The Critic's Dish

Server of dry wines and bitter spices.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Le Beau Monde: Finale.


Last time on Le Beau Monde... the contestants had to dress for a heftier woman. There was a little fax problems, so Jen really had to make it work to submt her design. Max didn't make it work and forgot to submit but he's fine with it. Alex created a fur coat and Jen created a morely flattering kimono; Jen won.

Alex and Jen remain.

Final Challenge: Commercial.

We asked the the two finalists to create a two-pieced night-and-day collection to hang in the front of their store. These pieces needed to be marketable, practical, one rtw, one dress, and they both needed to share a palpable theme.

Here are the final results.


Alex ( He created a collection that based around flowers. I thought the collection was very him and charming and flirty-cute, but flowers had been done very much before. The theme itself we all found boring, predictable, and extremely... easy. Find a color like that of a flower and voila. Maybe a symbolic floral object and make a print. In addition, the silhouettes were basic once again. Besides minute details, he didn't deviate from much of a normal silhouette. Especially the day dress... straps don't do much. Still, although simple, the pieces are individually strong and picturesquely Alex. Alex, solid job with the collection.

Jen ( and Jen created a collection based off of the four elements earth, wind, water, and fire; a theme that's not TOO often thought of... somewhat original. The pieces were a bit confusing at first... let's start with day. The top with the lime and pale blue and sorbet was a very busy of a busy color marriage. It also didn't seem to mesh well with the skirt in my opinion, but the skirt itself seemed strong and cohesive. The night-dressier piece was a little more understandable. The angora top with the diamond ornamentation was very sweet. Under it was a summery-colored gown pairable with flipflops... but why did it need to go under that angora top? Do the two really go together? More confusion. Bust still, she created a risky and interesting collection. Strong job as well, Empress Jen.


Alex, your collection was basic and predictable. An easy theme for a basic collection. Still the individual pieces were you: very cute and strong on the flirty woman. Jen, your collection was confused and the color marriage was off. Still, it was risky and strong for separates. The judges were glad you took this chance.

Alex, all of us are really impressed with your tenacity and the fact that you want to stay in fashion. Your Valvo piece was possibly the most stunning in this competition and you continue to charm us with a style that we know is just so you.

Jen, you've been a strong contender tredging throughout the entire competition. And your collection... showed just that. And you know what Jen...




You also will be receiving the $25 gift certificate to Starbucks! Jen, we are all so proud of you and we hope you stay with us in the future. Excellent, excellent job.

... Simply stunning.

And to everyone who took place in this competition, thank you. And a fabulous job as well.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Le Beau Monde: Size Challenge.


Last week, I asked the designers to analyze an Olympus Fashion week designer (Fall 2006) and add onto their collection. Alex had the clear win, designing for Carmen Marc Valvo. The bottom two were Caitlin and Jen. Caitlin's design wasn't terrible and was seemingly a good edition to willow, however we didn't see HER in the design AND it seemed as thought she took straight from other pieces in the collection. Jen also had a decent design but it didn't seem Zang Toi at all.

Jen survived. Three remain.


Alex ( He decided neutralize the size by adding a large fur coat. Although I didn't feel that this was an overly brilliant solution, it was creative in it's own way and I could see women of that size desiring such clothing. The sash is a bit weird to go with such a voluminous coat. The hat... get rid of it. Besides that, very solid!

Jen ( Jen created a kimono design. It was a perfect choice to slim down a woman! It hugged the curves, the sash was perfect, and it flowed really really well. The colors were funny but I kinda liked it... excellent job Jen.

Max did not submit a design. He is out.


Alex, your design was interesting and creative. I thought there were weak aspects of the design but it overall worked. Jen, you chose a smart path to slim down a woman. The challenge was, indeed, to slim down an overweight woman, and Jen, YOU have won the challenge! Bravo!

And behold our final two... Alex Martin and Jen Black. Congratulations guys, and good luck with the final challenge.

Final Challenge: Commercial.

You are to design a two-piece collection to be hung in the front window of your store. The two designs must contain one day outfit and one night outfit. One of the two must be a dress and one of the two must be rtw. Remember, the dress doesn't have to be the nighttime outfit. Most importantly, it should be practical and sellable. Nothing too haute couture. Finally (and most importantly), I want the two to share a subtle yet palpable theme.

The winner of this will receive $25 Starbucks Gift Certificate and will be crowned the first winner of Le Beau Monde.

