October 21, 2011 § Leave a Comment
This episode was about going back to your roots. Anya took inspiration from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago and chose a sandy color palette. Kimberly wanted to make an homage to Brooklyn, picking bright blues and sparkly blacks. Viktor went back to Mexico for some inspiration. He took pictures of palm trees and sunsets with an eerie, purple glow over them and turned them into prints for his collection. Joshua, of course, went back to loud, bright COLORS.
So with 5 weeks and $9,000 the designers set off to make the 10-piece collection of their lives. Instead of doing the format, here’s our take on the good, bad, and ugly of each designers’ “mini collections” of 3 looks.
Good thing Tim came in. Tim rightly nixed a lot of the loud colors in “sherbert” and the sad, “vintage” print that he called “one of the homeliest textiles I’ve seen in my life.” He added that the dress itself was “sad” and made him “want to weep.” Don’t cry Tim!
So for his mini-collection Joshua got rid of all the garish color and went with black. Color came in short bursts in magenta pants paired with a black jacket. Otherwise, there was an interesting use of textiles and an activewear element to his clothes. There was a black neoprene dress, his take on an lbd. One look was a gorgeous draped goddess gown with a plastic neck from the front and a surprise catsuit from the back. While we agree with Michael that we “love it from the front, hate it from the back,” we at least appreciate the fashion-forwardness of it.
As for styling, of course clean and simple always wins when it comes to Nina and Michael. Joshua just slicked the models’ hair back and put it in a pony tails and called it a day. Nina cooed, “I am so impressed.” Joshua is called first for the finale.
Viktor went back to his urban road warrior for this collection. As usual, Viktor put a lot of craftmanship into his clothes: a white leather jacket with what looked like fake pearls studded along the arms, a sheer black top with glass mirrors attached to it, and a leather skirt that had zippers at the pleats. Heidi called the work on the jacket “insane” but said she wished the balls were smaller. While some of the looks were interesting, the combinations were confusing. Michael liked the jacket and the dress separately, but told Viktor, “Together, they freak me out.” Overall the judges like his clothes but hammer him for the styling. We’re not really enthralled by his clothes. The prints are nice, but his “design ideas,” like the baubles on the jacket and the mirrors on the top, seem dated and cheap.
Viktor is in.
Even though she’s living in Maryland, Kimberly goes back to Brooklyn for her collection. She’s dressing her Brooklyn girl who represents “what Brooklyn was and what it is now.” Her first look, a one-shoulder top knotted in the back paired with baggy blue pants was fun and hip.
Her third look was a shimmering floor-length black gown that went up to her neck and dropped down like a rope to reveal the back. Michael loves how they are covered in the front, but still “full of sex appeal.” The day-to-evening secretary look, though, was a little questionable. The color of the skirt looked like a musty pink pillow trapped in the attic.
Of course, the judges don’t like the styling. Too many bangles! What’s with the braid? Why the blue shoes? We agree with the shoes – black strappy sandals would have worked well. But we’re not anti-accessorizing here, and it still captures some of that Brooklyn girl Kim was going for. Kim believes in that Brooklyn girl. We do too.
We had high expectations for Anya, but the pressure finally got to her. Tim echoes our sentiments saying he is “disappointed” once he actually sees the collection. When Tim flew out to Trinidad at the 3-week mark, Anya only had fabric to show him. Living in the Project Runway bubble she felt free to be herself and design for herself, but once she went back to reality, she suddenly felt the expectation of a nation on her shoulders. She choked.
Her first look infused her mastery of prints with the new shapes she was experimenting with with her raven-inspired outfit. But that was the only redeeming outfit. Her swimsuit was ill-fitting and pointless. Her evening gown was an even bigger disaster. Heidi says it looks like “something you’ve done in a day” and Michael says the satin looks “tortured.”
But Miss Congeniality seems to have won the judges (or the producers) over and the judges decide to keep her even after Heidi tells Kimberly that she is in. So really this episode was kind of pointless for us to watch to begin with as we end right where we began.
Joshua of course fumes over this because he has worked SO hard and SO long and not just four months to be a designer and it’s just NOT FAIR.
Next week: The real finale.
Our prediction: Joshua
Our heart: Kimberly
October 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
It’s the episode before the finale, which really just means it’s the third to last episode because the finale is always a two-episode affair. So with five designers left, Project Runway leaves it open as to whether there will be one or two designers to make it to the “finale.” Cut the crap Lifetime. We get that this just means you’re only going to eliminate one contestant and force the other to make an entire collection only to have her hopes dashed quite literally on the day before the show. You love those waterworks, don’t you?
Last we left Joshua he was in a foul mood for losing 20 grand to “a beauty queen.” His mood is no better the morning after as he and Viktor pile on Anya for outwitting and outdesigning them in the last two challenges. Joshua brays, “I don’t even know if she can do a jacket.”
So, for this final stint at Parsons, Heidi sends the designers off to Governor’s Island where they meet Tim Gunn flanked by two PR people, who want to tell you just how lovely and historical Governor’s Island is. We were reminded of the other reality tv moment when Alex from the Real Housewives of New York had a sad little birthday party there. Anyway. Tim tells the designers that they can ride around the island in a golf cart and snap inspiration photos. The challenge though, will be to make three looks that showcase range in two days and with 500 dollars.
After the designers return from Mood, Tim comes back in the workroom with the velvet button bag. Of course the designers think this signals some sort of doom, but Tim cheerily tells them that they get to select an auf’ed designer to be their assistant, or as Olivier says, “slave.” Seamstress Becky works for Kimberly, Anthony Ryan and Laura are reunited, Viktor chooses Olivier, and for last pick, Anya selects Bert over Bryce, who has to work with Joshua.
