Season 15 Premieres September 15 at 9/8c

Mila Hermanovski's Blog

When Fashion Generations Collide

By kim_messina 03/01/2013 04:35AM GMT

Itʼs the "real people" challenge. I love these because they really show the designersʼ true skills of problem solving and ability to think "outside the dressform," meaning adapt to real bodies and not just mannequins and models. I love the twist this time: designing for seniors! Tim welcomes the designers to Midtown Loft Dance Hall, where we see a slew of spry senior ladies dancing up a storm. The designer teams of two (and one team of three) have been "randomly assigned" (another thing I never believed, just like the button bag) their new clients. Tim instructs the designers to each make a look that not only pleases the client but also showcases their own point of view; "No cohesion is necessary," so, again, how is this a team challenge? I mean I get it, the team mates are supposed to support one another...but honestly no one has time for that! You barely have time to get your own look done. Timʼs words of advice: "good fashion is ageless and timeless."

There is only one team of three: "Lone Wolf" Michelle, having lost her team mate Matt last week, is teamed up with Patricia and Layana....poor thing. Apparently Michelle has been placed with her most loathed and dreaded team mate (Patricia). No coincidence there. If I were her, Iʼd be dreading hearing Layanaʼs whiny complaints and unwarranted opinions! The other teams remain the same. They all seem to be fine with it, but I wonder how they really feel....? Amidst a group of designers, where there are always egos, Iʼm sure someone else in there is less than thrilled with his/her partner.

We soon discover that indeed Benjamin is less than thrilled with his partner Amanda, who is having a bit of a design meltdown due to choosing the wrong fabric in Mood for her design. Oy vey, Iʼve been there...not a good feeling. You feel incredibly helpless and blocked, because time is so precious and once youʼve sketched your design (in 15 minutes or so), selected your fabric (30 minutes), and are back in the workroom, itʼs GO time. Itʼs hard, once you think youʼve got it sorted out, to go back to the HP tablet and start over. However....this is problem solving, and itʼs imperative on "Project Runway" and in "real life." Only thing is on "Project Runway" youʼve got this pressure to perform QUICKLY. And sometimes you simply get blocked. This is when the ubiquitous expression which has been made famous by our own Tim Gunn is so appropriate: MAKE IT WORK.

I could have sworn that either Patricia or Michelle was getting a total loser edit. We have Michelle talking about how awful Patricia is, and that everything she does sucks. Then we have Patricia struggling in the workroom and decides to start over with her look. You know, either Michelleʼs ranting is going to bite her in the bum, or Patricia is going to go down, simply because Michelle is feeling like every team she ends up on is cursed and ends up in the bottom. However, as we will see, this is not the case....

In the judging panel this week, Zac is absent, which I have to say doesnʼt make me all that sad. In his place is Rachel Roy, who has been a guest judge several times. While she is not all that interesting, Iʼve always felt her critiques are fair and honest. The two guest judges are none other than the hilarious Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa, whom I thought had some really astute things to say actually! I do love me a little Joan Rivers. If nothing else she is just fascinating to look at, you know, in that Cat Woman kind of way!

Lone Wolf, Layana, and Patricia were the safe team. I could have seen this going either way to be honest. The judges and producers could have put any spin they wanted on it, because I felt like Michelle did a good job in the end. Sure, it wasnʼt ground-breaking, and in my opinion, did not have any signature of Michelle in the design....however it the print was really fun, and the dress was super complimentary to the client. Patricia "made it work" (unlike Amanda), by scrapping the mu-mu she had going on and making a jacket which had a lovely collar but unfortunately looked rather unharmonious in its colors and raggedy in finishing. I could not understand what Heidi was praising Layana for. I think this was all producer fluff to escalate the drama and tension between the three ladies, by making it seem that Patricia bogged them down. To me her design looked ill-fitting and frankly I did not care for that print. When I saw her client, I thought she had a fabulous, dramatic look with her platinum hair and that she could pull off a livelier or bolder look. Besides that, I still donʼt know who Layana is as a designer.

Richard and Stanley are high scorers again. This was another case where I think one designer outshines the other, but since they are a "team," the judges praise both looks, even if one is far inferior or even just "meh." Stanley produced a tres chic navy pantsuit which was fabulous on his client. Yes, the crotch has major issues, but the back view was flawless and the look in general was elegant, expensive looking, and fashionable rather than marmy. Richard, on the other hand, produced a sack which required a fraction of the work that Richardʼs look did. I hated the mint green and black combo; it brought me to a KMart place, like when Iʼve had to shop for a housedress for a plus sized character. What was that odd "mini drawstring" in the front? I found it distracting. The fabric looked cheap somehow, like a poly or acrylic jersey...perhaps it was just the color I could not get beyond. But the judges wildly praised it for some reason.

Tu and Kate received low scores, due to Tuʼs mess of a dress. Why he would choose wool (and not even wool jersey) is beyond me. The color was the only thing going for that dress. You can tell it was a wreck with fit, and as seen in the workroom, the belt (which was not great styling anyway) was the only thing holding it together. We saw how Tu really struggled with anything outside of a model figure; in my opinion, he should have been in the bottom two with Amanda. Clearly his client was disappointed as well. Kate, on the other hand, produced an incredibly chic and flirty ensemble for her client. If this was an individual challenge, she should have been a top scorer, far and away better than Richard. The print was so lovely and the look was very appropriate for her client. One of my favorites!

Samantha and Moustache received high scores. Neither of their looks were thrilling to me. Itʼs funny, Samantha embraced her clients spunkiness, and the dress fit well. However, out of context, one would question the taste level here. I hated the "Gaga Lite" shoulders and yellow satin with leopard combo. But OF COURSE "animal print" Joan liked it!! Moustache fulfilled his clientʼs request for an elegant black suit, and itʼs good that he put his own details and twist into it, because otherwise it would have looked like any old black suit off a department store rack. It did fit well though. Again, had this been an individual challenge, I could see both these looks being safe.

Amanda and Benjamin are low scorers, which we all saw coming. I am shocked that Amanda was saved. She did not "make it work" in the least...there are so many better ways she could have resolved this dress. The print was fantastic, so it was sad to see the outcome. Where to begin....? It was just a complete mess. Benjamin chose a great color, and made his client happy, but the dress did look like it was suffocating her, and was very marmy, like what you expect to see a little old lady wearing to a wedding. A different fabric selection could have helped, as satin is oneʼs worst enemy for TV, not to mention for hiding construction flaws, which there were. Nevertheless, it was a tough call as to whom should have been eliminated. What do you think?