Episode 4 Recap: Nina Garcia Does Not Want to Look Depressed

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.

The Good

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.

The Bad

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.”

The Ugly

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!

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§ One Response to Episode 4 Recap: Nina Garcia Does Not Want to Look Depressed

  • cindy says:

    I loved Anya’s look, but honestly it wasn’t very work appropriate. And although I would wear Anya’s jumper over Kimberly’s outfit, I’m glad she won because she did the best at meeting the demands of the challenge.

    I’d like to add that Nina is not a great dresser.

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