Friday, September 08, 2006

the biggest nightmare II

Continued comments on the Entertainment Weekly interview with Vincent:
EW: What was your favorite part of the Paris trip?
"The boat was fun. There was a cute girl with red shoes and a tattoo. I have a lovely wife, but I was getting a little bit nosy with her . . .
He was getting "nosy" with her? Isn't that what dogs do? Speaking of which, he states that the reason for his unseemly fawning over CM was because he thought she looked like Anouk Aimée. And she does:

Gee, I wonder what film icon she thought Vincent resembled?

It's uncanny, isn't it? But alas, this match was not to be. Why? Because CM, like everyone else, found his behavior creepy? According to V the problem was that:
. . . Catherine [Malandrino] was a little bit too old for me. . . .
This bit of grotesquerie comes as no surprise since we've seen that he has issues when it comes to dealing with grown-up women. They have such terrifying attributes. Like opinions.
The other one wasn't. [i.e., too old for him] We wanted to meet later for a drink — Jeffrey and I and she and her girlfriend. We invited them to our room just to have a nice bottle of champagne, but unfortunately they canceled on us."
This anecdote about meeting up with the two French models is rich. Weren't they supposed to have learned that lesson when they were 20 years old and travelling for the summer on their Eurail Pass? (What woman hasn't done this to get rid of some guy who wouldn't leave you alone?) Vincent and Jeffrey. Oh yeah. They're hot. And this was his favorite part of the Paris trip. Honestly, it's so sad it's funny.

Can you imagine what those girls were thinking? Let's try for a moment.

brûlez dans l'enfer
[go to hell]

The conversation between Insouciance et Apéritif, two lovely French models (at right) who were on the boat ride with Vincent and Jeffrey:

- Zees Americain mayn, zay are so gauche.
- D'accord. Et zee old nozee wan, ee eez, ow you zay? Ca-ray-zee?
- Mais qui. Trés Fou.
- Et thee leetle wan, zee poseur rroke stahhr?
- Ee est le azzhole, n'est-ce pas?
- Com pleet ay mon.
- Je m'ennuie.
- Ma tête est malade.
- We zay zat we weel go to zee soirée ahd zen we deetch zeez imbeciles.
- Et zen we stop mahking zee bahd français.

Note: there is a translation in the comments section for those of you who don't speak the Monty-Python dialect of French.
- bloody hell -

I know that it isn't nice to make fun of someone for being ugly -- it can't be helped -- but in this case (a) the inside and the outside match and (b) he is under the impression that he is too good looking to go out with beautiful women like CM. As if. She looks at least a decade younger but he says she's "too old" for him? That's just asking for trouble.

I'll admit that Vincent knows enough about women to know how to be vicious. Which just adds many ways that he makes my skin crawl. He knows just what to say about a woman who works in the fashion industry: she's too old. Oh boy. The gloves are off. In fact, I think it's time for a "walk off":

Let's compare their recent runway shots.

CM with Mary J Blige last spring
- vs -
V on Project Runway this summer.

Who's looking a "too old" now, paunchy?

Don't mess with smart, sexy middle-aged women. They rock. And you don't stand a chance.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"the biggest nightmare . . . "

Was [working with Angela] as horrible as you said?
"It was totally the biggest nightmare of my life."

Here are a few highlights -- with some editorial commentary -- from the Entertainment Weekly interview with Vincent:

Regarding his role in the group:
"I was more of the older guy who would help everybody. I grounded the rest of the guys and let them see reality. . . .
If you think about it, he's quite functional for someone who is that insane.
. . . I said, ''Let's all hang in there.'' . . .
Except for the time that his dry cleaning was screwed up and a producer had to convince him not to quit.
. . . I was kind of the elder statesman. I brought out a lot of camaraderie."
He's a uniter, not a divider. Of course we know that everyone could agree on one thing: that Vincent was barking mad.

[note -- I moved my discussion of the boat trip to its own entry. See Part II above.
EW: Among the designers who are left on the show, which one do you think is worthy of winning?
"Myself. I love the truth, and I'll say this: If you look at the show and you know anything about design, you can see clearly who the designer was. They are amateurs. This show is full of amateur designers. I think one was way, way above and alone on the show. But I don't do the ego thing. It's not my style. But I love the truth."
What?! He makes less sense than Lupe. (See Season 2 reunion if you don't know what I'm talking about.) Knowing about the "Dunning-Kruger Effect" may be a way of understanding what is going on here.

