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Joshua McKinley Blog
Category: "episode 5"
Having had a week to recover and think about losing our beloved Russian spitfire Sandro, I chose to take a stand on two counts. 1) I will NOT boycott vodka, and 2) I am furious that he flew off the handle because I do believe he really could have changed the field of this game! Sandro might have been over the top and aggressive, but that paralleled his passion for design and I respect him for that. Whether we can agree on that or not, what we can agree on is that there are quite a few designers that needed to be eliminated before him. The most comical thing about how this all ignited was that Helen was having a tantrum because she had immunity and the judges called her out on a mess of a garment, once again. Yep, I said it: We all know Kate pulled the weight on that sombrero dress. Whether Helen is uncontrollably crying during a runway show or complaining about how she was "barely safe," poor Sandro fed into her lunatic outcry which in turn infuriated him. She was raising her voice because he didn't care about her problem. To be honest, Helen doesn't warrant the time and energy it takes to argue with her. While none of this is truly good television or pertains to the garments at all, it's just a bunch of unstable designers who don't have the proper training and who thought being on this show was going to be a breeze. Flashback: Cindy from Season 11, who said "This is so much harder than it looks on TV!" was utimately eliminated third. If you can't sew, if you can't thread a machine, and if you don't have anything other than a pencil skirt to deliver (Miranda), then it's time to pack up your ratty bag of H&M clothes and hit the road!
Speaking of hitting the road, Lexus is on set with their new fleet of cars to help transport the designers around the city to gather their materials for this challenge. An unconventional challenge for the third time in 5 episodes and a team challenge for the second time, this should be a breeze for the babies that still need "breast feeding" in the words of Ken. Gathered in the Meatpacking District, the designers learn they have one day to create a three-look, luxurious, high-end mini collection. While each designer is responsible for an individual look, they also need to work together to make their collection cohesive. Oh the good old adjective "cohesive!" It's laughable on most seasons' team challenges, but this year it's hysterical! I don’t think they could have cast a more oddball, erratic, less cohesive in style and design focused group of individuals, some of whom even make your skin crawl.
Where was the button bag?! Miss Paula Deen must have been around, because this all seems like some drama is being cooked up in the "Project Runway" kitchen. What I was certain of was that things were about to get all-caps DEEP FRIED and deliciously frightening on Team Sue, Alexandria, and Ken.
Team Kate, Karen, and Jeremy seemed to be very excited and optimistic although you could sense that Kate was shocked to have another team challenge. Jeremy, following last week's mother-of-the-bride ensemble, has finally realized that “each challenge needs to be interpreted differently." All I can say is, raise a chilled glass of that Russian vodka and CHEERS to that, Jeremy. Better late than never to figure out how to play the game! There is ALWAYS an underlying challenge within the given challenge and if you have the ability to discover that, you will be golden! I do believe that was what Sandro was trying to understand and prod the judges for last week, but it wouldn't make the competition what it is if they just blatantly told you. But according to Helen, Sandro was a "ticking time bomb" anyway. Now that's the pot calling the kettle black! You can't run from destiny, Helen. In fact on your expiration date there will be a reenactment of Disney's "Fantasia" with buckets and mops on hand; something to catch your uncontrollable I-can-barely-breathe-I'm-so-upset tears, and a mop to clean up all the ink after you explode with fury.
Speaking of cleaning up, Ken is literally exterminating the place. NOTHING will be left alive when he is done, and I mean NOTHING! He can be one very Scary Mary on a mission, and I would pull my car off the road if I saw her headlights. I appreciate his focus and passion very much, and I can understand him feeling the pressure for his team, but he should have just focused on his design and what needed to be done, while merely lending assistance to Sue. It's ironic that Ken says he is living a nightmare because the expressions of terror on Sue and Alexandria faces are the ones white as ghosts! But honestly, it's not groundbreaking news that Sue doesn't know how to use the machines. We all saw her asking for help threading a bobbin. But to bring it up on the runway and expose it to the judges was not necessary. Sue would have eventually self-destructed in the competition, but that doesn't mean she self-destructs in her everyday life and design. I have seen what she is capable of doing on her time and on her machine and it's quite breathtaking. She has a very interesting eye for the way she cuts and designs. Perhaps it's organic because she really doesn't have the foundation and training, however it's Sue's signature and that should be applauded and respected. I think she took the words out of my mouth when she said "I think I was a little too optimistic about many aspects of this experience."
Having a little optimism and some glue definitely helped this week for Jeremy following last week's bottom three appearance. It's always pleasant to see a designer rise from the ashes and take the win. I disagree however with Heidi mentioning how "gorgeous" the model's chest looked. The bust cups looked like crushed snow-cone cups that you get water from at the doctor's office to wash down a pill, or even worse, the masks that construction workers wear while putting up drywall. There was also something so predictable about the little "beverage napkin" pieces at the hip. They looked haphazardly placed, and frankly we have seen it done before by a million designers. I personally think Kate's dress should have been the winner. Her cocktail dress had some really interesting design details, from plastic cutouts to rice embellishments, and to top it off the gorgeous elements at the shoulders just really elevated the look. AND it was analogous with her Lexus.
Kate lent Ken the advice that "if your team is sinking, put on your life vest first." He at least had his white leather harness on for the judging -- perhaps that's what saved him?
Do you think Ken should have been sent home too?
Joe's barely had time to pack up his last screenprinted cat sweater before Tim Gunn decides to leave us dangling like Sylvester Stallone in "Cliffhanger" with the news that Heidi is waiting for the designers on the runway! I'm more concerned that Heidi is waiting then actually discovering the news at all. As the clown car door opens the remaining twelve designers pile out of the backstage to the unveiling of Heidi holding the infamous velvet button bag. Side note: After eleven seasons and the horrific bed bug infestations in NYC, have they decontaminated that thing yet?
