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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Do we really have to start using the word "Feminazi?"

I have to admit being a little confused after last night's Project Runway. The challenge was simple: create an evening dress for Miss USA to wear when competing in the Miss Universe pageant. Each designer would show Miss USA sketches his or her proposed design, and Miss USA would choose half of them (seven) to be made. The designers who were chosen would become "team leaders" and would each choose one of the remaining designers, resulting in seven teams of two.

Miss USA, apparently oblivious to Vincent's "kooky" hat debacle of last week, chose him as one of the team leaders. He was the last to choose a partner, meaning he was forced to pair up with Angela. For those who remember week one, Angela was the person who created the leather skirt and very low-cut top. I actually really liked her design (except for the flowers she attached to the back of her model). This week, before Miss USA made her choices, instead of sketching something Angela spent all of her time chatting up Kayne (who creates pageant dresses for a living), trying to convince him that she would be a good partner. It's really not very encouraging when a designer doesn't trust herself to the extent that she would rather ride someone's coattails than even attempt to be chosen as a team leader herself (she went into her meeting with Miss USA with a blank sheet of paper).

But putting all of that aside, from the way the show was edited at least, Angela tried to help Vincent with his design. Of course, Vincent would have none of that. While all of the other team leaders were consulting with their partners, Angela would ask Vincent if there was anything she could do and he would tell her no or ask her to step away from him. He had zero interest in collaborating with her, or even in giving her tasks to complete. He viewed it as his vision and had no desire for anyone else's input.

Of course, Vincent put a different spin on that to the guys in their loft, complaining about what a nightmare Angela was, to which Jeffrey replied "one word: Feminazi." Ummm...are we in middle school? Do grown men use the word "Feminazi" anymore? Especially grown men who work in the fashion industry? More disturbing was that at least one other man in the room (Vincent) seemed to find that both an apt description and quite amusing.

When it came time for the runway, most of the designs looked pretty good. The editing really didn't leave much question as to whose designs would be the bottom two: Malan and Katherine's brown creation, featuring what looked like dead moss sprouting from the breasts and a too-short, unfinished hem (about which Katherine had warned Malan), and Vincent (and Angela's--since she had no say, her name belongs in parentheses) lime green number, most notable for its poorly-sewn, puckered seams and sleeves that looked like something the Wicked Witch of the East might have worn on her feet.

What surprised me so much about the episode was the conversation that occurred on the runway. Angela was totally reamed for "trying to be too much of a leader" and trying to take control of her partnership with Vincent. What? That's certainly not what the viewer saw. It also isn't what Tim Gunn saw, if you read his blog. It is obvious that the judges don't watch tapes of the designers putting everything together, because this complaint about Angela was just so incredibly unfair. What was also unfair is that Vincent--who showed a complete lack of ability to work with others--was declared "in" while Angela was left to languish with Malan as one of the worst two of the night. The entire dress design was Vincent's vision--he should have had to bear the responsibility for it being in the bottom two. I was really shocked at how presumptuous the judges were to assume that Angela (who had been "in" the week before) was the problem while Vincent (who was in the bottom three in week one) was the one trying to keep everything together.

In the end, it didn't matter, as Malan was the one eliminated. To which I say good riddance to bad rubbish (that sounds like a Malan saying). Everything about Malan was just so overwrought, from the story of how his mother stomped on his sketches to his teary goodbye. Nothing he did ever struck me as genuine, and his snobby demeanor (comparing the people he lived with to cattle, questioning their level of taste, complaining that he likes to use better fabrics than those provided in the first assignment) was just not endearing.

Oh yeah, and Kayne and Robert won the challenge. Not surprising, considering Kayne's experience. Their dress was pretty cute, and probably the most pageanty of the bunch. Personally, I liked Keith and Bradley's number, but I guess it didn't really scream "Miss Universe."



Blogger Laura Holt said...

I have GOT to disagree with you about Malan being overwrought. He really endeared himself to me last night. He worked very well with Catherine, did not freak out on the runway when she said that of the two of them he should be out, completely took all responsibility for his own design without being defensive or obnoxious, and really seemed heartbroken to be auf'd so early in the contest. And what really made my heart soften was that his upset seemed to be less about the impact on him professionally, and more about how he'd really been enjoying the friendships he'd been developing on the show. He struck me as a really lonely guy.

