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Episode 11: Reject Runway

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:53am GMT

Well, well, well … "Project Runway" goes on — and like life, the more it changes, the more it stays the same. This week the super-drama unfolds both on the runway and behind the scenes, only to prove Emily Dickinson right: The world ends not with a bang, but a whimper. What I am talking about? Let's start with the challenge — to make a red carpet dress for the one and only German ubermodel of the universe, Heidi Klum herself. She warns the six remaining designers that she is "opinionated, headstrong and knows what she wants." Obviously, making za Kluminator unhappy is verboten. The workroom sketching becomes ultra-tense because there is a lot on the line and only $300 and one day to complete it. The designers start digging into their bag of tricks, when one by one, they start to notice that Maya is missing.

Where did she go? To have a serious talk with Tim. Very serious. For some reason, she tells Tim that she has decided to leave the competition, claiming that she is "not ready." Not ready? For what? A mental institution? She has already endured 10 harrowing challenges (where, I might add, her looks were all interesting and should have won many times when they didn't) and the attitudes of the other designers and all of the judges, only to quit now? Don't do it! But she did do it, quietly announcing to the workroom that she has decided to leave. Shock, dismay and general malaise take over the proceedings, and deep-dish disbelief is being served for lunch.

But — did I say but? In true "Project Runway" tradition, they stir things up by announcing that one of the eliminated designers will be brought back. Hmm … let me guess which one. Miss Anthony bursts through the workroom door doing her best Mama Rose ("Here she is, boys!") and everyone is happy again in Runwayland. Anthony joins in the challenge, and lights up the workroom with his wit and laughter. Gee, sounds familiar.

But enough about me. Did you know that I designed Meryl Streep's gown for this year's Academy Awards? So I have precious knowledge of the stress these designers are under. They don't want Heidi to end up on the dreaded "Worst Dressed List." You must take into consideration every angle of the dress, the color, the fabric, the workmanship, the fit, age appropriateness, length, walkability and basically every criticism you can imagine to create the perfect concoction that slays the considerable competition. This is the Super Bowl of fashion, and literally, the world is watching. And when you end up on the best-dressed list, there's no feeling of accomplishment quite like it. But enough about me.

The workroom is buzzing with some kind of ugly stuff. Have these people never watched a red carpet event? Some of the chosen colors are especially strange. How is Jay's poorly constructed gray-on-gray cotton twill cocktail swirl dress going to look next to a couture Valentino? Mila's weird metallic rainbow cleavage-exposer? Next to a Marchesa or an Armani? Please, they would be laughed out of town. The only ones who are on the right track seem to be Emilio and Seth. At least they are designing long gowns in black or rich colors that look somewhat expensive. Sorry to knock everyone so hard, but this is the harshness of the real world. Kathy Griffin tells the story that at one red carpet event, she got back to her hotel room in time to look online and see that she was on the worst-dressed list — while still wearing the dress. Hollywood is brutal.

The judges are going to be brutal to Jonathan and his taupe, black and coral toga. He keeps saying that he sends beautiful things down the runway and they hate them. So why not send something hideous and see if they love it? Good logic on that one, cutie. More mini-drama ensues as Seth's model can't make the runway, and he gets stuck with a model he's never worked with before. Yawn. It was a little bit of fun when Heidi visited the workroom, and they should have had that go on forever — it was hilarious. Alas, Heidi returns to her position on the runway and it's time for the show.

Our judges are the crispy-skinned Michael Kors, the sharp-tongued Nina Garcia and guest judge Jessica Alba.

Jay: Gray-on-gray short dress that doesn't fit, makes the model's butt look huge and might be okay if the red carpet event takes place at a prison.

Mila: Black short dress (short? again?) with metallic rainbow racing-stripe details and that looks less like a red carpet dress and more like NASCAR couture.

Anthony: Hmm … If this black and white gown was perfectly sewn and tweaked a little, I would love it. To me, it came off a little messy, almost looking like fabric draped on a mannequin in a fabric store window.

Seth Aaron: What fit his mannequin perfectly turned out to be messy on the model, with too many studs for my taste. Heidi says it lacks a "wow" factor. But it's basically a tasteful black gown.

Jonathan: Whoops! It looks like three fabrics were pulled off a toilet paper roll and slung around the poor model to make this taupe, coral and black mess. He complained that he only had two hours — what did he do with the other hour and a half? Yikes!

Emilio: While I admire that he made the dress properly — with a boned understructure — it is pretty boring and all about the sequined fabric. If we are going to give out prizes for proper dressmaking, let's change the title of the show to "Project Seamstress."

They tried to end the show with a bang, but it ended up being just a big whimper. Heidi decides there are TWO winners — Emilio and Anthony. Huh? Because Jessica Alba wants to wear Anthony's dress. I guess this was meant to shock us, but it really didn't do anything but make me puzzled, since it has no bearing on the outcome. Why not have everyone win? But they didn't, as Jonathan and Jay ended up in the bottom. The sanctimonious Jonathan was sent home, full of excuses and accusations about the judging. Bang? No, just a whimper.

