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It's a Family Affair!
Episode 9 opens with the designers reminiscing about the previous weeks on "Project Runway." They are about half way through the season at this point. I see by Christopher's bedside clock that they are letting the designers "sleep in" it's 6:25 am, a fairly late start on "Project Runway." I definitely can relate to Gunnar's view on how grueling, physically and mentally, this competition becomes at this point. For me, the isolation from the world outside was the most difficult to adjust to. I would have done anything at this point for a stroll "alone" through Central Park or have a cappuccino in a quiet cafe in the village. That's how I recharge my designer brain cells. "Alone" on "Project Runway" exists only in the bathroom.
Everyone is glad last week is behind them. Both Dmirty and Elena agree that they both want to stay as far away from one another as possible. That's a great plan.
On the runway, Heidi, in a sexy strapless leather accented dress, greets the remaining designers. Heidi is expecting to be WOWED by the designers in this challenge. Yes, please before the entire season is OVER! Setting his sights on winning the entire season sweet Gunnar has big plans for the prize money. He wants a new pair of boots for himself and a boob job for mom! Or is it the other way around?
Off to the workroom where Mr. Gunn and the ever so talented and fabulous Mondo Guerra introduce them to the "HP and Intel" challenge. The designers will be creating a textile design along with a modern runway look inspired by each designers "cultural heritage." This could be an exciting challenge for each designer to really look outside that darn "box" and be creative. Did you hear me VEN?
On Season 9, in the HP and Intel challenge, faced with a oversized "mechanical gear" print, I created one of my favorite looks of the season the one-shoulder mid-calf dress with black industrial zipper bodice detail. I said one of my favorites, definitely not the judges.
Mondo reminds us of his "coming out " on the runway during the HP and Intel challenge during Season 8 concerning his HIV status. That moment, he tells us, changed his life. Adding to this, his courage and honesty with revealing his HIV status has undoubtably helped others with HIV move forward. YEAH MONDO!
On to the challenge. One hour to sketch. But first, an overload of family reunions, as one close relative or significant other of the designers enters the workroom. One on one this is pleasant to watch, but all together just a bit to "UBER" gooey and sweet! Tears flow followed by hugs galore. I really am not interested, sorry! A full SIX PLUS minutes later and with the reunions behind us the designers finally get to work. Whew!
Christopher hates prints. Dmitry is pulling from his grandfather and father, both artist. Ven is doing ... FLOWERS! Why stop now? Gunnar, taking a que from Mondo, is expelling his past of being bullied as a young man is school. Good therapy. The print? Not so good. And by the way, his mom has great boobs! Off to Mood to select notions and anything else they may need to help WOW Heidi and the judges. With 30 minutes and $100 they definitely need to think about how they can enhance their final runway look.
Back at Parsons, Elena has trouble with patterning a straight skirt. Hmm? Gunnar is going equestrian. Close to his roots? Please explain. Is there a horse thief in the family tree? His initial look is borderline uptight. Does he ride side saddle? How else could one ride a horse in a below the knee straight skirt? Christopher is doing an abstract "ladybug" print. Ven needs to go into the florist business. He is obsessed with flowers. His new look has free form pleated hibiscus flowers. It's actually not a bad start. At least it's not that damn origami technique! Sonjia is making a printed pant with a simple top. Doesn't say WOW to me, but maybe to the judges. Dmitry is venturing off into "separates land." A good move. "OOOHHH," Dmitry states dramatically. His sense of humor definitely helps in situations like this. He is developing a beautiful jacket with triangular shapes, held together with mesh. Ralph Rucci, give him a call! Christopher is between two stale looks. Neither anywhere near "WOW LAND!" Also he has issues with not having the printed yardage at hand. Understandable? No. His designs are so simple that the print really won't impact how he uses it.
Has the Mr. Gunn inspection time arrived? Nope. He announces that the designers' loved ones are waiting for them back at the Atlas for more hugs and kisses along with hopefully some homemade food! It's almost like they are being reunited with their loved-ones after years of captivity by Columbian rebels! Sorry, way to forced emotional fodder for me. I'd have enjoyed a little more air time on the fashion front!
