Hey, peeps . . .I know I'm a whole sodding year late to comment on the conclusion of Season Three . . .but I don't get Bravo at home and just finished watching it on DVD, so it feels very fresh to me!
Having seen the first two seasons, I can confidently say that this year's crop of designers were at an extremely high level of skill. OK, so most of them had personality dysfunction in equal measure to their talent, but really . . .if you compare the challenges of the first season with this year's, it's a whole new level. I love Jay McCarroll's unique personality, but let's face it, his work looked extremely "Fashion Design School Final Project". Now here comes Jeffrey with a similar avant garde-funk sensibility, but he had the craftsmanship to back up his visualizations. I don't like J.'s stuff personally--I'm about 20 years too old and 6 sizes too large to look good in any of it--but it was very well-made & thematically tied-together, except for the unfortunate 2 blue dresses that did not go with anything else. One looked like it wandered in from Laura's show, and the long schmatte looked entirely Uli.
I was rooting for either Michael or Uli to completely rock the house, but considering what Jeff went through just prior to the tent show, and having witnessed him interacting with his family at home, I had formed a softer opinion of him and was happy he won, if only because he seemed, in an emotional sense, to need it the most. These reports of him leaving the mother of his child for his model are, if true, forcing me to reevaluate that better opinion of him, however.
I guess I have a different conception than the ruling fashionistas of what constitutes "America's Next Great Designer". I view that title as belonging to someone who has the greatest potential to become a household name in stores, like Donna Karan or Michael Kors or Calvin Klein--somebody who produces stuff that actual American women will want to buy and wear . . .as opposed to what a teeny-tiny elite Size 4 minority of snotty Manhattan socialites might buy. If that standard is applied, Uli deserved the title. I have no doubt that Uli will be able to build a successful brand on her own. Even Michael has the potential to do this, after he gains some maturity and tones down the bling. Laura will have a successful, though narrowly focused line of elaborate cocktail attire catering to clients like herself--Manhattan-based, stick-thin and with plenty of money to burn. I wish them well in all their endeavors.
But I wonder where exactly Jeffrey will be taking his win from here, apart from where he has already made his mark. He caters to L.A. based musicians, Harajuku girls, and . . .that's about it. Apart from attending some L.A. red carpet event, CD launch or perhaps Halloween party, where can J.'s designs be worn by actual women? They are wonderfully well-made . .. for a target demographic of young 20-something rock scene hipsters who are no bigger than a size 4. From the perspective of potential market impact outside of a tiny focus group, Jeffrey was not the best choice. Not to mention, he already did have a successful business and line producing exactly the kind of clothes he is interested in making, so from that perspective, he really didn't require a launching pad of PR. I somehow can't see J. being amenable to mentoring with the INC designers, can anyone?
With the luxury of DVD, I was able to watch the runway shows several times in a row, and I actually went through and counted up everybody's garments. Jeff had 21 pieces in total . . .at least 5 more pieces than any of the other competitors. I don't know if he cheated or not, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that he got some assistance from somewhere. J.'s designs are just right for Vogue, which I guess is what the people responsible for PR are really interested in. As we all know, the clothes in Vogue are for pictorial shock value only and not really wearable outside of a fashion shoot.
Just once I would like to see someone win who designs real clothes for real people.