Who judges the judges?
Why darlings, we do, of course.
First off, we’ll give the judges props for winnowing down the finalists to what we consider the best of the crop. Unlike previous seasons, there was no question that each of the finalists deserved to be there.
Second, big kudos to Project Runway for choosing the fabulous Fern Mallis to be the final guest judge. It might add a little glamour to have Debra Messing or Parker Posey sit in the chair, but in the long run, their opinions and judgment are coming from an amateur perspective. Not only does Fern know her shit inside out and backwards,
but she brings a perspective to the judging that is too-often lacking. Nina looks at fashion from the been-there, don’t-bore-me perspective of the fashion editor. Michael Kors brings the perspective of a fellow designer. Heidi has the trained eye of someone who’s worn more high-end, well-made clothing than the other judges combined.
Fern however, brings the all-too-important business aspect of fashion to her judgments. She knows the industry as an industry and her statements reflected that in their sharp observations and practical point of view. From her observation that ultimately, every woman wants the perfect black dress, to her advice to Uli to stick to her guns because resort wear is such a huge market, to her opinion that Jeffrey should stick to sports wear, to her appreciation of Michael’s attempt to find himself as a young designer, every word she uttered was a little perfect pearl of fashion wisdom.
It seems to us that each collection needed to be judged on itsown merits and with its own set of criteria simply because each designer had a highly distinct point of view and each had their own customer base to pursue. Ultimately, in such a situation the overriding question becomes “How well did this designer express themselves?”
Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be what the judges did. They settled on one criterion: innovation, which as we’ve already
said is for the most part a bullshit term in fashion. A purely editorial point of view.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s completely valid to approach a collection from the perspective of how risky it is, but it’s also the least practical or useful way of looking at fashion. Risks are admirable, yes, but execution, customer base, practicality, and style are nothing to be sneezed at.
Choosing Jeffrey was a statement on the part of the judges. Out of the final four he probably has the least potential to become a household name in the future, but the show managed to gain some fashionista cred by going for someone who not only wasn’t liked by a seeming majority of the fans, but also had the smallest customer base. It completely negates any rumblings of “low-brow” or “popularity contest.” That’s not to say that Jeffrey didn’t deserve the win. He did. He absolutely did. We wouldn’t have chosen him, but his clothes and aesthetic are not to our tastes and we’re not a fashion editor.
We wouldn’t have chosen Michael, either as it’s obvious (to us anyway) that he needs time to mature as a person and a designer. And believe it or not, bitches, we wouldn’t have chosen Laura. Her clothes were absolutely gorgeous but she chose to only do evening wear and while we personally believe the girl has far more range than she demonstrated, the fact is, it was her laser focus that kept her from the win.
No, ladies, it was Uli who should have won it in our opinion. As a designer, she took as many risks as Jeffrey did, going far outside her expected milieu and showing a range of clothing that could fill a closet and dress a lifestyle (and bring in a shit-ton of money, to boot). We’ve had to watch each collection come down the runway at least a dozen times and every time, Uli’s collection just made you feel how thrilling beautiful, well-made clothing can be.
On a final note, this is our last post on season 3 and the last time we had to do any screencapping with these people and we need a moment to pull ourselves together. Talk amongst yourselves.