Next day, the printed fabrics are waiting the return of the designers. I have to say most of the prints are great. Christopher loves his print but is still stuck on which sooooo basic "silhouette" to make. Toss a coin. Gunnar's print is sort of like the pattern embroidered on mens corduroy pants ducks, lobsters, golf clubs and other WASPY notions. I like Elena's, Melissa's, Sonjia's and Dmitry's. They're all very vibrant and WOW-ABLE! The always intellectualizing Fabio sees fallopian tubes, vaginas, penises AND copulation in his pattern. Heidi said WOW not WOAH!
Ven embarks on his one-hundredth floral tribute. This time by placing pleated flowers diagonally across the front of his dress. Actually, I sort of like the idea. I just wish he had made the entire dress out of his print, not just the appliqués. That along with a more interesting silhouette. He wants it to "SCREAM" Ven. It snores.
Gunnar opens up about being bullied and harassed as a boy. His print with the bird being clawed at by "wretched hands" is a strong statement. I just wish his design reached deeper into that feeling. His look is so basic and unemotional that the energy and dynamics get lost!
Melissa is getting dizzy from staring at her print. I do like the balance, 50/50 red and white. It's very fresh and sharp.
Mr. Gunn enters, finally, for his long awaited critique session. First up is Christopher. He is still on the fence about his two looks. Jump!
Sonjia's pant looks good. What's happening up top? Also, thats a lot of flare in those legs. Have you considered a slimmer pant?
Dmitry's jacket looks super. Very different from anything so far this season!
The" FTD" man, Ven, has created what Mr. Gunn sees as an "homage to a menstrual cycle"? Sorry, but that is not only a ridiculous statement, but it is also sort of really in bad taste. Either Mr. Gunn is having a "rorschach ink blot moment" from some horrible childhood memory or he is just trying to be shocking. No, he means it! He seems visibly disturbed. Now he sees maxi pads? He turns to the room and asks the other designers if he is crazy. Someone needs a day off. No, maybe an entire week would be good! "All right Ven. Thank you," and Mr. Gunn turns around and walks off without any constructive comment. Thanks!
On to Fabio and his sex imbued print. Mr Gunn doesn't notice anything. Guess he's not as familiar with penises and vaginas as he is with that other topic? But he does love the black organza over the print. That's a good thing!
Mr. Gunn feels Melissa is on the right track with her veins and arteries. Beautiful!
Elena's look is associated with a "Marlo Thomas/'That Girl'" look which draws a blank stare from Elena. Nope, sorry. She doesn't have a clue. "That Girl" apparently was not big on Ukrainian TV.
Gunnar's jacket has Mr. Gunn wiping his eyes. He is not a fan of it. He feels it is like a "don't bully me suit of armor." That WAS his inspiration by the way! I actually like the stark black and print proportions. Add a slim black or print pant, get the fit corrected and it would be a sharp runway look! It worked for Prada this season!
A successful designer has to stick to their guns, no pun intended. Once you start to listen to other voices and water down your original look it's all over. I feel both Ven and Gunnar are potentially headed to "aufsville."
The models come and go. We revisit Ven in his flower shop as he falls back into his origami routine. He should have worked out his first design. It had potential. This doesn't!
The designers and their loved ones head off for the runway. Enter Heidi in a subtly toned smokey print dress. Very nice. There are two guest judges, Mondo and Season 9 winner Anya. First out is Sonjia's printed pant and black cowl backed jersey top. Sonjis did a great job matching the print in the crotch area. I still feel the legs are way to wide giving them a sloppy appearance. at the hem. Narrow they would have looked very current and sharp.
Next on the runway is Elena's hip length jacket and short skirt. I love this entire look. Yep, that's what I said! She used a solid wide band of color to off set her vibrant print. And it works. Gunnar, are you paying attention? She adds further interest with a slight tonal variation in the short skit. Styled perfectly.
