And then it was over:
It's spoilerville after the break!
I feel like this always happens. Whenever the finalists on Project Runway are released from their gilded cage to go home and begin work on their fashion week collections, it's like the blood suddenly rushes back to their heads all at once and they over-think themselves into some pretty weird ideas about clothes. Here's where Portland contestant Michelle Lesniak Franklin's at:
Oooh ooh ooh, last night's two-hour Project Runway special, featuring the final challenge prior to sending these poor exhausted people home to work on their NY fashion week collections, had a whole lot of action and airplane time. Apologies are owed to the earth for the squandering of precious fuel that took this cast of characters to points across western Europe for one day. Meanwhile, in Portland contestant Michelle's world:
Ok... let's talk about this:
Nothin' but spoilers after the cut.
We were down to the final six contestants on last night's episode of Project Runway. And how is Portland champ Michelle Lesniak Franklin faring? Let's just say that there's a lot going on here:
Full wrap-up (with spoilers) beyond!
Things were looking up on last night's episode of the old "Proj Run," just by virtue of the absence of male strippers alone. As for Portland champ Michelle Lesniak Franklin, she had nowhere to go but up after her horrible stab at the horrible idea that is "steampunk." This is better:
Hit the jump for all the spoilery details!
After last night's disastrous episode of Project Runway, Heidi eliminated everyone, including dud of a guest judge Emmt Rossum, and all the contestants packed up their bags and weepily made their way home. Alas, I kid, but seriously: it truly was dreadful.
Because everything has to be a popularity contest, the Alliance For Audited Media has released its numbers for which celebs garned the highest and lowest pickup rates for grocery store glossies like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. It's a somewhat inscrutable look into the mind of the last-minute impulse consumer's attraction to Lady Gaga (who had the highest selling Vogue cover of the year), and somewhat puzzling rejection of Rihanna (her Vogue appearance rated 32% below the average copies sold). This handy slideshow tours you through the highlights and lowlights, if you want numerical confirmation of, say, the Kardashian's (possibly? please?) waning popularity or to wring your hands over the stupidity of customers who failed to pick up Architectural Digest's issue featuring Valentino and his pugs—don't worry, I've got a copy you can borrow.
Last night episode of Project Runway was a doozy, with another unconventional materials challenge featuring... Duck brand duct tape. Based on that info alone, can you guess how Portland contestant Michelle Franklin did? Here was her submission for the runway:
Another week, another chapter in the drama that is Project Runway. Our Portland champion Michelle's contribution to the challenge:
That's right, it's a women-of-a-certain-age challenge! Spoilers ahead:
Last night the beleaguered and increasingly obviously cracking up contestants of Project Runway's Season 11 were dragged into a mega-douche cowboy themed bar in Manhattan to be introduced to their next challenge: designing for country music superstar Miranda Lambert. Here's what Portland player Michelle Lesniak Franklin submitted at the end of the day:
Hit the break for the full recap (be warned: it ain't pretty).
Finally! Last night's Project Runway was the first good episode of the season, with an old school unconventional materials challenge, Portland contestant Michelle Lesniak Franklin getting more face time with the cameras, and the coolest looks to have come down the runway from these folks yet. Even if the flower concept did originate from Glade air freshener (shudder). Here is Franklin's contribution:
I am trying soooo hard to enjoy this season of Project Runway. I didn't for once go into it with a chip on my shoulder or a wag in my finger. I was honestly looking forward to just kicking back and having fun with it.
But so far? It just keeps on being boring. For once I'm hoping that the producers are about to unleash some new horrifying twist and throw everyone off their games. Needs more tears, needs more blood. As for Portland contestant Michelle Lesniak Franklin, she's doing okay:
Well that was kind of a snoozer. On last night's episode of Project Runway the losing team (a sinking ship that, unfortunately, Portland contestant Michelle Lesniak Franklin is on) had to limp into the second challenge of the season minus the player it lost on Episode 1. And this week's challenge: designing uniforms for eccentric millionaire Susan Sarandon's "ping pong social club," Spin NYC. Here's what our girl came up with:
Spoilers beyond the cut!
The first few episodes of a new Project Runway season are always a blurry and crowded. There are the contestants who stand out to you right away (in good and bad ways) and there are a whole lotta "meh" people in the background who it will take you a few episodes to register.
Now, being the first one kicked off the show is the ultimate humiliation. It's like, just go crawl in the corner and die, as one of my co-viewers put it. Luckily what transpired on last night's premiere was all about just desserts.
Spoilers after the cut!
