Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bringing a little Carole Lombard back into the picture.

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Get us out from under, Wonder Woman!

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Get us out from under, Wonder Woman!

This is one of those posts that's going up partially because we can always talk a blue streak about the topic, partially because it seems like everyone else on the internet is talking about it and we hate that there are opinions about things that we have not weighed in on, and partially because if we don't put a post up, our inbox will collapse under the weight of emails on the subject. We think it's kind of hilarious that people are now coming to us with every bit of news about the Wonder Woman costume, eager to hear what we have to say about every development. It's both endearing and a little bit of an honor.

We featured the earliest version of the costume here. Our reaction at the time could be described as "underwhelmed," but eventually we flat-out hated it, mostly because it looked cheap and flammable. So when we saw the latest pics floating around depicting new WW Adrianne Palicki getting her Action Girl on in the streets of Hollywood, you know what we said?

There she is. That's Wonder Woman.












From what we can tell, they made an entirely new set of tights in a darker, less shinier blue and more defined stars running down the legs. They also changed the boots to red (yay!) but got rid of the heels (boo!). We still have issues with how overdesigned this look is; that belt is an eyesore and she really doesn't need a bunch of red stars running down her chakras. Plus the tips of the boots are overdesigned, with both a gold point and a winged W. Pick one or the other. And finally, that bustier is just way too shiny. Ditch the PVC or whatever it is and render it in a fine red leather. Also, the crotch is insane. Since this is a pilot, there's plenty of time to tweak the costume further if it goes to series. We hope they do.

People may decry how much less, shall we say, glamorous this looks than Lynda Carter in her heyday. To that we say it's not 1976 anymore. We expect our Action Girls to be a little tougher and a little more badass in 2011. This costume does a pretty decent job of that while still looking undeniably like Wonder Woman.

[Photo Credit: PacificCoastNews.com]

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Making it work in a totally different way.

This post may be a bit confusing to some of you. It's like this. For whatever reason, Sundance released the second episode of this series on Hulu; the one with Kara Janx. Then, the other night, for the premiere of the series, they aired the first episode, and that's the one we're reviewing here. In addition, the premiere episode aired with only a music track, which means a lot of people turned the show off without getting to see it. We felt so bad for Joe, but he handled the whole thing with grace and humor on his Twitter that night. The show aired at midnight with the soundtrack firmly in place. If you haven't seen it (and we strongly urge you to), it will be re-airing on Sundance on Friday night at 9 and it's available right now for FREE on iTunes.

Why are we urging you to watch it? Because it exceeded all our expectations - and you bitches know how high are expectations usually are. Arising out of the staleness of the fashion reality programming genre, this show somehow manages to be fresh, fun, and intelligent. There are two reasons, one is Joe Zee himself, who is whip-smart, comfortable with anyone, and endearing as hell. The second reason is the concept: It's airtight and fully realized. It's not people playing a game with fashion; there is no prize money at the end, but it does put real designers with real lines through their paces, exposing their flaws and weak areas for the cameras and then forcing them into a do-or-die situation in order to save their company. Damn. You don't even have to like fashion; that's just good television.

And it gives us great hope for the series that casting-wise, it's loaded with intelligent people, committed to their industry and knowledgeable of how it works. No one, not even the designers, plays to the cameras here.

Okay, maybe she did a little. We kind of want to see a show about what her days are like.


And it's giving us what we've long wanted to see in the genre: a focus on the reality of the fashion world. That means money, marketing, forecasting, pitching, selling, and a whole lot of what they used to call "hustle."

We LOVE that the show is focused on sales and business, rather than runways, red carpets, and magazine covers. Those other shows have their place of course - and no one in their right mind could ever claim we don't love them equally, given how much we've covered them - but we've long wanted to see people with talent and charisma mount a show looking at the grittier side of things.

The runways and the red carpets are the pretty girl at the front desk; it's what goes on behind-the-scenes and behind closed doors that has always interested us; not least because we think it would be quite educational to the huge audience that discovered fashion through shows like Project Runway. If Heidi, Michael, Tim and Nina were your Fashion 101 instructors, consider this your Master Class.

And you couldn't ask for a better instructor than Joe Zee. He really knows what the hell he's talking about and brilliantly zeroes in on exactly where the designers are going wrong. We loved the idea of taking them to Times Square and pointing out which outfits on the streets they most responded to. It was a great way to give two people who had no idea how to describe their clothes a vocabulary to do just that.

As for the designers, we were again, pleased to see they were well-cast and weren't a couple of flakes with a handful of shitty dresses. They were both very likeable and sincere as hell, which means as a viewer, you almost instantly wanted them to do well. Even when she couldn't seem to finish a sentence out of nervousness and couldn't even describe one of her own dresses, we still felt for her.

Although one thing was driving us nuts. She kept explaining the name for her line, RADENRORO, as an Indonesian word for a "royal girl." By the 4th or 5th time she said it, we were all "PRINCESS! JUST SAY 'PRINCESS!' Much better sound bite!"

We do get involved with our stories, we must say.

It helped in rooting for them that their line, while flawed, really had a point of view and a style to it, even if they couldn't tell you what it was. They're not a couple of dilettantes. She has talent and he has a real drive to make it happen. They both have just enough innate charm and style to sell themselves, although they have no training or concept of how to do so. They make good raw material.

Plus: nice ass.

And Joe wasn't unnecessarily polite. If he thought something was hideous, he said so. If he was frustrated by her lack of confidence, he laid it on the line for her.

It wasn't all hand-holding and empowering role-playing exercises; it was "Get the hell out there and DO IT."

And who can blame him for snapping at them occasionally? They were TWO HOURS LATE showing up to a PRESENTATION FOR A NORDSTROM BUYER, for Jesus' sake. That was the one moment where we felt Joe would have been justified in canceling the whole thing. We were rooting for them, but they were definitely making it hard to do so.

Still, we couldn't stay angry at them for long because ... fashion show! And that ALWAYS makes T Lo content.



We absolutely loved this dress. So simple and perfect. We agreed that it would also look fantastic (and likely sell more) in black.



She was kidding herself trying to sell this as a work look with a neckline like that. With some tweaking, we could see it. we thought the belt was really interesting, as was the color.



Absolutely LOVE this look. Just gorgeous and perfectly chic. With this look, you could really see why Joe was pushing them so hard and why the show chose them. They definitely have something. The kimono sleeves just make that top, which hangs beautifully. It won't necessarily look great on a hanger, but it'll kill on a mannequin.



We liked the idea of this dress until we saw it. Definitely shouldn't have continued the ruffles down the skirt.



We don't adore the top as much as we do that skirt, but she really does have a von Furstenberg-like facility with prints.



Tom was on the fence with this one but Lorenzo thinks it looks glamorous and chic. We love the fabric and like Joe, we were surprised how well the fake fur worked and didn't look, in his words, like a toilet seat cover.

End result? Nordstrom bought some of their pieces. And Nordstrom doesn't hand out rack space to just anyone. This was a no-bull big deal for this line and you can buy the pieces here, if they're your thing. It says something about how much Joe Zee knows his stuff that the pieces on sale were barely changed from what was shown, if at all. We loved the collection, personally. Joe took everything about their original line that was good, distilled it down, and forced them to really think about what their aesthetic is.

We can't recommend this show enough, even if you have to buy the episodes on iTunes. If you like fashion, or even if you just like seeing intelligent and creative people actually do the work, it's must-see.


[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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