Can This look Be Saved? Second Guessing the Designers

It amounts to picking on someone’s work, but let’s do it anyway. Well, I pick on commercial patterns, when it’s deserved; we also get into the second guessing habit with ready to wear (not that I’ve bought any RTW in the last 7 plus years). So, let’s start at the highest end of the fashion industry spectrum; no one gets away with bad design or unfortunate execution when they are asking consumers to spend money.

Second guessing the House of Dior (gasp):

Dior FallRTW 2016. Look 47
Image from (can’t find the link to this image, but do check out the site)

Do you like this dress? I don’t. While I love innovative design, this one is mere bad placement of elements.  It’s something which would earn the dreaded “questionable-taste-level” response. But then, who am I to question design teams at the Dior atelier? Well, I sees what I sees. And… I look to the highest end design houses for inspiration.

I gather that at this time the House of Dior was undergoing changes at the creative director level but come on.  (Note: have you watched the documentary “Dior and I”? Watch right now if you have Netflix or Amazon Prime. They follow Raf Simons’ first collection after taking on the design reins at Dior. His work is unparalleled there. But Raf is not at Dior anymore).

The dress has good design bones, but what’s with the printed appendages at the shoulder and at the hem? Non, non, non.  How would I change it? Maybe switch out the print to a diaphanous solid black silk organza or dotted black silk tulle (point de esprit)?  Same color, different texture.


On to the lower end of the designer spectrum, Project Runway:

Image from Lifetime TV. Do enlarge the image and check the illustrations and notes.

When I say “lower end” I mean it in the most positive, encouraging way. The best designers have to start somewhere. Project Runway has provided a platform for real design talent to move up.

It never fails after watching an episode of Project Runway. With each eliminated and almost-eliminated look, I become obsessed with what the designer should have done to get a better critique from the judges. The eliminated design I’m currently obsessed with, is by designer Linda Marcus who competed in the last season – season 15. She was eliminated in episode two, because of the above design. It’s a good photograph, but read on….

The challenge: create a modern outfit to flatter all body types. The sponsor was online retailer who offered the prize of selling the winning design on their website.

Designer Linda’s project: I assess it as a good silhouette. I really like the overall shape, and love the armhole and the high neckline. The organza jacket, which the designer referred to as an ‘urban kimono” is a good piece too with simple lines. You can see it in action on the model if you watch the video.

The downfall: In my opinion, the chosen sweater knit was unstable, and therefore got out of control in stretching out of shape by the time it was finished.  It’s pretty in the photograph above but watch the episode on Lifetime Channel to get a closer look. A more stable knit with good recovery would have been best; also, the judges thought that the silhouette is great but the narrow close fitting vibe is not the preferred silhouette of women with non-skinny figures. I concur.

The oval peek-a-boo opening below the front neck is a good detail, but the unstable fabric does not support it much; the shape got skewed by the time the dress was finished. It ain’t working.  An option: stabilize the keyhole before doing anything!  I’m sure there was a facing inside the oval, but instability is the pits.  Another option may be to create a separate yoke, and incorporate the oval opening when joining the yoke with the rest of the bodice.

The second piece in this outfit was the loose, white organza kimono jacket. Designer Linda attempted some form of decorative stitching in addition to moving the seams to the outside for a ….. deconstructed effect? It became messy. Organza and deconstruction don’t mix well, I think! Plus the puckered seams, oh my. The billowy silhouette of the organza kimono was actually good design-wise, but the execution was unfortunate; bad sewing was the downfall. Sad.  The positive in this is that Linda Marcus realized during construction that her execution was less than exemplary, but it was too late.

Maybe at some point I will try to sew up my versions of the bad designs (my opinion, folks).  Then you, dear readers, can feel free to pick on me.

What would you do to change these two looks? Maybe you like them as they are? Why?  Let’s discuss.


3 thoughts on “Can This look Be Saved? Second Guessing the Designers

  1. Oh Samina! I really don’t like either dress and yes, I remember when they tore apart Linda’s design on Project Runway! I believe that although the judges (in most cases) are professionals, I don’t always agree with them! Actually, a lot of the time I don’t agree with them…heck, even the judges don’t agree all the time!
    If I were going to redesign one, it would be the “House of Dior” dress. I would use the same fabrics, but change it by removing the front flounce (bottom front) and use it to cascade to a “side low V” in the back. (Connecting from the shoulder print). So the back would be a combination of both fabrics (wish I could sketch it out for you!)


  2. I actually like the Dior dress, but agree that it could be improved. I would make the flounce in black, or even in a print with a black background (red floral on black?). I would also flip the shoulder flounce so it went out over her shoulder – bringing balance to the flounce going out on the opposite hip.

    But the biggest thing I would do is try the dress with a pair of black shoes. Those high-heeled quasi-oxfords are just visually jarring.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s