U: The Unknown
It’s no secret to those closest to me that I watch a bit of reality tv. I like to think of my specific reality tv choices as educational programming. Project Runway and Top Chef have some serious merit as far as I’m concerned. So when Ava, my 7-yr-old daughter, snuggled up past bedtime and insisted on watching The Fashion Show with me, I conceded and set out to observe what any typical young person might learn from this show.
Ava seems to enjoy fashion. I had assumed most girls eventually get into fashion or at least have a curiosity about how to put an outfit together. In our previous “fashion fights,” where my sensibilities on color coordination, dressing for the occasion, warmth, etc would try to reason with her strong will, her point of view seemed immature and misguided.
While watching this fashion show where fashion designers compete in one of two teams (or houses) to make individual pieces that are then part of a cohesive collection, I listened during the hour-long show as she articulated why she liked certain designs, specifically what she thought went wrong or right about the design and what she would do differently. I was ready to pull out a dress from my closet and see her rework it on the sewing machine.
I may be getting carried away. We talked about our opinions on the pieces and wondered what Calvin, a spirited contestant, had to say that he continually was bleeped over. Judgment time of the show rolled around. It was the Elemental Fashion episode where they toured NYC on a boat and were challenged to make clothing designs inspired by the earth, wind and water. All of the designs were avant-garde and made for good discussion. It made Ava really uncomfortable to see all the hard work the designers had done and the some of the harsh critique some of them received at the show’s end. Which brings me to the catch phrase.
I’m a long-time fan of Project Runway with host Heidi Klum who rarely ever waivers when dismissing contestants with a blunt, “Auf Wiedersehen.” It’s apparent that all reality shows do not leave their delivery lines to chance: “Please pack your knives and go” (Top Chef), “Your desserts just aren’t measuring up” (Top Chef: Just Desserts), “As you know, one day in fashion you’re in and the next, you’re out” (Project Runway) and finally The Fashion Show’s hotly-debated catch phrase from host Iman, which some say is way too similar to Klum’s, “You’re out of fashion.” When Iman delivered that line to Cesar in this particular episode we watched, it meant that he just missed one of three top spots that would go on to compete in the finale. Ava declared she would never want a judger job.
While this may have been a bit traumatic to witness, I think she learned some fashion terminology, understood the process about design inspiration, how color and material selection played into the design and the art of taking some constructive criticism. I feel like she is already a step up from where I was at her age in my hometown home-economics class. It was late. We slept on it.
The next day, The My Style Studio kit came out. It comes complete with all the necessary templates to pattern, mix and match styles and accessorize. We had our own design competition using similar dress concepts. We declared it a tie and wondered if fashion reality tv might soften their tone with an “I’m sorry. Tonight, your designs were among tough competition. Regrettably, we must let you go. Good luck future fashion designer!”
Tune into BravoTV on Tuesday, January 25 at 9:00p.m. CST to see The Fashion Show: The Ultimate Collection Finale. Invite your young aspiring designer to join you (sensoring Calvin comments is a must).
Also, for more fashion games and learning, Project Runway’s past seasons have drag and drop fashions for your inner fashionista to create a look that’s all your own.