Baby Bryce notices that the mood in the workroom is tense. “When I left everybody was loving each other,” he drools. “It doesn’t look like the final five is talking to each other much.” Joshua continues to snipe behind Anya’s back. Lifetime tries to gin up some drama by showing Anya go over to Laura to ask if she thinks Joshua is “acting weird.” Regarding Anya’s runway collection, Viktor says, “Who’s going to sew all her shit?” Viktor and Joshua think they are shoe-ins for Lincoln Center. Are they right?
There was only one bright spot on the runway and it was Anya’s first look – a little black dress with a raised neck and assymetrical hem. It was minimalism at its best with a simple, interesting cut speaking volumes. Overall the judges love Anya’s collection for its three-dimensional eye (the model didn’t even know how to get into the white one). Nina loves the “different angles” and thinks it is “concise” and “modern.” Zoe Saldana, actress and fashionista, likes the “futuristic tone” of the collection. Like us, though, she wasn’t too thrilled about the white, columnic dress and called it a “condom.”
Overall though, the three looks demonstrated a design sensibility that don’t feel as constricted by the same references, lines, and sensibilities as the other designers. Perhaps not being “formally” trained is a good thing because Anya brings a conceptual take on fashion that is less interested in commercial viability as it is in cut, form, and color.
Despite all the whining about how winners make jackets, Joshua doesn’t even make one, unless you call his ill-fitting vest an ugly excuse for a jacket. His third look is even more horrendous, a shiny silver piece that makes Zoe think of the Statue of Liberty. But, Nina says, “It’s better to have too many ideas than no ideas or boring ideas.” So Joshua is safe.
Same goes for Viktor who turned in what Michael says was the most “commercial” of the collections. Viktor again demonstrates his speediness and competence at making wearable clothes, but this collection looked like it took a pitstop at the mall. Heidi thinks that while Viktor is the best tailor, he doesn’t have enough design ideas. Nina wants him to add more “oomph” and Michael wants “runway punch.” Heidi tells him he’s in, but reminds him to “pump up the volume.”
It’s hard to decide who did worse: Laura or Kimberly. They may have been looking at the same sculptures as Anya, but their approach was heavy-handed and overly literal. Laura gets really into the circular geometry of the sculptures so she decides to use a thick, black lattice of circles overlaid on a long, white dress and in another jacket. The web of circles makes Nina think of “Spiderman” and everyone uniformly hates her third look, a flowy dress in an insipid peachy color. The judges call it everything from a “pillow case” to “laundry.” Her collection looks cheap and not at all like the eleganza she claims she’s obsessed with.
Meanwhile Kimberly only takes inspiration from the color and the title of a piece, “New Beginnings.” She tries to make a coat, but turns a bright orange wool into a lumpy look that Heidi calls “Dutch exchange student.” Her cocktail dress, a silver number with an interesting wave-like effect, saves her. Ultimately, despite Laura’s tears and monologue about how she wanted to show at New York Fashion Week since she was eight, the judges reward Kimberly for taking risks and pushing herself.
A less predictable show would have done its viewers right and eliminated both of them.
Next week: The actual episode before the finale! Maybe we should start calling this episode the semifinals?
October 7, 2011 § Leave a Comment
With only six designers left, tensions are high and emotions are volatile. Everyone wants to make it to the tents at Lincoln Center (never mind the fact that even the losers showed decoy collections). Obviously, the time is ripe for the producers to really lay on the pressure and get into our designers heads with multiple twists. In return for all the emotional distress that they will experience is a L’Oreal Paris ad in Marie Claire and $20,000 in cold, hard cash.
Twist number one isn’t so much a twist as casual trickery. For their “design a high fashion look inspired by a bird” challenge, Tim brings out the button bag to pair the designers. Naturally, the designers believe that they have to work as a pair, but no, former friends become foes as the pairs go head-to-head with one designer who will be in the top and the other in the bottom. Anya and Laura must design a look inspired by the raven, which is sure to bring out the goth in both of them. Viktor and Kimberly go for soft and romantic based off of the cockatoo and its pale pink and ecru-colored feathers. Bert and Joshua get the Amazonian parrot that has grey and bright green and yellow plumage. True to character, Bert is “inspired” by the grey claws and goes for dull fabrics at mood while Joshua latches on to all the bright fabrics he can find.
After the designers begin working on their first look, Tim comes in to interrupt and tell them that yes, they must make a second high-fashion look to accompany the first. He gives them the same $300 budget and packs them off to Mood. Around this point, Kim begins to break down: she stabs her finger on the Brother, has a cry in the bathroom, and burns a whole in her second look. She is having an all-around bad day. The last incident, though, turns out to be a blessing in disguise. After a pep talk from Tim, Kim rallies and makes a new dress in the polyester fabric she was going to use as lining in about 3 hours.
Tim rolls in the morning of the show and tells the designers – surprise! – that only one look has to walk the runway. This is apparently a challenge in “editing” but obviously many of the designers are relieved to dump one of their looks. Interestingly though, many of the designers choose to go with their second looks, which often represented breaks of character. So who wins the head-to-heads?
All of the looks that won the head-to-heads shared similar qualities: they weren’t “literal” interpretations or too “birdy” as Heidi explained it, and they also represented a break away from what the designers are used to showing. From the looks of it, both of Anya’s looks were interesting, but her second piece, a highly structured, black dress with strong shoulders was out of her comfort zone. Heidi thought it was “fashion-forward, cool, and edgy” while Nina simply tells her, “This is probably my favorite outfit that you have made so far.” Guest judge Francisco Costa, the head of womenswear at Calvin Klein, rounds out the power panel and tells Anya that the look was “urban” with a “sense of goth.” The lines were interesting as the hemline curved to be longer in the back than the front. But while the dress looked wearable, the model actually had no way of getting in and out of the dress without a pair of scissors. Anya beats Laura in the head-to-head and wins the challenge overall.
