Saturday, October 21, 2006

And Now: Your Promised "Rant."

In my last post, I gave everyone who needed it the time to fire up their DVRs and catch up on the Project Runway finale prior to my cutting loose on the whole sad affair. If you have been busy with more pertinent things like curing cancer or feeding the starving then you may want to navigate away to a different blog and come back at another date. Today is the day. I can hold back no longer...

The Sheep is not generally one for professing hard-core opinions, at least not in this venue. Frankly, I'm just not that good at "living out loud" and tend to prefer the lighter side of blogging. While this really just makes me yet another one of those folks who takes advantage of the easy out known as "observational humor" I really do believe that it's the little stuff in life that makes us want to gather up a basketful of rotten fruit, climb the nearest clock tower and start flinging at moving targets. Plus, I'm kinda wimpy and don't want to make anybody mad at me.

I think this rant is going to be somewhere in the middle, twitching a bit between social commentary and the silly stuff.

Are we ready? Here goes:

Me 'n Project Runway...we're done. It's over. I didn't even make it to the final credits. And it is not for the reason you might think. While I had some thoughts about who should have won, I actually made the break at a different point. It happened with these words (paraphrased to some degree):

Uli, you have designed a collection that any woman would want to wear. Followed by: You're out.

Uli then got the bi-cheek kiss off, leaving Jeffrey standing in the winner's spotlight. Because he's "innovative."

Jeffrey. The designer who was willing to risk his continued participation in the show by admittedly designing an unflattering outfit for a model (Angela's mother) simply because he did not like her and didn't seem to feel that she was worthy of his creative genius. The charming gentleman who made it clear that his work was for the young, the hip and the edgy and that no other style of dress was worthy of the runway.

I'll give the producers credit. At least they stayed true to their apparent mission statement. Throughout the season there were multiple examples of their commitment to a limited clientele. The Everyday Woman challenge was a prime example. None of the designers seemed able to work comfortably with women who were of average proportions and didn't know how to high step down a runway. Several expressed concern with regard to their ability to dress something other than a toothpick. Their concepts, across the board, were ill-fitting and unflattering. Laura probably came the closest to the mark, but was ultimately too conservative for the judges' tastes. In another episode, one of the most talented designers on the show was eliminated due to her inability to successfully dress one of the, as Tim Gunn put it, "larger" models. This poor dumpy girl was at least twenty five pounds lighter than I and a good five inches taller. Allison was summarily dismissed after being chastised for her design choices when dressing a bigger person. Boy, oh, boy did I go to bed feeling good about me on that night..

Here's the thing: I understand that what we see on the runway is "concept." It is the bold-faced version of what we will later find hanging on the racks. But, when the designers, corporations and magazine editors continue to judge their acceptability based on how well they work "in show" rather than what real people will look like in them, then they are sending a message that gives me the cringes.

I'm tired of apologizing to the beautiful people for my existence as an average woman. Or worse, feeling like that existence is merely to provide contrast to their fabulousness. For a fee, however, I will offer what is my apparent girth as shade to their fragile forms on sunny days. Beacause, clearly, I need to find some meaning in my life...

I don't feel that I should have to compromise style due to the fact that I don't meet the standards of "worthy" put out there by Project Runway. I am middle-aged. I have lived a life and it shows. Some days more than others. I am comfortable in my skin and that is a good thing considering that I seem to have far more of it than I did ten years ago.

If Project Runway's definition of a winner is Jeffrey, then I'm glad they stayed trued to their liposuctioned hearts. I can respect them for their Botoxed honesty. But when they dismiss the runner up by telling her that she has designed for the "everyday woman" then I'm out. And my "good-bye" was not in German. There were gestures involved and a combination of farewells that drew from a variety of cultures. And none that I will repeat here...the cats are still in therapy over the whole thing.

Jeffrey, I wish you luck in your career. You do have passion. And, unlike others, you found more humility in your wins than you did in your losses. As you watched others take the prize, we saw you at your most defensive and surly. Perhaps you'll find a little peace now that there is some acceptance and validation in your life.

In other news, here's something I'm proud to say you'll never see on Project Runway:

The start of a nice, new sock!
I think I'll leave you with that happy image. More on this lovely yarn in another post. I'm sort of tired now.
A good rant will really take it out of you!


Lorraine said...

BRAVO! And not the channel.

Annie said...

Nice rant with lots of good points. You've given me food for thought. I can't decide if it's the producers who push the end result or the judges (Nina and Michael, specifically). I'm sure that Nina would be more comfortable and appropriate in Laura's clothes, which I personally loved. Why would she go with Jeffrey? Because of his innovation? Or because he was controversial? If it's the latter, then I think the producers determined the outcome- which defeats the purpose of even having judges.

Anonymous said...

Nice rant. I've never seen the show but I will continue to avoid it.
Very nice sock in progress.

Bobbi said...

Well said!

oh and nice sock! :)

missemilysmom said...

i could not have said it better!! I fnally caught up on the show this weekend!! i must say I was just a little WTF! It's all who gets the WTF reaction in my opinion....

catsmum said...

we don't get PR over here [yet] but I got the gist.
Very nice rant ... I enjoyed reading it ... and now on to the most pressing question...what's the yarn you've used for the sock?

Beth said...

Annie, that's not a "start" of a sock - it looks like you are half done! It looks great! :)

I've never watched PR and now I'm glad. I don't need to feel worse about how I look.

April said...

This was the first season of PR I'd ever watched.

Were there socks?


Will I watch it again?


knitannie said...

Down here in the souther hemisphere we are so behind on PR, so I've only just watched the end of last season. It's so surprising that this year they've picked such an unpopular winner when last years was so deserving. I thought Chloe always made beautifully crafted, wearable and gorgeous clothes but I was sure that the other guy would be the winner, because he won almost everything else! Thankfully, they made the right decision. I did think it was strange that the guest judge in the final was a sitcom star (Debra Messing). Surely they could've got someone with actual fashion experience???

trek said...

I don't do any of the reality type shows - but your post was very, very intelligent. Hello designers!! You do realize that you are designing for about 2% of the population, right?

Sheila said...

Nice rant.... it makes me less upset that our TV only seems to play cartoons, Law and Order reruns, and The Discovery Channel!

Cathy said...

Real women don't need no stinkin fashion.
Just something to throw on to cast a lonnnnnnngggggg shadow in real life.

mehitabel said...

You've got the right idea--be comfortable in your own skin, however much (or little)there is of it, and support the designers who put styles out there that fit you, look good and are comfortable. We mostly watch PR to rant and yell at the TV! (My daughter TIVOs it so we can all watch together.)