Where Santa's velvet bag brings tears of joy and happiness, Heidi's brings nothing but fear and nightmares. You can see that panic come over the designers; most have turned a shade paler then Benjamin, knowing they are in store for a team toss-up. On the other end of the spectrum you have Tu, who looks extremely perplexed. You can see him thinking, "Is the bag a designer tote or a Canal Street knock-off?" No worries, Tu, I wondered the same thing as well. (I was more intrigued to know if the button bag was rigged, because on my season I always seemed to be paired with the most incompetent and boring designers, all of whom failed to realize they were on a competition design show. I mean honestly, you had Heidi, Tim, Nina, and Michael judging you and you needed Bob Barker to come over and beat you in the head with his obnoxious microphone before you realized you were subjecting yourself to a reality television show!?)
Button Bag fact: There are no interior hidden pockets and the names are all pulled randomly. I have seen and felt it!
It's exciting to find out the designers will be working in pairs. History is full of infamous duos from Mickey and Minnie to Bonnie and Clyde, with some duos' DNA focusing on happiness, others' on pure torture.
I would just like to take a minute to dissect how I perceived the designers' reactions to the pairing-up in a new section titled "Joshua McKinley's Verbiage."
Daniel's reaction to Samantha: "WHAT? Me first? I may like shapes, but I wonder if you can corn-row my moustache and I'll comb your weave?"
Stanley's reaction to Richard: "I hope you know this is a working relationship and not Match.com."
Michelle's reaction to Matthew: "Bartender! Matthew here will have a Prozac and I'll have that bottle of tequila!"
Layana's reaction to Patricia: "Aww, that's so sweet."
Tu's reaction to Kate: "I heard my name! Who? What?!"
Amanda and Benjamin have our only arranged marriage of the evening. and it's one that Benjamin is hesitant about since Amanda was thrown under the bus last week by her team. Does Benjamin have dementia and not remember the "shipwreck" of an outfit he sent down the runway two weeks ago? Kudos indeed for improving last week, but a loom, tears, and an accent are far off from giving you clout to discuss Amanda's credentials. If I were you I would be less concerned with "understanding Amanda's aesthetic" and more on making your duo work!
Side note about last week's episode: I was aghast with her entire team and their vacant choice of naming her as their "weak link." It's a clear case of "I don't want to say a different name and upset anyone, so I'll just be a follower like everyone else and continue on the band wagon of choosing Amanda." From someone that loves a little drama, I agree with Amanda that it was overly dramatic and they were all just looking for a scapegoat. Well honey bunnies, you got one, and isn't she pretty!
And let me clarify something. If you choose to compete on a national television show, with a prize that can change your business life, you better be prepared to take hits from people, but to take them personally is preposterous. Half these people will end up working at the bank where you deposit your money!
After our new newlyweds said their "I dos," we head over to Johnny Utah’s in midtown Manhattan. I've had a few tipsy nights on their mechanical bull while wearing some rhinestone cowboy boots that are truly "made for walking." It's now become the launch pad of inspiration for the next challenge. Pan up to a Grammy-winning bleach blonde country rock star: Miranda Lambert! I think I almost cried seeing Benjamin's face, which looked as though he had NO IDEA who she was! You could tell he was thinking, "She resembles Carrie Underwood, but it's clearly not her."
At Mood it looks as though the leather department is having a sale on Louboutins, it's so crowded! Michelle was not about to go navy like the rest of the herd, while Daniel was spewing like a teapot in excitement over his "tin foil" treated leather. Back in the work room, the Brother sewing machines are being put to the test with this country-rock 'n roll challenge and they are killing it, with their amazing Teflon sewing feet to pierce through the rough hide of our well-done burger skin!
I think half the designers are tired, confused, and unconfident. There seems to be more concentration devoted to figuring out who isn't as far along as they should be, rather than honing in on what they are trying to achieve. This show isn't about the rabbit winning the race, but rather the tortoise; with that said, it doesn't mean move at a glacial pace. I think at this point one good hour-long microdermabrasion and bikini wax would reveal the beauty.
It all seems to be about leather, denim, and fringe, and none of the remaining twelve fail to disappoint in any of those departments. However, at this point, most are without a bottom to complete their look for the runway, and my question is, "What good's a top without a bottom?!"
Matthew is falling apart like a croissant and poor Michelle is taking a breathalyzer for sanity! Michelle, GIRL! All you need is one good Kleenex to get all the buggers out of your life. I feel and understand your pain, but just like my girl Kelly Clarkson says, "The sun will rise!"
As much as she seems to be winning for the most daggers in the back on "Project Runway: Dungeons & Dragons," I firmly believe Kate had the most solid look of the challenge. It embodied stardom, power, innovation and an edge unlike anything on the runway for the challenge. It also nailed Miranda's fear of not being able to wear a spanx underneath; hell, she could have worn twenty Spanx under that fitted bodice!
Nevertheless, since Layana seems to know the "fine line between glamorous and tacky," we all look to her for an explanation of Richard's win. Was it glamorous or was it tacky? Leave your comment below or tweet me @jmckinleynyc to let me know your thoughts.
It was refreshing to see another southern gentleman like Matthew Arthur on the show. Unfortunately, he barely embodied the ferocious attributes that make up his fellow Louisianan, Anthony Ryan Auld (winner of season 2 of "Project Runway All-Stars." I was hoping to see another "gator" tackle the competition, however it seems only a glut of "grenades" on Bourbon Street will help to cleanse the tears and boost the confidence of this southern belle. Until next time, sprinkle yourself with some glitter and “Make It Work!” (And if you can't? Fake it.)