Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics


Hyphen TV: Plunging V-Necks

Anya, looking very pretty and very, very happy as the winner of Project Runway

I'll cut to the chase, here: ANYA WON PROJECT RUNWAY! After a truly dire start to the finale, Anya pulled herself together at the last minute (as is her wont), completely redid the looks that the judges hated (using $500 that the producers bestowed upon the designers on their final day -- kind of odd), and created a Fashion Week line that had all the colors, movement, and stylish patterns that Anya has become known for over the course of the season. Jennifer Love Hewitt liked Anya's show the best out of the final four, which was clearly a good sign, and the judges gushed as usual about Anya's eye for pattern, Caribbean glamor, ability to cut a plunging neckline ("it really takes the right skill," per Michael Kors), and the clarity and coolness of Anya's perceived client ("Who doesn't want to be that girl?" Heidi praised).

Now that's a deep V

In the interest of suspense, it wasn't all high marks. Heidi pointed out that eight out of Anya's ten looks shared the same deep v-neck, and Michael agreed that Anya "sacrificed diversity in the shapes." Guest judge L'Wren Scott wished that Anya thought more about the retail side of her collection, considering how the flowy island looks would translate to an urban atmosphere. Still, the strength of Anya's brand and the beauty of her clothing got her the win in the end, and Anya made sure to thank Heidi for believing in her early on -- remember how doomed Anya seemed with that first amateur collection and her claims of having just learned to sew? Congratulations, Anya. It brought tears to my eyes (shut up, leave me alone) to see you celebrating with your brothers and adorable parents. Thanks for bringing an Asian Caribbean perspective that I've never seen before on mainstream television.

Are there enough patterns and colors happening here? No.

Less happy news for Sally on Top Chef: Just Desserts. After teaming up with our old pal Van and semi-finalist Orlando, Sally took home second place. I was kind of shocked, since her layered entremet looked delicious, with its layers of chocolate mousse, mango vanilla cream, caramel cremeux, lime, and almond sponge, the judges said she "hands-down" had the best bread with her Parker House roll with bacon, onions and gruyere, and Gail loved her salted milk chocolate caramel bon bon. Plus her "special dish," which was a chocolate sphere filled with white chocolate espresso mousse and served with a chocolate cremeux pudding, cashew noguatine and white coffee ice cream. She chose a coffee and cashew theme in honor of her mom and sister, who love those flavors. Are you drooling? Because I certainly am. Where it seems like Sally went wrong was her showpiece, a huge sculpture of chocolate that showed femininity with its flowing lines ... and was almost entirely constructed by showpiece master Orlando. Sally reasoned that flavors trump construction, and though I agree with her, it seems the judges found her creations lacking. Hey Sall, who needs 'em! You proved yourself a versatile chef who can use a wide arrange of flavors unusual to Western dessert palettes. I'd say you're a winner!

"Over there, Van. Sit in the corner."

This week's Work of Art challenge was a straightforward one: create a piece of pop art. As Young explains, pop art is all about exploring themes using the medium of universal objects that can be recognized by anyone from royalty to the lowliest pauper -- thus the Coke bottles and soup cans in Warhol's most famous pieces. Leon went a bit literal with this definition, layering major corporate logos (Starbucks, Facebook) over painted images of the American flag. When the judges asked why he didn't make a personal connection to the piece, perhaps by bringing his Malaysian heritage or his deafness into the piece, he was resistant and insisted that pop art should not be about the personal. The judges disagreed, and Leon was one of two contestants sent home.

Yeah sorry Leon, but this is like...the high school version of pop art.

Young went in a completely different direction, exploring the politics of California's Proposition 8 but leaving the actual discussion to his viewers. Young constructed a huge, colorful billboard that simply said "Prop 8" and left the back blank, providing markers for viewers to write or draw whatever they wanted on the empty canvas. He impressed the judges and won not only the challenge, but also a photo spread in Entertainment Weekly. Way to go, Young!

Happy colors, but quite the serious topic

I also learned this week that artist Sara Jimenez is of Asian descent when fellow competitor took photos of her for his pop piece on race. Sorry for not realizing, Sara! Glad that you were safe this week with your photo piece that explored the emotions of online dating.

The X-Factor is still a big, bloated spectacle (two and a half hours in one night??), but it as fun to see all the contestants prettied up and choreographed/dramatically lit/performing with backup dancers. Though InTENsity landed in the bottom two of the groups, they made it through, no doubt thanks in part to Ellona, whom Simon complimented specifically (even if he didn't know her name ... she won't just be "the girl in the red jacket" for long!).

The jacket is red, the pants are sparkly

Edna was barely in this week's episode of Survivor because her tribe won a grueling and difficult immunity challenge and didn't have to worry about sending anyone home. Hopefully she can stay strong until the merge and figure out a new alliance then.

I really just mention Survivor to post this photo.

And the Dartmouth Aires kicked butt on The Sing-Off this week with their medley of Queen songs, giving a performance that Sarah Bareilles called her favorite of the competition and Shawn said was "like watching a Broadway play." Unfortunately, the Rochester YellowJackets were the ones to get sent home for their Billy Joel mash-up. They did leave singing a fun version of "Tubthumping," so they went out in style.

Bye, YellowJackets! You were clearly good at synchronized tilting.

About The Author

Dianne Choie

Dianne Choie's TV is in Brooklyn, NY. She has a cat, several reusable shopping bags, and other mildly annoying stereotypes of youngish people who live in Brooklyn.

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