When Project Runway first hit the airwaves it was a dual competition for both designers and models. It would allow the best designers to be paired with the best models and both the worst of designers and models would be cut early.
Although it remains a competition for designers, the models are just along for the ride. This often results in good models leaving early and less competent models being carried along.
Certain aspects of the judging have led me to abandon the show. The overuse of the phrase “off the rack” as a criticism, as it that were a mortal sin, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Off the rack is where the money’s at, especially during this economic slump.
Bizarre runway fashions may make for an interesting fashion show, but they are unsuitable for daily wear. If you show up with feathers sticking out of your sleeves, your co-workers will laugh you out of the office. And bare legs and midriff will lead to a case of frostbite during the cold Northeast winters.
There is often the assumption that “haute couture” is where it’s at. And that is certainly true on Oscar night in Hollywood, but the middle class in America would settle for something flattering that didn’t cost a small fortune. We need designers like Jaclyn Smith at Kmart and Vera Wang at Kohl’s who aren’t afraid to design for the ordinary woman. A Vera Wang dress would be both right for and a standout at the office. An outfit by Jaclyn Smith would be both comfortable and proper for a job interview.
Sadly Target lost its designer edge when Isaac Mizrahi left, although his label is available elsewhere. Perhaps Target could sponsor the next Project Runway competition and none of the judges would dare disparage designs as being too “off the rack”!