"Project Runway" Is Back in the Saddle!
Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, it is filmed in Los Angeles ... but so far that doesn’t seem to have affected a thing; in fact, the first challenge is pretty fabulous because of L.A.: The designers are taken to the red carpet of the Emmys, and given the challenge of designing a red-carpet gown of their choice with two days and $200. All the familiar fun ensues that makes us addicted to this stuff — sketching in the workroom (now at FIDM and bigger than ours!), a half hour to shop at Mood (yay! Mood!), and let the drama begin. All under the lilting tones of a certain Mr. Gunn, whom we have sorely missed.
Meet the designers: Ra’mon (the serious med student); Logan (the guy’s guy, letting us know in no uncertain terms that he is straight); Johnny (former drug addict who tried out for the show several times, but made it now that he is clean. Read: drama); Gordana (Yugoslavian tough-chick who will win even if she has to make her dress out of potatoes and corn); Malvin (one word: Sanjaya); Qristyl (oooh honey, step back, cuz Miss Q doesn’t mess around with skinny girls, she is size “plus-sexy”); Shirin (sweet to the point of diabetic coma); Nicolas (the self-acclaimed “Feather Prince” — Good Luck); Mitchell (every show has one, the all-American cutie); Ari (techno-chick who’s tragically into “Blade Runner” Chic); Louise (trapped-in-vintage-land Louise Brooks channeler); Irina (into leathah); Carol (this season’s Kenley? Pixie-couture airhead); Epperson (serious dreads and seems to be the oldest of the bunch); Althea (Cocky with a capital “C,” sure she is the next Christian, Vivienne Westwood, McQueen, blah blah blah); and finally, Christopher (self-taught and second runner-up in the cutie category). We met Christopher last — any predictions?
Some workroom fun that was music to my ears: Ari saying “I don’t sketch” ... Johnny having a drug-free meltdown with Tim coming to save the day and dry his tears ... Mitchell may be our new cryer ... Malvin claiming his garments are “ineffable” and beyond description (Oh, I can describe them alright). The best moment of the show? Qristyl can’t find anyone to cut her fabric at Mood, so she buys a pair of scissors and CUTS IT HERSELF! Way to make it work, Miss Q! Reality-show gold!
The dresses are coming along, and there’s a joyous visit from Saint Tim (do I hear angels when he enters the workroom?), and we begin to see what these designers are all about. Johnny says he will use “spit and gum” to finish his hideous dress if he has to. Tim calls Christopher’s work a “cruise-line cocktail waitress,” Ari is tragically channeling Blayne by making a halter diaper dress and Mitchell is making some sort of Victorian caftan out of coffin lining. Miss Q has completely missed with her quasi–Carmen Miranda wedding dress, and on the morning of the runway show, Mitchell has to start over from scratch and decides to go for a Lady Godiva look and send his model down the runway nude.
Oh Rapture! The Runway! Another byproduct of the L.A. location ... Lindsay Lohan is the guest judge! Here come the dresses!
- Althea: Silver, pretty, nice and safe.
- Gordana: Short blue-green dress with origami floating device around the bust.
- Malvin: Beige burlap scaly ugly boring dress fit for a prison wedding.
- Mitchell: Sheer (butt cheeks on parade) caftan that would make a great maternity dress for JLo.
- Louise: Dress made of drapes with a flowered growth on the shoulder.
- Christopher: ’80s prom dress made of garbage bags and Kleenex.
- Ra’mon: Fabulous eggplant taffeta gown that you could see on the most fabulous star on the Oscars red carpet.
Shirin: Cutesy, short, safe.
- Epperson: More purple, but this one is the wrong way to do it.
- Irina: Literally drapes that the model keeps tripping over.
- Ari: Ridiculous space suit that wouldn’t pass for fashion in any year in the future.
- Johnny: This tragedy looks like a piece of fabric blew onto the model in a windstorm and was held in place by pieces of chewing gum.
- Qristyl: Ouch. I love Q, but this is hideous. How hideous? Kenley would love it.
- Logan: Silver, boring and monotone like his voice.
- Nicolas: Short, black plastic/rubber body condom. No feathers, go figure.
The decisions are made, the delicious drama spills forth in classic PR fashion. Did I agree with their decisions on who they kept on the runway? Yes. But I seriously disagree with their commentary on the top and the bottom looks ... but that’s what makes the show addictive. You want to scream at Nina, pull Heidi’s hair out, wipe the orange off of Michael Kors, and force-feed Lindsay Lohan. We all agreed Miss Q was a wreck, but she’s too fun to get rid of: In. Johnny: In. Are you serious? This same dress has gotten many designers eliminated, but they obviously keep him for what they hope will be more drug-free drama. Ra’mon: In. They called this dress “safe,” even though it was obviously the most beautifully realized piece on the show. Mitchell: In. They gave him a break. Plus they know all the gay men watching the show would be mad if they eliminate the cutest designer. Ari: OUT. What glee to hear Michael Kors call this ugly piece of garbage a “disco soccer ball.” I am swooning with delight. The winner? Christopher. Oh my God. This dress is one pair of fingerless gloves away from the prom scene in any John Hughes movie. (See photo.)They would normally rake this thing over the coals, but to keep us talking about the controversy, they chose to reward the self-taught naive boy who now thinks he’s got a shot at winning. But that’s why we love the show. “Project Runway” is back in all its glory. We can’t get enough of the delicious punishment, drama, hopes and dashed dreams of “Project Runway.”
