Project Catwalk: The Shock Elimination
To save those of you who missed last night's Project Catwalk semi-final and are waiting for the repeat on Tuesday (Sky Two at 9pm), this week's report is going behind a cut. This was the last heat before the big London Fashion Week finale, and the four remaining designers were given their biggest challenge yet (apparently). Designing a red carpet dress for hostess with the mostess (ha ha!) Elizabeth 'don't call me Liz even though Julien does' Hurley...
The one thing that was great about this week's episode for fashion fans is that for once it was all about the dresses, and not Renato's selfish ranting, Sushino and his big personality or Zoe's crisis of confidence. With only four designers left (Christopher, Kirsty, Matthew and Debi) It was an episode devoted entirely to the gorgeous gowns (apt on the week of the Oscars). Sadly, most of the time I felt like I was watching an entirely different show to the judges...
Set the brief to come up with a paparazzi friendly dress for Liz, and after some help from the ladies of Marchesa and mentor Ben De Lisi (back, now evil Renato has gone), the four designers came up with four very different dresses. None of them were spot-on, but I thought some came close considering the time constraints.
Debi picked a midnight blue fabric and came up with a fishtail number with loads of fabric in the back, a sparkly section on the middle and a strappy neckline. Though I agreed with the judges comments that the colour choice wasn't 'Liz' enough, it was probably the most well-made of the dresses and there wasn't enough attention from the panel paid to the back of it, which I loved. The judges thought it was boring, I thought it was miles better than the winning design.
Then came Kirsty, and a starlet-style halter dress in the most amazing silver panne velvet. On fabric choice alone, this deserved to be in the running to win. Part of the challenge was making a dress that looked fabulous in photographs, and this definitely did, shimmering like liquid mercury (to quote Ben De Lisi). Sadly, and I have absolutely no idea why, the judges weren't impressed. Apparently it was too 'sexy' for Elizabeth and she said she'd never wear it because of that. Please remember that this is a woman who wore a dress slashed so high you could see her knickers. TO A WEDDING!
Enter Matthew, and a pale pink satin dress that seemed to materialise out of thin air a few hours before the deadline (after he gave up on his blue chiffon late in the game). The moment I saw the fabric choices I thought he was history. Originally he'd planned to combine the two, and chiffon over satin is one of those junior prom looks that we all grew out of when we left school, or so I thought. Luckily, his inexperience showed yet again when he admitted he'd never sewn chiffon before, and eventually he ditched it and worked with the satin alone. Good choice! Despite everything, he managed to pull a reasonable dress out of the bag last minute (aided slightly by the fact his model was half an hour late, giving him extra time to cut loads of strips of fabric to wrap around the simple sheath and jazz it up a bit). Close-ups revealed an absolutely awful hemline covered in hanging threads (it was too short, which he admitted to the panel) and there was too much strapping at the back for my liking but as his model walked down the catwalk, she looked good and it was a good effort in such a short time. Not deserving of the win that it got though. Debi or Kirsty would have been better choices.
And then we come to Christopher, who was my big hope to win overall (and many of yours, judging by the comments on the previous post). Amazingly, despite a promising design, his dress turned out to be the least flattering of all and unfortunately, going on this week alone, he was the right person to be eliminated. It was such a shame he'd come this far creating fabulous stuff and then come up with an awful, unflattering aqua-coloured dress. The problem was a heavy fabric that, though it pleated well, didn't exactly flatter model Lindsay's figure. As one judge said, if a model that skinny can look so frumpy in that dress, there's no hope for anyone else. Christopher went for a classic, Audrey Hepburn beauty. But I don't think Elizabeth Hurley could ever be compared to Audrey, and the dress wasn't the right fit for the client.
It was awful to see Christopher fall at the last hurdle when he'd been consistent all the way though, but that's the way these games go, and the sad fact is that each week is judged fresh, with no thought for what had gone before. Chris's dress was the least flattering and beautiful of the four, and he had to leave.
That bombshell over, it'll be interesting to see how the other three cope with the pressure of designing for LFW next week. Roll on the final!