... Good luck...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Challenge Two: Analysis.


Last week, I asked designers Caitlin, Jen, Max, Alex, and Erik to express who they are as a designer. They were given one week to create any design that was them.

Jen and Max came out on top, Max *just* stealing the win from Jen. His design, remade by me, is… Eve.
Alex and Erik were on the bottom of the runway. Alex’s look was confusing and disjointed while Erik’s was boring and unoriginal. Erik got the boot.

Four remain.

Challenge Two: Analysis.

This week, we asked the designers to analyze a collection in the Fall 2006 Olympus fashion week. Upon analyzing, they needed to then create a look to complement their collection while still being “them,” as they demonstrated in the first challenge.


Max Max chose Chado Ralph Rucci to analyze. The design reflected Rucci very well and indeed he followed his own philosophies, but the design itself came out forced and confused. The combination *almost* works, but to an extremely restrained eye it’s a hot mess. The fur on the jacket is cute and it’s interesting that he paired the navy with the fur. However, the lines on the jacket are completely not needed… arbitrary. The judges felt lost with his design.

Jen Jen chose Zang Toi. The design was very Jen; flowy shimmering dress, destined for the night out to some Parisian ballroom. On the other hand, we didn’t see much Zang Toi in the design. Toi DID create dresses… but nothing of this silhouette. One of us found the design a little weak from an aesthetic perspective. The judges wished that the ribbons or whatever were larger. The dress is charming, but that’s about it. Her analysis on Toi wasn’t stellar either.

Alex Alex decided on analyzing and adding to Carmen Marc Valvo. And he very much succeeded. The design was very Valvo: tall, chic, and sexy. The design was also him, dressy yet provocative (with the slit). In total, the overall look was stunning, save a few flaws (the dowdy sleeves). Alex, GREAT improvement.

Caitlin Caitlin designed for willow. She analyzed willow very well and made a piece that I can see in the collection, but where in the outfit is CAITLIN? Basically, she took various pieces from the actual collection and combined them together. It was a hot mess… black sleeved undershirt with provocative lime dressy top (which EXACTLY copied the actual willow design…) and then a navy pencil skirt AND THEN gray leggings (which to me seems matronly… why not black like the top AND like those in the willow collection?). It was too much, and I felt that it came out looking like a bug.


Alex, your piece was Valvo. Your piece was you.Your piece was stunning, and Alex, YOU have won this challenge! Such a stunning improvement from your runway-bottom finishing last challenge!

Max, you’re in.

As for Caitlin and Jen, both of you are in the bottom two. Jen, your dress was somewhat elegant and yes it was you, but we didn’t see too much Zang Toi. We were left wanting more and accordingly were unimpressed. Caitlin, you analyzed willow nicely but we feel that you simply put different clothes of her collection into one piece. The design was so busy and we didn’t see you in it at all.


Challenge three: Size.

… You are to design for an overweight woman of today. In today’s world, obesity plagues our country. There’s a greater need for larger outfits and dresses, but the only thing fashion shows show are dresses and outfits on thin people. You will receive a croquis in the mail by midnight tonight. You MUST use it and your design must be flattering and chic. The midnight after Friday is the deadline.

Good luck.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Challenge One: Style.

This week, the designers were asked to make an outfit or dress that conveys who they are as a designer. I gave them a week to produce their design to be judged. Here are the results.


Caitlin ( She told us that her design was inspired off of a Green Day song (the title is so apropos!). She told us she’s about elegant dresses, sleek lines, revealing tops, and a whimsy, feminine feel. She created a green evening dress with a slightly bouffant skirt. Chiffon straps line the bust and the skirt in a somewhat symmetrical manner. My only real problem with this is that it could’ve been too busy; if it was symmetrical, then the symmetry wasn’t executed too perfectly. If it’s intended asymmetry, then I feel the straps could be arbitrary. But it pretty much works. She added a touch of glam by lining the bottom of the torso with rhinestones. A charming touch to an already charming dress. Solid start, Caitlin!

Max ( Max’s designs revolve around New York City and various urban influences. His title to the piece, “Eve of Destruction,” is symbolic of the death of all suburban/rural wear (aprons, overused floral, etc) and a revolution towards more urban wear (bitchy, black, austerity). And he achieved just that. He created a sleeveless leather jacket, only closeable with a white sash, with a low lapel made from a black and white snake print. Under it, a white collared shirt fitted with a beige flat-bottomed tie. My only concern was that there was too much black and white and not enough color, but the tie and accessories alleviated that problem for me. The belt with raised silver circles was interesting and the leather pencil skirt was essential to the intention of the piece. Excellent job.

