It’s benign, but we’re not.
In the Project Runway Hall of Shame, the “tumor dress” has a place of honor. Again, this is one of those designs that, two years later, PR fans still talk about.
To be honest, we’re of two minds about this one. First off, the challenge was a bit of a shell game. The designers were given a challenge that could only yield purely conceptual results and after the designs were completed they were told that they needed to go out and sell them.
“Envy” is a design concept that would naturally lead to conceptual pieces that were less than pretty. We really can’t fault Starr for her concept, although it did provide hilarity in the facial expressions of the people to whom she tried to explain it:
Incidentally, that 30 Van Dam guy is a cutie but is it politically incorrect to point out that we could barely understand him without subtitles?
So no, we don’t hate the concept of a tumor dress to evoke envy. And even though the color scheme looks like a Christmas decoration circa 1968, we don’t even fault her for that, considering she had to hand-dye the fabric on an extremely tight schedule.
What’s wrong about the dress is exactly the same as what was wrong about Mario’s this week: literalism. “Envy is a tumor that eats away at you.” Okay, fine. Very poetic. That does NOT mean that you LITERALLY attach big red tumors to the dress in order to make your point. Starr, what were you thinking? No, the concept doesn’t lend itself to “pretty,” but at some point, she needed to step back and realize that she inadvertently forged head on into “grotesque.”
With this week’s and last week’s challenges, it’s obvious that the one thing Starr needs more than anything, is to cultivate the ability to edit herself. Three words, girl: Tone. It. Down.
Then again, what can you say about someone who goes around wearing a “strawberry ovaries” apron?