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One Day You're IN and the Next Day You're IN

By LisaRaphael Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 ,4:04 pm EDT

This episode is definitely going to get the fans riled up! I can already see the comments here. I don't know if the producers planned it this way, as it's always good to have people talking (or so they say), but they certainly aren't playing it safe this season. We're down to the Top Four, and Heidi states adamantly that they still have one more Final Challenge to narrow down the designers to the Top Three, and ultimately, who will show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. This is repeated over and over again throughout the episode. But then, right at the end, it's changed to "Psych! Just Kidding! Y'all are IN!" What happened?

$900 Per Look
Let's rewind a little bit: As the episode begins, Heidi greets our Top Four and gives them $9,000 and five weeks to create a 10-look collection. That's a very short time, but honey, I've done TWENTY-plus-piece collections in the same amount of time so, no sympathy here. Also, if my calculator works correctly, this means they each get to spend $900 per look – for fabric and accessories. No money can be spent on any pattern or sewing (hired help). At $900 a look, they better be AMAZING! Finally, before saying "Until next time," Heidi adds, "Only THREE will get to go on ... to NY Fashion Week." Not "MAYBE three of you" (as she has done in the past). No, "THREE."

Here's Your MetroCard ... Now Go!
The designers go home. For New Yorkers Joshua and Viktor, this means "Congrats! Here's a one-way MetroCard! Now get to cuttin' and sewin'!" Kimberly goes to Maryland, and Anya heads to Trinidad and Tobago. Three weeks later, it's time for the "Tim Visits." Tim Gunn visits Kimberly's home Kimberly is first. She seems to have been working "like the rent is due." Her collection is based on the Urban Brooklyn (pre-gentrification) Fashion Girl. Prints, colors, a '90s "Banjee Girl" vibe, and (I'm afraid) lots of gold-and-silver hoop earrings and bracelets. Read: Glam Hoochie.

Caribbean Nothing
Next, Tim heads to Trinidad and Tobago to check in on Anya. She has NOTHING, except some fabrics and her inspiration. No actual garments, not even sketches. Seriously? What. Has. Anya. Been. Doing? Drinking rum & Coke and laying out at the beach? Tim tries to shake her out of her funk, but I'm not sure it quite worked.

Guadalajara: Bien – Queens: Not Bien
Back in New York, Tim visits Viktor and is wowed by the clothes on his rack, inspired by a trip to Guadalajara. We knew Viktor would get to work right away, so no one is surprised that he was muy bien. Next stop: brunch in Queens, New York, to visit Joshua. Here, we find out Miss Josh was good at sports. See, the gays CAN do sports … and then switch over to fashion design! In his studio, he has a sad, thrift-store-looking printed fabric which Tim hates (I do too!), as well as lots of loud, neon-y "Joshua" colors. You could just see Tim's "What the heck is that?" brow go into overdrive.

Time's Up
Five weeks are up, and they reunite at the Hudson Hotel Penthouse. After a day of rest, they head to their new workroom, where Tim then tells them their next Challenge: to present a three-look mini-collection to the judges. Tim reiterates that this will decide the THREE who will go on. Cut to Runway Day. The designers during the final eliminationHeidi, Michael and Nina are all there. No actor or celeb fashion designer "guest" judge plugging their latest projects. Yea!

The Boys
Overall, I liked Viktor's girls. His custom-made "photo" prints were fabuloso, but I thought that leather zipper "car wash" overskirt was tricky and so "Fashion School Graduation Show." I was happy to see my South American "sister" Nina also feel the same way and make him remove it. The three looks Joshua picked to show were surprisingly dark, modern, and oh-so-not-bedazzled and tacky-licious. He either listened to Tim's critique following the visit or he was very smart to not show the "Joshua McKinley" Neon Ladies to the judges ... just yet.

The Girls
Anya's three-piece collection looked as if she had made it in a 48-hour challenge, and the judges tell her so. The pieces looked sloppy, half-double-stick-taped and reminiscent of something one can find at a street bazaar in Port of Spain, Trinidad. What happened? The judges LOVED that first (printed) dress, but I wasn't a fan; the gaping armhole was worrying me. Kimberly's looks were OK – that black gown was SO Heidi, but the back booty bump skirt: No LIKEY. But at least Kimberly's was better than Anya's. Both of the girls are at the bottom. Kimberly is deemed IN … so is Anya out?

Too Much Advice?
The judges' critiques dumbfounded me this week: They were giving A LOT of helpful advice to the designers – especially Anya. As it turns out, Anya is also IN. What happened to the Top Three? Was this changed all of a sudden because the judges felt bad since she had done so well throughout the season? Or did the producers already have this "twist" in their minds from the get-go?