Joshua’s second look was also much stronger than his first, an overwrought green jellyfish of a dress. His fluid, orange dress had an interesting silhouette and draped in all the right ways. In the workroom, Tim called it “sublime.” The judges are in love with the cut and minimalism of the gown. Nina thinks it looks “modern” while Francisco Costa calls it “refreshing.” Typical to Joshua though, he adds a bright feather corsage to the model that Michael thinks looks like she was drunk in the Caribbean. He chides, “You’ve got talent! You’ve just got to hold it in.”
The challenge also demonstrated that Kim just needs to go with her instincts more. In three hours, she created a sexy one-shoulder gown out of polyester, no less. While the judges were somewhat mixed on the result, they loved the effortlessness and the soft sleeve that fluttered when the model walked down the runway. But really, Kim (and the viewer) just got a lot of pleasure at seeing her beat Viktor.
Oh my my how times have changed. Remember early on in Project Runway when Bert was the mean old keeter and Viktor was the subdued dark horse? Well, the tables have turned and everybody loves old man Bert, but of course this means that Bert is no longer winning. He turned out a sad grey dress that barely opened at the slits to reveal the color underneath. His look was the weakest out of a fairly strong lineup and he was sent packing, just as we were beginning to like the guy. Damn you Lifetime for playing with our heartstrings!
Meanwhile Viktor is getting to be increasingly shrill and paranoid. He again thinks that someone is copying his style and suggests Kim copied him by also making a one-shouldered dress. Luckily for him though, this is a design – and not a personality – competition.
We’re getting the feeling that things are about to get real ugly up in here. After being crowned runner-up, Joshua enters the lounge fuming. Anya asks him if he’s mad, and he passive aggressively denies it. He’s pissed that a rookie designer with less than half a year’s worth of sewing experience is not only beating him, but is the “clear winner” of the challenge.
Our prediction for the final three: Anya, Joshua, Viktor
September 23, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Last episode, Project Runway psyched the designers out by making them think they had to do a menswear challenge. Well – surprise! – it’s this week. Project Runway hasn’t had an all-menswear challenge (designers have had to design for each other, which meant some designers made menswear) since Season 4 when the contestants had to dress Tiki Barber. Menswear strikes fear in the hearts of womenswear designers. “It’s calling upon a different set of skills and creativity,” says Kim. She and Anya are both worried because neither of them have made men’s clothing before. (But to be real, Anya is always doing something she has “never done before.”)
The contestants get to design looks for the band, Sheepdogs, who will be the first
nobodies winners of an online vote to be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. The winner gets her look featured on the musician in a Garnier ad that will run in both Marie Claire and Rolling Stone. The remaining eight designers are split into two “teams” to dress the four band members. Instead of a runway, the musicians perform two sets, once in each team’s outfits. Tim tells the designers that cohesion isn’t as important as making an individual look. Translation: this is not a team challenge. After learning that the team concept is completely meaningless, it’s every lady for herself.
As for the Sheepdogs, as their name implies, is more folk band than rock star. All four bandmembers are shaggy haired with full-on Yeti beards, and we imagine their aesthetic smells like pot and patchouli on the Haight-Ashbury. The designers get the memo and go for a lot of colors that look like they came from an enema bag – browns, tans, and rusts. The clothes follow suit, which means a lot of fringe, bellbottoms, and tie-dye on the runway.
At the start of the episode, there were eight contestants – half the number at the start of the season (we’re not talking about that silly “pre-show” cut). The midterm report thus far says that this is shaping up to be a competition between Joshua and Viktor, who are the only two contestants with two wins apiece. For his second win, Viktor, presents the most complete look with three well-made pieces: distressed jeans, a Western shirt, and a pleather jacket with braiding and fringe. Michael thinks the whole look is “Mad Max meets Woodstock” and Heidi thinks the jacket is just “insane.”
Joshua is in the top alongside Viktor, dressing his band mate up in white jeans with an exposed zipper at the crotch, Native American print shirt, and fringed vest. Heidi and guest judge Adam Lambert are both hot for the crotch zipper. Heidi says, “He was the hottest guy in the band.” But, as Joshua is wont to do, he overworks the design of the clothes. Guest judge Adam Lambert thinks there were unnecessary details on the jeans: notably the two large brown pockets on the butt and the cuts along the ankles. Nina agrees, “It’s got to be a little bit more natural. When you get to tricky or too design-y, it’s where you go wrong.”
We have to agree with Nina and Michael’s comments this round and say that both Laura’s and Anthony Ryan’s looks were weak. Laura’s color palette of mauve and cranberry felt too matchy-matchy, as Nina likes to say. The cranberry bellbottoms matches the tie-dye shirt that according to Michael, looks like the guy “cut himself shaving.” Nina thinks the look is too feminine saying, “This looks like a lady’s jacket with a silk scarf from the mall.”
Everyone’s a little bored by Anthony Ryan’s sleeveless shirt-white bellbottom combo. Heidi wants the pants to be tighter (of course). Michael thinks, “It’s like a Golden Girl gone rock ‘n roll moment.” And Nina, again, doesn’t like that he looks like a lady. “It looks like a woman’s blouse,” she moans. In short, the judges don’t like men who look like ladies.
Olivier’s attitude was his doom. Again, he had to work with a “real person” (by real person we mean non-model). And again, he finds himself unable to deal with the “challenge.” Despite being a menswear designer, he complains about the relative bigness of the lead singer, “I never really thought of making things for plus-size people.” Olivier returns again to those dull, anemic colors that he seems to favor so much. His pants are the color of drywall and don’t fit the singer. Heidi calls them “dad jeans.” The paisley button-down shirt is too short, and the sleeves, as Heidi investigates, were rolled up to hide the fact that they were simply unfinished.
