In the 360 Review, Corporette examines a “professional woman”s” attire and critiques it from all perspectives: underling, boss, friend.
One of our favorite shows, Project Runway, is starting again on July 16. It is the show’s last season on Bravo before it moves to another network, and we suspect this explains the nonexistant PR that we’ve seen for the show. In fact, if we hadn’t seen an article on reality blurred about the dearth of PR on PR, we wouldn’t even have known that Project Runway was starting soon.
(If you aren’t watching the show, you must! Project Runway is one of the few reality shows that still manages to attract intelligent, artistic, creative people for a show that has interesting challenges and natural drama. We think the caliber of contestants is everything — unlike some reality shows, these designers are selected based on their design chops, not how pretty they’ll look on camera. Designers from the show have also effectively boosted their careers by appearing on the show (unlike appearances on other reality shows, where it seems like the only thing awaiting them is a possible speaking career), so they tend to be more intelligent and introspective than your average reality show contestant.)
To celebrate the start of Season 5, we’re going to review some of the creations by one of our favorite contestants, Jillian Lewis. Prior to the show, she had designed for Searle and Ralph Lauren; according to her official website, she’s going to have a personal line out by the end of August, which we’ll eagerly look for. Despite her propensity for miniskirts, we thought that many of the outfits she created for the show would lend themselves to a corporate environment; everything looked wearable and beautiful. Even where she was a bit outlandish for dramatic effect on the runway, it was easy to see how the clothes would be adapted for off-the-rack shoppers like, well, us. You can view her entire final collection here (on YouTube).
Our take: Jillian’s designs make bold use of color where warranted (we didn’t choose the pictures from her final collection featuring a wide red belt), but they’re there. Structure is key, and the fitted nature of everything she designs has a very youthful (but experienced and competent) look to it. If there were someone wearing this stuff at the office, and we were their subordinate we would think that they were adventurous and cool and very focused on detail. If we were her superior, we would think the same thing (although we’d wonder if we weren’t giving them enough to do, that they had so much time to tend to clothes shopping and fittings). If we were her friend, we’d want to borrow everything in her closet.
For this challenge her team had to incorporate various trends from decades past into their design. Jillian’s team got stuck with overalls, ’70s flare, and poodle skirts. We thought the resulting look would be great for the office, especially with a fitted jacket to match. (As for the blouse: The nude look can be a bit dicey for the office, but with a solid camisole underneath it (in mint green, we suppose) this could be gorgeous.) (For more screencaps and commentary, check out Project Rungay, here.)
|(At right:) This jacket was created for a challenge in which they were supposed to draw inspiration from a painting in The Met. Jillian chose a painting of Joan of Arc. (This challenge eventually inspired her final collection.) We think the pouf sleeve of the jacket and the gold seaming is lovely and would look great at the office. (The gold mini dress beneath is another story, but hey.) (See more screencaps and commentary on the episode from Project Rungay, here.)|
|(Above:) Jillian teamed up with another contestant (Victorya Hung) here to create an absolutely amazing, intricate, cool jacket with zippers and ruffles and a pink plaid lining. (They gave the model a faux-mohawk, via ponytail, to walk down the runway.) Beneath the jacket was a very structural white blouse and something akin to jodhpurs, and we loved that they chose such neutral colors with such a crazy jacket. There is a lesson to be learned here — if you’ve got one element to your outfit that’s daring and fun, tone the rest of it down in print and color — emphasize structure and fit. It avoids what Tim Gunn would call “a whole lot of look.” (See more screen caps and commentary on the episode from Project Rungay, here.)|
|(At right:) Jillian made it to the final 3 designers and, accordingly, got to do a show during New York fashion week. The entire collection was inspired by the Joan of Arc type stuff, and so everything was supposed to have an armored warrior look to it. So it may be a bit sad that we thought so much of it would work so great for the office! For example, we loved the jacket at left — the fit to the jacket, the slightly flared sleeves, yet then that beautiful ruffle in front — strong, not girly. We loved the gold piping along the ruffle’s edge and the bottom of the jacket, as well. If this came with a matching pencil skirt or some wide pants (instead of the leggings she paired it with on the runway) we’d wear it in a heartbeat.|
|(At left:) Love this look, even with the odd capelets on the sleeve. Love the dark olive green velvet (or so it looks), love the Missoni-inspired skirt with the flounce, EVEN, God help us, loving the whitish tights. We wish the skirt were an inch or two longer, but this look is insanely wearable.|
|(At right:) This pants and bustier combination takes you by surprise: you expect it to be a skirt. The effect is really lovely. The bustier is a bit too lingerie-like for a black tie event you’re attending on behalf of your office, but if it were solid bustier (or at least one without so much seaming) we’d be fine with it.|