Regarding the judges' criticism of his work:
"When judges see something new, they get intimidated themselves. With Catherine [Malandrino] and Michael Kors, I think there was a little bit of intimidation. I might frighten other designers."

The statements above are amusing but I am most interested in his assertion that working with Angela was: "totally the biggest nightmare of my life." I have a few things to say about this. And that means it is time for another installment of "bloody hell" (i.e., kora's rants):

A couple of days working with someone you don't like is "the biggest nightmare" you have ever experienced?! When I first heard Vincent say this I thought, "Well, how nice for him. I guess he's led a pretty easy life." I also reasoned that he said this immediately after he worked with Angela when he was still upset so he made this crazy exaggeration. Of course it is possible that he was using it in some ironic fashion (e.g., see the title of the previous posting) but he doesn't seem to have much capacity for irony. It has been months now and he is still saying that this was his biggest nightmare and I suspect that he actually means it. And that is scary. There is something profoundly wrong with a guy who has reached the age of 50 and thinks that having to make a dress with someone who isn't being helpful enough was "totally" his biggest nightmare. This is what takes him to the brink? Get a grip. It was an annoyance. At worst it was an unpleasant experience. You didn't work well together. Your personalities didn't mix. This is not a nightmare. And I seriously doubt that Angela was the most annoying person to work with. Ahem. PR is a glorified game show. It simply lacks the depth needed to create a "worst nightmare." A bad dream, maybe. For the viewers. Or perhaps some indigestion. He always looked rather dispeptic. It probably just gave him some bad gas.

Note: Deleted parts of this entry have been reworked into another piece called "The Nightmare" (click the title to read) which has been posted in the arts section of this blog. The changes do not affect the general meaning of the entry and therefore should not invalidate any of the comments that were made prior to these changes.

our long national nightmare

is over

"non! non! non! non!"
I'd like to thank Catherine Malandrino, because I'm sure Heidi and Michael would have kept Vincent around (after all, this week's crap was just the same as every other week's crap). Thanks to her vote we have been released from our suffering.

don't let the door hit ya . . .
. . . where the good lord split ya!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

for the record . . .

People on reality tv may be portraying themselves but they have also been edited into characters for a show. As with any other public image they are products of the media, a place where "people" become "media personalities." Individuals are always being defined by external forces that are beyond their control. And those forces shape their sense of themselves to varying degrees. People are always inhabiting -- and resisting -- characters that have been created for them. That is how stereotypes operate. In the media this process is enlarged and exaggerated. Television relies heavily on stereotypes as a kind of shorthand for conveying character to viewers. Audiences respond to these characters, not to what the person is "really" like. We can never know the actual individual if the only way we encounter them is through the media.

That said, the people on reality tv programs have made the conscious choice to participate in this socio-tainment (entertainment in the form of a sociology experiment). They are not hiding from the spotlight. They want to be on television. They want to be famous. They want to be a celebrity. They want to be media personalities. If that character is not an accurate -- or even fair -- depiction then that's just one of the prices they have to pay for their 15 minutes.

And no one is listening to me anyway.

Fair enough.

it's so easy it's Simplicity

. . .

Here is the pattern for every dress Vincent has made: just 3 easy pieces.

By the way, I was very disturbed by Vincent "rubbing off" his pants last week. This from a man who "gets off" on his creations. There should be a law against that. At least they should be required to notify the neighbors.

And where was he going in that "jetsetter" outfit? It was the antithesis of jetsetter. It was clothing for someone who isn't going anywhere. Who may not even be getting out of bed.

