Okay, Runway fans. Help me out here. As my deadline to turn in this recap ticks ever closer, I’m still not sure how I feel about this week’s challenge. I’m all for the show championing excellent causes like heart disease awareness, but was the blatant Campbell’s branding really necessary?
I applaud Campbell’s for their commitment to coronary health. I do. That’s fantastic and exactly what mega-corporations should be doing. I just can’t shake my discomfort over the requirement that some element of the company’s logo be incorporated into the garments. Could Lisa Walker (”VP of Innovation”!!) not have been content with the Campbell’s name getting bounced around on national television and emblazoned on the screen a dozen times last night? I’ve grown to expect egregious product placement on this show, but isn’t it just a bit out of place here? I mean, last night was a different situation from season 4’s Hershey’s challenge, which was structured around candy and had no relation whatsoever to a deadly disease. I dunno. A company logo just doesn’t exude seriousness to me. (Or, for that matter, sophisticated fashion.) Shouldn’t the attention be on the cause and the women dedicated to it, not a flippin’ soup company? I’m probably making too big a deal of this. (Moi, overreact?). Maybe it’s because Campbell’s makes me think of Andy Warhol. I was never a fan.
The designers were paired up with a group of gals who all had connections to heart disease. Immediately, we got a clear glimpse into how the various personalities in the room approached the challenge. In one corner, we had people like Amy, explaining how winning such an important challenge would mean the world to her (foreshadowing!). There were also Jay and Anthony, who cried while listening to their models’ stories. (This week’s theme hit a particularly personal note for Anthony, whose mother recently went through heart surgery. Hope she’s doing well!) Then, across the room stood Jesus, who praised not his model’s courage or spirit, but… her lack of cellulite. ”I’m really excited because she’s really, really tiny!” he chirped.
As is always the case when Runway tackles these ”everyday woman” challenges, size matters to the designers. Oh boy, does it matter. I’m trying to refrain from going full-fledged rant here, but I’m getting awfully tired of hearing about how difficult it is to put together a garment for a woman who is not a size zero, two, four… or even six! Do I really have to explain why? The average American woman wears a size 14. It’s doubtful that any of these aspiring fashion mavens are going to become the next Valentino, creating exclusively for teeny-tiny celebrities. Even ”Top American Designer” Michael Kors has a ready-to-wear line for us regular ladies. So please, Runway contestants, stop talking about your non-professional glamazons as if they’d have been better off trying out for The Biggest Loser. Yes, I’m talking to you, Seth ”This is the largest challenge I’ve ever faced as a designer” Aaron!
(Let’s pause here to compose ourselves. Okay.)
Maybe it’s because the pool of contestants is slowly dwindling down to a manageable number, but it seemed to me that we got to spend more time than usual with the designers during their creative process last night. That was cool. I particularly enjoyed the shot of Mila sitting on top of her table, showing off herwhite jazz shoes. I had a pair during the Thriller era. I remember getting really upset when I scuffed them during recess.
NEXT: Who’s in the safety zone?