What Did I Miss?

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Well, I am back from a little hiatus. I’d like to  call it a vacation, but really it was just a recovery from wrist surgery. Treacherous. I tried to create posts on my iPod Touch and thought voice recognition (Dragon app. is fabulous), would suffice and while that was fun, it wasn’t as productive as I would have liked. All of that frustration got my already ADD brain working overtime and obsessing over what I was missing out on. What I  can say is that I feel mentally refreshed. Sometimes you have to get input, especially when you spend most of your time producing output, and I have a hard time relaxing, even in vacation mode.

All kinds of things happened while I was away. Timothy finally got booted on Project Runway,  Sandro lost his mind and quit the show, and it became obvious that Sue Waller couldn’t handle modern-day sewing technique. Hell, she couldn’t even thread a basic Brother sewing machine, much less know how to sew with it.  Justin LeBlanc was voted off, something no one took very well, including Tim Gunn who used his one and only save to keep Justin in the game. I was one of the teary-eyed, and I was elated by Tim’s save. I want to see more from this designer who uses his architecture background to create stunning clothing.

Jane Cosmetics, an iconic makeup brand from the 90s is making a comeback after coming out of bankruptcy. As of August 18, Jane Cosmetics is available online and at Ulta.

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How gorgeous was Selena Gomez in Atelier Versace, and Ciara in Givenchy? Look for Ciara on papermag.com as she is September’s cover girl. An honorable mention goes to Erin Wasson for her sheer Alexander Vauthier dress. I loved what she wore under it. If only…

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To show how much in work mode I was not, I bought this really cool ruler while shopping for office supplies yesterday and then I saw it on a local daytime show but it was advertised as a bracelet. I found the ruler and sure enough it is called a Slap Ruler, a bracelet and ruler all in one. Leave it to me to lock onto a ruler disguised as a bracelet, a bracelet for children no less.

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Beautylish is my makeup haven. I just love all of the makeup tips from people in the trenches. This sight is so inspirational for anyone who absolutely loves expressing themselves through their appearance. I have never done a nude lip primarily because I can’t get the shade right but after watching this nude lip tutorial by Wayne G., I see nude lips in my future. You can follow Wayne on YouTube under gosssmakeupartist.  An added bonus is if you watch the video on YouTube, an extensive list of nude lip liners and colors is included in the about section and like me, he is a huge fan of MAC cosmetics.

Finally, StylEnigma is evolving. There will be more posts, a different format, an event calendar, and more cool features. I am so excited. See, this is why I can’t relax.

Project Runway’s Million Dollar Runway Creates Meltdowns

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Guest judge Eric Damon makes camouflage look good.

The minute I saw the promo for Project Runway’s seasons 2nd episode, “Million Dollar Runway”, I got very excited. The challenge of designing creations worthy of $30 million dollars worth of diamond jewelry is exciting and daunting. For this challenge, Heidi brought back the dreaded “button bag” which was used for picking which model diamond baubles they wanted. Whether or not Model Musical Chairs will continue remains to be seen.

This was the contestants first trip to Mood, and they got 45-minutes instead of 30, and they got their Go Bank cards, giving them the option of spending whatever they want on their designs. The additional challenge of managing a $4000 budget on their own is a great twist. Of course, Timothy Westbrook has no choice but to s rummage through scraps for remnants in an effort to stay true to his sustainability mantra. His concept was “From Trash to Treasure.” Of course it was. So predictable.

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WTF? Timothy’s contribution. What some designers think compliments high end jewelry is eye-opening.

Zac Posen swears the velvet came from his studio, but Zac magic wasn’t cast on his latest catastrophe. Seriously, he is the only thing I can’t stand about this season. It’s like someone is sucking all the fun out of it by placing this annoyance in the midst. I wish he would go away. He is annoying, he looks annoying, he sounds annoying, and if he had any talent I could overlook that because the show is about talent. So far, I don’t see any talent, and he has to go.

This is by far the crankiest and most emotionally unhinged group of designers I’ve ever seen on Project Runway, and I have been glued to this show from day one. Sandro Masmanidi is an immature, confrontational hot head, and Sue Waller can’t thread a sewing machine (did she not watch the show before entering?), can’t be gracious when help is given, or accept responsibility for her own short comings. Basically, there are going to be a lot of mental breakdowns and bitching this season.