While I'm getting ramped up on this subject I might as well let loose the dogs of my invective with my first installment of "bloody hell" (or, kora's rants):

The producers might argue: "We didn't do anything; he was already smug, dispeptic, delusional and creepy when he arrived." That may be true, but they have nourished this creature in an environment that rewards the petty, the unpleasant, and the unoriginal. His ego has grown, like a cancer, under the tender salve of Heidi's warm supporting smile, and her defense of whatever he coughs up on the runway each week. As the skilled and talented are banished, he remains, always doing what is easiest, what requires the least. But they knew that when the chose him, didn't they? You can't tell me there were no other candidates who weren't better than Vincent. That is why the spoiler rumors that he is in the final 3 don't surprise me. They must have done some market research and found out that loathing is a big audience draw: viewers prefer to watch characters who make their skin crawl. In the episode tonight he offers his critique and advice to Michael. The man now thinks he's Tim Gunn. Does Tim know about this? (I love Tim's podcasts; he clearly detests Vincent.) Vinny's self-satisfaction has been bubbling over, and now it has burst, like a cyst, and all who are exposed to this noxious pus have become infected. Symptoms include a profound sense of demoralization from the confirmation that in the world of television it takes less than 3 seasons for things to devolve towards the lowest common denominator and for the most obnoxious and least skilled and talented to come out on top. On the other hand, most programs take less than 3 episodes to get to this point. It is reality tv. This is what I deserve for getting hooked. I need to go to detox . . . .

the skipper & maryann

the castaways

(inspired by project rungay's image of laura as ginger.)
it's all good.


Michael Michael Michael.

Of course we adore him. There was the "Captain Save-A-Ho" line. Or the scene where he showed Kayne how to walk the runway. And when he did the "clap on/clap off" to the light before going to bed. Yes, those were all good times.

But we also respect him. Not just because he acts like a decent human being. (That should be the base line for just tolerating a person but on this show just being civil makes someone a hero.)

No the moment when I saw that Michael possesses restraint -- a kind of zen calmness -- that is beyond the capacities of most mortals was when he just shrugged off Vincent's supercilious and galling "critique" and kept working on what looks like it will be another stunning creation that is well beyond the skills and imagination of the likes of Vinny (see post above).

sang-froid, n: self-possession or calmness, especially in a dangerous or stressful situation

hang on uli

Can Uli design a dress that isn't v-necked, sleeveless, and tiered??? That is (apparently) the question. I don't actually have that question myself but this is the question that the judges have decided that we should be asking.

There's no good reason why Uli shouldn't be in the final 3 but the judges have gotten obsessed with the idea that she needs to do something "different." I think she has a style that is distinctive. And she's very very good at what she does. She has an eye for prints that has not yet been seen on the show. This is no easy matter and it takes the eye of a gifted designer to do this well. She showed with the "everyday woman challenge" that she has versatility. So what if her jetsetter only goes to warm climates? Michael's outfit was also for a specific climate and they didn't object.

Uli isn't getting a fair shake on this show. I know this is dicey territory but I don't like what's happened to the women on this show. Alison was kicked off far too early in favor of Vincent (see V-rant above) and Laura has never won a challenge. And not for nothing but Angela's outfit was not the worst one on the runway last week. But I'm sounding naive. At this point the idea that PR judging has ANYTHING to do with talent and skill is pretty much out the window.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

the hh chronicles

hh chronicles include : miscellaneous musings on :
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  • Check out the fourfour recap that has an utterly inspired first image that captures all that is Angela and what it means to embrace the style and taste of the seventies. it's holly hobbie on acid.
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The trademarked slogan for HH is "happiness comes from the heart." I hate to quibble (okay, I sometimes greatly enjoy quibbling) but happiness actually comes from the release of dopamine in the brain.

the hobbien mysteries

"Doesn't this kinda look Holly Hobbie?" -- Tim Gunn

Oh, Tim Gunn. You are wise in many ways, but there are some mysteries of which you do not know. Beware Tim Gunn. Do not scoff at a power higher than even your own. You have tread upon the sacred territory of American femininity. The Way of Holly Hobbie takes many forms and wields great power over many worlds. And yes, Tim Gunn, it is even woven (to be more accurate I should say it is quilted) into the fabric of the world of fashion. But more importantly, The Way of Holly Hobbie is a journey of the soul.


the way of holly hobbie: her return

her arrival is welcomed by multitudes.

American Greetings Corporation first introduced Holly Hobbie in 1967. She reached her peak in the late 1970s. Just last year (2005) they brought the "classic" image of HH back into production.

You can find out about the history of Holly Hobbie here:

This site includes information about the new incarnation of HH: her great-granddaughter, who has long blond hair and instead of a bonnet she wears what I call a "Fat Albert" hat (not to be confused with a Mush Mouth hat).