We think though, that the judges were grading the other contestants in the bottom – Anya and Kimberly – on a curve. Both stressed multiple times that they had never made menswear. In particular, Anya’s caftan-inspired look was a disaster. Heidi and Nina both think he looks like Pocahontas. Michael tells her, “This week we’ve got to see that you’ve only been sewing for 4 months.” Kimberly doesn’t fare any better with her “bowling shirt.” Nina thinks the whole thing is a “pajama party.” Kimberly’s saving grace is, yet again, the pants: brown corduroys that fit well. Anya’s pants, while they fit, were coming apart at the seam on the runway. The judges definitely gave them a bit of a pass for being rookies to menswear while hammering Olivier for failing to utilize his menswear experience. So long, Eeyore!
Next week: Project Runway finally answers the question, “What happens if you lose your money at Mood?!”
September 16, 2011 § Leave a Comment
It’s a rare occasion for there to be so many heterosexual men on Project Runway, so it’s an awkward reminder for us to hear just how much straight men love boobs. Heidi informs the designers that they would be designing for a client, husbands and boyfriends, who want to design looks for their significant others. Some of the men, especially Bert’s client Anthony, LOVES boobs. In fact, he loves them so much, that he likes to “motorboat” them (this means to put your face in between them and blow as you would blow a raspberry on a child’s belly button). This highlights an essential difference between straight men and fashion designers. Designers – especially gay male ones, and especially Olivier – hate boobs. “Those boobs to me are trouble,” says Olivier about the wife’s “Double D” situation. At Mood, he asks Tim, and then the female cashier, “What does Double D mean?” Olivier voices what many designers think but do not necessarily say out loud (as it is unwise to alienate your primary clientele), “I just want them to be flat.” To designers they are floaties that get in the way of art! and design! Olivier just wants to dress anemic, flat-chested size 0 waifs. Well, this is the everyday woman challenge, Olivier, and models do not reflect the real world.
The designers consult with the husbands/boyfriends, who really just want their wives/girlfriends to look super bangin’. Bert’s client, Anthony, the one who motorboats the mannequin, says, “You know the Cookie Monster? I’m the Booby Monster!” Obviously he wants Bert to make a dress that shows DA GOODS. Then the wives and girlfriends come in and lay down the law. Otherwise, the other designers are mostly left with vague directions like, I really like pink! (Bryce’s client) and I want to look like Barbie! (Laura’s client). Meanwhile Olivier, who hates designing for real people, is quietly having a nervous breakdown as he deals with clients who “talk back” to him. So how do they fare on the runway?
The designers again exhibit their competency as ready-to-wear designers. We thought the clear winner was again, Viktor (as we’ve often thought in the past), who made a gorgeous teal blouse that is sheer at the top and high-waisted grey skirt with a mustard yellow panel at the hem. He accessorized her with an adorable clutch in the same mustard yellow fabric. Overall, the ensemble looked like it belonged in a grown-up Williamsburg closet. Granted, he got, as Michael Kors said, “the most fashion obsessed couple,” but we don’t think that that should have cut against him.
Ultimately, the win went to Joshua who made a little black dress with lace trim at the collar that made a deep V on the back. The skirt had bounce and twirled along with her down the runway. The judges praised Joshua’s restraint. Nina Garcia says, “Very good job in editing” and that the dress “highlighted everything that was beautiful in this woman’s body.” Heidi says, “I’m shocked that you did not bedazzle her!” Michael comments that she looks like “a modern Grace Kelly.”
While Olivier may have been crass at expressing his disgust at dressing women with breasts (or fat people for that matter), we’d like to note that all three of the “top” looks were on thin, relatively small-breasted women. The judges praised both Joshua and Viktor for accentuating their clients’ tiny waists. They undoubtedly looked fantastic, but how much of their proximity towards “model” figures aided in creating fashion-forward looks for them?
The judges slam Bert and Anthony Ryan for making safe, boring looks. Heidi called Anthony Ryan’s red v-neck dress “super safe and super boring.” Michael says the red trim at the top makes her look like a “cheerleader sailor child.”
As for Bert’s baby doll dress that showcased the puppies, Heidi shouts, “Badda Bing!” The dress hits all of Nina’s pet peeves: “tight, short, shiny.” Heidi, of course, loves this. “I have that problem too!” she shouts. The couple also doesn’t see this as a problem. Maybe Nina needs to watch the Jersey Shore to expand her cultural references?
Bryce complains at the beginning of the episode that he is the only designer left not to have won a challenge. It’s fairly clear to us, the viewers, that this lament is fairly unwarranted and most likely signals Bryce’s demise. True to form, his ill-fitting bubblegum bridesmaid dress was a disaster. We didn’t agree with the judges that the Pepto Bismol color was nice. We do agree with them that the fit and craft were incredibly unflattering. The seams puckered, the dress crumpled as she walked, and the back gaped. The judges hate on the giant pockets. Michael says, “It looks like you went to the buffet table and you put a lamb chop in one pocket and a beer in the other.” We’re glad that Michael didn’t feel the need to hold back in front of a “real person” either.
Next week: Another team challenge! Oh noes!
September 9, 2011 § Leave a Comment
It’s gonna be a showdown folks! Heidi announces that the 10 designers will be split into two teams of 5, eliciting a collective groan from the group. Furthermore, there will be no team leader, and the designers must work as a collective (how socialist of you, Project Runway) to put on a 5-piece fashion show complete with video and music playing in the background. Anthony Ryan, the winner from last week gets to choose the first member of his team. He picks Anya, and then Viktor, Olivier, and Bryce join Team Chaos. Meanwhile, Heidi draws Joshua’s name from the hat; his team, Nuts and Bolts, consists of Laura, Kim, Becky, and Bert. Bert, of course is the kid who is always picked last for dodgeball, and then grumbles about how he doesn’t like any of the other kids anyway.
