Project Accessory premiered last night after the Project Runway. While the show’s producers were careful to stick (tooclosely) to the tried-and-true PR format, the making of accessories has it’s own considerations that need to be accommodated. This is where the show felt like a six inch bracelet around a seven inch wrist.
Making a necklace, belt and an accessory of choice that exhibits style, detail, and a wow factor takes creativity. Pulling all three pieces together as a look against the backdrop of a ubiquitous t-shirt and jeans takes more ingenuity than fashion sense. If the challenge is to showcase originality, then give the contestants a way to hunt and gathering their raw materials that sparks inspiration. Or, at the very least, make it interesting. Watching them dumpster dive into a few brown boxes and bang away at chairs and whatever else they could break apart was silly, and a little dull. Take them to a tag sale, a flea market, or a Salvation Army (thereby promoting recycling and giving to a charitable organization simultaneously) and let them loose. The point of every challenge should be to provoke thought, stir the pot, and then see what the designers come up with. The show should make the tasks relatively complex with a good does of realism that makes them feel honestly difficult. The contestants shouldn’t be walking around with spears on a set dressed with stuffed animals.
Drama on these shows is a given. Except where we’ve seen the same crying jag once too many times. Nicolina’s meltdown, while I’m sure authentic in every way, was the only bit of tension on the show. This is where Project Accessory lets its audience down. If PR can bring a spotlight to the crafting and je-ne-sais-quoi of creating clothes that women want to wear, why can’t PA show us the intricate process of making jewelry? Cotrice’s comment about making findings for her necklace by cutting two hundred bits of wire to make loops — and for this hand cramping work alone she should not have been sent home — was the only real trial-by-fire that made the show feel authentic in its own right. Instead Nicolina cries on camera, cuts up a suitcase, and gets to stay on for week two.
Lastly, something needs to be said about the runway show where the audience gets to see the designers work in, or rather, on the flesh. I review runway jewelry seasonally, however, I do not only review it as it walks down the catwalk. I also look at it in still shots so that I can assess the details. It would be a bonus for the audience to be able to appreciate exactly what the designer has accomplished. Close up shots of the jewelry, belts, and handbags while the designer is explaining them would add a new and necessary dimension to this facet of the Project series. It also gave me a little pause when the judges didn’t get up from their seats to view the pieces more intimately. And I would just like to add that anyone mentoring a designer needs to speak to them from the same side of the table: Tim Gunn never makes his critiques feel like a job interview.
I will be watching the series and will comment here often so please do check in on Fridays. Have a lovely weekend…