The title for this week’s episode of PRJ is “Teamwork is Hard.” Frankly, that title is misleading. These kids worked well together. As I said in my recaps of episodes 1 and 2, these kids are really classy and well-mannered. It didn’t seem to me that teamwork was the problem with this episode. The problem was that none of the looks was well-executed. These kids have great ideas, and great ideas have been sorely lacking from PR for years now, but their sewing is sloppy. Without exception. It’s actually a little distracting and disappointing.
At any rate, the goal of this team challenge was to work in two teams of five to create cohesive 5-look collections inspired by one of three decades: the 40s, 50s, or 60s. Peytie’s team chose the 60s, which I thought was a great fit given her bohemian, hippy design style. Zachary’s team chose the 40s, which was also fitting since he is so inspired by Channel and classic silhouettes. The designers had to use vintage Simplicity patterns and update them. The winning designer would have his/her pattern created and sold by Simplicity patterns.
Congratulations to Team 40s. Largely, they won because Team 60s had a meltdown and started over no fewer than three times, finally completing the looks they sent down the runway in about 20 minutes. Neither team was perfect, but it was clear to everyone that Team 40s had their shit a little more together.
First Bridget’s winning look:
At first, I did not agree with this as the winning look. It’s a bathrobe, after all. It’s not dissimilar to what I would wear if I were going as Hugh Hefner to a Halloween party. So, needless to say, when the judges praised it to high heaven, I thought they had lost their minds.
However, if the goal of the challenge was to create a look that evokes the decade that inspired it, and that can easily be made into a Simplicity pattern, then this win makes sense. And here’s the front of the pattern package:
By the way, the Simplicity sewing pattern angle to this episode brought me back to my childhood. I remember picking out patterns and fabric for my grandmother to make me school clothes and Halloween costumes. Good times.
I preferred this look to Bridget’s winning look, but I understand why her dress lends itself more to the goals of the challenge. Having said that, Zach’s look evokes a modern take on the 40s in a very chic and practical way. I can see this woman going to a cocktail party, or if she’s particularly stylish, she might even wear this to work. Bridget’s gown, on the other hand, is too “nightgown” to be practical. I can’t imagine who that woman is or where she would wear that dress. Also, and this can’t be understated, Zach’s styling is just right. The red lip and hair are perfect. Not sure why they wouldn’t have chosen the same hair and makeup for all five of their models.
This look might actually be my favorite of the entire collection. If it had been better executed, I think it would have been the obvious winner. It’s not clear in the picture, but the neckline has its issues. Also, Zach’s pants are better made than Zachary’s. The top is really innovative and interesting though. It’s not quite outer-wear, but it has a trench-coat quality to it, which makes it feel a little 1940s noir.
Victoria’s look is probably the weakest link in the Team 40s collection. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. The judges gave Matt a hard time for his crop tops, but it seems like all these kids make crop tops when they have no other interesting ideas.
I like the idea of Jaxson’s look, but it’s REALLY poorly made. That top is egregiously bad. If it had been better executed, it would have been a contender for the win.
The biggest problem with Team 60s is that this team didn’t seem to to have the slightest idea of what a modern-day take on the 60s should look like. They decided eaerly on that they were going to be inspired by the colors of the 60s, and then they chose two colors to serve as this inspiration (fuchsia and blue?!). There is so much more than color that comes to mind when I think of the 60s. They went in a very mod-direction, but it seems to me that they could have thrown in a few more silhouettes, like maybe a modern take on a bell-bottom pant. Further, they could have gone a heck of a lot more psychedelic with the color.
I like Maya’s dress. It’s the best look in Team 60s. Also, Maya is a smart and thoughtful designer who takes criticism and suggestions to improve on her designs. As Tim Gunn noted, this dress’s original Peter Pan collar infantilized the look. She took his feedback and created a much more interesting neckline. This collar elevates the dress.
I like Peytie as a designer, but I expected more from her. Also, the styling is disappointing. Nothing about this says 60s to me. I would have parted everyone’s hair down the middle and gone with messy waves.
Again, the sewing is the biggest problem with Jesse’s look. When a designer chooses a relatively simple design, it needs to be impeccable. The color blocking is sloppy.
Matt’s look is the one that solidified for me that this team had no idea how how to re-imagine the 60s. He was going for Jackie O (or so he claimed), but he missed the mark. The crop-top and pencil skirt are not period appropriate and the headscarf is more Little Edie than Jackie O.
Samantha’s coat is alright, but she really had egg on her face when they asked her model to remove the jacket. The dress underneath was unfinished (still had pins in it), and frankly, the coat wasn’t so impressive that it could save an after-thought of a dress.
Both Samantha and Matt are very lucky that the judges decided to give them both a second chance (read: the producers think they both have the personalities to stay a little longer). I think their decision is bullshit, though. Now there’s going to be a double-elimination next week, and if one of the two eliminated designers isn’t Matt or Samantha, then basically, someone else is going to be unfairly sent home.