Next is Christopher's sad "ladybug in mourning" dress. Not much to say. Not much at all.
Ven's design is next. Seeing this I hope he realizes his mistake in not sticking to his original design. At least it was not the same old tired look, AGAIN! To make matters worse the shape of his flower print doesn't have any relation with the origami skirt, none at all. One more comment. I hate designs that have all the interest in the front and are bare bones in the back. Looks cheap.
Fabio's look is dark. His print is barely visible through the black organza nary a P or V in site!
Melissa's dress makes a strong runway statement. The print along with the proportions are sleek and clean. I'm loving the back neckline. This is a very uptown look from this somewhat downtown girl. Just a tad over-accessorized.
Gunnar is next with his cropped jacket. Again, I feel he should have stuck to his original design and made it work! The solid proportions like on Elena's jacket would have added the punch that print needed. Oh well.
Dmitry is last. I love the jacket technique and the print. My only criticism is I would have liked to see more of the print. Maybe a dress or pant instead of that flight attendant looking black skirt? Regardless, great job!
With all the designers on the runway, Heidi calls Elena and Fabio forward. They are safe. I am very surprised to not have Elena's look in the running for the win. I feel Mondo definitely would appreciate her vibe and colors in this challenge. Now for the wolves Christopher was worrying about. Melissa is the first to explain her print direction. She chose the colors of the Polish flag, red and white. How chic! MK is impressed by her PARK AVENUE vibe. She nailed it. Love Mondo mentioning how the neckline echoes the print. Smart guy! Anya feels she could have pushed it a little bit further. Okay, where?
Mr. FTD, Ven, is up next. Heidi sees a Hawaiian airline hostess. Heidi, that's flight attendant, okay? She points out that the ever so familiar flower on the bottom in no way relates to the Hibiscus print on top. Right on that. MK is loosing patience with seeing the same idea week after week after week! Mondo and Anya both feel there is way to much happening that is not accomplishing anything worthwhile.
Dmitry fares better. MK is very impressed with how far he stepped out of his dress comfort zone. Dmitry sort of holds it in when Mondo states he feels it is a little over designed. Most of the critiques are sort of vague until Nina steps in. She nails it with the connection between the print dictating the patterns shaped into the jacket. Love her! I am surprised no one mentions the skirt. Dated and well, just dated!
Gunnar is next. After his explanation of the feelings that inspired his print things go down hill FAST. Heidi is not liking it one bit. MK sees a sheet of bird postage stamps. That's a good one. Nina understands the angst he put into the design but questions the prints impact. Heidi doesn't want to wear his ANGST! Mondo sees the print as to chaotic. Anya doesn't get it. Maybe it's the sleeves?
Sonjia succeeds with her palazzo pant and simple black top. Mondo loves it. MK sees a potential "pac-man" crotch problem if the pattern isn't as well matched as Sonjia managed to accomplish.
Christopher gives a fairly weak intro to his design, "I think it's really pretty." Heidi expects more, especially at this stage of the game. It reminds me of the sloppy LBD he did much earlier in the season. Nina is very disappointed. Mondo feels it's over designed. MK sees Kitchen curtains. Definitely not a WOW moment!
Melissa fares well with the judges but Dmitry and Sonjia are on top. As I said earlier, I feel strongly Elena should have been in the top if not the winner. Dmitry's look is a conflict for Mondo. He wants more print. By the way this is a print challenge he reminds the other judges. They are not listening.
Wait, what the heck. Mr. Gunn is called on set to repeat his drama over envisioning his idea of an homage to you know what! Really? Instead of stifling Ven's new direction, Mr .Gunn could have inspired him to take it up a notch and really go for it. Nope. So here we are with this same look AGAIN! So much for mentoring!
Dmitry wins and it's about time. Good job on using the "least print in the print challenge and there by winning the print challenge." Go figure?
Sweet Gunnar is aufed. That's what can happen when you listen to voices other than your own. Gunnar dug deep, maybe too deep but as bad as it was he did try. FTD just delivered the same dried up old flowers once AGAIN!