See ya soon,


Episode 7: "Bottom 10"

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:02am GMT

I thought it was funny that at the halfway point of this challenge, some of the designers surmised that for the first time in “Project Runway” history, EVERYONE would be in the bottom. Why, you ask? Because it’s time for that perennial favorite, the unconventional materials challenge. In the past, we’ve ripped up cars, melted candy, raided the supermarket and mowed the lawn to get enough stuff to make an outfit. This time, they visit Michael Kors at his Soho store, and he tells them they must make a look with materials from ... a hardware store (!). They must also make one of the main features of the outfit be a fabulous accessory. Fun! I love it — but then again, this is basically what I do for a living. Just the other day, someone asked me to make a dress out of a television set. I’m not kidding. But I guess these guys didn’t fare so well.

Project Runway Emilio Sosa Episode 7 Washer String DressEmilio is especially whiny about the fact that he doesn’t get to make a sophisticated garment out of luxurious materials. Too bad, dude ... this isn’t “Project I-Want-What-I Want.” Everyone else is in the same boat, so why not give it a try instead of complaining? But he had nothing but trouble, from not having nearly enough money ($50) for the outfit he planned, to not having enough time to cover his model’s private parts. Whoops. They do only have until midnight, but others are plowing through. Jay is making “leather look” pants out of trash bags, Mila is making a black and white checkerboard ’60s-inspired outfit (again) and Jonathan is working on a pretty copper bodice. Not so good? Jesse is making something that Tim thinks is ugly enough to get booted from an elementary school play, and Emilio justs keeps up the whining — especially after his model is basically naked. Or, as Anthony referred to it, “... not in the best of taste.”

My favorite had to be Maya’s Gaultier-inspired black cage jacket with a super-dramatic collar, with the most fabulous accessory — a necklace made of keys and chains. Amy’s also looked very cool, with a sandpaper-fan-decorated bodice. Tim is not really amused at anything in this whole episode, and is having a hard time not letting it show behind his pinstriped veneer. The frenzy of runway day is upon us, and Jesse, everyone’s favorite Disney pirate, says, “Screw sewing! Use tape!” Well, desperate measures ... And speaking of desperate, Emilio’s washer-and-cord “dress” turns into a bikini, then turns into a micro-bikini, then goes all the way down the drain to end up as basically three washers and a couple of feet of cord. You figure it out.

On the runway, there’s a crowd of judges, including the freshly Shake ‘n Baked Michael Kors, the lovely if not venomous-tongued Nina Garcia, the deliciously dark and fabulous Isabel Toledo (a friend of mine, and one of my all-time favorite designers) and jewelry designer Stephen Webster. Here we go ...

Mila: Cool, chunky black and white version of Cher’s “Half-Breed” outfit. The model doesn’t look too bad, considering she is basically wearing a lawn chair.

Jesse: Balloon boy is hiding up inside this completely ridiculous skirt with its own silver armored bodice. Proportion, taste and wearability are nowhere to be found. Just like balloon boy.

Jonathan: Bloody, rusty-colored bodice that took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up as a stiff cocktail dress for Judy Jetson.

Anthony: The judges didn’t like his restraint in making this simple, purple halter cocktail dress overlaid with screen. If one of the girls had done this, they would have applauded its prettiness and sophistication. But for Miss Anthony, they called it boring.

Ben: He basically painted glue on his model and rolled her in a pile of old, dirty pennies. Actually, that would have been prettier.

Project Runway Maya Luz Key Necklace Episode 7Emilio: It just goes to prove that some people are safe inside their box. This outfit goes down as one of the WORST EVER in “Project Runway” history. Emilio pleaded ignorance and threw himself on the judges’ mercy. He also showed some less than attractive personal traits on this episode, proving that he’s not that gracious under stress, either.

Jay: Very Tim Burton–esque (Gothy-costumey) outfit of pants and a weird bubble corset top. I was under-impressed. The judges were so excited, they needed diapers. Or to change the ones they already had on.

Seth: Luckily, he had immunity, because this tacky Mrs. Tin Man outfit made of Reynolds Wrap would not have made it.

Amy: Interesting fans of sandpaper on a well-fitted bodice, with a simple black sandpaper circle skirt. Not the wildest thing on the runway, but I really liked this effort.

Maya: Fabulous cage coat — fabulous collar — fabulous key necklace — fabulous cocktail dress made out of screen ... FABULOUS.

Obviously, we know that Emilio and Jesse the pirate would be in the bottom, but poor Anthony ends up there, too. They let him be safe to quip another day, and Jesse gets blindsided and sent home. Everyone is pretty shocked. The judges give the win to Jay, who was in the top with Mila and Maya. When Jay won, let’s just say Mila, was, well, pissed. If looks could kill ...

So shocked was Tim by Jesse’s aufing that he even expressed his own personal shock and dismay at the judges’ decision. Another sign that those pinstripes can’t hold him in forever ... I guess Jesse will go back to Disney World, and back to his pirate costume, where he is probably more comfortable anyway.

See ya soon,