Last night was the premier of the eleventh season of Project Runway. I have watched every season since the show’s inception, plus the two PR All Stars, so naturally I watched it. Looked forward to watching it, actually. Project Runway is one of the reasons I like Thursdays. I am drawn to it like other people I know are drawn to The Bachelor (never seen it) or The Amazing Race (never seen it) or Extreme Home Makeover (saw one episode, didn’t care for the scripted schmaltz) or Dancing with the Stars (yawn). On a recent research trip to Manhattan I purposely went to Mood Designer Fabrics just to run up those stairs the designers run up and walk the aisles of silks and chiffons and pat Swatch, the store’s adorable mascot.
The weird thing is, I barely sew. And I certainly can’t design a look or even conceptualize one. I can’t make a pattern out of muslin or tape a mannequin or sketch or imagine a dress out of thin air or do any of the things these contestants do. I can, on the other hand, cook and create a menu out of nothing, which explains why Tuesdays are more fun because Chopped airs on the Food Network. I can think of no reason why I love Project Runway. Is there some latent designer talent buried inside me? Do I have what those PR contestants have, only it’s exponentially underdeveloped? I had to find out. I shall sketch something, I said. So I did. Here it is:
Okay, so I am kidding. But not really. This is actually the best I can do. I know it is because I tried to imagine a jacket with an oversized collar, three-quarter-inch sleeves (slightly cuffed), and sporting a bit of a peplum, and paired it with calf-length tapered pants with just a hint of a pleat at the waist to make them look like an echo of a man’s trouser. I pictured the smart suit in a yummy plum color. I can’t even show you that attempt. Train wrecks are NOT suitable for viewing. So then I attempted something less tailored. A dressy gown with a fun ruffly thing at the neck and an asymmetrical hemline, tea length. That monstrosity I will show you.
Pathetic, right? Kind of reminds you of the tattered sheath Cinderella was left with after the evil stepsisters had their way. You know the one…
So where does this fascination come from then? I honestly can’t explain it. What draws me to the talents of others which I assuredly don’t possess?
Let’s say for a moment that I enroll in a sketching class and am somehow able to learn how to draw. Were I given a challenge to invent a fashion themed after New York (last night’s challenge), a vast emptiness would invade my brain. I could write a short story, no problem. But invent a look and then (gasp of all gasps!) actually sew the thing? In a day? And have it look nice? Not even if my life depended on it could I make it work…
And the really weird thing? I wouldn’t really want to. Gah! What does it mean?
It boggles. So tell me, kind reader. Why do you think we are often drawn to something which defies explanation? Or am I the only one?
We had dogs and cats for pets in the house I grew up in (and a monkey, and a Polish hen, and guinea pigs and a parakeet) but I submit that dogs are and forever will be the best companion to humans bar none. Treat them with respect and kindness and they will strive to please you until the day they are called Home – out of pure love for you. They simply adore you and think you are wonderful. (I’ve long been a believer in the bumper sticker prayer, “Lord, help me to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.”) And I am wowed by their smartness; some breeds more than others of course. Our Labrador (may he rest in peace) was Einstein-smart. Our current dog, Bella (at left) , not so much. But while she has not wowed us with smarts, her adoration of us is the stuff of legends. Anyway, I am in on a vigorous writing schedule right now and apt to post more videos here on the blog for a while, but this one clearly is worth it. You’re going to love it.
Fabulous, right? Which one is your favorite? You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine!
I am one of those Yanks who is addicted to Britain’s Downton Abbey drama series now in its third season and so naturally I was one of the many who has anxiously been awaiting the wedding of Lady Mary and the Ashley-Wilkeslike Matthew. The episode where these two finally marry aired last Sunday here in the States and since it took two years for them to get to the altar, I and the other Abbicts were on the edge of our seats waiting for it.
The wedding itself lasted only 30 seconds (I would’ve at least included a vow or two and some cake) but the larger letdown for me was the wedding dress itself. Lady Mary (played by lovely Michelle Dockery) is a porcelain-skinned, statuesque, lithe brunette whose wardrobe of nightly dinner dresses are fashion statements unto themselves. Those supper frocks had me thinking the dress would be stellar. It was – how shall I say this? – rather boring and understated. And while I am sure it was true to the times (the series is expertly produced), it’s not the dress I would’ve thought this character would’ve chosen. (I did and do love the tiara and veil, jsyk)
I did a little sleuthing on Google to see if there’s a 1920’s dress out there in the photo archives I like better since I know it’s not nice to complain about something without offering a solution. I came across this video which I place here for your amusement, education and opinion. If you see one here you like better, I’d like to hear which one it is. And if you’d like to comment on the ones you don’t like, or that make you laugh, or that make you ponder what on earth were they thinking, that would be nice too.
I am particularly interested in your views on the hats and veils. I will reserve my own comments on the chef hats until you’ve had a chance to weigh in.
This photo at left is not pictured in the video (at least I don’t think I saw it there) but here’s an example of a dress that is definitely NOT an improvement on Lady Mary’s curtain, I mean, wedding gown. And just in case you want a little more fodder for your thoughts, I posted a comment early this week on my Facebook Author page and asked for comments. You can catch that conversation here. I am beginning to think wedding fashions were in a state of coma in the early 1920s.
And lastly, this entire conversation reminds me of a character I invented a few years back named Daisy, a jilted bride who owned a used wedding dress shop and who loved to critique other women’s gowns . . . You can read Blue Heart Blessed on your e-Reader.
So, tell me what you think…