The episode isn’t really a battle between the two teams. We’ll tell you now: Team Chaos wins this in a rout. They are a model team. The weakest link is obviously Bryce who wants to prove so badly to the other designers that he was worth being picked over Bert. The real drama unfolds between Mr. Glitter Gun (Joshua) and Bertzilla who have both alienated most of the other designers it was about time they had to work together. Joshua immediately calls out Bert who denies cursing under his breath (which, in the playback clearly indicates that Bert did drop an f-bomb). Joshua’s tantrum and subsequent meltdown though, kills any chance of team unity. Tim eventually has to step in, “Let your ego go as much as you can.” He then forces Team Nutsy to join hands in an act of solidarity. We’d like to note that Joshua was holding Becky’s arm as though he’s worried of being infected by her poor taste.
The two teams must create three different prints that must be incorporated into the majority of three looks. Team Chaos uses the Rorshach test as their inspiration and they make three prints that resemble the squiggles of a madman. Joshua’s team uses clocks – literal clocks with gears and numbers – as their inspiration. They eventually choose three horrendous prints, one of gears, another of numbers, and the last is a graffiti made of words like “delayed” and “canceled.” Their lady is always late, evidentally because she is confused by all of the numbers written on her skirt.
Olivier’s jacket and Viktor’s evening gown are incredible. Olivier spent most of his energy focused on creating an exceptionally tailored jacket with a plunging neckline, pleats along the bottom half, and a (faux?) leather lapel. Michael Kors says it’s “one of the strongest tailored pieces we’ve ever seen” on Project Runway. Nina Garcia tells Olivier, “That’s the jacket I want.” Olivier’s cropped pants made from the most geometric of the prints, were probably his undoing. He put them together in the last hour, and they were clearly just there so that his model didn’t walk down pantsless in a fabulous jacket.
Viktor’s evening look was my personal favorite. His dress had a hand-daubed “Rorshach” panel with sheer shoulders and back that forms a bit of a T – continuing their motif of rectangular backs. The bottom of the dress flowed beautifully with a slit up the right leg. The look was the very best of the collection: eleganza with an urban streak.
Overall, it was good to see a team work so well together. We suspect that Anya won as a bridesmaid-finally-gets-the-bouquet sort of thing (btw we just realized that the actress was Helen from Bridesmaids! Can we have Kristen Wiig next?!). We’re not really upset about it though as we, just like everybody else, are IN LOVE WITH HER HAIR.
The bad consists of the best of Team Chaos and the worst of Team Nuts. Of the former, the judges call out Bryce for making a “mall” look in an otherwise sophisticated collection. On the latter, Kimberly opts out of the print, but still makes a lackluster outfit. The lesson is that a bad collection brings down whatever solid individual pieces there are. Michael, however, notes her savviness and says, “She’s very into self-survival… Kimberly was smart that not a lot of people wanted to have canceled on their crotch.”
On the runway, the elimination is down to Becky and Joshua. Nina says there is “no design whatsoever” in Becky’s look. Michael says, “I think she can sew. But it’s not Project Seamstress.” Meanwhile, Becky and Bert contend that Joshua should go home for bringing bad juju to the team from the outset. However, Nina points out, “You had no leader. So you all had the responsibility to speak up and change things.” In the end, the judges evaluate the work. While Joshua’s piece was busy, the front of his jacket, cut to look like the gears of a clock, was inventive and interesting. Becky’s skirt, while she made it three times, was still a dull skirt that could probably have been constructed yet another three times.
Ultimately, this is a design competition, and the best designer – not necessarily team player – should win. While they await their verdict, Joshua tells Becky, “I know what I want to deliver to someone and I feel that you don’t. So that is probably why I should be here and why you should not be here.” The judges agree and eliminate Becky.
Next week: The real person challenge! Boyfriends help design outfits for their girlfriends!
September 2, 2011 § 1 Comment
Heidi continues to roll out the cute outfits; this time she tells our designers that they will be “going back to school” while wearing a cute lbd – little black dress – with lace sleeves paired with a geometric necklace. The designers fret that they will have to dress art teachers or children or artsy children. What a relief it must have been, then, when they learned that they must simply “collaborate” with a young artist from the Harlem School of the Arts on a painting that would serve as inspiration for an avant-garde look.
While we were kind of expecting (read: hoping) for a mass of toddlers with finger paints, but the artists ranged from 11 to 17, and all seemed talented and precocious. Laura finds a therapist in her 11-year-old counterpart and creates a Georgia O’Keefe type work. Olivier continues to channel Eeyore as he tells his teenage artist that he likes “depressing music.” Bert likes his teenage collaborator because “He’s a very quiet young man so we got along great, actually.” We’re just glad that Bert didn’t try to pick a fight with someone who is 40 years his junior.
The paintings themselves provide enough fodder for any avant-garde look. Many are abstract, but as Josh C. points out, “I think its important to take the emotions and feelings from the work and not being too literal.” That being said, with a feral wolf painting as his reference point, he goes off and buys faux fur and pleather at Mood. How does a Little Red Riding Hood turned Big Bad Wolf fair on the runway?
In the workroom, Tim says, “Avant-garde means to lead.” This challenge revealed that the designers are, for better or worse, ready-to-wear designers. Despite having two days – three if you count those precious two hours spent styling the model – to complete an avant-garde look, none of the designers really take us anywhere we haven’t already been before. (Remember Season 4 when Christian Siriano and Chris March created the giant ruffle dress and Victorya Hong and Jillian Lewis made that punk/equestrian-inspired coat?) Even though many of the looks were labor-intensive, conceptually they lacked imagination.
Take the winner’s – Anthony Ryan – piece: a long sheer dress with opaque “brush strokes” in shades of navy, black, yellow, and gray stuck on. Guest judge Kenneth Cole commented that the pieces “looked like it could be stuck on and could be unstuck very easily.” During the crit, Cole also thought the dress looked “a little bit homemade.” The hem was unfinished and the silhouette was conventional; the rising neckline actually reminded me of his birdseed dress, where incidentally, he also glued a lot of stuff onto a dress. Otherwise, the piece looks like Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art as a dress, which is cool, but not avant-garde.