Erik ( Erik stated that he’s not for all the flurry and ruffly femininity that grips today’s fashion. He wanted to take us to a different side of wear, more masculine, clean detailing as opposed to princessy minutia. Unfortunately, his translation was boring and extremely commonplace. A collarless grey vest, black pants, and a beige sweater, being the only color in the picture. The accessories were nice, but nothing to save the look from being drab and uninspired. I, along with the judges, agree that this could be seen at a lifeless Wal-mart.

Jen ( Jen prefers to be a trendsetter instead of a trend-follower. She achieved just that with her stunning evening dress. She used various colors including green, white, and black and used piping to create a geometric pattern on the bust and skirt. The skirt ends as an exaggerated fishtail, allowing for one leg to peek out as the model walks. It was innovative, provocative, and trendy. I thought that there were a few arbitrary elements, including the squares and the asymmetrical bracelet/strap on the upper arm, but besides that, picture perfect, Jen!

Alex ( Alex wanted to create a feminine, flurry confection. He made a long pink dress with an asymmetrical bust. On top of that, he added a pink fur strap to wrap around a shoulder. The judges and I were overall underwhelmed from the basicness of this dress. On top of that, we felt that the fur strap was awkward. Alex felt that the pink fur added a touch of urban to the look, which we didn’t really see. In end, he said he’s about flowy and feminine, but like Erik’s design concepts, ‘flowy and feminine’ compose of just… yet another designer.


Caitlin, you’re in. Again, solid performance.

The top two designs for this challenge were Jen’s and Max’s. Jen created a fabulous, geometric dress that fulfills her need to trendset. Max created a bitchy urban outfit that utterly encompasses his design philosophy. Jen, your design was spectacular but arbitrary in some aspects while Max, your outfit was sublime but could’ve been more colorful… however, you also had a more mature, developed design and Max, YOU are the winner for this challenge! Yay congratulations! *Applause!!!*

And now for the bottom two. Alex, your design was unfocused yet at the same time, boring and basic. In addition, we don’t need to hear that you like feminine and flowy. Everyone can be feminine and flowy. Erik, we get your design aesthetic and appreciate it, but your design showed us that you’re about boring, everyday clothing, not worthy of a point of view.



Second challenge: Analysis.

Now that I know YOU as a designer, I want you to familiarize yourself with the best of the best; the handful of designers that made it into THE Olympus fashion week. You must pick one designer from the Fall 2006 fashion week that you like, explain what YOU think his/her collection is conveying, and then make your own piece that is a extension to the collection. Take note that this piece must reflect that designer’s collection, but must have your stamp on it as well.


Go to

Go past the introduction and click “previous seasons” on the left. Once you reach “fall 2006,” go to “designers.” Choose one from the left to analyze and depart from.

This is due by the midnight proceeding after Friday, September 15th. This gives judges a long time to judge each piece. The results will be posted Saturday afternoon.

Good luck! :D.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Le Beau Monde: Style Challenge.

Le Beau Monde is my first online fashion competition that I’m running. My friends expressed interest in competing, so they are the competitors. Competitors are given a weekly challenge that they must respond to with a fashion drawing, much like Project Designer. I will remake the winning design of each challenge and well… the least fabulous design will be eliminated. The designer who remains at the end of this competition will receive a $25 gift certificate to Starbucks.

If you show interest in helping me judge this competition, please notify me.


Alex Martin: An aspiring designer whose roots come from his mother, Barbara, a renowned elegante in the community.
Caitlin Campbell: A spellbinding chanteuse who has experience in fashion drawing.
Ekazo: A logic intellect with a sharp taste in aesthetics.
Jen Black: The Empress of “Guineveraeanism,” Jen has always held fashion in high regard.
Max McGowen: His fashion taste is as sophisticated and eclectic as the music he fancies.


I want to get to know you as a designer. In this challenge, you must make a design, whether it composes of an everyday outfit or a dress, which speaks to who you are as a designer. I want this outfit to be fabulous and NOT boring. One will win and one will be eliminated.

This is due Saturday, September 9th at 5:00 PM. Good luck! :D.

Here's my take on the challenge, in case any of you need guidance. Check my deviantArt site for information about the outfit.