Consistent Inconsistency
This is what it looks like to me: Anya's was the obvious worst, but the judges didn't want Anya out. Am I on the right path or am I being a "Project Runway Conspiracy Theorist"? Many of my readers think there's quite a bit of favoritism being placed on Anya by the judges, and now I kind of have to agree. Based on these four finalists, it's not that she isn't worthy of being in the Finals and showing at NY Fashion Week. In fact I think she and Viktor are the top two designers. However, if we are just judging by the three looks they presented, Anya should have been OUT. The only thing consistent about this season is its inconsistency. It seems that the judges have decided to evaluate what they have seen over an entire season as opposed to what is presented on the runway each week. Heidi, early on, seemed to try to take a stand for her catchphrase "One day you're IN … and the next day … you're OUT." But clearly this season it should be changed to "One day you're IN … and the next day you're IN"!

There’s No Place Like Home

By LisaRaphael Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 ,1:51 pm EDT

Recap:
Josh was the big whiner.
Anya was the big winner.
Laura was out.

Nothing Like a Little Buzzkill
We open with fashion's golden goddess standing on the runway. She delivers to the widely grinning designers the news that there will only be THREE designers showing at Fashion Week. The. Bubble. Bursts. Did you really think that all four were going to get a ticket in? Come, now, you have been watching this show long enough.

So the designers all head home to make their collections and wait for Tim Gunn's visit.

Not as Easy as It Seams
Home visits in a nutshell …

Kimberly: Her inspiration is a "pre-gentrified" Brooklyn girl. Tim is concerned about her missing "wow" factor and her color palette; so am I. Our girl is in trouble here. Where are her magnificent pants? Her skills aren't showing here, and we all know she has them.

Anya: Inspired by a scuba diving trip to Tobago. Tim admires her prints and asks to see her work. She has not one garment done. There are only two weeks left. Anya is warned about the rules: no outside help. She is in an artistic rut and hasn't even sketched. Tim is growing paler by the minute.

Viktor: Inspired by a trip to Guadalajara. At first look, we feel better. Viktor's collection is what we would expect: original prints, meticulous execution and tasteful. That white leather jacket is an item that will sell so fast it would make you dizzy, no matter the cost. Beautiful work here. Tim is so impressed that he thinks Viktor will "knock their F-ing socks off." Tim, you devil.

Tim Gunn's facial expressionJosh: Clearly no inspiration mentioned ... just cranking out pieces, it seems. Tim's expression gets more priceless with every piece Josh reveals and subsequently discards. The collection is a heap of tacky textiles. Tim pronounces that Josh's central print is the "homeliest textile" he has ever seen. Ouch. Josh also has a lot of work to do in two weeks. Is it me, or does it appear that Josh has switched to a more subtle shade of bronzer? I digress.

Lincoln Center or Bust
Our chipper "it" girl greets the high-flying final four contestants in what appears to be a Mondo Guerra sugar skull top (am I wrong?) and leggings, eager to get this show on the road. The usual suspects are judging, all looking like they had a little canary for lunch.

The show, again, is a combination of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

1. Viktor throws down the proverbial gauntlet with a cohesive, impeccably made trio. Michael thinks that the zip leather skirt is overkill. So do I. The dress stands on its own, but I see where he was going. To no one's surprise, Heidi dons that magnificent Balmain-inspired jacket. Viktor leaves us wanting to see more. The judges are pleased, and Michael advises Viktor to make black slacks and a tee for the white jacket.

Anya's final three looks2. Anya is next and presents a WTH? mini-collection. The first dress is certainly her esthetic; anyone could wear that darling little dress. Then the rest is a mess. The bathing suit is nothing new, and her gold gown doesn't work at all. Poor fabric choice for her, and poor construction. Where is that free-spirited sprite of a designer? It seems that she was trying so hard to impress that she lost herself along the way. Michael exclaims that the gown looks "tortured." Nina wants Anya to embrace herself. So do we. This is so not "her."

3. Kimberly follows with a one-dress-success, as well. The black sparkle dress is lovely, but the other two looks fail to impress. Heidi thinks that the bubble skirt looks like a cartoon; I couldn't agree more. Nina warns Kimberly to lose the accessories — the giant earrings and enormous bags are overkill personified. There is so much cobalt blue going on that Kors thinks one of the models looks like she has "club foot." Again, we want more of those fabulous pants from her.

4. Josh finishes the day with a great jacket, passable neoprene LBD and a jumpsuit that looks great from the front (love the plastic) but a disaster (Kors, here) in the back. This would have been a real stunner if the model didn't have to turn around. Josh is praised for his clean styling and seems to feel as though he has this thing in the bag. Perhaps his guyliner is seeping into his pores; nothing is ever a sure thing on "Project Runway." Except Christian Siriano. Slam. Dunk.

Never Let Them See You Sweat
Josh is in ...
Viktor is in ...
Kimberly is in ... and after a very long and dramatic wait ...
Anya is in.

Next week: A happy ending for one.

Get Ready for the Season 5 Finale!

By LifetimeLisaR Wed., Jun. 8, 2011 ,3:38 pm EDT

This Sunday is an extra special episode of "Army Wives" — that's right, it's time for the Season 5 Finale of "Army Wives"! This season has taken the fans along on an emotional journey of death, birth, new additions and major losses.