Anya produced the strongest piece in terms of a coherent vision. Her mastery of color continues to astound, and I liked the feathers and deep v-necklines on the front and the back. The voluminous skirt was a little awkwardly constructed, but at least it was something else to look at.
The failure of imagination takes us back to the stilt episode where we had similarly high hopes for some awesome designs. Instead, designers produced what was at best, ready-to-wear for models with reaaaally long legs. So while some things were bad – Viktor’s puffy sky blue dress, Becky’s continuing love affair with puke green – this time in little shapes glued on the shoulder – their saving grace was, ironically, their wearability.
Josh C. was doomed from the get-go. He only spent approximately half of his allotted $300 budget at Mood, meaning he got a lot of cheap fabric – faux fur and pleather – to work with. Josh seems like a super sweet guy, and the way he connected with his teenage artist made us realize how new and fresh and alive making clothes still is for him. But like a budding designer, he grasps at predictable and stale tropes. Josh interprets what Michael Kors called a “powerful, dimensional, interesting” painting and turns it into a tacky dominatrix outfit. Senior editor at Marie Claire, Zanna Roberts Rassi calls the look “trashy.” Heidi’s first thought was, “I’m going to be a hooker for Halloween.” Josh tries to put up a fight for his outfit this time, arguing that taste is ultimately subjective. True, but Rassi points out, “There’s definitely a consensus here that it’s not beautiful.” In the end, Josh goes home – again.
Bert’s piece looked like an even more horrendous version of the Dior Couture circus show this past season. He made insanely high-waisted jodhpurs with lots of shapes stuck on. Michael says the outfit looks like “something a Teletubby would wear to a party.” Kenneth Cole says it reminds him of infant clothing where you can attach their mittens to their clothes.
Rounding out the bottom 3 was Olivier. We hope this episode isn’t the beginning of the end for Olivier, who has been on a downward slope since his win on the Pet Store episode. At the beginning of this week’s episode, he says he feels “confused more than ever” and his outfit reflected his mood: sad, grey, worn. We hope he brings back that gorgeous minimalism we fell in love with early on, but as of now, he’s getting hard to root for.
Next week: More teamwork! More conflict with Bert!
August 26, 2011 § Leave a Comment
The episode begins, as it normally does, with a recap of the previous episode: Cecilia having a nervous breakdown and Julie’s elimination for her awful droat. But wait – Viktor and Bert are sniping at each other from Episode 3! Cut to a confessional of Bryce talking about how Bert is difficult to work with. I think I learned about this foreshadowing technique in 6th grade English class. SUBTLE, Lifetime. Significance: time for a team challenge where Bert is difficult to work with!
The designers wake up to see boxes from New Balance. Cecilia looks like the undead and doesn’t respond to Becky’s comments. Bert is acting more and more his age, as he cannot see the shoeboxes with placards in front of him. The designers anticipate the obvious (again, good with the foreshadowing) and prepare themselves to make some sort of activewear. They meet up with Heidi and Tim at the Armory near the Columbia Medical Campus (fun/depressing fact: the graduation ceremony for Master’s in Public Health is held on that track) who tells them that this will be a team challenge and that they will race to be captains. Upon hearing this, sad sack Cecilia shakes her head and trudges over to Tim to tell him that she just can’t do it anymore. Tim tells her, “We can’t want you to succeed more than you do.” Heidi looks pretty angry and she tells her, “If this is too hard for you, you can go anytime.” As the other designers are raring to go at the starting line, Cecilia tells them that she is off to go cry herself to sleep.
The designers are off! Joshua takes the lead and “whales” on them as he said he would. Olivier who looks a bit awkward out of his grandpa sweaters, is on his way to being a team captain when he takes a pretty bad stumble. Lifetime tries to jazz up the incident when Olivier gets his blood pressure read, but thankfully he’s fine. The team captains are, in order: Joshua, Bryce, Anthony Ryan, Viktor. Bert comes in last and it seems like Heidi could whale on him while wearing Louboutins. As has been foreshadowed: Nobody wants to work with Bert. Which is just fine with him, really, because he doesn’t “relate” to any of the other designers. Joshua picks Anya and Becky. Bryce chooses Kimberly and Danielle. And because Cecilia chose to leave before the race, Anthony Ryan, while he didn’t come in last, ends up with Bert. Viktor, who chose Olivier is pretty happy about this, especially after his last “partnership” with Bert. Instead, he and Olivier get to choose an eliminated designer and go with Josh C. Heidi says that he will join them later today (does she just have them on speed dial?). We’re happy to see him back, even if we have to differentiate between the Joshes again.
The challenge is an opportunity for Heidi to shill her line for New Balance. The designers must create looks that can be worn with the sneakers, and must incorporate material from the shoe – either suede and/or denim – into three, cohesive looks. The winner will have their look sold and manufactured as part of her line on Amazon. In the workroom, Tim tells the designers that they only have until 11 pm to complete all three looks.
Team Viktor and Team Bryce are getting along well together, but as FORESHADOWED, Anthony Ryan and Laura are getting frustrated with Bert who shuffles around muttering under his breath a lot. Joshua takes his leadership role very seriously and has Anya act as a sounding board and Becky, the seamstress. Becky is understandably frustrated with her diminuitive role and says, “I feel like I’m the intern who is there to sew.” Eventually she breaks down when Joshua tells her she makes “dowdy dresses” and that her demographic is “40 to death.” Becky begins to cry in the sewing room when Joshua snaps, “If you’re tired, take a nap. Because I don’t have time for it.” She eventually goes to cry in the bathroom stall. The cameraperson follows her and creeps around the corner just to get the money shot. CREEPSTERS.
Eventually Team Joshua rights itself as Anya comforts Becky, Joshua apologizes, and they all have a team hug. Yes, this is all still happening in the bathroom stall. Team Anthony Ryan, meanwhile is on fumes. What happens on the runway?
