Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fashion Star Review

Fashion Star in a word: bloated.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to like this show. The premise is fresh and interesting, and I love the idea of buyers bidding on the fashions. My beloved Project Runway has lost its way in the past couple of seasons, focusing on producer-created drama rather than skill and talent. Even in its golden era though, Project Runway had a tendency to be a bit stuffy, focused on Fashion with a capital F. The judges would literally scorn anything that could be sold in a store as “just clothes” and not fashion.

Which is to say that I think there’s room for a different kind of fashion show, one focused on ready-to-wear and the commercial side of the industry. Fashion Star, however, was a bit of a disappointment. It was all a bit much, with the lights, special effects and back up dancers. It was too long, had too many mentors, and more contestants than it could properly showcase. 

 One of my biggest complaints is that the he show felt much too long, with an overabundance of commercial breaks and cross-promotions. That fashion show of Elle McPherson’s lingerie line at the beginning was indulgent, and justifying it as  “this is what success looks like” was laughably absurd. I wouldn’t have been nearly as annoyed with Elle McPherson, however, if her flagrant self-promotion hadn’t come at the expense of the contestants. It's unbelievable that in 90 minutes they weren’t able to show the fashions from all 14 designers, and we got a quick recap for 4 out of 10.  Isn’t the point of the show to see the clothes?

There were definitely some bright spots. All three buyers were well-spoken, knowledgeable, and offered excellent critiques. I completely agreed with the three contestants they nominated for elimination. 

I was particularly boggled by Nicholas Bowles cockiness and sexist remarks – if you’re motorcycle jackets are really that fabulous and fashion forward, why did you need to come on a reality show to promote them?

 And, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I love Nicole Richie as a mentor. That woman doesn’t take any BS – when Kara Laricks sent other people’s clothes down the runway, Nicole was not having any of it. They should keep her and give the other two the boot. That's not going to happen though, as the entire show was taped months ago. It's clear that three mentors and three judges adds up to too many opinions, and it makes the show drag. 

I think I’ll give this show a second chance next week, but I’m by no means sold. Maybe it’s just because I sew or I’m too entrenched in Project Runway, but I wish that we could see more of the design and construction process, with the mentors playing a greater role before the fashions are sent down the runway. 

The contestants are given the assistance of pattern makers and seamstresses, and as 24 Hour Catwalk has shown, having this type of help is a double-edged sword that makes for interesting TV. Perhaps when there are fewer contestants more time will be devoted to the design and construction of each week’s looks.

Picture credits:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gift Knitting

Sometimes the best reason to give a gift is no reason at all. While Christmas shopping on Etsy I came across this adorable penguin amgurumi pattern. One of my brothers has a thing for penguins, and this project, as our mom would say, just screamed out his name. I just had to make it for him. As soon as I was free of the clutches of Christmas gift knitting, I turned to this pattern.

All gifts should be like this one, with no schedule and no stress. It didn't hurt that this is a really straightforward pattern that doesn't require any of the fancy techniques that amigurumi knits usually call for (wrap and turn, I'm looking at you). I decided to knit the body and the hat in the round in order to avoid seams, but overall I found the pattern very quick and easy.

I'm pretty happy with how it came out, and the little penguin now lives in a place of honor - my brother's curio cabinet. Bill the Penguin now shares space with an autographed picture of Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness!

So awesome. I'm honestly flattered.