I don't think he's a jerk, I think he recognizes that his personality is a little off-putting, but he just wants to be liked! I think the cattle comment in the first episode was more him trying to be funny than mean, and the "better materials" comment is the same thing lots of people said about the muslin challenge last season.

I watched his exit interview video on www.bravotv.com and he was so softly spoken, and said only nice things about the people left in the competition. I'm really sorry to see him go.

I hated Angela during this episode, and I think she should have gone. The judges didn't hate Vincent's dress at all. They thought he went too far with the epaulettes, but they liked the idea of them (Miss USA actually said that if they were smaller it would have been a really classic dress) and the finish wasn't perfect (charmeuse is really hard to work with), but Vincent didn't deserve to go home because of that. Angela on the other hand, was a complete horror to work with from the beginning. If she had any people skills at all, I really think she could have worked with Vincent. He told her what he needed, hands and support, and she just made an obviously imbalancd person more stressed out AFTER having completely given up on designing her own gown! Why should Vincent bother to listen to any of her "constructive" input when she'd admitted at the beginning of the challenge that she didn't have a clue what she was doing and spent the entire conceptual time angling to get on the team she thought was going to win (i.e. the one with Kayne). For that alone, for not even trying to win the challenge, and then going on to undermine her team, I thought she deserved to go home.

7/20/2006 12:16 PM  
Blogger Laura Holt said...

Oh, as if my comment wasn't long enough, I totally agree with you about the feminazi comment. And my favorite dress was Uli's. I loved the layered swirling skirt. That did scream Miss Universe to me.

7/20/2006 12:22 PM  
Blogger Laura Ingalls Wilder said...

I agree with Holt on Malan. He was totally endearing last night! I even got a tad choked up during his last goodbye -- any pomposity or rudeness he exhibited before was definitely a result of his feeling insecure. He finally felt at home, though! Aw!

As for who got auf'd, I would have kicked both Vincent and Angela off the show. She for being so damn annoying and he for being a basket case with an awful design.

7/20/2006 12:34 PM  
Blogger Red Fraggle said...

I totally disagree on the Angela thing. I actually thought that Jeffrey and Alison's dress was worse than Vincent and Angela's, and I would have put that in the bottom two. But it wasn't in the bottom two. For whatever reason, the judges decided that Vincent's dress was one of the worst two. So even if they liked certain things about it, in their eyes it was still poorly done (or worse than the others, at the very least).

So who should be blamed for that? The person who insisted he have total control and say over everything, shutting out his partner? Or the person who asked to help a number of times and wasn't permitted to? It would be one thing if Angela never offered to help, but she did. Often. Vincent was totally incapable of collaboration, so in the end I think he should have been forced to live or die by his design.

Also, to blame Angela for not working well with Vincent because he is "obviously imbalanced" is so unfair to Angela. It is Vincent's fault he is unbalanced, not Angela's. Yes, someone with good people skills might be able to take that into account and determine the best way to work with someone unbalanced, but in the end VINCENT is the one who is unbalanced in the first place.

As for Malan, I think there is a good reason he hasn't had a lot of friends.

7/20/2006 12:34 PM  
Blogger Red Fraggle said...

I will say this for Malan, though--I was hoping he would stick around and Vincent would be auf'd. Vincent has no potential in this competition--there is no way he would do well, there is certainly no way he will win.

Malan might have had more of a chance, and it would have been good to see what he could do. I didn't like the outfit he made in week one (the carpet-like jacket that was pretty bulky with the pencil skirt), and obviously this design had some real problems, but he was able to work well with his teammate, he doesn't come across as borderline psychotic, and he doesn't justify his choices by saying "it's kooky."

7/20/2006 1:04 PM  
Blogger Moogie said...

Either Malan is a highly manipulative person or he truly is a loner with no friends, because I totally fell for his act after he got the boot, and want to reach out and offer my friendship to him (and get him some therapy for what his mother said about his designs when he was 13!)

He is a better designer than Vincent, but I think the producers decided to keep Vincent for what his kooky personality can bring to the show. He's totally off his rocker....and that makes for GREAT drama.

7/20/2006 3:15 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no opinion on Project Runway, so I can't say if the use of the term was fitting (it shouldn't become a catchall phrase for objectionable women), but there definitely are people who deserve to be called "feminazis". Wendy Murphy, Nancy Grace and the rest of the "All men should be assumed guilty of rape" crowd come mind. While not all women calling themselves feminists are man haters, most man haters can safely be called feminazis.

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