October 20, 2006

Project Terminus

Jeffrey? JEFF? REY? The HELL?

But let me tell you why.

I don’t like him, but that’s not why I’m pissed. The fact that he won makes me resent the sewing pseudo-scandal (dig my sibilance) even more; were we all supposed to be rooting for him, despite… well, his personality, really—because Laura accused him of cheating? That particular bit of drama didn’t help me hate Jeff less; the shots of him with his son did that. Neither did it make me hate him more (his treatment of others, his whiny camera interviews, and aforementioned personality did that). I know it’s reality television, but the editing seriously has me wavering on whether to put big fatty bold quotation marks around the reality bit: Jeffrey got a pair of shorts pleated! OMIGOD! Cheating! Dirty, rotten… Wait. Now, if that was the only outsourcing (and I’m only tempted to believe that it isn’t based soley on my hatred of him; I have no proof), then lose the shorts and use something else. Which he did. Except, now, Jeffrey went over budget! GASP! That’s never happened before!! Except for that time when it totally happened before; so hey, you’re not disqualified, you just need to put some money back. Jeffrey cuts the blonde wigs (which were sort of stupid anyway, so no big), and he’s back under budget. Boom, done. Case closed. I’m really disappointed that so much time was spent keeping us in “suspense” about whether or not Jeffrey was Keithing his collection when we all knew he was going to show in the end. [So, hey, Bravo? Let me know when we finally get o’er the drama and through the woods, cuz I just wanna see the freakin’ clothes already. Respectfully, America.]

I won’t go into the collections in detail, because the boys do that so much better (and with pictures, so it’s better to see their pics and come back here, as I am a technotard), I will only remark that Uli’s collection was awesome, Laura’s impeccable, Jeffrey’s passable (if incohesive), and Michael’s unforgivably poopy (yes, I said poopy; I love the Knight, and he designs very well, but he dropped the ball at Bryant Park). From this point, we start making assumptions about who’s going to win—but we, sad audience that we are, are going to be slapping our foreheads after the judging, because no matter how many seasons we watch we always forget that the winner is never the one with the best collection. In every successive challenge throughout the season, the judging has been based on the final product, so not only does it have to not suck, it has to be better than anyone else’s. Your outfit sucks hardest, you get the German farewell. Not so for the Final Four.

For the season winner, the judging is not based solely on the twelve piece collection, or even weighed in context with everything the designer has produced over the season. The judging is mostly political, as is evidenced by the judges’ remarks after the show: They had people asking how to contact Uli five minutes after the show ended, therefore Uli is set. She has consistenly designed well, risen above challenges that sunk other designers (designers v. larger women in particular), and her collection got an immediate response. She’s already ‘in’.

But if the final judging were based only on Bryant Park, Laura’s collection by all rights should have won. It was elegant, looked extremely expensive, was well-made and, let’s not forget, incredibly marketable. [C’mon, how many Oscar dresses are going to be Lauriginals? If it’s not more than the number of Bennet children, there is no justice in the world.] Lady’s got it going on in spades, and I feel bad that she didn’t win, but again, she doesn’t need to. The clothes are so fantasta-awesome that they speak for themselves; it’s a foregone conclusion that she’ll get commissions. Also, she doesn’t need the money. She’s got Louis Vuitton luggage and lives in a hardwood-floored warehouse, and although she should have driven the two blocks home in her new Saturn Sky roadster, there’s nowhere to park it in NYC anyway. While the title and press coverage that a PR winner receives would undoubtedly have helped her career, that career is solid no matter what.

So, it’s down to the boys. Both need the cash, check. Both are arguably good designers, check. Both have produced winning designs multiple times, check. Both collections were tight, che… no. No, and no. In a dead heat between Michael and Jeffrey, Jeff pulled out the final line by… wait for it… not sucking worst. He had one good dress (the green and white striped one with the zippers), a bunch of nightgowns, and two dresses which didn’t belong. I liked the patterned kimono one (it just really didn’t match anything preceding it), but I do not get the logic behind that short blue dress. [Like, dude? Lucy Van Pelt called, and… yeah. Blockhead.] But hey, 10 out of 12 ain’t bad, especially since, um, Michael. I refuse to rag on Michael, so I’ll leave it there. So their collections were more like tiebreakers than outright deciding factors; add to that the fact that Michael already has that “big, obnoxious poster check” for $10,000. Makes it really easy to give it Jeffrey, eh, judges? I don’t think Mr. Knight would have been quite so happy about that viewer’s choice cash if he knew it was a consolation prize. Oh, who am I kidding? He would have been every bit as genial, little bunny rabbit that he is.

The plain facts: Uli’s got people clamoring for her stuff, Laura’s covering a niche market and Michael Knight’s already got ten large—Jeffrey’s the odd man out. The title, publicity, and big fat money would have been most helpful to either of the guys, but Michael’s line fell short, making a win unjustifiable. Is there a problem with this manner of judging? I don’t know. I can’t recall the judges ever saying that the winner will be chosen on the basis of their show alone, and in a way, it doesn’t make sense that it would be. I think all the designs from the past year should be considered, yes, but taking socio-economic staus into account? Dodgy. Philanthropic, but dodgy nonetheless. I don’t care that Jeffrey won so much (no, I really mean that. I do. I just hate him), because what I wanted was to see what the Final Four had in them as designers, and I think they’re all talented, and they’re all gonna go places, so this is one instance where winning truly doesn’t matter. Nobody’s going to care that you made the Dean’s List, it’s what you do with your critically-lauded cranium that counts.

That’s it. The End. Lights are going down on the Runway.
Until Next Year.

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