Viktor for the win! Nina thought their collection channeled “road warrior” chic. Viktor wins for a crumpled grey jersey dress worn with a motorcycle jacket with quilted sleeves. The look was cool and tough, and almost made New Balances look like an actual option to be worn not at the gym. Josh C.’s look was an easy t-shirt with a nice assymetrical v-neck worn with a leather holster. We also didn’t mind Olivier’s much-maligned “farm” skirt. Overall, the three looks were cohesive and had that model off-duty look Alexander Wang epitomizes.
Heidi also announces that Joshua wins! He doesn’t win for his look though, a monochromatic tank made of a “tribal” print with a black shredded vest over it, and short black shorts with denim panels on the side. The judges preferred Anya’s look, a maxi dress with a bright red racing stripe down the middle, and a gorgeous zippered racer back. The look was hip, urban, and very Anya. But because of the very clear leadership role that Joshua took (this was HIS collection), the judges awarded him the win.
Poor Becky. While it can’t feel good to be relegated to the role of a seamstress, what she did “design” was an ill-fitting top that she admitted was about “3 inches too short.”
From Team Bryce, Danielle decided to make yet another green, silk top. Michael Kors thought that the blouse looked like “a souffle that flopped” and the judges were perplexed that Danielle would make yet another (green) chiffon/silk number. Despite also having made a cute leather jacket, the top was enough to send her home.
Anthony Ryan’s outfit was ugly. The draping was messy; the shorts were a nightmare to behold. Michael Kors said, “You achieved the impossible: the shorts looks big and tight at the same time. She has camel toe in big shorts.” When the model turned to show the judges the back of the shorts, they just gasped.
Even uglier was what was to ensue during the crit. Anthony and Laura side with each other against Bert, who continues to act both 57-years-old and 7-years-old at the same time. After Michael Kors tells Anthony his model has camel toe, Bert snickers, “Got camel butt, too.” He raises his arms in triumph when teammate Laura also gets a bad review. While we agree that Anthony and Laura’s looks were pretty hideous, cheering on the loss of your teammates is pretty childish.
The judging was yet another face-off between Heidi and Nina/Michael – and we find ourselves, yet again, on Team Heidi. Heidi wanted to judge the designers based on the challenge itself, meaning that Anthony Ryan, who clearly had the worst look, should go home. Nina was not willing to let him go just yet, arguing, “He’s got more promise as a designer [than Danielle].” Heidi says, as she says every episode, “One day you’re in, the next day you’re out. It’s not fair to let him go on when someone else like Danielle made something alright.” But, as usual, Nina and Michael prevail and Anthony Ryan lives to undergo another challenge.
Heidi is right in that there is an understanding on Project Runway that for each episode, each designer is based on their work for that challenge. If she is the best for the week, she wins; if she is the worst, she loses. It is part of the excitement of the show that on any given day, anyone can go home. Obviously this philosophy has created problems. There are the Wendy Peppers who manage to squeeze by every episode because she wasn’t the worst. And yet for all of our kvetching that a Ricky (season 4) or a Vincent or an Angela (season 3) just needs to go home, what happened this episode – where the judges saved a designer whose work they have liked in the past over one who has been mediocre – feels unfair. While the judges may have exhibited such a bias in the past, never has it been so clearly stated that a designer’s past work gives him immunity. This episode, it wasn’t just Josh C. who got a second chance.
Next week: Can Josh C. make a go of it this time around?
August 19, 2011 § 1 Comment
The episode is another Project Runway “first” – design for Project Runway judge and Marie Claire editor, Nina Garcia. She comes on to the runway to give our designettes a
good fright short list of likes: classic, streamlined, and tailored, and a very long list of dislikes: voluminous anything, too many pleats, loud colors, or loud patterns. And of course, Nina doesn’t want anything boring, old-fashioned, or grey. Of all the past “design for a client” challenges – Heidi, teenage girls, the designers’ mothers – this client is probably the most demanding. All of the designers seem pretty terrified, including poor Bryce who looks like he’s about to wet himself. The only one who is calm and confident is Danielle (who sports a fashion mole, by the way) who thinks her style fits with Nina’s.
The consultation and run-through with Nina go as expected. She is highly direct about what she doesn’t like (cowl necks, micro-minis, Christmas greens) and tells the designers outright. When she hates your idea, she simply asks, “Do you have a Plan B?” We sort of imagine this is what it’s like when designers actually have these sorts of meetings with clients and editors, which is to say that the designer is caught between two instincts: fight for a failing design that will just get you fired (or in this case, auf’ed) or just do whatever the hell you think the editor wants. The designers who are able to maintain a balance are the ones who end up on top, or in this case, in the pages of Marie Claire. During the pre-runway critique, Anya rightly senses that Nina hates the mustard-colored print she chose when Nina keeps saying, “It’s a risk.” Anya immediately dyes the fabric a beautiful, dusty gold. Danielle, on the other hand, is set on making a sheer blouse, which Nina immediately hates. All of her suggestions – black stitching, a cuff at the bottom, black fabric – are met with disapproval. She’s a tough cookie, that Garcia.
Kimberly wins! Her win seemed to reflect an ability to adapt to the demands of the client. Nina “suggested” Kim make pants even when she pitches a dress. During the run-through, Nina tells her to “go with [her] gut” while also telling her she doesn’t like the navy in the top. Kim smartly nixes the navy and makes a paneled top with a cut-out at the collarbone all in the gold fabric. The mix of separates, and the right splash of color, embodies what Michael Kors called the “modern working woman.” While the look isn’t our personal favorite, we have to agree that it is the most “Nina Garcia” of the designs.
Our personal favorites belong to the two runners-up, Viktor and Anya. Anya made a jumpsuit out of that dusty gold. What really makes us swoon though was the collar that ran from the front, and dipped along the back. Viktor made a very architectural all-black look. He put slight volume at the skirt (per Tim’s suggestion) and created a top with strong, angular shoulders. Other guest judge Kerry Washington, looking incredibly gorgeous, thought the volume in the skirt was full of “youth.” Despite our initial shock that Kim beat out these two designs, we realize that they are designing for an editor at Marie Claire, not Japanese Vogue (Can we have Anna della Russo as a client next season, please?)