And, ultimately, of life. See ya soon, Chris
Posted in: episode 1
Season 13, Episode 6: It's a Nice Day for a Rock Wedding
The designers are wrangled to Webster Hall in Manhattan, which is set up for what appears to be a low-key wedding. Tim walks down the makeshift aisle with famed burlesque performer, lingerie designer, and next-level class act Dita Von Teese to introduce the designers' next task.
Challenge: Create an alternative wedding dress and a corresponding dress for the reception.
Parameters: The designers will work in pairs determined by the button bag (throw air quotes around that because at least one of these pairings seems deliberately arranged for maximum drama): Kini and Sean, Fade and Emily, Char and Sandhya, and Korina and Amanda (ahem). Budget of $400, one day to work. Sean has immunity.
Feels appropriate to make designers pair up for a wedding-related challenge, no? All that wedding talk about patience and compromise applies here, too. At Mood, some questionable choices are made: Samantha and Alexander grab oxblood lace and creamy-colored appliqué, while Sandhya pushes Char toward a highlighter-bright citron chartreuse-y shade. Tim's critiques are...not thrilling, but not utterly disastrous, either. Unlike last week, the designers are sticking to the plans they've made. Sean and Korina struggle to complete parts of their looks, but Amanda and Kini step in to shoulder the burden. Sandhya's dress looks like an actual half-eaten ear of corn but Char keeps her head down and focuses on her own look.
Amanda seems to be getting some hate from her fellow designers for winning so many challenges and absorbing the judges' attention and other nitpicky things, and the "seems to be" is key here because we don't actually see these confrontations (with Char and Korina, apparently), but rather Amanda's reaction to them. I am bored by all of it, so let's move on to the runway, where our guest judges are Ms. Von Teese and Italian style blogger Chiara Ferragni. (I'm still trying to figure out if the very particular "uh" sound she makes at the end of words is affectation or not. I can't lie to you, I found it kind of delightful.) Korina and Amanda are safe, which is surprising given how hard the editors were pushing their struggle on us this week, but not so surprising given their perfectly adequate final product. Sigh of relief for them!
Kini and Sean - Zac calls them the Dream Team. Nina likes the play on masculine and feminine that the looks offer. She thinks the skirt of Kini's garment is slightly too flamenco, and heavy-looking at that. Heidi and Zac don't see any problem with it. Dita says she'd wear both outfits. There's no question that Kini and Sean are the top team but there's some back-and-forth regarding which of the them deserves the win more. Sean gets it. Which is fine? I guess? Even though it seemed like Kini handled more of the work and is also overdue for a win? I'm not sure I really understand where that decision came from. Kini doesn't either: "I was robbed," he shrugs.
Emily and Fade - Emily describes their bride as an "introverted, artistic type" who gets married in Japan. Dita, who herself had a gothic wedding, finds Emily's hooded look cliche and over-the-top. Heidi likes the draping at the back, and the fabrication of Fade's dress gets compliments, too, but Chiara and Dita don't see any cohesion between the two looks. "I don't even think these girls would be hanging out together," Dita says. The designers aren't on the bottom, technically, but their critique wasn't great, so we're just gonna settle for them being safe.
Alexander and Samantha - Nina says the only thing missing from these messy looks is rhinestones, since Alexander and Samantha threw basically everything else on them anyway. The panel doesn't like how cheap both look, nor how '80s they are, nor the bizarre red-wine-stain ombre on the party dress. Zac's one compliment: The looks do seem like they come from the same world and belong to the same girl. (Though since that was the minimum requirement for the challenge, it's really not much of a compliment at all. Way to barely make it work, guys.) They're safe.
Sandhya and Char - Heidi calls it an epic fail. Zac says his takeaway is "Big Bird and Tweety bird." Dita thinks the girl looks like "a lemon heiress," which is maybe my favorite descriptor ever used on the show. Nina thinks working with the color in a more simplified form would have been better. Heidi agrees and goes on to call out the haphazard way the skirts on both looks were constructed. Char and Sandhya aren't in defense mode at all -- they know they messed this one up -- and actually sound grateful for the criticism. The judges put them in the bottom, and it's no surprise they choose Char for elimination. Sandhya's too much of a rising star to let go at this point in the season.
Tim says that if we were a bit later in the season, he would have used his Tim Gunn Save on Char. I admit that I forgot the Tim Gunn Save was a thing, and am now even more curious as to who Tim might have in mind to use it on should the need arise. (Fade, maybe? He's done consistently interesting work to little or no fanfare from the judges. I could see him landing on the chopping block by virtue of being a little too subdued, then Tim swooping in to make sure he gets another shot.) How do you feel about Char getting auf'd? Did you think her design was worse than Sandhya's? Do you think Kini deserved the win over Sean? (I do!) As we inch closer to the finale, are you getting any vibes about who you think might land at the top? Lemme know in the comments.