Who would have seen it coming that the accessory choices of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia would be the subject of more attention than Michelle's Reed Krakoff inauguration dress? Lo and behold, the Twitters are atwitter about this:
It is probably some weird academic/judge-y/Skulls and Crossbones type shit, but nobody can seem to say for sure. Other theories include "Olympic beret," some kind of shout-out to Renaissance painters/Vatican palace guards, or "Inquisition headgear." Whatever the case, it will probably have a Twitter account of its own by the end of the day.
We saw it coming, but now it's official: Michelle Lesniak Franklin of Garnish Apparel's team and her own Michelle Is Well line (which debuted at the 2011 Portland Fashion Week as part of the Emerging Designers Competition—I was a judge and she was one of the lead contenders to win), will be one of the Season 11 contestants on Project Runway, which debuts January 24 on Lifetime.
Yet again the show's producers have wound up with someone whose work I have seen but am not intimately familiar with, and a relatively unknown name among Portland's industry watchers. As bullshitty-at-best and destructive-at-worst as I think this show is, I have to admit I'm kind of looking forward to this. Maybe I'm getting soft, but it's a guilty pleasure that I and my one friend who still watches it have come to enjoy when we have the excuse of a local contestant, kinda like eating Cheetos—but only on road trips. In the meantime, you can brush up on her here, with Q&As and videos like this one:
I don't supposed they'll let her bring the jogging chihuahua, though. :(
Yesterday it was announced that Michael Kors was stepping down from the next season of Project Runway, which premieres January 24. In his stead will be Zac Posen, who had better have some colorful, bitchy quips up his sleeve, considering Kors' zingers are some of the show's only meagerly redeeming entertainments. I only mention it because there is some plausible speculation that Portland might have another contestant in the mix this go-'round, despite my repeated warnings. Don't worry, I'm not suggesting you have to watch it. (I'll do that for you, and report back succinctly, sans Lifetime TV movie previews.) But if you're ever heard a politician, economist—or anyone who has the ears of those in a position to lend support and lay the groundwork for infrastructure—talk about the city's growing design and manufacturing culture and its potential impact, this reach of acknowledgement on a national stage (however highly questionable and potentially career poisoning) comes up every single time. We don't have to like the stupid reality show with the Sports Illustrated/Victoria's Secret/never-been-a-fashion-model host, but deliberately ignoring it or denying that anybody's paying attention doesn't seem like the best option, at least not until the next Pendleton Portland Collection comes along.
Also in PR news, the show is desperately trying to keep it interesting/even further from the truth, with a new format:
Project Runway’s Season 11 returns with a twist that throws 16 eager designers into a panic when they discover they will be participating in the series’ first-ever TEAMS EDITION, premiering Thursday, January 24, at 9pm ET/PT. This season, the controversial “team challenges” are taken to a whole new level when the designers must work together for every challenge while ensuring their own garments stand out on the runway to host and judge Heidi Klum, Marie Claire’s Fashion Director Nina Garcia and featured judge, award-winning fashion designer Zac Posen.
The game-changing new element will push designers to work collaboratively but who will be a team player and who will throw their teammates under the bus? Tim Gunn, will, once again, serve as the mentor to the designers, as they sew their way to New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Centerwhere Michael Kors will serve as the finale guest judge.
And! If you hate surprises, the list of guest judges is after the cut.
There's some buzz on the ole Facebook right now about Tim Gunn was hanging out at the Doug Fir this afternoon (which the Fir confirms). WHAT COULD THIS MEAN?? The hush-hush scuttlebutt is that it has something to do with yet another Portland Project Runway contestant. The next round of the Heidi Klum show premieres on January 24, and the contestants haven't been officially announced yet. The show's contracts have some seriously harsh tokes for would-be informants, so it's going to take a lot of sleuthing and a little luck to find out if it's true. In the meantime I'm clearing Thursday nights, just in case.
So the Portland Fashion & Style Awards thing is still set to go down on Friday (at the Schnitz no less!)—with tickets ranging from $35-ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS (!). Last night they released the final list of nominees for 25 categories covering aspects of the industry from retail, apparel design, hair styling, modeling, and more. Out of all the nominees (four in each category, so 100, give or take a small amount of overlap), guess how many of them I have ever heard of? A very generous 32, including myself and at least six people I allowed because I squinted and thought, "that name sounds vaguely familiar..." I can recall having actually interacted with 23 of them, again, including myself. Of those 23, 18 are brick 'n' mortar businesses, mostly boutiques, which are by far the most recognizable category.
