Project Runway: Josh’s Runway Show

(For the recap of the last episode, go here. For the recap of the other Project Runway fashion week shows, go here.)

How the hell did Josh, magpie, never-saw-an-embellishment-he-didn’t-want-to-add-50-of-to-every-outfit, the originator of the #editingfail tag, make it all the way to the Top Two, and nearly take the $100,000 dollars? Well, take a step back from your opinions of his choices. Forget that these are fabrics that made Tim Gunn want to weep in horror and shame. Put aside the odious personality, the villain edit the show gave him, and just look at his line as a unit.

Now go back and look at Viktor’s split personality offering and Kimberly’s lack of a cohesive vision. Say what you will about how horrendous the next ten outfits are–and oh, we will, don’t you worry about that–but these outfits are a complete vision. They mostly hang together as a single collection of eye gouging ugly with a strong, nay odoriferous, point of view. This designer is someone who knows who he is and stands tall and proud steadfast in his determination to horrify us all. Whether or not you agree with his choices–and remember what we say in the art world. We don’t say it’s bad, we say “It’s a choice.”–they stand together in a cohesive collection. If nothing else, you cannot say they are boring.

Sunglasses not included to protect your eyes from the blinding fabric choices. View at your own risk.

Let us take this opportunity to discuss the fabric made Tim Gunn weep. This fabric is not just ugly, it is blindingly ugly. There is so much going on here, from Pegasus to playing cards to random bits of script and incongruous images of heraldry, I’m surprised we don’t have Shakespearean busts or royal kitchen sinks floating there as well. Worse, he has not made the minidress just of that fabric. Yes, I said this dress would be better if it were just made of that fabric. Instead, this is a front panel. The sides are lime green. The back, which seems to be a foot longer for the sole purpose of keeping the model’s ass from hanging out, is hot pink. The back, here, is instructive. Those “bits of thread” are actually strings deliberately hanging out of the motorcycle vest. That is too bad, because until I saw that, the motorcycle vest was the only part of the outfit I liked.

Oi. Let’s play “What can you see in this fabric?” Well with the fleu-de-lis front and center, we can see a sun coming out of the neckline, laurel branches on the sleeve, a Joker, a Queen, and I do believe that might be Joan of Arc rising out of one of the Pegasi faces. The bit of script is actually in French: “Quand le gesher dans” “hommage. Les fiengnour.” Someone better versed in French is going to have to tell me where that’s from or what it means. My rough skills understand that first line as “When in the Gesher”…but I have no idea what “fiengnour” means, and neither does google translate. Sadly we can not do the same for the back of the shirt, as it is see thru.

Now that we’re done gawking at the fabric, the shirt itself is well made. The hitch on the side of the neon lime green skirt is less than aesthetically pleasing. On the right we are deprived of our game, as Josh has managed to tone down his fabric by covering it with mesh, though one wishes he did the same for the hot pink pants. Notice he left the seatbelt belt on the outfit, despite the judges suggestion it was unnecessary. In fact this outfit did not change one bit between original showing and runway day.

In comparison, these two outfits are a bastion of simplicity. I thought upon first looking at the left hand side that this dress was royal blue, but having now seen it on tv, I can see that I misjudged, and it is in fact royal purple. Either way, it’s still a sack dress, and just about the oddest choice he could have made for a show opener, considering that whatever you think of his other pieces, they certainly aren’t simple like this. I do question the choice of heavy shoes with such a lightweight piece though. At least the bright fabric ties in with the other pieces. The outfit on the right is a downright bizarre lull in the action. Not that’s it’s tremendously bad, it’s just boring. It’s like without the inspiration of gaudy prints, neon colors or bizarre fabrics, Josh couldn’t find anything new to say. That’s a real shame, because the outfit itself isn’t bad, it’s just that it’s so out of place among everything else, it’s like he only had nine pieces and had to send someone down in her street clothes.

With that interlude out of the way, we can go back to gawking in horror. It gets worse! How can it get worse? And yet, there it is. The outfit on the left is ugly beyond words. For the record, bike shorts are never fashion forward. Never. Especially not when they are lime green. Cutting slits in them and then loosely lacing those slits together only serves to make them worthless as their intended use, which is to be bike shorts. The only thing I can say about them that is positive here is that at least the neon lime green fabric is a proper choice, as those who wear bike shorts are prone to want to wear clothing that glows in the dark. As for the tank top he paired these crime-against-bike-shorts with, this is a pattern fit for an eye bender game you might find in Puzzle Magazine. Not only is it singularly painful to look at, but the pattern is such that it draws the eye down and in directly to the crotch of the outfit. Which is where this shapeless slouchy oversized tank ends. It looks so large on the model, it’s like she borrowed he gay boyfriend’s tank top to sleep in, and then wore it to go biking. But you think this is bad? Let’s check out the outfit on the right, with its “bringing plastic back” attitude. The plastic shirt might have a bit of stained glass style interest, if it was in fact not a dingy dirty nicotine stained window color. The best thing we can say about this top is it shields us from the bright neon lime green bikini top escaping and assaulting our eyeballs. The school marm skirt below doesn’t go with the said green bikini top, though perhaps the teacher who wore it was a chain smoker, which as least explains the color of the plastic. The overall effect doesn’t even look like something a self-respecting alien culture would consider fashion.

Speaking of alien culture, we now reach the plastic necklines holding up plastic garbage bags. He closed with these. The best thing we can say for them (and we can consider them as a unit, as they are two of the same dress, just with differing necklines) is that instead of being dress fronts with catsuit backs, they are now big drapey dresses, and no one’s ass has to hang out anywhere. They might work as pregnancy wear? Though really, all I see when I look at these is Star Trek. Unlike the plastic top above, self-respecting alien cultures would in fact think these outfits hot for Spring 2412 during their next trip to Sarona VIII. As for the necklines (because really, what else is there to talk about?) I prefer the one of the left as more visually interesting, but I’m betting that the plastic shoulder caps on the right are far more comfortable.

I pulled this one out from the mess to close my review with because every so often, Josh makes a little black dress, and you can see that beneath the piles and piles of distraction, there’s actually a gifted designer hidden away. This was also the only point in the show where Josh took the judge’s notes from the first part of the finale. He cut out the modesty tab, he put a seatbealt belt around her middle and voila!  The judges were 100% right. The look went from “pretty good” to spectacular. This dress stood out from the rest because it was so simple, yet so well done. I love the box cut around the shoulders, and the subtle detailing in the skirt that helps draw the eye in and down as you scan towards the knees.

Josh is a talented designer, I just think he needs about three more decades to mellow, mature and find some inner self-confidence so he doesn’t feel the need to attack anyone and anything he sees as a threat. I would love to check in with him again when he’s Bert age. Until then, someone please pass me some sunglasses.

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