing is, that's not enough reason to award her the win because we always thought the winning collection was supposed to be beautiful and innovative and exciting rather than just on trend.
One thing that alarmed us was Gretchen's admission that she styled the collection pretty much exactly as she was told to. There was no indication that she learned anything from the judges' instructions, merely that she followed them in order to win. She gave no indication that she would do anything but default to her drab styling the next time she gets a chance to mount a show. Well good luck on that, because the only thing that made these looks slightly more interesting was the styling. Take that away and these don't look like they belong on a runway at all. In fact, Nina said EXACTLY that in last week's deliberations. So Gretchen won for styling alone, which is pretty appalling. When Korto mentioned her gorgeous jewelry during the S5 finale, Nina practically sneered that "This isn't a jewelry competition." Apparently it is now.
Look, we wish her well and we admit that there's a decent market for her stuff. We just think the judges completely chucked the criteria they used in the previous 7 seasons to award the collection they think is closest to the current trends. We're still appalled by that.
[Photo Credit: getty, wireimage, Barbara Nitke via myLifetime.com]
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Labels: Gretchen Jones, Project Runway, Project Runway Season 8, Project Runway Season 8 Episode 14, Project Runway Season 8 Final Collections, Ripping the Collections