Episode 9 Recap: It Smells Like Hippies in Here

September 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Joshua's look

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.

The Good

Viktor's winning look

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.”

The Bad

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.

The Ugly

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?!”

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