Fashion Tribe

Kini watch: Going for Baroque

March 20th, 2016

PHOTOS COURTESY LIFETIME

Kini Zamora's still in the "All Stars" game in Week 6.

'PROJECT RUNWAY' ALL STARS SEASON 5
Episode 6 recap: "Going for Baroque"

I miss the screening of project runway All-Stars last week Thursday while I was on Maui I reached home at 11 PM and promptly crashed after running around all day from Kahului to Makawao to Paia.

The next day I also had to find out if Kini had won before writing about his grand opening at the Clique by KZ.

After reading a recap I remembered this was the week that they were to go back in time to the Baroque era. Commenters were dissing the designers for not knowing the details of the Baroque period, and producers for bringing the designers to a medieval event, which had a style preceding the more ornamented Baroque era.

When I actually watch the episode host Melissa Milano actually talked about the medieval. Eating into the Baroque so it just goes to show you how commenters always go off tangent and really don't pay attention to what is being said.

The funny thing is that they're giving only two days to create a Baroque piece when the elaborate garments we now associate with Baroque garments took months to create. Milano tells the designers, "For one of you it will be off with your head." Lucky for the designers that in today's reality show duels, it just means getting booted off.

This is Baroque style, 1590 to 1725:

In Caspar Netscher's 17th century painting, Susanna Huygens wore a Baroque white satin dress with paned sleeves.

Spanish painter Diego Velázquez's 17th century painting "Las Meninas (The Maids of Honour" provides a classic example of Baroque style.

In another example of the Baroque, artist Peter Paul Rubens' 17th century portrait of Susanna Fourment shows an open high-necked chemise, red sleeves tied on with ribbon points, and a broad-brimmed hat with plumes.

I love a challenge like this because it also gives me a chance to learn more about costume beyond the 19th to 21st centuries. Recalling my interview with Harold Koda, former curator in charge of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institution, he said that when he first entered the field he had general knowledge of period dress, but had to learn to differentiate between details of a 1750 sleeve vs. a 1760 sleeve. Think about future clothing historians trying to determine a 1950 dress from a 1950 replica dress made in 2016. To start, you look at details of fabric and construction that was more exacting in the past.

Baroque style started around 1600 in Rome and spread throughout Europe. It started with simplification, eliminating the Elizabethan ruff in favor of broad lace or linen collars. Waistlines rose for both men and women. Sleeves became full and were often paned or slashed to show the voluminous sleeves of the shirt or chemise beneath.

Later in the period, the body was tightly corseted, with a low, broad neckline and dropped shoulder. In later decades, the overskirt was drawn back and pinned up to display the petticoat, which was heavily decorated, leading into the late Baroque, or Rococo, period that we associate with the extravagance and excess of the French royal court beginning with Louis XV.

Everyone is anti-Sam Donovan this week. He chooses a beautiful lace fabric and Mitchell Perry says that doesn't make a good designer when the fabric is doing all the work. Well, fabric choice is one of a good designer's top considerations. His lace gown is beautiful, but it looks like another contemporary, halter top dress. The other designers are peeved that once again, he doesn't give credit to another designer who helped him with the idea and placement of lace cut-out flowers. This time it's Dom Streater who goes uncredited, like Hawaii designer Kini Zamora before her.

Meanwhile, Kini opts for a fitted red gown with gold-embroidered applique details and a skirt that in his illustration looks a lot like that of his famous "Rainway" dress from the original "Project Runway" Season 13. In execution, it turns out more like accordion details. For this, he ends up safely in the middle of the pack.

Online, Kini critics online didn't like seeing what they consider to be a repeat of his umbrella dress.

For the first time, I really like one of Layana Aguilar's creations, a sort of Spanish matador interpretation of the Baroque, in what starts out with a short dress. Because the challenge is to create a gown, she scrambles to create a skirt, and I really like the movement of the skirt in contrast to the severe bodice. The judges hate the colors of yellow and what they call brown, but on my TV screen appears as a mauve. They also think there's too many ideas in the top, but hello, this is a couture challenge.She said she worked with couture techniques while working for Oscar de la Renta, and I think it shows.

This is the first time Ken Laurence claims a win for an elegant sheath with capelike sleeves. It looks more like a medieval-inspired garment rather than Baroque, but it is stunning.

And Mitchell Perry goes home for disaster of a short-long dress.

Ken Laurence was deemed the winner for this contemporary expression of a medieval cloak.

This is Medieval style, 5th to 15th centuries:

Think of your typical Renaissance Faire garb. Women's fashion of the early Middle Ages was influenced by classical Greek and Roman clothing, and consisted of two tunics under a long cloak that likely protected the tunics from the grime of their daily lives. People didn't own many clothes so had to preserve what they had.

Tunics and robes became more ornate in the late medieval period.

This is Rococo, also considered late Baroque, 18th century:

Think Marie Antoinette in her most ornate court dress worn over wide panniers.

Going back into this history reminded me of the work of another local designer, Eric Chandler, who has since semi-retired to Washington state. He created many an elaborate late Baroque-style ball gown, this one modeled by Emma Wo in 2008.


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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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