Monday, October 3, 2011

2.6: The Medium is the Message

Paul: I had very little to say about this Banana Republic challenge.  One of my few notes reads "Nobody on the show knows what Banana Republic looks like!"  Which I think would be a much more interesting challenge.  Make the designers design a look they've never heard of and see how close they come through suppositions.

Laurie:  Wow, good idea! That really would be a fun one!

Paul: We are in teams again because that seems to be an emerging guaranteed pot stirrer.  But, I think the real point of interest in this week's challenge was the window dressing part.  The designers are called upon to create a window display in Banana Republic in New York City in which the live model will display their design.  The design challenge is "day to evening wear," meaning an outfit which can transition seamlessly, as it were.

Laurie: These are teams of two at this point, and the judging gimmick for this episode is that the passers-by will be called upon to vote for their favorite display. The winner of the public vote is the winner of the challenge.  The non-winning teams will be judged on the runway. The losing team goes home. Which means we say good-bye to two designers today. For some reason I find this more merciful somehow. They don't die alone. 

Paul: And so we approach the concept of sales and advertising as well as several questions associated with that aspect of human existence.  What is one doing when one is advertising?  Can advertising become a form of art unto itself?

Laurie:   I believe it most certainly can.  I really appreciate lovely advertising. Though it might not affect my choice in product, I appreciate it just the same.  Packaging, on the other hand, though I don't at first think of it as advertising, is the most effective for me.  Print ads do next to nothing to influence me, but attractive packaging is hard to resist.  All else being equal, I would be inclined to pay a tiny bit more for a product in a lovely package than for one in an ugly container.

Paul:  Right!  Because you're bringing that thing you're buying into your house.  Product designers would do well to remember that an elegant package is the difference between dish soap on my counter or dish soap in the cabinet under the sink.

Laurie:  A store window is a lot like an attractive package. I am not much of a shopper, but I am far more likely to enter a shop if I like its window display, whether or not I would consider buying the actual outfits displayed there.  The window gets me in the door.

Paul:  I feel that this challenge is a very good encapsulation of advertising.  The designers are being called upon to "sell" an object of their own creation with the incentive of the massive noteriety of having their design sold by Banana Republic.  Bravo (at this point in the Project Runway story), Project Runway, certainly Banana Republic, and to a certain extent Elle Magazine have a great deal to profit from this venture.  They are a providing a venue for the designers to work and subsequently expect a portion of reward for their labor.

Laurie:  Why, oh why could I not find a single picture of a single one of their window displays?!

Image via
Daniel V. and Andrae were the winners of this challenge. I think the dress is cute, but I wouldn't be caught dead in that little jacket. Yikes! The poofs on the sleeves. Do you know what those are called Paul?

Paul: Injudicious.

Laurie:  Anyway, their design went to market as promised:

Image via Constant Chatter

We said good-bye to Diana & Marla. While I liked their blouse, the rest of the suit appeared rumpled and a bit dowdy.  The other big news was Nick's ability to tone down Santino and a fair amount of interpersonal drama between Kara and Zulema, which, thankfully I only vaguely remember.  These two were not meant to work together.

And that's all I've got for Episode 6.  It looks like you and I both came away from this one with a bit of a "ho hum".

Paul:  True, but I hasten to add that the next one was my favorite.

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