Those of you who read the comments on my videos may remember how, when people offered to draw me an OC pony, I just sort of told them some colors I liked, some ponies with designs I liked, and a couple of general details. This is why. My design sense is about on the level of Twilight Sparkle, and in fact, the terrible dresses that the characters wear in this episode are strikingly similar to my everyday fashion sense.
I love Rarity so much. She hasn’t gotten to do ANYHING in season three, which is pretty sad, but some of her focus episodes are among my favorites in the show, such as this episode and Sweet and Elite. I relate a lot to Rarity’s passion for her craft, and in this episode, I particularly enjoyed watching her take on a huge number of projects at once since, hahahahaha…
Interestingly enough, I think Opalescence probably shares Rarity’s deep passion for fasion. Opal seems genuinely excited by how excellent Rarity’s initial set of dresses are, and appalled at the later set. Picky and mean as Opal is, there’s probably no one else she’d rather have as a master.
Now, I know there’s a lot of people who think that Rarity poorly represents the element of generosity, since she’s often very selfish, and especially so during Sweet and Elite. To that I say, just look at this episode. Not only for an example of Rarity being generous, but for an example of Rarity getting completely fucked for being generous in the first place. Now, to be fair, Rarity’s original designs were every bit as “for her” as they were for her friends, but the atrocious designs she did after that were purely out of generosity. Her friends walk all over her generosity, and then blindly almost get her entire career fucked over. Of course they do fix the problem, but still, I think I’d be careful about my own generosity after going through this myself. Rarity is ultimately generous where is counts, and her actions in Sweet and Elite are probably defensible as well, though I’ll talk about that when I get to it.
Out of the other ponies in this episode, the one with the most characterizing dialog is Fluttershy. I’ve brought up a few times how I think Fluttershy is manipulative and secretive, and if any episode shows that perfectly, this is the one. Fluttershy is openly comfortable with lying to Rarity about how she feels about the dress. Whereas Applejack and Twilight dodge the question and Rainbow Dash is totally blunt about it, Fluttershy takes a completely passive approach and tries to lie through her discomfort. The most fun thing about this is that underneath her passive nature, she’s actually the most critical of Rarity’s work. This huge fjord between the thoughts Flutters has and the words that she says is a pretty interesting lens to view the rest of her interactions through.
Rarity’s big freakout scene is brilliantly written, as she keeps trying to be dramatic, but also over-analyzing her own attempt at drama. I think Rarity’s drama scenes are some of the funniest in the show, and her character altogether might be the best vehicle for delivering comedy other than Pinkie Pie, when it’s done right. Besides this scene, the episode is loaded with great dry comedy, which is my favorite kind.
In terms of production quality, this episode is soaring. When faced with an episode that mostly involves ponies standing around talking to one-another, the animation staff could’ve rested on their laurels, but instead they generated some very expressive dialog animations, and poured their souls into making the episode’s big moments some of the most memorable and technically proficient in the show. In the DVD commentary of this episode, it’s pointed out that both fashion shows took a lot of effort to put together, and the second one was actually storyboarded by Lauren Faust herself just to make sure it came across as she wanted it to.
Of course, I can’t finish talking about this episode without mentioning some of its cultural impact. Between the phrase “20% Cooler,” and the introduction of Vynil Scratch, AKA DJ-Pon3, this episode possibly provided the most pony memeture of any episode of the show. That said, there’s really nothing to analyze about this, so… here’s me singing a gender-swapped rendition of Art of the Dress.
(art of the dress)