Preview: Season 5 Finale
So then what's coming up next for “Army Wives"? View the preview for the Season 5 Finale below, which promises change in the Fort Marshall families’ futures. When Michael admits he is “just wondering what the future holds,” we can’t help but agree! View now:

Season 5, Episode 12 Videos
If you missed Episode 12 or want to watch it again before this Sunday’s finale, watch the full Season 5, Episode 12 online here. Check out Holden family highlights from Episode 12 where Michael deals with an unexpected announcement from Emmalin and revealing his own bad news to Claudia Joy in the “Army Wives” video extra, “Confrontations” below:

What are you most looking forward to seeing in the Season 5 Finale? Share below!

Episode 13: The Oracle

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Nov. 13, 2009 ,5:45 am EST

The final three: Althea, Carol Hannah and IrinaI guess it’s been a long time since I’ve watched an entire season of “Project Runway,” because I forgot that we don’t go directly to Fashion Week after the last challenge. First, we visit all of the designers at home, with Tim Gunn, and we get a peek at what they’re planning to show during Fashion Week. It’s a crucial point in the design process, because these designers have no outside feedback from anyone else. In my opinion, it still looks like Irina is going to win this one, unless something goes terribly wrong. So far, she’s the only one with a strong, cohesive theme that runs throughout her collection, complete with recurring shapes and design motifs that flesh out her ideas. Oh, and as if that weren’t enough, she always has perfect hair and makeup. (Irina is invincible.) Since we have no runway show in this episode, let’s focus in on what Tim’s critique of these collections says about the dangers that each designer might encounter on the runway. Like the Oracle of Delphi, his feedback is often cryptic, so I will try to demystify some of the things he says.

Tim Gunn cooks up a Southern meal with Carol HannahFirst up, Tim visits Carol Hannah in a suburb of New York. My favorite moment of this segment was when Tim, with "jazz hands," says “I love a kitchen!” It sounds like “I love to cook,” but I think it’s probably something more akin to “I love picking out a stylish countertop polymer!” Similarly, when he speaks of the clothes, we should be aware of what additional message lies just below the surface. About the collection, Tim says, “You’ve done a lot of pushing. You’ve done a lot of risk-taking.” While there is a positive ring to this comment, there is also a subtle note of caution. I think Tim is responding to the broad number of Carol Hannah’s design motifs here. She’s introduced many different types of appliqués and individual embellishments into the collection, but she has neglected to dig in and develop one or two of them into a statement that unifies the clothes as a group. So when Tim says “a lot of pushing,” he probably wants her to stop trying to wow us with another sewing trick, and to focus those techniques into a statement about her personal view of Fall 2009.

Irina fits her garment onto her model Kalyn HemphillIt would be really nice if Irina won, because I don’t remember anyone on “Project Runway” saying that they had a parent in their family that was unsupportive. Irina actually remarks that it would be nice to earn her father’s approval by winning the competition. How many of us have the courage to admit this? For once, we see the reality of what most American parents believe about their children pursuing creative occupations. And this is a girl who made it to Bryant Park! I wonder if the drive to earn this approval is what has made Irina so prolific. In her collection, she has incredible hand-knits, intricate fur construction and even silkscreened textiles, all inspired by the grim specter of the dilapidated roller coasters at Coney Island. It seems that this drive and relentless work ethic is also where Tim’s comment for Irina is aimed. He says that her collection should “not look ‘forced,’ that it should just look as though it’s an easy, natural flow.” This is basically a caution against over-designing. In fact, the only thing I can foresee getting in Irina’s way is if the statement of her collection is too ham-fisted. As the only designer with a cohesive statement, she should be fine, as long as she doesn’t beat the judges over the head with so many design elements that they get exhausted from looking.

A sketch from Althea Harper's Fashion Week final collectionTo Althea, Tim says “Seeing what you do with knits, it makes me want to see more.” No other comment could be more detrimental to Althea at this moment, because Althea doesn’t know about the incredible knits that Irina has been working on. This advice, if heeded incorrectly, has the potential to produce more of the sweater that Althea was accused of copying from Irina during the show. Irina’s reaction upon seeing Althea’s collection seems to suggest that this is exactly what has happened. What Tim meant, in my opinion, is “I’d like to see more of what you can do with knits, as Althea, and not as Irina.” Indeed, his parting comment to Althea is “Just don’t lose sight of who you are, and edit, edit, edit!” It’s a subtle admonishment for Althea to find the focus for her collection from inside of herself, as opposed to the work of the other contestants or the costume designers of science-fiction films. And that’s it.

Tune in next week when the Oracle says, “THIS IS CRAZY!” Indeed, we get to finally see how it all pans out, and I think we’re in for a doozy. Apparently, it looks like all hell breaks loose, complete with more sobbing and vomiting, the ubiquitous 13th looks, a bit of makeup plagiarism and some very frightened interns from Parsons. But of course, that isn’t what’s intriguing me. Personally, I’m tuning in just trying to figure out what Tim really means when he says, “I am about to lose it!”