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Hot head Russian Sandro’s runway look. This deserved a side look. It does go from seductive to street-walker from this angle.
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Honorable mention goes to Sandro. This was damn sexy.
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His bad attitude didn’t stand in the way of making a show stopping stunner.

Helen Castillo, an evening wear designer, with a rough exterior, was so confident she would nail this challenge that she had time to offer unsolicited opinions about the other designers’ creations, but when it came to her own design, she fell flat. If she had spent more time on her own garment, she would have done better and probably wouldn’t have had a breakdown so epic it stopped the runway show. She was lucky others screwed up more.

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A front view of Kahindo’s losing look.
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Kahindo’s look from behind. A complicated print and unfamiliar fabric helped send her home.

In the end, Kahindo Mateene’s horrific print and off the rack sensibility sent her packing. She chose a fabric that she had never used before (silk charmeuse) which didn’t help her either. Tim’s dress was an ill-fitting, white and blue racer back in the front cut-out which made the breasts look flat and unsupported. He can’t seem to wrap his brain around a head-to-toe look. Helen’s dress wasn’t constructed well or executed properly, but Kahindo’s material choice did her in. I’m disappointed because I wanted to see more of her African influence. That olive green organza over the print only emphasized the hideousness once the judges lifted it.

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Kate’s corseted creation won the challenge this week.
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The back view of Kate’s dress has a certain Gothic romance appeal.

Kate Pankoke’s dress won with what snarky contestant, Alexander Pope crowned a “Vivienne Westwood knock off.” Ouch! It was a beautiful gown and true to her aesthetic but not original or surprising. Her talent can not be diminished however, so congratulations Kate.

Dom Streater’s green and white silk Grecian gown was my personal favorite. It flowed and complimented the emerald and diamond necklace her model wore. As Nina Garcia said, it offered a different perspective of what to wear with extravagant jewelry. Dom’s dress was described as “estate chic” by guest judge Eric Damon, who was the Emmy award-winning costume designer on Gossip Girl. Good looking men make my day.

Unexpectedly elegant. My personal favorite
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Dom’s dress is fantastic from any angle.

I can not wait until tonight’s episode because the folks from Milwaukee, Tim and Miranda Levy, are going a few rounds AND it’s a team challenge, AND the designers will be using untraditional materials again. I wonder if this is the episode where Miranda is predicting she’ll need therapy. I haven’t picked out a favorite designer yet, have you?

Project Runway 12 Premieres Dramatic Season

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Project runway season 12 started out with a blast with “the unconventional challenge” straight out of the gate, an unusual and cunning move. The designers didn’t even get the chance to settle in before Heidi threw what most would say is the most difficult of challenges at them. Usually, the “unconventional challenge” makes an appearance further down the road and the unconventional material that the designers were to make a garment that represented their aesthetic was the nylon from parachutes that were delivered by skydivers on an airport runway. Sweet!

The fans bought Kate from season 11, better known as Project Runway Teams, back for a second chance,and no one wants her there because she has an obvious advantage, but not enough to overshadow anyone else’s talent, in my opinion. This years accessory wall from Belk, me no likey. What I do like is no team challenges smothering the designers and the new changes, especially the fact that Tim Gunn will be on hand during runway and judging to give the other judges, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia,Zac Posen, and the weekly special guest, in this case, Kate Bosworth, his opinions. 

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Bradon McDonald’s winning look.
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Angela Bacskocky’s losing look.

The first runway was great, except that the judges really should have let Mr. Sustainable,  a.k.a., Timothy Westbrook, 24, from Milwaukee, WI, go home. He is an “annoying”sustainability-focused fiber artist” according to the Project Runway blog. Hey, I didn’t write it but I am not going to argue with the truth either. Without getting into his issues too much, let’s just say there is a lot of hypocrisy and insecurity going on. And please find time to feel sorry for his poor model…

Los Angeles designer Bradon McDonald, 38, was this seasons first winner with a flowing, pastel color-blocked gown that highlighted the sheer trend perfectly. Angela Bacskocky, 33 – Richmond, VA, was sent home for being boring and unoriginal, which is not what this season is going to be if this teaser is any indication of what is to come. The drama started before the first episode with a controversial promotional billboard that was banned in L.A.

