Offers few threads that were not already more solidly and stylishly woven into "Unzipped," "Seamless" or "11 Hours."
This latest entry in the runway docu sweepstakes, “Dressed” tracks the race-to-the-deadline scramble of a personable young designer preparing an underfunded fashion show, but offers few threads that were not already more solidly and stylishly woven into “Unzipped,” “Seamless” or “11 Hours.” Helmer David Swajeski’s sole new wrinkle, addressed ad nauseam to diminishing effect, concerns Laotian-American Nary Manivong’s unhappy childhood, darkly hinted at throughout. “Dressed,” which opened Feb. 4 in Gotham, stretches 30 minutes of material to 79 through sheer repetition, both verbal (endlessly redundant talking heads) and visual (flashy montages replete with tangential catwalk imagery).
A salt-of-the-earth string of friends, teachers and colleagues laud Manivong’s courage, perseverance, optimism and talent. A like-minded succession of fey fashion deans, journalists, organizers and one sole designer, Nanette Lepore (whose spring line is prominently featured), portentously drone on about the difficult and unglamorous obstacle course facing the fledgling couturier. Manivong makes an engaging central figure, and his struggle to mount his show contains inherent suspense, but Swajeski’s milking of his subject’s past trauma, repeatedly cutting back to the same teary interview footage, borders on bathos.