Season 15 Premieres September 15 at 9/8c

Nick Verreos' Blog

You Want Me to Wear THAT to the Maui Hilton???

By Tracy_Goldenberg 09/10/2010 05:00AM GMT

Oh these kids … these Season 8 "Project Runway" kids … More and more, as I watch, I feel like an old fogey designer/instructor, wanting to slap them all upside their coiffed heads with my pattern ruler for not really having a clue as to what the heck Resort Wear really is and for the "I-just-don't-do-patterns" excuses … But, I digress. Let's get to the matter at hand: This week's episode involves going on a fashionable vacation, more of the Michael C. He-Can't-Sew-fest (I am SOOO OVER that!) and a sad adios.

Step into Tim Gunn's Workroom

Mimosas With Michael Kors
The remaining designers were instructed — by drop-crotch, silk-charmeuse-pant-wearing Heidi — to meet Tim Gunn and "a very special guest" at the marina (didn't realize Manhattan had a marina!) for a mimosa-filled brunch. Once they arrived, Tim and Michael Kors were waiting for them, flanked by a fabulous yacht. The designers' Challenge: to create a Resort Wear look that captures their point of view, and is interesting, eye-catching and, of course, super fashionable. Kors also reminded the designers that Resort Wear could be anything from a swimsuit to a gown. Oh, what fun, I thought! I just recently returned from three weeks in Europe, where I spent some R&R time on the Amalfi Coast, so I KNOW what these resort divas wear; I was READY! But it seemed that some of the contestants were not.

So Not Resort: Mondo in his Underwear
"Latin Urkel" Mondo Guerra kept reminding us that he had no clue what Resort was, since he's never been to one and to him, walking around in his underwear at home in Denver is "Resort." No excuse, sweetie. Have you ever opened a Marie Claire and seen a spread of a fabulous model lounging in the Greek Isles with a silk chiffon caftan? Do you ever dream of getting out of your hometown and being THAT DIVA in the Greek Islands? Come on, I have!

Who Is My Seamstress?
In typical "Project Runway" form, Tim Gunn then comes into the Parsons workroom — velvet bag in hand — to announce that the designers will "pair up" (oh dear, not another Team Challenge!) and the paired designers will have to construct each other's look. Valerie is paired with Andy; Michael C. is with Mondo; April is with "Cutie" Christopher, "General" Gretchen is with Casanova (oh dear!) and Ivy gets Michael D. OK, now this "twist" is good — and bad — on several points: This can show people's weaknesses and strengths, and yes, there's potential for DRAMA (and this season LOVES the drama!).

La Kors Is BAACK???
Michael Kors then makes another guest appearance as "Tim Gunn 2.0" to survey what the designers are coming up with after they've received their "velvet bag o' tricks" twist. He tells the designers that "(in the fashion industry) you always have to explain what you want to someone else, and the chances of sewing every sample in your career are impossible." Yes, true. So that makes this challenge (and the twist) very apropos to the industry, BUT… you also would NEVER HIRE a sample maker/pattern maker with subpar skills, which is exactly what some of these contestants were stuck with. So, in reality, this Challenge doesn't reflect the industry — it just makes for GREAT drama-filled TV!

Pattern Making 101
In terms of the pairings, it ain't going good for several of them: Ivy is having problems with Michael D. because his construction skills are not so good, and Mondo is dealing with "Michael C.-doesn't-do-PATTERNS" issues. On that note: Hello! In my season, we didn't even get pattern paper! (I noticed pattern paper on Season 6, interestingly enough.) I draped all my designs on muslin and then transferred them onto separate muslin as if that was my pattern paper so I could have accurate patterns. Does a designer need to know how to do patterns? On "Project Runway," it isn't a necessity and you can just "Make It Work," but the FIDM Instructor in me (sorry, Michael C.!) says YES! How are you going to produce those ideas of yours without one of the most fundamental skills in fashion design? If you can afford to hire a full-time pattern maker, then good for you; most designers starting out cannot. With all the early Mondo–Michael C. issues, however, Mondo "works it out" and succumbs to Michael's Mediterranean looks, and once again, Michael C. proves everybody wrong and is able to produce a quality garment … at least construction-wise.

What Resort Is She Going To?
Now on to Runway Day: Along with Heidi, Michael Kors and Nina, actress Kristen Bell joins the judging panel. Some designers got it and some did not, as usual. There were times when I was thinking, Do these designers really know what RESORT means? For some reason, a couple of them caught the "Palazzo Pant Bug" (Gretchen, Michael C.). My favorite was Andy's swimsuit DIVA (made very well by Valerie). His model earned her month's rent with that walk! That look could have TOTALLY worked in Positano, darlings! The judges deemed it great but very saleable. Is that a bad thing? On "Project Runway," it is. Creative always wins over Saleable. Michael Drummond's design was ultra chic and very Latvian-cruise Resort. But it was April's black sheer baby doll ensemble that inexplicably took the prize. Although the outfit was modern and directional (loved the asymmetrical neckline), it was too much like a negligee for my taste, and I cannot think of any woman, in Cabo, Cancún or the Maui Hilton who would wear that. It's very editorial, but not Resort (shows you how much I know!).

More Cuchi-Cuchi Casanova

Casanova's Resort: A Retirement Home
In the bottom were Ivy, Mondo and Casanova. Let's start with Ivy: There's no excuse for her poor design; it was uninteresting, boring and the silhouette was more Amish Resort than Girl in Mykonos! Mondo's was SOOOO Junior. As Michael Kors said: "Very Forever 21" (ouch!). What was he thinking? What tacky Vegas pool party hosted by some random D-list celeb is she going to? Although Mondo remained true to his kooky aesthetic, his girl ended up being more Roller Disco than Holiday Chic. But it was my Cuchi-Cuchi Casanova who got the boot with his 70-year-old-lady-looking Resort ensemble for my aunt in Florida. He just can't get it right: It's either too hoochie or too old. Adios, Casanova — see you at the Retirement Home Potluck Resort Picnic!