1. BEST FASHION AND STYLE WRITER
1. Jessica Kane 2. Ambrosia Carey
2. Eden Dawn 4. Marjorie Skinner
2. BEST FASHION AND STYLE
1. DAMchic Magazine 2. Skorch Magazine
3. Rude Magazine 4. The Buzzcut
3. BEST FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER
1. Foto Door 2. Kendra Martin
3. Mark Coffin 4. Quavondo
4. BEST SALON SE
1. Flux 2. Rock Paper Scissors
3. Teal Salon 4. Blue Salon
5. BEST SALON SW
1. National Beauty 2. Magnum Opus
3. Ahead of Style 4. Bishops SW
6. BEST SALON N/NE
1. Arebella Salon 2. Bishops Alberta
3. Little Shop of Hairs 4. Defining Image Salon
7. BEST SALON EAST SIDE
1. Epic Center Hair 2. Resurface Skin
3. Studio Luxe 4. Modele Salon
8. BEST SALON WEST SIDE
1. Brow Betty 2. Mascola's Salon
3. L'Attrait 4. Cashmere Beauty Lounge
9. BEST SALON NW/PEARL
1. 77 2. Dezi Salon
3. Studio Luxe 4. Mada
10. BEST DESIGNER ACCESSORY
1. Brandy Gray 2. Shel's Jewels
3. Mandelena 4. Annie Angell
11. BEST BOUTIQUE SE
1. Xtabay 2. Lille Boutique
3. Machus 4. Mag Big
12. BEST BOUTIQUE SW
1. Anne Bocci 2. Stephen Vincent Jewelers
3. Jules of Morocco 4. The Mercantile
13. BEST BOUTIQUE N/NE
1. Adorn 2. Backtalk
3. Sweet Jayne 4. Zahara Boutique
14. BEST BOUTIQUE EAST SIDE
1. Branch and Birdie 2. Shells Jewels
3. Union Rose 4. Something New Creations
15. BEST BOUTIQUE WEST SIDE
1. EG Page 2. Dawn Garnes
16. BEST BOUTIQUE NW/PEARL
1. Bonnett 2. Ellington Handbags
3. Folly 4. Recycled Chic Boutique
17. BEST DRESSED MAN
1. Travis Howe 2. Dennis Gleason
3. David Scott 4. William Gilleland
18. BEST DRESSED WOMAN
1. Bhrigha Gypsikelt 2. Bree Sullivan
3. Marti Zimlin 4. Tabitha Knight
19. BEST STYLIST MAKE-UP
1. Camillia Lawton 2. Jamie O'Neil
3. M'chel Bauxel 4. Sharron Weichold
20. BEST STYLIST HAIR
1. Amanda Williams 2. Amber Carey
3. Eric Allan Nelson 4. Veronica Green
21. BEST MODEL PETITE
1. Amanda Monique 2. Elizabeth Pettyjohn
3. Morgan Rose 4. Shelby Meader
22. BEST MODEL PLUS
1. Keri Atkins 2. Serena Love Couture
3. Elie Hoover 4. Bianca McCarthy
23. BEST MODEL MALE
1. Matt McCaleb 2. Travis Howe
3. Valentino Lucas 4. Scott Ford
24. BEST MODEL FEMALE
1. Bhrigha Gypsikelt 2. Favour Amunga
3. Kodi Kristoferson Sawyer 4. Tabitha Knight
25. BEST DESIGNER APPAREL
1 .Beth McShane 2. Dawn Garnes
3. Juniper Lunasri 4. Tony Dimitri Peniche
How many names can you recognize?
Strange things are afoot over at Portland Fashion Week HQ. I've been hearing mutterings for a while now about a potential name change and re-brand of the days-long series of sustainably focused fashion shows and hints of other changes. But as of Friday executive producer Tito Chowdhury was staying mum, batting away my email queries with, "This year's event will indeed be something very special. We will share more over the coming weeks." I ran into him last night and he gave me the same line.
Uh-huh. Well, at least this much is known. Portland Fashion Week, whose web site still lies fallow after last year's events, has set up new camp on Facebook as "FASHIONxt." Which is... a kind of terrible name. It reminds me of something the characters in Office Space would have smashed. The new statement of purpose seems to de-emphasize the fashion aspect and be pushing toward a more general lifestyle approach:
Portland is pushing the envelope of what a fashion week has been, to what it can be by presenting runway shows by extraordinary designers and exhibits of the latest in fashion-forward consumer technology, products, services and apps — a sensibility that Portland is known for and consumer trends worldwide are heading.
Also, although none of my trusty sources would name names, apparently there is at least one major name making the trek out to show their new collection. Um... Stella McCartney? No? At any rate, I'm glad to see PFW shaking things up and reinventing itself. It's an event that's always struggled to find its best role in the community, and it may not have had any hope of doing so if they weren't willing to try something new.
