The first time I saw a Pleasant Girl catalog, I was eight years old. It was 1986 and I was over at a friend’s house. I was instantly enchanted by the dolls, their stories, their clothes, their furniture, their world. I spent hours dreaming over those catalogs. I saved up my allowance–a quarter a week–to afford the magical fortune of $80 to buy one. My parents were so impressed when I reached $40 by Thanksgiving, they kicked in the other half. I bought Molly. I still have her, up on a shelf in my sewing room. So pardon me tonight if I fail to snark. Project Runway hooked into product placement this week that hits me square in the targeted demographic.
At the American Girl NYC flagship store, Tim introduces Heather Northrup, who has been with the company 22 years (That would be since 1992, the year the company was sold to Mattel.) The challenge is based on the “matching outfits,” a big seller for the company. (My little sister and her Felicity doll had the same outfits–think early childhood cosplay.) The designers are to take your pre-assigned doll’s outfit and create a modern-day twist on it. This makes it so that when you dress like your doll for school, the other kids don’t wonder why you look like you’re from 1774. The assignments:
- Kini: Samantha Parkington, 1904
- Amanda: Addy Walker, 1864
- Alexander: Kit Kittredge, 1934
- Korina: Josefina Montoya, 1824
- Sandhya: Caroline Abbot, 1812
- Char: Kaya, 1764
- Sean: Julie Albright, 1974
- Emily: Rebecca Rubin, 1914
Matching fabrics are provided, but not mandatory. There’s also an $150 budget for Mood. They have thirty minutes to take their kid model’s measurements and sketch in the store. The kid models tell as much about the dolls as they can. I am pleased to see Amanda picks up an Addy book. Emily shoehorns in that Rebecca is the Jewish doll without making it too obvious.
Back in the workroom, those who don’t make kids clothes regularly make faces over the lack of darts and how much smaller they have to work. Sean starts making fun of the title of one of Julie’s books, “The Big Break,” until Alexander points out it’s about her parent’s divorce.
- Sean: He’s making a 1970s jumpsuit. Tim says to cut the fringe.
- Emily: Her knit top is so cute. Tim worries about proportions.
- Kini: He made a Chanel style jacket. Tim hates it.
- Amanda: Tim is shocked to learn Addy is a runway slave child. I had to pause the show I was laughing so hard.
- Alexander: His “Great Depression” outfit is boring. Tim says it could have been bought at SpawnRUs.
- Char: In her words, Kaya is “a horse riding little diva” which is one way to look at a Native American girl before the white men exterminated her race. Tim hates the fringe.
- Korina: Her Mexican inspired outfit is pretty cute considering how much she whined about not knowing anything about kids.
- Sandhya: She has the only “off date” girl–1812, when everyone else is a year ending in 4. (This is so Caroline’s story can be during the War of 1812.) But she’s completely missed that, and instead glommed onto the “boat” aspect of the story. The outfit is so inappropriate, I can’t even. Neither can Tim.
Char decides to ignore Tim’s fringe concern. The kid models arrive. Emily and Amanda seem to have been spot on with their measurements, while Sean is way off. Kini is having trouble deciding to cut the jacket or not. He hates the Samantha fabric provided, but feels like he has to use it. Korina starts to freak out she won’t finish.
Day of Runway and Sean is putting a peace sign on the back of his vest. Kini is finished, so he’s restyling Samantha’s hair. Korina has her kid model help finish the skirt. The Name Dropping Hair Salon seem excited to be working with little girls. The Product Displaying Make Up People keep the looks appropriately simple.
Let’s go down to the runway and see how these outfits turned out.
It’s time for our seasonal dose of fur with Dennis Basso. For those who are too into animals to deal with fur, please feel free to skip this. For the rest of us, let’s dive into the 60s tinged Monte Carlo inspired line.
This problem I find with Basso as a dress designer is that many times, his looks need fur to look finished. This was true of the opening number.
We’ve got a clip of the upcoming episode tomorrow.
So that explains the Clara transformation we see in the trailer. Nice. One more below.