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Bradon McDonald’s winning look front view.
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Bradon McDonald’s winning look back view.

Another new addition is fan interaction with the new on-screen feature, PlayRunway, which will allow fans to use their smartphones, tablets and computers to share their reactions to episode storylines, design challenges and judging decisions. Fan interaction is increasingly implemented into reality competition shows lately. Social media is the difference between life and death when it comes to fan driven competition shows.

Other changes include, an anonymous runway; the judges won’t know which designer did what until after the points are added up, the judges will look at the designs up close and personal as part of the judging process; not good for any designer with design flaws and glue jobs that would have been hidden previously, and Tim has the power to rescue one designer from elimination for a second chance.

This seasons prize package is the biggest one yet. This is a list of the prizes that are worth over half a million dollars straight from Project Runway’s site on Mylifetime.com: 

As part of the winner’s prize package, this season’s champion will receive $150,000 from GoBank, the award-winning new bank account made to be used on a mobile phone; $50,000 of next generation technology from HP and Intel to help enable their creativity and launch their new business; a year’s supply of Resource Natural Spring Water and an all-expense paid, luxurious spa retreat for two to the exotic Maldives, courtesy of Resource Water; a chance to design and sell an exclusive collection at Belk; a complete sewing and crafting studio from Brother Sewing and Embroidery; a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine; a 2014 Lexus IS 350; a $100,000 fabric allowance from Tide Pods to inspire fashions that truly pop; and a $50,000 styling contract with L’Oréal Paris. It is a prize package worth more than half a million dollars. The model paired with the winner of “Project Runway” will receive a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine and $25,000 from L’Oréal Paris.

This season is going to be SO good, and I can hardly wait to see which one of the remaining designers will fail to measure up. I haven’t picked a favorite yet but who do you think is going home?

Project Runway Teams Finale Too Close To Call

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This season of Project Runway was as much of a challenge for me as it was for the contestants with the team format, and after watching all season, I’m not a fan. Ok, maybe not as much of a challenge for me since I still tuned in every week. I just can’t quit Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. We are finally down to the final three, and I have to say that except for Stanley Hudson, the other two finalists, Patricia Michaels and Michelle Lesniak Franklin were not on my finale list initially. Daniel Esquivel, who was eliminated in part 1 of season 11’s finale was actually an early favorite of mine, but Michelle’s second chance was his undoing.

I can’t stand Michelle’s funky attitude, but I LOVE her clothes, which is more important than winning a personality contest. I would wear her clothes all day, every day if someone else was designing them. I’m one of those people that if I don’t like you, I reject everything that comes with you. Donald Trump is a perfect example; He has been a monumental Ass for a couple of years quite some time, and as much as I love The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, I had to let them go because I can’t support the notions of an idiot. The same goes for Kanye West and his Taylor Swift stunt. I have to make do with Late Registration (which I love), and not buy any more of his music because too much money, and adoration has blinded his ability to respect others and celebrate their success without it becoming all about him and what he thinks.

                 

Fun Fact: Michelle’s model is Lisa Jackson from America’s Next Top Model Cycle 9, one of my favorites and certainly one of the most beautiful models to grace either runway.


I was completely through with her when she was wallowing in self pity because the others got to jet off to European fashion capitals, and she had to stay in New York. Her field trip around the city rejuvenated her spirit, but that was replaced with animosity because the others had the audacity to come back from their trips happy and excited. No appreciation whatsoever for getting a second chance, just sour grapes. If that wasn’t a turn off, the constant cattiness and rejection of support from the others certainly was. Nevertheless, I loved the dress she made for that challenge and I would wear that with or without the quilted breast plate, with or without the smudged hem. I like a bit of edginess. What can I say?

Sorry, I digress… Where was I?