Angela seems to be more into the look of the great-granddaughter rather than the original Holly Hobbie, given her fondness for the Fat Albert Hat:



the way of holly hobbie: rituals and mores

Sewing was a significant aspect of the Holly Hobbie world. Making dolls and quilting were two a popular projects. You could even buy a HH child's toy sewing machine.

"Traditional home crafts" were an important aspect of Holly Hobbie. It was all about the hand-made. These practices instilled the domestic object with the aura of its maker. Objects were created with care -- often made together as a socially bonding activity -- and were usually intended as a gifts. They were endowed with the power to strengthen relationships, especially women's and girls' friendships and mother/daughter bonds.

This is a world without fathers, without adult men. The only males that appear in the imagery are usually younger brothers or non-sexual but romantic boys.


Like "Little House on the Prairie" HH romanticized the time and place and life of early pioneers. (Like that was a great time to be female in America.) The aesthetic was sentimental and nostalgic for the "simple joys of childhood." Puppies and kittens frolicked. All children were well-behaved, rosy-cheeked, productive, and white and pure as the clouds of glory that they trailed.

Of course, this romantic nostalgia for childhood and the idealized past is hardly new.


the way of holly hobbie: wait . . . what?

The renewal of interest in Holly Hobbie is a nostalgia for the already nostalgic. (Note to self: that could be a future topic for kih | letters.) I'm curious about why she is being re-introduced now. What is the current fascination all about?

I also think Holly Hobbie may have also been a reaction to the non-traditional career woman that was voicing itself in American culture. At the same time, and paradoxically, Holly Hobbie was a translation of the seventies, living-with-nature, post-hippy independent natural-woman into an image that appealed to middle American suburban girls.

Laura Ingalls Wilder. Macrame. Fern Bars. Knee Socks. Carol King.

I'm sure it all made sense at the time.


when hh hits the runway

You could make clothing in the style of HH.
Mostly the focus was on making children's clothing but there were patterns for adult women.

Although, unless you are a member of a fundamentalist mormon sect
I'm not sure why you'd want to dress this way.


Aside from costumes, there was a Holly Hobbie element in seventies fashion.

Remember Gunne Sax dresses?
(I always wanted one of those.)

Jessica McClintock is still making Gunne Sax. As well as prom dresses with bubble skirts.

You can get vintage Gunne Sax online at curbside couture. Or you can spend hundreds more and buy the new looks from the runway. That way you can wear stuff that looks like it came from Goodwill with the added prestige of having spent a lot of money on it.

The current Gunne Sax line is stuck in the fashion of the eighties. Her models even have that '80s Big Hair. And I wasn't joking about bubble skirts. (Who decided this was a good idea to bring back? Was it the same person who brought back gauchos? They should be arrested for crimes against women.)

Here is the description of the Gunne Sax line from the JM web site:

"The promise of young womanhood, blossoming from the innocence of childhood. Not quite a woman... no longer a child. The perfect dress to wear for all the special occasions that imprint the memories of a young woman...."

I just don't know what to say about that. I'm just very alarmed.


Anyhoo . . .

You could see a return to this style in the Spring '06 fashion shows, especially Anna Sui.

New York Spring 2006: Anna Sui (4 images), Vera Wang, Angela Keslar

new york magazine spring '06 runway shows
bravo tv project runway

Monday, September 04, 2006

circa 1974

Somewhere in Middle America . . .


My mom made this dress for me. I picked out the pattern and the Holly Hobbie fabric. It was one of my favorite dresses of all time.

It tied in the back. And note the collar and sleeve cuffs ... the knee socks ... and the shoes: blue and white oxfords. It's a whole look.

You may laugh (and for good reason: I look like a dork) but I was so fond of that dress that I still think I looked great in it.

This picture was probably taken on the first day of school. My mom always made a new outfit for me to wear on the first day of classes.

A brief foray in to architectural and interior design history: Is that house a classic '70s era split-level ranch with redwood siding? Why yes, yes it is. Did my bedroom have mod rainbow wallpaper in shades of yellow and orange? Yes it did. Did the sheets match? Funny you should ask. Indeed they did. But that was nothing compared to the previous decor: ruffled bedspread and cafe curtains covered in hallucinogenic pink and purple mushrooms.

This is a close-up of the fabric.
It's an old photograph so this is as good as it gets.


(Below) Spring 2006: Anna Sui, and Fall 1974: Mom.