Friday, September 5, 2008

Oh the Hughmanity! Week 8: “A Benihana in a Trailer Park”

And he's back, ladies, gentlemen and possums. A week that simultaneously thrilled and dispirited our gimlet-eyed, whip-and-wisecracking, resident curmudgeon and gay éminence grise, Hughman. And so, without further ado:

Have these contestants been frozen in time? Seriously. I’m shocked at how ignorant they are of the world of fashion and time.

Three things to know about Diane Von Furstenberg:

1. She’s the most famous export of Belgium since Belgian beard, er, beer. Oh, what the hell. She’s rumored to be the “beard” for Barry Diller, media mogul and faggo dei faggi of the Velvet Mafia. As Cityfile puts it, “She has been very close to the media mogul for more than three decades—he famously gave her 29 loose diamonds in a Band-Aid box for her 29th birthday—but the union still raised eyebrows considering Diller has been in gay relationships most his adult life.” So, ok, wife, companion or whatever. Point is, he’s filthy rich and has financed her fashion company, so she’s not crying about her income.

2. She, if not invented, revolutionized the Wrap Dress. It was a staple at Studio 54 in the Seventies. It was a dress you could throw on at 2 AM and go out and look fabulous in.

3. She’s renowned for her use of bold prints.

Tim Gunn was kind enough to mention the last point. Did anyone listen? Hardly. Apparently black and concrete gray are the new prints. Why, why, WHY would you go for black with DVF?? Because you are an ignorant newcomer, that’s why.

Also, Marlene Dietrich:

1. Infamous film star.

2. Known for her androgynous looks, most notably her tuxedo in Josef von Sternberg’s Morocco:

3. Understated to the nth degree.

Where were the print tuxedos? Where were the 40s looks? Where was the reach to a past era?

Not here. These kids are just on some trip that has nothing to do with fashion. It has to do with self-promotion and exposure. I like many of the results (many of which were in the top spots) but they had little to do with the inspiration given them. They were like an MTV recap of Madonna minus the timely references.

Ugh, I was so frustrated.

The best -

Korto’s dress was at least a great pattern - the one, in fact, featured in Diane’s American Express commercials.

I don’t love a weird jacket over a long dress (which goes for all of them) but at least it was bold and not all drab and monotone. Kenley’s dress, while supposedly simple, was at least cute and accessible. I actually loved the dress she was personally wearing better with the feathered epaulets. Where was that dress on the runway?

Leanne wins. Her dress was chic on its own. Again, I wasn’t so crazy about the jacket but I’ll just call this a Jennifer Hudson on the Oscar runway moment. I could actually see Marlene wearing this with long gloves and a cocktail in hand. Good for Leanne, two in a row.

The worst -

All the ones I have grown to hate in one showdown. It was so good it was evil because I could have seen any of them go in a heartbeat.

Joe has some weird idea about his designs which is laughable. This was like something a hostess at a Benihana in a trailer park would wear. So sad and so badly made. He really needs a reality check. Suede’s outfit was what the high school slut on Planet of the Apes wears to the prom. A vest over a long dress? Really? Even if the dress hadn’t been so weird, the vest was just freaky.

Poor Stella. She obviously thinks inside of a very small box. Her outfit could have been very Amelia Earhart and aviatrix to adapt to her point of view. Instead it was like badly fitted office drag. That vest looked like something the model stole out of her mother’s closet when she was six. And a cape? She had been destined to go, but this was her shining moment of poor choices and ignorance and refusal of the judges’ input.

So no cute guy, no older rebel hat without a cause. What have we left?