The Finalists

Patricia Michaels, 46, Taos, NM, representing Native Americans in a way that is not often seen. What she brings to the table is her unexpected and innovative textiles, not to mention her out-of-the-box creativity. After the third episode, I knew she was special and I looked forward to seeing what she produced every week. However, her three collection preview pieces has me worried. She is all over the place, and it shows. Zach Posen was so adorable with his critique of her collection and while Heidi and Nina Garcia were being “mean girls” and comparing her outfits to Dr. Suess (because of one of her headpieces) he cushioned the blows with appreciation for the head pieces as well as her creativity. Patricia has never won a challenge and usually, the judges take that into consideration when choosing the final three, but I believe her textiles and creativity had them hooked despite the fact that she teeters on the line of being crafty.

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Michelle Lesniak Franklin, 34, Portland, OR, is the youngest and moodiest of the contestants. We already know what I think of her so let’s get down to business. First look, hated it! Second look, I loved the olive green pop of color and how unusual that dress was. The last look that she showed was a hardware laden jacket that could accommodate several bags, and I liked it, the judges weren’t as excited. She got an earful for having too much hardware, but I am one of those women who would be carrying all of those bags so I can see the value. The judges were not happy with her styling either; the hair was messed up, bland makeup, but I got it – Lone wolf separated from her pack. I got it, the judges didn’t.

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Stanley Hudson, 44, West Hollywood CA, quiet, contained, bossy. I have always liked Stanley, he reminds me of my brother Mark but the judges thought his  collection was matronly. I liked the zipper in the back of his dress, I thought it was sexy, but Zach called it dated. Tim told him that his collection was not sexy or modern enough. I thought it represented classy, understated sexiness. I would wear Stanley’s clothes. As much as I like an edge, I also like sophistication. I live in Colorado, I want to be covered up. It’s cold here in the Rockies. The judges didn’t like anyone’s styling because the made fun of his as well.

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Michael Kors finally makes an appearance for the season 11 finale and it won’t be long before we find out who is going to get a 2013 Lexus GS 350, a spread in Marie Claire, a technology suite worth $50,000 from HP and Intel, and the opportunity to design an exclusive collection for Lord & Taylor. I won’t even make a prediction as to who the winner will be until I see the finale fashion show that was taped during the 2013 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York.


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Project Runway Teams: What Do You Think Of The New Format?


I was already upset because Anthony Ryan won the second season of Project Runway All Stars instead of Uli or Emilio, and already put-off about Zac Posen replacing Michael Kors as a judge (not that I don’t like Zac, it takes a moment to warm up to change) because Kors has scheduling conflicts. Then, I see Zac and Tim Gunn on Good Morning America announcing that the designers are going to be working in teams. I am not excited about this format at all because it doesn’t give the viewer a chance to get to know the designers as individuals. I don’t remember any designer in the past 10 seasons of Project Runway getting excited over team challenges and the entire season is nothing but teamwork. So at a time when I would normally be getting very excited about a new season, I am anything but.

 

I can’t imagine the designers liked the twist either, as they are coming on the show to show what they can do and express their point of view, not worry about creating something that must be inclusive of others work and opinions as well. I don’t think that any of the past designers have worked with others and most creative types, (writers included) prefer to work by themselves.

The decision to make every challenge a team challenge this season stems from Heidi wanting the designers to work in a realistic environment. Apparently, successful designers do work with others. I don’t know why I thought that it was a one man/woman show where the designer delegates and the others fall in line. In an ideal world right? 

The 16 contestants are divided into two teams, “Dream Team” and “Keeping It Real”. Moving on…

I was prepared to dislike the new format but Emily, who started the episode patting herself on the back and belittling others, sent down the ugliest creation in the western hemisphere. I don’t even know if you can call it an outfit and the judges apparently agreed because they sent her packing. I tried real hard to feel sorry for her but I couldn’t because she deserved to go home based on her attitude alone. There is no “i” in team, but there is an “i” in bitch. Bye, bye.

    

The Loser (The pictures don’t do this monstrosity justice)

    

The Winner

There is some real talent of course, (Daniel Esquivel won the challenge) and everyone is super-nice now, but there is bound to be some drama stitched in the midst of creation and runway. After all, they are competing for a 2013 Lexus GS 350, a spread in Marie Claire, a technology suite worth $50,000 from HP and Intel, and the opportunity to design an exclusive collection for Lord & Taylor. With all of that on the line and the pressure of having to work with others, this season might not be as bad as I thought.