There’s something -- well, a lot of things -- about the fashion industry that inspire the utmost melodrama and caricature. And Eleven Minutes, a documentary following Project-Runway-season-one-winner Jay McCarroll’s ill-fated fashion week debut, is filled with both.
As a second-timer to reality-based media, McCarroll is a bit more cynical about the industry this go-round. For one thing, he faces the mounting pressure of showing a clothing line before his cultural relevance fades. There’s also the issue of money and resources -- none of which come easily to McCarroll who rejected the $100,000 Project Runway prize. Instead, the designer mainly depends on a dedicated team of pro bono sewers and publicists, many of which want to murder him at various pressure points throughout the doc.
Eleven Minutes also points out how unsophisticated and chaotic the fashion industry looks when it’s stripped of its candy-coated, Bravo veneer. Tedious meetings with sales reps about the collection’s marketability and tortuous phone calls with PR firms about the fashion show’s mailed invitations aren’t initially what jump to mind for most viewers when they think ‘fashion.’ What about the inspiration? The glamour? The refinement and beauty? It’s there, but that isn’t the point -- at least not entirely.
Rest assured, there few dull moments in Eleven Minutes. It offers the same artsy voyeurism and penciled-on narrative arcs as Project Runway; it’s just a bit more grim and realistic, but never depressing. And McCarroll is as irreverent as always, equipped with sarcasm and wit to weather the mine-laden path to Bryant Park.
-- MIKE BERLIN
Previously > Christian Siriano is no hot mess