We got a little preview of what Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, will be like on Project Runway All-Stars: incisive, witty, with a strong eye towards the narrative aspects of fashion. She will also eviscerate you. This episode, she stole the show from Michael Kors (who still had a few good zingers). That being said, this episode only served to reaffirm our belief that Coles would be a better judge than mentor.
There were just bad attitudes all around. Viktor kept whining about how Anya, who would definitely win Miss Congeniality at this rodeo, was “cheating” because she received help from other designers. Anthony Ryan helped her with the dye-job and Laura helped her make the gorgeous swooping collar at the last minute. We were also not a fan of Cecilia’s sad sack demeanor. After judging, she openly admits to being okay with going home over Julie. We could see Laura’s face scream WHAT?!
Danielle’s (delusional?) confidence is really starting to creep us out. While we appreciate someone who stays calm under pressure, Danielle’s lack of emotion makes us think that maybe she’s a psychopath. Her outfit was sad, and Joanna Coles told her so. “[It] makes me think your model is depressed. It makes me think you might be a bit depressed too. And you might be after this particular episode.”
Okay, so coat dress – or as Joanna Coles calls it, a droat – was pretty ugly. Michael Kors thought the model “should have a pocket with Kleenex in it while she dusts.” That being said, we liked how Julie could laugh off Joanna Coles’ critiques and keep her head held high. Overall, the judges were looking for what they feel embodies a strong, modern, working woman in New York. The looks that failed seemed sad, desperate, and suburban. This is Sex and the City, not Desperate Housewives. While critiquing Kim’s look, Joanna Coles said that wearing the top would put you in the mood to seize every opportunity. Nina echoes a similar sentiment, “I love that it’s powerful but also a little bare.” Sounds a bit like Samantha Jones.
Next episode: Olivier down! Olivier down!
August 12, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Heidi comes out to announce this week’s challenge appropriately enough, in stilts, and tells the designers she wants them to design “a look that is eye-catching, imaginative, and truly, larger than life.” They are to work in teams of two, drawn randomly from the velvet button bag, which immediately prompts confessionals of each designer talking about how she is a rebel without a cause, doesn’t work well with others, and hates her partner. The only team that doesn’t seem to share in mutual loathing is Anya and Olivier, who seem genuinely happy to work together, if only because both have been praised for landing in the top thus far. So if they’re what Tim calls the “dream team,” Fallene and Bryce, both bottom of the barrel designers last week, is a union that makes Fallene want to “shit [her] pants.” The rest of the teams are: Bert and Viktor, Anthony Ryan and Laura, Joshua and Julie, Danielle and Cecilia, and Kimberly and Becky.
In the workroom Tim informs the designers that they are to “think about Paris couture.” With that word of advice, he sends them off to Mood with $500 and informs them they only have a day’s time to complete the challenge. Bert and Viktor get off to a raucously terrible start. While we were a fan of Bert in the beginning, his image took a slight PR hit with his attitude last week, and this week, his seeming unwillingness to work with Viktor (who seems like a reasonable enough guy) loses him some major sympathy points. Viktor, to be fair, probably shouldn’t have said, his “heart dropped” when Heidi asked him why he “looked funny,” but Bert’s condescension, thinking Viktor ought to do some more book reading, is grating on us. These two got along about as well as Hell and a bucket of ice.
Heidi hosts the first challenge to have a “live” runway show (aren’t all the runway shows live?) open to the public and press in Bryant Park. She steps out in super high stilettos as though to stress the point that stilts are just really high heels! On to the show:
There was one standout: Anthony Ryan and Laura’s red charmeuse dress flowed and fluttered in all the right ways. The color popped and the sweetheart neckline paired with feathered shoulders was absolutely charming. It seemed like Anthony Ryan would finally get to be the bride, but instead he stepped aside and allowed Laura to take the challenge win and immunity from elimination for next week. We get that he’s probably seeing the “big picture” here and stepping aside from a challenge win might turn into a bigger win later. But we probably would have just cut a bitch for a win. Eh, different strokes.
Heidi’s continuing to look good this season. We liked her Givenchy-esque cardigan when she announced the challenge. And who knew she could work stilts so well?
There wasn’t a whole lot we liked in this episode. We had high hopes that the stilts would allow the designers to construct really imaginative, extravagant designs, but most designers went the way of constructing (very nicely tailored) very long pants. While there was a major time constraint on the designers (hey Lifetime! We actually like it when you give designers more time to work so they don’t have to send sh** down the runway), some of the partnerships were too noxious to be workable. Overall, we felt most of the designs – even those in the top – had obvious flaws. Danielle and Cecilia’s flowy chiffon top and pants were nice, but the hair, as they realized themselves, made the model look like an evil, alien overlord. Kimberly and Becky’s pants and military jacket were also fine, but the collar was obviously wrong, and also going in the overlord direction. As Joshua pointed out, all of the top 3 looks were ready-to-wear. While the bottom 3 looks weren’t any better, we were hoping for more fantasy and wonder in these designs rather than something a very tall woman could wear on the street.
The episode turned mostly into a swan song for poor Fallene who was feeling on edge after last week. She didn’t know what cutting “on grain” meant. Bryce didn’t seem to handle it particularly well, sniping behind her back that that is the difference between an esteemed graduate of fashion school and a self-taught designer. She has something of an emotional breakdown needing Tim and Bryce to comfort her at every turn. Bryce takes too long to realize that Fallene is in over her head, and makes a sad looking spaghetti strap tank top that apparently looks like one Kim Kardashian wears to bed. We’re just sad Heidi didn’t send both of them home.
Next week: The designers design for Nina Garcia. Bring on the pain.