Crafty Manolo » Oh Happy Day!

Oh Happy Day!

By Twistie

Yes, my friends, Twistie is a tremendously happy camper this morning. Those of you who do not wish to be spoiled by how last night’s episode of Project Runway led to this orgy of cheer and goodwill toward men (and women) would do well to move along now and not follow me beyond the cut.

The rest of you, come on in the back with me where we will pop virtual bubbly and giggle a lot.


Some of you may vaguely recall that last week I had a few choice words for PR contestant and general bodyphobe Olivier Green. Those words had to do with his horror at having to dress an actual woman with a body that was ever so slightly larger in circumference than the typical model, not to mention shorter and bustier and including a mouth and vocal chords of which she took advantage to express her thoughts on how the outfit was progressing and what she would prefer it to look like.

Well, at least this week Olivier proved it wasn’t about her being a woman… it was about her being a human being. Seems he’s not too keen on dressing non-mannequin men, either.

Last night’s challenge was for each designer to pick a member of the band The Sheepdogs and design a new look for him. The winning design will appear in an advertorial (I’m assuming for Garnier products, since this was the Garnier challenge) that will run in both Marie Claire and Rolling Stone magazines. Great prize! And to make sure every member of the band got two outfits, the eight designers were broken into two teams, each member of which had to design for a different band member.

Here’s what the band looks like:

See the ever-so-slightly burlier guy on the right? Yeah, that’s the lead singer and Olivier was charged with dressing him.

Things started badly for Olivier with his fabric choices, which looked the same as all his other fabric choices throughout the season: painfully subtle gradations of cream and grey with tiny, terrified touches of extra-pale butter yellow and a miniscule dab of pale blue. Okay, he did actually choose a print. That’s where the yellow and blue came in. Frankly, it was an unfortunate print to have chosen for most guys in general, but for the lead singer of a rock band with a retro vibe and a penchant for rough and tumble wardrobe choices… oh dear. Wallpapery Roccoco florals in ultra pastels do not mix with a seventies biker attitude.

Things got worse when the male mannequins arrived and Olivier’s wasn’t as big as the gentleman he was dressing. Burt, who was dressing the exact same singer, just got to work and started sewing (and dyeing repeatedly in hopes of making his cloth actually turn the blue he was trying for rather than purple). Olivier started right in whingeing. The theme was familiar to all who watched the previous episode. He’s too big, he’s not built like a model, designers shouldn’t have to put up with dressing large people, waah, waah, waah.

When Tim Gunn brought in the clients for the consultation, his eyes nearly bugged out of his head in horror at Olivier carrying on about the size of the mannequin and the size of his client… in front of said client! It takes a lot to make Tim look as though he might slap someone, but I think I saw a split second of that urge last night. As it was, he reminded Olivier that in the real world, these issues come up and designers have to suck it up and do their jobs anyway.

During a fitting it became clear that the pockets Olivier had made for the shirt were uneven. He said straight up to his client that he couldn’t be bothered to fix the problem. Way to make the customer feel special!

Anyway, when all was said and done and the band showed off their new threads to the judges, the bottom tier was Kimberly, Anya, and Olivier. Kimberly and Anya had never made menswear before. Anya has been sewing for four months. They were both dressing the drummer who loves wearing dashikis on stage. Yes, they earned their bottom rung status with their creations fairly. But at least there were mitigating circumstances with both ladies.

But Olivier… he is a menswear designer trying to make the jump into women’s wear. He just plain considered the challenge beneath him, and his client undeserving of nice things.

The outfit… ugh. The shirt was too short, the pockets were tilted badly, the pants were too tight (as in they didn’t fit), the colors washed out the pale, redheaded singer. The entire effect was pathetic. Oh, and when Heidi asked why the shirt sleeves were rolled up an demanded they be rolled down, well, it became clear the reason they had been rolled up was that he never got around to finishing them.

By contrast, Burt’s outfit for the exact same man frankly made me drool. I wanted to snatch it through the television screen and hand it to Mr. Twistie to wear. And I have to say, it looked superfantastic on the client. Sure, it still turned out more purple than the blue both designer and client would have preferred, but it was a dusky plum color that really made his skin glow and his hair shine. The lines made him look even more imposing that his 6’3″ frame normally does. Even the fact that Burt had his hair braided made Nina Garcia start gushing about Vikings. I think she may have had a private moment about that once the cameras stopped rolling.

No, Burt didn’t win. Viktor did with a rather cool look involving an elaborately woven and fringed pleather biker jacket and distressed jeans. I’m delighted for Viktor. I love his work. In fact, he’s on my shortlist to make it to Fashion Week.

But the good news is that the judges have run out of patience with Olivier. They said that Anya and Kimberly created ghastly stuff… but at least they had the excuse that they had never attempted menswear before. I think the judges also felt both designers had more to show that’s worth seeing. But Olivier… he’s a menswear designer. This is his bailiwick. What’s more, his outfit showed less imagination, and his construction was almost as bad. The judges have been telling him they’re bored for a while, and he put out yet another virtually colorless snooze.

Bye bye, Olivier! Don’t let the door hit you on your self-righteous posterior on your way out.

We’re down to seven. And for once, we’ve gotten to this point without my looking at the possibilities and asking how the heck one of them made it this far. The upside is that I think virtually everyone left could legitimately make it to Fashion Week. The downside is that I’ll be genuinely sorry to see any of these designers go, because I think they all have something interesting to say through their medium. I’m kind of rooting for Anya to take home all the marbles, but knowing that Olivier won’t isn’t hurting my sleep one bit.

4 Responses to “Oh Happy Day!”

  1. Ellen W. Says:

    I thought of you when I watched this last night (ffwd is the best of all buttons). I also really loved Burt’s outfit, which I didn’t think I would until I saw it on the guy. I especially think his choice of fabric for the slacks was inspired. And the band seemed both a) talanted and b) like really nice guys!

  2. Klee Says:

    Those guys should have won an award for how patient and tolerant they were. There was so much ugly being thrown at/on them, and they took it.

  3. Twistie Says:

    I’m with you, Ellen W., on everything from the ffwd button to the niceness of the Sheepdogs! And yes, the stripey fabric for the pants Burt made was inspired. Mr. Twistie is a tall, burly man, too, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how he would rock those trousers!

  4. Twistie Says:

    Agreed, Klee. Those guys were nearly saintly in how they accepted everything. Of course, it does make it easier for an unsigned band to put up with an awful lot when they know the payoff is that they’ll be in Rolling Stone! I can think of a lot of things Mr. Twistie would find a way to cope with for that prize. Then again, wearing makeup probably isn’t one of them.

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