PRP3 Episode 9 review: “Waste not, want not”

Katrina Ramos Atienza: Plus Size Fasyon Mudra

Otherwise known as the “Carnage Couture” episode. (Thank you Jenno, I’m soooooo using that!)

Avant Garde challenges on design shows are a staple, yet I find them to be bit problematic. With Jojie Lloren explaining this particular avant garde challenge would make use of workroom scraps (retaso) and trash, I found myself thinking, how would I design that if I were in this show? And how does one exactly define “avant garde”? It’s said avant garde redefines the norms of fashion and takes it to a new direction, challenging proportion and aesthetics. (Great examples include Viktor & Rolf, see above.) But when does something cross over from avant garde to costume? Does a crazy concept + wild design = avant garde?

Avant garde masters: Viktor & Rolf spring 2010 and spring 2011

Avant garde masters: Viktor & Rolf spring 2010 (L) and spring 2011 (R)

As Jenno and his “carnage couture cadaver carcass” showed, not necessarily.

Carnage couture by Jenno Gacasan

Carnage couture by Jenno Gacasan

Oh Jenno. Almost everyone, myself included, thought he had this in the bag. To be sure, his concept of a drowning lady decomposing in the water was distinctly morbid, but then so are many renowned designers. (Alexander McQueen got people’s attention with his ‘Highland Rape’ collection, as did Veronique Branquinho’s Twin Peaks-inspired work.) But while most thought he was suited to the challenge, he apparently did not. He second- guessed himself all throughout the proceedings, and despite his wordy explanation of the look (with matching Damien Hirst reference), he seemed to be playacting – like he wasn’t completely convinced of his work. And so, he was voted out for this nakakatakot zombie look.

Aviation-inspired MJ

Aviation-inspired MJ

Yet again I feel like the boot should’ve been given to MJ. Yes, when MJ’s good she’s good, but when she misses the mark it’s spectacularly awful! This is one of the latter – a patchwork homage to Boyoyong Clowns that looks even worse from the back. I feel like the judges keep saving her because they recall her strong work from previous episodes, but really, this is so much worse that Jenno’s. Jenno at least proceeded with a view of challenging fashion norms, but this is as boring and derivative as it gets. A strapless jumpsuit for the avant garde challenge, for goodness’ sake.

Cheetah’s icy design

Cheetah’s icy design

Then Cheetah Rivera came a long and showed everyone how it’s done. This bodysuit, with a sculptural bodice of heat-transformed plastic bottles, was beautifully done and perfectly balanced on that thin line between costume and craftsmanship. Her decision to make it into a bodysuit, as opposed to a skirt (as she originally intended) may have played in this design’s favor too, since a skirt would’ve made it a tad conventional.

All in all a great episode – and an apparent favorite, judging by Rajo’s tweets. What happens next week – and why was our favorite mean mommy Apples crying? Can’t wait to find out this Sunday!

Catch Project Runway Philippines every Sunday at 8 pm on ETC.

Katrina Atienza, writer, wife, mom of two and fashion devotee, blogs at Plus Size Fasyon Mudra. Follow her on Twitter (@iggyatienza).

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