The Portland chapter of AIGA—the professional association for designers—just completely revamped their web site, adding new featured content as well as a cosmetic refresh. Portland's long been known as a hotspot for graphic design (and interactive and experiential design, etc), and AIGA offers a lot of great opportunities for its members, from career tools and networking events, discounts on seminars, a "Portfolio Day" where designers can get feedback from respected industry figures, to profiles and features on exciting projects, lectures, and more.
(While it will occasionally, tangentially touch bases with fashion design (the Museum of Contemporary Craft's Namita Gupta Wiggers was recently featured), its association with people involved in the design of physical things (ADX is a regular name bandied about the site) seems to present a logical extension into that world, at least from an outside perspective. The need for a collective resource and community center in among Portland's independent fashion community is something that's been expressed many times over the years, and many have tried (and subsequently petered out) to make it happen—god knows I've sat in on some of those meetings over the years. In other words: jelz.)
Then again, those involved in marketing and branding are arguably in a better spot to fork over the $315 annual dues recommended for professional-grade members who have "practiced or taught in any design community for four years or more." Any design community? Hm.
I didn't even know the Kids Choice Awards existed because I am THAT COOL (the only thing I watched yesterday was GAME OF THRONES with the cool people), but apparently it does, and a panoply of random celebrities showed up in what has been termed "extremely loud fashion." Maybe I'm bored, but most of it looked fine to me, if a half-step away from the painstakingly uncontroversial garb seen at most awards events. Except, of course, for the always reliably gauche Katy Perry:
I just can’t get enough of:
CatPaint App: For only 99 cents you can download a magical app on your Iphone called CatPaint, which allows you to add pictures of adorable kitties to any existing photo in your library. I must give a shoutout to Sarah Radcliffe of Yo Vintage!, if I didn’t follow her on Instagram I probably never would have found CatPaint. Adding cats to your pictures instantly makes them hilarious, and there is also a laser feature, which allows you to shoot laser beams from the cats eyeballs. Download here.
Rill Rill’s Goddess Headpiece: Perfect for your summer music festival adventures, this headpiece is made from 7 strands of 18k gold disc chains. A very similar style has been rocked by boho queen Nicole Richie, but you can get the look for less and from local lovely Katie Freedle here.
Lux Hippie Blog: Local model and vegan darling Mandi Kremer spills her favorite vegan recipes, street style shots, and fashion tips on her blog. Peanut Butter Banana Cookies anyone? Yum! Her recipes are her own creation and most of them are super easy and even more delicious. Kremer also dishes about her travels abroad, including jaunts to Tibet, Paris, and Spain. Check it out here.
Rachel Antonoff Benitez Dress at Frances May: Super cute for spring/summer this dress can easily go from day to night with a few great accessories and an effortless summer wedge (I love the Common Projects Open Wedge also at Frances May) The back of the dress is such a showstopper, with criss cross straps and an open back it screams sexy, but definitely still sweet. Get the look here.
Betches Love This Blog: From their about me page “If you could combine the hotness of Kate Moss with the wit of Chelsea Handler, and the fuck-off vibe of Anna Wintour, you would have yourself the ultimate betch.” This blog will keep you lol’ing for hours, I was turned on to it last week and now I’m totes addicted. Betches Love This keeps you up to date on the latest gossip, how to guides (i.e. How To: Pretend to Know About Wine, and How To: Judge a Bro by his Cover) and betches of the week. Scope it here, you know you want to.
Even if having love for fashion-related reality TV is becoming an increasingly rarified quality, you may take at least a passing interest in the fact that NBC's answer to the genre, Fashion Star (click the link just to see the remarkably unflattering and heavily retouched profile photos of host Elle MacPherson and mentors Jessica Simpson, John Varvatos, and Nicole Richie), debuts tonight at 9:30.
Modeled much like The Voice, the season premier of which I actually enjoyed when it came on after the Superbowl, aims to be less about the drama and the whining-about-being-tired stuff you get plenty of with Project Runway, and instead keep the focus on the competition aspect. Designers found worthy will have their designs selected by buyers for Macy's, H&M, and Saks, and they will actually be made available to the purchasing public (the day after each episode, in a filming-to-airing time-frame sleight of hand).
And, if you, like me, find that a home-team player goes a long way toward making it to the threshold of interest, look no further than Lizzie Parker. True, she hails from Seattle and not Portland, but she has shown sizable collections many times at Portland Fashion Week, so I'm grandfathering her in. Besides, as you can see by this a bit too-long profile interview, she is confident, well spoken, grounded, and realistic—we should be proud to "adopt" her as a pet favorite in the season's proceedings. Now if I only had a TV…
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